Quakers are members of the Religious Society of Friends, a faith that emerged as a new Christian denomination in England during a period of religious turmoil in the mid-1600s, and is practiced today, in a variety of forms, around the world. To members of this religion, the words "Quaker" and "Friend" mean the same thing.
Many Friends (Quakers) sailed across the Atlantic to "Penn's Province" in 1682 to escape the increasing persecution and bad economic conditions in England, and some of them established Darby Meeting, just southwest of Philadelphia. Not quite a century and a half later, in 1828, Friends from Darby established an additional Meeting in borrowed space near the present intersection of Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenues, until the property at Lansdowne and Stewart Avenues could be acquired. The present Lansdowne Meeting House was completed and ready for use in 1832.
The fledgling Monthly Meeting suffered a temporary setback when, due to reduced membership, it was laid down and became a Preparative Meeting under Chester Monthly Meeting. However in the later years of the 19th century movement of Quakers from the city to the suburbs stimulated further interest in Quaker community in Lansdowne and, particularly, in a Friends school.
At the turn of the 20th century continued population growth, and the foresight and dedication of Friends in Lansdowne to establish the school, contributed to Lansdowne Friends Meeting's re-establishment as a Monthly Meeting.
Lansdowne Friends Meeting is part of Chester Quarterly Meeting, which itself is a part of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Representatives from our Meeting attend these larger groups, reporting back to Lansdowne during Meeting for Business as events warrant.
Lansdowne Friend's Monthly Meeting for Business is usually held on the second Sunday of the months October through June, following Meeting for Worship. Members and attenders are encouraged to attend.
The Business of the Meeting is performed by several Committees, each of which has a Clerk. Committees include: Ministry and Counsel; Finance and Property; Adult Religious Education, Children’s Religious Education; Social Committee. A separate Nominating Committee is charged with staffing the rest of the Committees. Additionally, there is a School Committee which contributes to the oversight of Lansdowne Friends School.
Yes, there's a book!
In common with other Yearly Meetings, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting prints its own “Faith and Practice”, which was most recently updated in 2018. "Faith & Practice" includes advice on procedures within the faith, membership, current practice for conducting meeting business and numerous quotations from Friends on belief, worship, concerns, leadings, and testimonies.