Religious Society of Friends
Meeting for worship
"Friends, meet together and know one another in that which is
A Brief History of Friendship Meeting
In the spring of 1968 some Guilford College students and professors began to meet
together for worship in the manner of Friends. They had in common a desire to worship in
the traditional way based in silent waiting out of which ministry arises in response to
the movement of the Holy Spirit. In the fall many of these students and professors resumed
these weekly meetings along with others. In October the first monthly meeting for business
was held. Friendship Meeting is located in Friendship Township, Guilford County, hence its
At about the same time several unprogrammed meetings in central North Carolina, including Friendship Meeting, organized the Piedmont Friends Fellowship. PPF met and continues to meet twice yearly for worship, discussion, fellowship and fun. It is loosely organized and is affiliated with Friends General Conference.
In 1980 Friendship Meeting joined North Carolina Yearly Meeting-Conservative. NCYM-C comprises eight monthly meetings in North Carolina and one in Virginia at the present time. Our Yearly Meeting - organized in 1904 by former members of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Five Years Meeting, now Friends United Meeting ~ maintains the traditional form of silent worship and is a source of much spiritual nurture for those who participate in its annual gatherings and other activities. NCYM-C also links us to many other Quaker organizations such as Friends World Committee for Consultation, American Friends Service Committee and Friends Committee on National Legislation. It supports four Friends schools as well as Quaker House in Fayetteville, NC and Norfolk Quaker House, Virginia. Both these provide education about alternatives to military service as well as support for military personnel who seek to be released from service on grounds of conscientious objection, or who have other problems in connection with their relationship with the military.
Friendship Meeting met in the Mary Pemberton Moon Room in Dana Auditorium of Guilford College, a room furnished as a traditional Friends meeting room, for nineteen years. In 1987 the meeting purchased the house at 1103 New Garden Road and converted it into a meetinghouse.
During the Vietnam War, the meeting supported the weekly peace vigil in downtown
Greensboro. The vigil was resumed during the Persian Gulf War and, again, many members of
the meeting participated. In 1987 the meeting became a Sanctuary Meeting and soon two
Guatemalan refugee families were received into the care of the meeting. One of these
families has since joined the meeting. Several other refugees have also been helped for
short periods of time.
Since 1975 the meeting has maintained an explicit testimony of acceptance of any who wish to worship with us and participate in the life of the meeting regardless of sexual orientation. In 1993 the meeting expanded on the earlier minute of acceptance, stating in a minute its willingness to have oversight of same-sex unions for members under the same conditions and in the same manner as traditional heterosexual marriages.
Friendship Meeting is a diverse meeting. Its dual affiliation with Friends General Conference and North Carolina Yearly Meeting-Conservative indicates its theological diversity with many Friends in both groups whose spiritual lives are centered in Christ, and others who have a more universalist outlook. This diversity creates tension at times and is also appreciated by many. It seems to be an inevitable outcome of our commitment to faith grounded in experience and subject to change and growth. The meeting is not divided along the lines of affiliation to FGC or NCYM-C, for many would gladly participate in both if time permitted. Some of us come from a tradition of Friends that have not for most of this century named ministers and elders out of concern that none be elevated over any others in meeting. Others of us have come from a tradition that has maintained the practice of acknowledging formally those who have specific gifts in vocal ministry or in spiritual nurture of the meeting, as a way of claiming the gifts and of supporting and holding accountable those who have particular gifts. This difference has caused tension in the meeting as we struggled with whether to record as a minister a member who functions in that role for many Friends and others beyond the monthly meeting. In 1998, that member was recorded in recognition of her ministry. The meeting continues to be sensitive to issues regarding titling.
The meeting is an active partner in Greensboro’s People of Faith against the Death Penalty. Individual members of meeting are also active participants in National Quaker Organizations such as American Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation and Pendle Hill.
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