This website is intended to be a resource to get a better sense of what the Religious Society of Friends (also known as the Friends Church) looks like. Friends are a peculiar people, and although we are only a tiny portion of the population even in the areas where we have the strongest presence, we are all over the United States and the world. While there are some parts of the United States where Quakers are very rare, Friends Meetings and churches can be found across the country.
In most of the world Friends are much more uncommon than they are in the United States, but there are a few hot spots where Quaker churches have taken root to a remarkable degree, including East Africa, Central America, Bolivia, England and Ireland.
The goal of this website is to help all of us become more familiar with the dimensions of Quakerdom; to make visible the geography of the Quaker world. Friends talk about Philadelphia Yearly Meeting – but what area does PYM in fact comprise? We may have heard of Mid-America Yearly Meeting – but where exactly is it? Whether your goal is to find a Friends Meeting near you or to better understand the lay of the land, QuakerMaps is designed to orient you.
Quakermaps.com is currently in the beta stages of testing. In plain English, that means that we had a vision and we went for it… now we are using feedback and statistics to tweak and re-adjust our original vision to be even easier and more helpful. If you have a moment, drop us a line and let us know what you think!
How We Gather Information
All of the addresses, directions, meeting times, etc that you will find on Quakermaps.com have been consolidated from third party websites, most usually from the Yearly Meetings themselves. If there is information missing about the Quaker Meeting that you are looking for, it is most likely because that information is not listed anywhere online.
Friends have generally been moving information onto the internet, but in some cases this is a fairly slow process. We welcome Monthly and Yearly Meetings and worship groups to contact us to provide us with more information.
Our Approach to Categorization
A word about the categories of Friends: For the sake of convenience, we have grouped Friends into six groups. In the United States, we have categorized Friends as “Liberal,” “Orthodox,” “Conservative,” Evangelical,” or “Holiness.” We have lumped all non-US Yearly Meetings into the “International” category. These groupings – especially in the case of Friends outside of the US – are provisional and may change over time as we become more precise in our classifications. They are also by nature debatable.
Take Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) as an example. We include Friends in BYM in both Liberal and Orthodox categories, due to the Yearly Meeting’s membership in both Friends General Conference (FGC) and Friends United Meeting (FUM). If one were to visit many of the Meetings of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, however, one would find a great similarity to many local Meetings in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, which is classified only as Liberal. An argument could be made that, by and large, Baltimore Yearly Meeting is a Liberal Yearly Meeting, not Orthodox. However, we feel it is appropriate to classify BYM as both Liberal and Orthodox, due to its historic connection with and membership in the Orthodox association, FUM. We respect the bond that BYM has with other Orthodox Friends, even if the majority of its membership does not self-identify as Orthodox.
We hope that you will bear with us as we attempt to organize our thoroughly disorderly Quaker community. These categories are for our convenience in making sense of our world as Friends; but we recognize that there are other ways of grouping Friends and do not pretend to be the last word in defining Friends’ identity.
Who We Are
Jon Watts is a Quaker musician and minister from Virginia who now lives in Philadelphia.
Micah and Jon have worked hard on this project of their own volition, but would appreciate your support.