History of Raleigh Friends Meeting
Raleigh Friends Meeting is an unpastored community and worships in the “unprogrammed” Quaker manner. Currently not affiliated with any Yearly Meeting, we refer to Faith & Practice of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting for models of worship, organization and support for members’ life passages. We are affiliated with Friends General Conference through our association with Piedmont Friends Yearly Meeting.
The Raleigh Monthly Meeting of Friends was formed by a small number of Friends in March 1926. In October, 1927, Meeting joined with the United Church of Raleigh. Many individual Friends maintained membership in both the Meeting and United Church. The two organizations, meantime, maintained separate identities and their own denominational ties. The Monthly Meeting became a member of the North Carolina Yearly Meeting (First United Meeting). For more than 40 years Raleigh Friends enjoyed joint fellowship and social action activities with the United Church. The United Church today is known as Community United Church of Christ, a sister community of faith for Raleigh Friends.
Throughout the meeting's history, members were active participants in various social justice work. Much of this work was in conjunction with the Community United Church. Early members worked for Prohibition, peace, and racial justice. Many male members were conscientious objectors. During the 1950s, members began staffing the Peace Booth at the NC State Fair, which according to oral tradition, was in response to the Korean War.
Beginning in 1967, a renewed interest in an independent Meeting for Worship was felt among Friends. Sunday’s Meetings for Worship and discussion began to be held at the King Religious Center, at North Carolina State University, in January 1968. A program of worship and education developed for young Friends. In the fall of 1969, the residence of the Charles Doak family at 120 Woodburn Road became available for use as a meeting center. Worship and discussion activities continued to grow in this setting.
During this time of growth, Raleigh Friends initiated a number of social action causes including the Women’s Center of Wake County, the local rape crisis center InterAct, and Quaker House in Fayetteville. Friends participated in Civil Rights marches, soup kitchen volunteers, and quiet neighborhood support and encouragement.
In 1968, the meeting helped found Piemond Friends Fellowship, a collective of Quaker meetings and worship groups in North Carolina and surrounding areas that gathers for worship and fellowship in the spirit of Friends’ quarterly meetings to address issues and share concerns in a wider Quaker forum. In 1984, Raleigh Friends withdrew from NCYM-FUM. Spring of 1990 saw the current Meetinghouse dedicated in a Service of Worship for commitment and gratitude.
Today, active participation in Outreach and Community within Raleigh Meeting leads us to honor George Fox’s belief, “meeting that of God within one another.” (Adapted from a Raleigh Friends Meeting publication, author unknown.)