The Strength

   and Beauty of Silence......

                                            The Quaker Experience

                Welcome to the

                        Claremont Monthly Meeting


Claremont Monthly Meeting

The Claremont Monthly Meeting had its beginning in 1941 under the care of Orange Grove Meeting in Pasadena and used various locations around Claremont to hold worship.  It officially became a Friends Meeting in 1953 and, as additional space was needed for the children, arrangements were made for use of a number of rooms at Scripps College.  Because of the growth in attendance and the necessity for holding committee meetings in homes, the desire and need for a Meeting House was very much in the minds of members.  The first real sight of the goal occurred in 1961 with the purchase of the property at 727 Harrison Avenue in Claremont.  The Meeting House was largely finished and in use by July of 1963 and officially dedicated that October.

The Claremont Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is an unprogrammed Meeting.  This is reflected in the fact that we have no paid clergy as everyone is considered to be a minister.  All members and attenders are responsible, as a community, for taking care of the needs of the Meeting.

Although the historical roots of Quakerism lie in the 17th century Protestantism, and most presentday Friends regard themselves as Christians, not all contemporary Quakers see themselves as Christian.  Some regard themselves as members of a universal religion.

Therefore, words such as Spirit or Divine Light are often used in place of God.

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History of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Quaker history goes back to the middle of the 17th century.  The original Friends thought of themselves as friends of Jesus (John 15:15) and were called the Friends of Truth.  They are now referred to as the Religious Society of Friends or Quakers.

George Fox was the force behind the early Quaker movement.  In 1647 Fox heard a voice saying, “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition.”  He taught the concept of the divine within each person and a one on one relationship between each person and God.  Fox visited the West Indies and American colonies from 1671 to 1673, strengthening the American growth of Quakerism.

Friends do not follow formal creeds or doctrines.  They are centered on seeking and following the Divine Light within.  The Quaker movement, while historically based in Christianity, embraces many faiths.  You may find a variety of religions represented in a Quaker Meeting or you may even find those who do not embrace religion at all attending a Quaker Meeting.  [From the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, copyright 1997, 2005]

Because Quakerism is a way of life rather than a system of belief, the best brief summary of what it is about is probably George Fox’s exhortation to early Friends – “Be patterns, be examples, in all places, islands, countries, nations, wherever you come, that by your life and example you may preach among all sorts of people, and to them.  Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one, whereby in them you may be a blessing, and make witness in them to bless you…”

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Meeting for Worship

Quakers call times of worship “Meetings for Worship” rather than services. Quaker Meetings for Worship take place in “meeting houses”, not churches.  These are simple buildings or rooms.

The Meeting for Worship is at the core of Quaker practice. Friends gather together waiting in the Light, turning attention toward the source of Life, Love and Power. The Religious Society of Friends is founded in the historic experience of Light accessible to all and the conviction that direct communion with this source is available to all.

Meeting for Worship starts as soon as the first person enters the worship room and sits down.  You can go in as soon as you are ready and sit anywhere you like. The children will join us at the end of Meeting as they have their own activities in another room.  The silence may be broken if someone present feels called to say something which will deepen and enrich worship.  Any-one is free to speak as long as it is done in response to a prompting of the Spirit.  Ideally, such spoken messages actually deepen the silence. After someone has spoken, it is expected that more than a few moments will pass in silence before further ministry.  There should be no spirit of debate or argumentation.

After about an hour, the person closing Meeting for that day will turn and shake hands with someone nearby.  Then there will be a period of Joys and Concerns, thoughts that did not rise to level of ministry during worship. 

At the end come introductions and announcements.  Afterwards, you can feel free to speak to anyone, particularly if you want to know more about Quakers.

It is likely that after worship people will speak to you, but compared to many other Protestant denominations, Friends treatment of newcomers may seem shy, cautious or lukewarm.  Please do not take this personally.  They are letting you make up your own mind about Quakers, and they mean it well.

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Meeting for Worship for Business

The Meeting for Worship with a concern for Business has primary responsibility for the direction and work of the Meeting.  Faithful participation by members and regular attenders in Monthly Meetings is an important way we seek unity, truth, and empowerment.

Friends’ unique practice for conducting business is derived directly from Friends’ faith. It is guided by three core beliefs: that there is that of God (or the Spirit) in everyone, that each can experience that of the divine within, and that divine guidance will lead to the realization of a single shared truth.

