I’ve pointed it out before and I feel it’s even more important to point out with this post: This isn’t intended to be an all encompassing tool to learn about a religion. I’m not an expert on any religion, and quite frankly, I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to writing or sharing a story either. I’m winging it. What you’re getting is an account of me (and Luke) figuring it out as we go along. Furthermore, this post was probably the toughest so far I’ve had to write because there was so much information, and none of it really was cut and dry.
Prior to visiting the The Rochester Society of Friends (or Quaker) meeting house, I knew very little about the Quakers. I’ve passed the building on 84 Scio Street countless numbers of times, and never had any idea that it was a Meeting House. The square,
simple, painted red brick building features one simple white sign outside indicating that had you been looking for it, you had found your destination.
The Religious Society of Friends was founded just after the English Civil War in the mid-17th century by George Fox. Fox felt as though having a relationship with Christ should not have involved any type of clergy, and should have been more of a personal exchange. He traveled the area and preached his ideas to other believers, who called themselves “Friends”. The Friends considered themselves to be the true, unadulterated, originally intended Christianity and aimed to separate themselves from the Puritans of that time and their strict rules.
Just prior to persecution in 1662, the term “Quaker” was used by a magistrate who was trying Fox and his followers for blasphemy. While in meeting, Friends would actually have a physiological ‘quaking’ response to experiencing the light of their god, and being awakened to their individual struggle. At the time, it was considered a derogatory term, but it was later accepted and now commonly used to describe a follower of the Religious Society. The English Parliament eventually passed the Act of Toleration in 1689, which allowed ‘nonconformists’ to have their own beliefs. A few courageous Friends had already started the trek to the United States and began anew here in a country known for celebrating religious freedom. This is where things get very confusing.