Most people know from history class that many early American leaders were Quakers. They’re also likely to be familiar with the religious group’s emphasis on pacifism and simple living.
But the Minneapolis Friends Meeting, a small group of Quakers who worship in Linden Hills, wants the public to learn much more about the centuries-old faith. That’s why throughout October and November, Minneapolis Friends will hold several gatherings to better acquaint the public with all things Quaker.
The first meeting is scheduled for Oct. 15; all the gatherings will be held at the group’s meeting location at 4401 York Av. S.
“There are certainly people who have heard of it [Quakerism],” said Pat Jones, director of ministry for Minneapolis Friends Meeting. “They may have encountered it in American history. We are so much focused on introducing ourselves in the past through our history that it seemed important for us to think about who are we today and to say it so other people would know.”
Jones estimates that there are close to 500 Quakers in Minnesota and around 120,000 total in the United States. About 10 Quaker meeting places are located in Minnesota.
“I think the most visible kind of Quakerism in Minnesota is probably the Friends School of Minnesota plant sale each May at the State Fairgrounds,” Jones said. “It gets an incredible amount of publicity and thousands of people come.” That draws some people to Friends meetings, he said. “We certainly have visitors … people are kind of interested in it.”
At the upcoming gatherings, members of Minneapolis Friends will focus on how Quakers view the divine (most consider themselves Christian) and why the group emphasizes the importance of equality and social justice efforts, such as helping the poor.
Jones says the group hopes that the gatherings will get more people interested in the faith.
“We just wanted to put it out there hoping that people who might just never run into it might get a chance to,” Jones said.
Rose French • 612-673-4352