From these beliefs it readily follows that a Friends Meeting for Business is a Meeting for Worship in which business is conducted by seeking decisions in accordance with God’s will. The silent worship with which the Meeting for Business both opens and closes connects individuals to the Spirit. It prompts them to be sensitive to and grounded in the Love that binds the Meeting.  Decisions are made, not by voting, but by the “sense of the Meeting.”

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Meeting Organization

The purpose of organization is not for its own sake, but to provide the Meeting with the necessary means for orderly and effective operation, with a maximum of freedom, participation, and responsibility. A Monthly Meeting has many functions.  It receives, records and terminates memberships.  It provides spiritual and material aid to those in its fellowship.  It oversees marriages, gives care at time of death, and counsels members in troubled circumstances.  It collects and administers funds for its maintenance and work.  Meetings hold titles to property, witness to Friends’ testimonies, and relate to other bodies of Friends and to other organizations with common concerns.

The Clerk presides at the business sessions of the Meeting, prepares and carries out the instructions of the Meeting to accomplish its business.  Other officers of the Meeting are the Alternate Clerk, Corresponding Clerk, Treasurer, Recording Clerk and Recorder.

There are numerous committees carrying out the necessary work of the Meeting, but without a minister, one of the very important committees of the Meeting is Ministry and Counsel.  M&C customarily consists of members of the Religious Society of Friends of varied ages, genders and gifts and who are known to be faithful in worship and sensitive to the life of the Spirit.  The main function of the committee is to nurture the spiritual health of the Meeting community.


Friend’s Testimonies

For more than three hundred years, Friends have acted upon a set of shared convictions. While the specific details have varied over time, today’s concerns and underlying beliefs are remarkably similar to those of past generations. The word “testimonies” refers to this set of deeply felt, historic-ally rooted attitudes and ways of living in the world. Testimonies are expressions of lives turned toward the Light, outward expressions that reflect the inward experience of divine guidance.

The testimonies as stated in Pacific Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice are:

Integrity:   “Let your lives speak”  Living with integrity requires living a life of reflection and living in consistency with our beliefs.

Unity:  Friends believe that it is possible for humans to unite with each other in direct communion with the Divine.

Equality:   Friends testimony on equality is rooted in the holy expectation that there is that of God in everyone.

Simplicity:  Simplicity arises from the right ordering of our lives, placing God at the center.

Peace:  Based upon love and concern for the well being of all, Friends work for reconciliation and active nonviolent resolutions of conflict.

Community:   Our testimonies call us to sustain caring relationships for all.

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Advices and Queries

Friends are committed to a way of worship that allows God to continually teach and transform us.  The Advices and Queries (Questions) remind us of the essential faith and principles of the Religious Society of Friends.  They challenge and inspire us in our personal lives and in our corporate life.  As we speak to what we know to be true in our lives and listen to each other in humility and understanding, we trust in the Spirit that transforms our human effort and comprehension.  So these Advices and Queries are offered for the comfort and discomfort of Friends, with the hope that we may be more faithful and find deeper joy in God’s service.


Other Quaker Organizations

SCQM – Southern California Quarterly Meeting

    The Southern California Quarterly Meeting is

    a group of neighboring Meetings in Southern

    California, Nevada, Mexico and Guatemala. 

PYM – Pacific Yearly Meeting

    Pacific Yearly Meeting includes Meetings  in all

    of California, Nevada, Hawaii, Guatemala and


AFSC – American Friends Service Committee

    Originally founded in 1917 to provide

    alternative service opportunities for

    conscientious objectors and relief for war

    victims, AFSC today is a worldwide

    organization which continues to serve as

    a corporate expression of certain Quaker

    beliefs and practices such as programs of

    relief, social change and reconciliation.

FCL – Friends Committee on Legislation

    FCL was founded in California in the

    1950s to bring a Quaker witness to the    

    California state political process.

FCNL - Friends Committee on National Legislation   

    FCNL was founded in 1943 to bring spiritual

    values to bear on the political process.  It

    advocates reconciliation among nations and


FWCC – Friends World Committee on Consultation

    Created in 1937, FWCC is a worldwide

    body of diverse Yearly Meetings which

    acts in a consultative capacity to promote

    better understanding among Quakers.

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Where did the name Quakers come from?

