Community Friends Meeting members gather in North Avondale each Sunday. (Photos courtesy of Community Friends Meeting)
NORTH AVONDALE, Ohio - The Tri-State is rich in the number and variety of houses of worship. In our weekly feature, WCPO shines the spotlight on where we pray.
What to make of a church with no programmed worship service and no paid clergy? Cincinnati's Community Friends Meeting invites you to come and find out.
The local 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, the more liberal “unprogrammed” branch.
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Core Beliefs: The Friends believe that a direct knowledge of God is available to people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds. Since the Friends emphasize individual conscience and direct relationship with God, there is no specific creed to which Quakers are asked to subscribe.
“There is within each human being a Divine Presence to which we can listen. We know this presence by many names, including the Inner Light, the Inner Teacher, the Seed Within, the Divine and the Inner Christ. We desire to be directed by this inward Presence - Inward Light. We can understand the words of scripture only by the guidance of the Inner Teacher.”
The local 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, the more liberal “unprogrammed” branch. MORE
After brief sojourns elsewhere, the group bought a house in North Avondale. It was chosen carefully, because the Friends wanted to be in an integrated neighborhood and in the heart of the city, as well as near bus routes and major transportation arteries. The meeting house is an old Prairie Style mansion sitting on five wooded acres.
Cincinnati Quaker Levi Coffin , dubbed the "President of the Underground Railroad," hid more than 3,000 slaves on their way to freedom. Murray Shipley, another prominent Quaker, founded The Children's Home of Cincinnati in Madisonville.
More about Community Friends Meeting
This is an unprogrammed meeting, which means the group gathers in silent worship, without planned activities or paid clergy. People may stand and deliver the message they have been given in the form of vocal prayer or sharing God's guidance as a community. The meeting welcomes all visitors.
In the words of 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."
Some members have been conscientious objectors and those who worked for peace and non-violence during World War II as well as the Vietnam War and the El Salvador conflict. Others worked as Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights movement.
In Cincinnati, the Friends have been involved in community outreach. They rehabbed an apartment in Over-the-Rhine, brought worship to those in jail, served meals to residents of Tender Mercies, and did service projects at the Freestore Foodbank.
“Community Friends Meeting has been my spiritual home and family for over forty years now. Part of what makes it special is that as a small congregation we can all know each other and become family to each other. I love that Community Friends and Quakerism in general is not a Sunday religion, but a commitment to be on a spiritual journey and live out the guidance of the Christ Within, in our daily lives.” ---Kate Anthony, Clerk
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