March 29, 2003
We are writing to introduce ourselves to you, our new neighbors. We are the Friends Meeting of Austin, also known as Quakers. We have purchased the house and land at 2105 Goodrich from the Peel family and plan to renovate the existing house and add a Meeting House. We outgrew our home of forty years on Washington Square and now meet on Sunday mornings at the Hancock Recreation Center while we prepare our new home.
The Religious Society of Friends arose in England in the mid-1600's around the belief that there is "that of God" in everyone and that we can experience this "Inner Light" speaking and acting in our own lives. Our form of worship is a silent Meeting, without minister or priest, filled with prayer and meditation. Our services are simple, quiet and peaceful, so we can be open to the Light of God. From time to time, a worshipper may feel moved to speak out of the silence, and we can often hear the voice of God in what is said.
Because of our belief in the Inner Light in everyone, Quakers have long worked towards peace and reconciliation among all peoples. For the same reason, Friends have consistently worked for equality for women and men of all races and ethnicities, including working for racial equality in the United States since before the American Revolution.
As we searched for a new home, and considered the Peel property, we were moved by the peaceful and spiritual nature of the historic African American Baptist church and cemetery next door. We hope to join with our new neighbors and others in caring for this site in ways that will convey honor and respect for the people buried there and communicate its heritage to people of all backgrounds.
The last few months have been spent cleaning up the area and fixing up the house. A big "Thank You" goes to some of you, dear neighbors, for helping with this project!
We are beginning to work with architects to help plan for our site. There are many visions for how we might meet our needs for worship space, children's space, and fellowship space--as well as parking, drainage, and other City of Austin requirments. We expect to reach more clarity over the next few months. Quaker Meeting Houses are plain, without symbols or ornamentation. Simplicity is a testimony we attempt to follow in all aspects of our lives. We are committed to interacting gently with our environment.
You are always welcome to join us for Meeting for Worship (11 a.m. Sundays at the Hancock Recreation Center on 41st Street near Red River). We also welcome the chance to talk with you as we meet or work at our new home on Goodrich. If you have any questions or comments, please contact one of us.
Yours in the Light,
Ben Kuipers, Site Development Committee
Joanna Vaughn, Community Relations Committee
Friends Meeting of Austin web page: austinquakers.org
Telephone message machine: 452-1841