One story says that the founder, George Fox, once told a magistrate to tremble (quake) at the name of God.  Other people suggest that the name derives from the physical shaking that sometimes went with Quaker religious experiences.  The name “Friends” comes from Jesus’ remark “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14).

What about the Bible?

While Friends have historically revered and found wisdom in the Bible, George Fox declared that only when he came to a direct experience of Spirit did he truly understand scripture.  Contemporary Friends see the Bible as one among many guides.

What is the Quaker creed?

Quakers do not follow a creed; words cannot precisely define belief for a whole group of people.  Friends believe that each person should take personal responsibility for deepening his or her understanding of faith rather than just passively accepting the dictates of religious authority.

Do Quakers have sacraments?

Quakers do not regard some activities as intrinsically more sacred than others.  Nor do

they believe that any particular ritual is needed

to get in touch with God, so they do not employ the sacraments practiced in mainstream Christian churches.  Instead, Quakers attempt to carry the sacred into every part of their lives.

What is the difference between a member and an attender?

All members and attenders can attend Quaker activities but, membership establishes a

commitment between the individual and the Religious Society of Friends within the framework of a particular Monthly Meeting.   It commits a person to the daily pursuit of truth after the manner of Friends and commits the Meeting to support the member in that pursuit of truth after the manner of Friends and commits the Meeting to support the member in that pursuit.

Can anyone attend SCQM or PYM?

Yes.  The gatherings put on by these two groups foster community between Meetings and provide, especially for new or smaller Meetings, the opportunity to learn more about Quaker process.  They also provide activities for youth allowing them to meet youth their age from other Meetings.

What ethical items do Quakers confirm?

  1. Quakers try to live up to high standards of honesty as set out in these questions (queries):

  2. Are you honest and truthful in all you say and do?

  3. Do you maintain strict integrity in your dealings with individuals and organizations?

  4. Do you use money and information entrusted to you with discretion and responsibility?

  5. Quakers have always treated men and women as equals, and were pioneers in the movement for female equality.

  6. Quakers do not gamble.

  7. Alcohol and tobacco use are not forbidden.

  8. Quakers are non-judgmental about sex, which they see as a gift from God.  Their attention is focused on the way in which it is used in human relationships.

  9. An act which expresses true affection between two individuals and gives pleasure to them,

    does not seem to us to be sinful no matter the sex of the individuals.

  1. Many Quakers are active in politics and working for justice in the world.

  2. Quakers will not swear oaths in court, or elsewhere, but will only affirm.

  1. Many conscientious objectors are Quakers, but Quaker pacifism is not simply the refusal to

    fight.  It includes working actively to bring about or preserve peace by removing the causes of


  1. Quakers believe in protecting the environment.

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  attender – one who attends a Meeting, but is not a formal member.

  birthright member – a Friend recorded at birth on the membership rolls of a Meeting (not a practice of Pacific Yearly Meeting);

  sometimes informally used to mean a Friend born of Quaker parents.

called Meeting – a Meeting for Worship on the Occasion of Business called by its Clerk at a non-regular time, usually for the purpose of considering a particular issue or item of business.

center down – to clear one’s mind and settle down during the initial stage of worship, becoming spiritually focused so as to be open to the leading of the Spirit.

clearness committee – a number of Friends who gather to help one Friend achieve confidence of God’s guidance in his/her life about a certain decision or course of action.

convinced Friend – a person whose experience of Friends’ ways has led him/her to become a member of the Religious Society of Friends;  often used to describe a Friend who was not raised a Quaker.

discernment – the process of seeking and discovering that which is deeply true.

elder – (1) verb, to support and encourage members or attenders in the flowering of spirit-led ministry (and discourage behavior and speech which inhibits such ministry). This leadership can include logistical support, honest feedback, prayer, and helping with spiritual discernment. (2) noun, sometimes used to refer to one who has been chosen to provide ongoing eldering to support the ministry of one Friend. Historically, Elders were appointed to foster the life of the Meeting and individuals in the Meeting.

gathered Meeting – a Meeting for Worship or Business in which those present feel deeply united in the Divine Presence.

good order – those procedures for the conduct of Friends business and witness that encourage a Meeting or Friends organization to carry out its corporate activities under divine leading.  The term “rightly ordered” is also used in this sense.

hold in the Light – to desire that divine guidance and healing will be present to an individual who is in distress or faces a difficult situation; also, to give prayerful consideration to an idea.

