Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Our History

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The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) was founded in 17th century England by George Fox. Early members include Margaret Fell, William Penn and Edward Hicks.

The rich history of Easton Friends Meeting begins in 1774, when Nine Partners Meeting in Dutchess County granted permission for Friends in this area to hold meeting for worship in their homes. Two years later, a log meeting-house was built on the land where our South Meetinghouse now stands.

In 1777, when a party of Burgoyne’s Native American scouts came upon the unarmed Friends in worship, they laid down their weapons to join Friends in the silence. At rise of meeting, Friends shared a meal with their guests and, according to legend, watched them place a white feather over the door as a sign for other traveling bands to leave the Friends in peace.

Easton Meeting was set off as a separate Monthly Meeting in 1778. By 1838, there were enough Friends in North Easton to build the brick North Meetinghouse.

A number of Easton Friends had secret rooms in their houses to hide slaves on the Underground Railroad. The meeting hosted many abolitionist visitors, including Lucretia Mott and Sojourner Truth.


A Brief Glossary of Quaker Terms

Meetinghouse: The place in which we gather to worship. For Friends, the church is the people who make up the community, not a building.

Centering down: The process by which we settle in to deep prayer and worship so the Spirit can speak to us.

Gathered meeting: Friends may experience a unity and oneness of Spirit through worship and the messages that arise from it.

Testimonies: Our public witness of Truth. These include Simplicity, Peacemaking, Integrity, Equality, Stewardship and Community.

Hold in the Light: To ask for the Divine Presence to illumine a person, situation or problem, whether in concern or thankfulness.

Attender: One who attends and participates in meeting activities fairly regularly, but is not a member.

Clerk: A member who presides at monthly meetings for worship with a con-cern for business, or serves as head of a committee. Through attentive listening to the Spirit among us, the Clerk discerns the sense of the meeting, or the corporate expression of Divine will.