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Faith and Practice

Pacific Yearly Meeting

of the

Religious Society of Friends

a guide to quaker discipline in the experience of pacific yearly meeting of the religious society of friends.
published 2001

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i: Pacific Yearly Meeting In Context

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A Brief History of the Religious Society of Friends

pym in context
quaker faith & spiritual practice
testimony & experience of friends
organization of the society
activities & organization of the YM
sources of quotations
index of sources
subject index

We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Friends who have permitted us to use material for this Faith and Practice.


 quakers in southern california

 Like others caught up in western migration, Friends responded both to the California land boom of the 1880’s and to leadings to establish colonies of Quakers in the West.

 A group from Iowa Yearly Meeting (Orthodox) settled in what became Pasadena. By 1884, a Monthly Meeting had been established, and by 1885 a Meetinghouse was being built. By 1887, with two monthly meetings in the area, Pasadena Quarterly Meeting was approved by Iowa Yearly Meeting. (The original name proposed for this group was “Pacific Quarterly Meeting.”) Soon, it became the seventh largest of the fifteen Quarterly Meetings under the care of Iowa Yearly Meeting. Villa Street Meeting in Pasadena was established under Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). It has since been laid down.

 Meanwhile, Aquilla Pickering and his wife Hannah, Friends from Chicago, had traveled from Northern California to the Los Angeles area, visiting Friends along the way and seeking a place for a colony. He organized a “Land and Water Company,” which sold lots and so established the town of Whittier. By August 1887, a Meetinghouse was opened, and in December, Whittier was recognized as a Monthly Meeting under Pasadena Quarterly Meeting. Plans for building Whittier College were considered by the Quarterly Meeting as early as 1888. California Yearly Meeting grew out of these and other groups which met in the programmed manner.

 Although pastoral Yearly Meeting Friends were organized in groups, individual Friends from the Eastern unprogrammed tradition were slow to find each other. Small groups came into being and disappeared, lacking a structure for communication among them. Orange Grove Meeting, in Pasadena, established in 1908, was unusual. It was under the care of unprogrammed (Hicksite) Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and was large enough to acquire land for a Meetinghouse and a school. Although empowered to develop a burial ground, they instead contracted with a local cemetery for a Friends plot. Thus, the long-established tradition of building with those three components was continued.

 Soon Orange Grove Meeting took several of the emerging Meetings in Southern California under its care, nurturing them until they became Los Angeles (1942), La Jolla (1947), Santa Monica (1948), Claremont (1953), Inland Valley (1960), and other Monthly Meetings. Unprogrammed Meetings and Worship Groups in Southern California and southern Nevada comprise Southern California Quarterly Meeting. Together with College Park Quarterly Meeting <see page 8>, Mexico City, Guatemala, and Hawaii they make up the present membership of Pacific Yearly Meeting.