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Finding North American Friends Meetings and Churches Using the Internet Prepared by Bill Samuel Last updated August 26, 2011
Author's Note: This is intended to be used in conjunction withe Finding Friends (Quaker) Meetings and Churches on the Internet. For purposes of this Web page, I am using North America to mean only Canada and the United States. While there are Friends in Mexico, generalizations applying to the other two countries do not apply to Mexico, and Mexico does not require separate treatment from the main article.
In January 2008, Friends World Committee on Consultation, Section of the Americas, introduced a searchable directory of Friends meetings and churches in the United States and Canada. This includes all varieties of Friends, and is the most comprehensive listing available. I strongly recommend, for finding meetings and churches in the U.S., that you enter a zip code and only a zip code. This appears to yield very good results, and other searches do not seem reliable. This is now the best means for finding Friends groups in these countries. Some of the information below may still be helpful to you. However, I do not plan on updating the details below anymore due to this new resource largely replacing the purpose for which I established this Web page.
You can find most Friends (Quaker) congregations in North America using the Internet. However, it's not always easy so I developed this guide to help people.
There are four places on the Web of which I am aware which list large numbers of North American Friends congregations across yearly meeting lines:
Quakerfinder.Org - comprehensive list of Friends General Conference and Beanite meetings in North America, easily searched by city, state and/or zip code. If you're interested solely in liberal unprogrammed meetings, this is the best way to find them.
Friends Churches - oriented towards programmed congregations. Information often not kept updated.
ForMinistry.com - an American Bible Society site seeking to list all Christian churches in North America, and offering free Web sites to churches. They have collected certain minimal information on large numbers of churches, including Friends churches. For some areas, the list is fairly complete while their sources did not seem to pick up Friends churches in other areas so in those places it's dependent on area Friends submitting them directly.
Branches of Friends
In North America, most yearly meetings of Friends split in 1827-28 between "Orthodox" and "Hicksite" groups. The Orthodox were the group with more in common with other Christian denominations. Several splits since that time have generally been within the Orthodox lineage.
Today most North American Friends (including all yearly meetings except Central, which is holiness in orientation) can be classified as being in one (or more!) of five branches, each of which I identify by one letter in listings below for your convenience:
U - Friends United Meeting (FUM) - the mainstream Orthodox association. A large majority of congregations are programmed, although some are unprogrammed.
B - Beanites - three yearly meetings in the West which are similar to FGC meetings in character, although they have a different history. They cooperate in several ways, but have no formal association. Congregations are unprogrammed.
C - Conservative (or Wilburite) - Friends who split from the Orthodox branch to be more traditionally Quaker in style and faith. No formal association, and joint efforts have largely ended. Of the three yearly meetings with this label, Ohio remains traditionally Conservative while the other two include a number of congregations which are more FGC-like in character. Congregations are unprogrammed.
Five yearly meetings are now "united" meetings affiliated with both Friends General Conference and Friends United Meeting, and designated G/U in my listings. Of these, all congregations in Baltimore, Canadian and Southeastern Yearly Meetings are unprogrammed. New England and New York Yearly Meetings are largely unprogrammed, but each has a few programmed meetings.
The table below identifies which yearly meetings operate in which states, and also identifies independent (not affiliated with a yearly meeting) meetings and worship groups. YM stands for Yearly Meeting.