Community Friends Meeting
Community Friends Meeting was founded in 1968 out of the union of two previously existing Meetings. One was affiliated with Friends United Meeting, the pastoral branch of Friends and the other was affiliated with Friends General Conference. As such, we remained for many years a bridge Meeting with ties to both of those traditions within Quakerism. After brief sojourns elsewhere, in the same year we bought the house in North Avondale that is still our home. It was chosen carefully, because we wanted to be in an integrated neighborhood and by moving there with some of our members to help protect North Avondale from white flight and maintain its integrated character. We also wanted to be in the heart of the city, near bus routes and major transportation arteries to be accessible to as many different people as possible.
From the beginning of our Meeting, we have had a deep concern to live out the testimonies of Friends, to bear witness to our Quaker principles, and in the words of our founder George Fox, “be patterns, be examples, in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people,” and, “So let your lives preach, let your light shine, that your works may be seen, that your Father may be glorified; that your fruits may be unto holiness.” In the beginning of our Meeting we had a number of members of the World War II generation, some men who had been conscientious objectors during that war and people who had continued to work for peace and non-violence at great cost during a time when the country was united in the cause of war. We had people in our Meeting who worked in the Civil Rights movement in various ways, including as Freedom Riders and being imprisoned in the process of integrating Cincinnati institutions. We have continued to stand in various ways for non-violence through the Vietnam War and all the subsequent wars, through demonstrations, draft resistance and draft counseling, civil disobedience and other ways of witness. During the conflict in El Salvador, we became a Sanctuary Meeting, providing housing and support for an El Salvadorian refugee family and helping them find a voice to describe what was happening in their country.
Since then we have continued to find ways to live our testimonies. We worked as a Meeting to rehab an apartment in Over-the-Rhine that would become affordable housing for poor people. We have taken under our care the marriage of a same sex couple. Currently we have a number of our members and attenders involved in Transforming Jail Ministries, to bring worship to incarcerated persons. We cook and serve dinner to homeless mentally ill at Tender Mercies once a month and periodically do service projects at the Free Store. We have a strong concern for the environment. Through our Friends in Unity with Nature committee, we have worked to make our house and our practices energy efficient, to reduce our footprint, to preserve and protect the little piece of woods in the city with which we have been gifted, and to witness to the larger community the necessity of good stewardship of God’s creation.