lay down – to discontinue a committee or activity when its work is completed or no longer felt spiritually vital; occasionally a Monthly Meeting or other Friends organization may be laid down when it is no longer viable.

leading – a sense of being called by God to under-take a specific course of action. A Friend may submit a leading to the Meeting for testing by corporate wisdom. A leading often arises from a concern.

ministry – speech or behavior which is Spirit-led, which touches the hearts of those listening or observing; sharing or acting upon one’s gifts, whether in service to individuals, to the Meeting, or the larger community. See also vocal ministry.

minute – a record of a corporate decision by a Friends body convened for considering business. “The minutes” also refers to all these decision minutes and their narrative accompaniment which form the records for a Meeting for Worship for Business, committee, or Friends organization.

plain speech – (1) the witness of early Friends to the testimonies of equality and integrity by speaking plainly to all, regardless of social status. This involved the use of “thee, thy, thou, thine” for all people, instead of observing the custom of using “you” for a person of higher status.  Friends continue the practice of plain speech by using full given names and no titles when addressing others.  (2) the Friendly habit of speaking simply and truthfully about a subject, without rhetoric or sentimentality.

proceed as way opens – to act after waiting for guidance from God, avoiding hasty judgment or action, and moving ahead as circumstances allow.

programmed Meeting – (1) a Meeting for Worship with a prearranged sequence of events, usually including music, an offering, a sermon, etc. Programmed Meetings are often led by a pastor, and often include periods of open worship in which any Friend may minister out of the silence. Also called a pastoral meeting. (2) a particular Meeting for Worship with a prearranged theme or program, such as a memorial or a wedding.

seasoning – a process of waiting (often one month) before committing to a decision, to ensure that the decision is grounded in God’s will.

sense of the Meeting – an expression of the unity of a Meeting for Worship for Business on some issue or concern; the general recognition of agreement within the Meeting about a matter, as articulated by the Clerk or some other person.

speak to my/one’s condition – the conviction that a message, whether directly from God or through the words or actions of another, meets one’s own deepest needs and purposes.

standing aside – an action taken by an individual who has genuine reservations about a particular decision, but who also recognizes that the decision is clearly supported by the weight of the Meeting.  An individual who stands aside frees the Meeting from continuing to labor with him/her on the issue, and allows the Meeting to reach unity.

wait upon the Lord – to actively seek and attend to God’s will in expectant worship.

weighty Friend – an informal term for a Friend who is respected for spiritual depth, experience, or wisdom.

witness – to let one’s actions and words spring from deep convictions or spiritual leadings. Many unprogrammed Friends do not talk often about their beliefs, but allow their lives to bear witness to their beliefs.

worship-sharing – a structured worshipful experience in which all participants are invited to speak (usually to a query). Worship-sharing provides an opportunity to reflect deeply on a topic, to build community with others, and to feel the movement of the Spirit within the group.

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Famous Quakers

Early Friends

George Fox – founder of Quakerism

William Penn – founder of Pennsylvania

Herbert Hoover – 31st president of the US

Daniel Boone – frontiersman and early organizer of Kentucky

Betsy Ross – sewed the first American flag

Thomas Paine – American revolutionary

Dolly Madison – wife of President James Madison


Susan B. Anthony – woman’s suffragist

Lucretia Mott – abolitionist/anti-slavery activist

John Woolman – American abolitionist/anti-slavery activist


James Dean – actor

Judi Dench – British actress

Ben Kingsley – actor

Annie Oakley – entertainer in Wild West Shows

Edward R. Murrow – news broadcaster


Bonnie Raitt – singer, songwriter

Joan Baez – singer and activist


James Fennimore Cooper

Walt Whitman

James Michener

John Greenleaf Whittier


Benjamin West – historical painter

Cassius Coolidge – painter known for his paintings of dogs playing poker

Edward Hicks – folk/primitive painter


Johns Hopkins – founder of Johns Hopkins University

George Cadbury – famous chocolate maker

John W. Seybold – computerized typesetting pioneer

                                                                             Claremont Monthly Meeting

                              of the Religious Society of Friends

                                                                                                727 Harrison Street

                                                             Claremont, CA 91711

                                                                  (909) 624-9114

                                                            Meeting for worship Sunday – 9:30 a.m.

                                           Children’s meeting held during Meeting for worship

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