A Brief history of Fayetteville Friends Meeting
The consistent Quaker presence in Fayetteville began in the early 1950’s, when Judy Fowler, a birthright Quaker and history teacher, moved here with her husband Herb Fowler, an architecture professor. Originally a worship group, early friends were involved in civil rights, anti-McCarthyism, ecology, and anti-war demonstrations,
among other causes.
The Quakers met in individuals’ homes until around 1984, when they began meeting at the Presbyterian Campus Center (now United Campus Ministries) at 902 W. Maple. We did meet for a short time at 21 West Ave. (in the Grapevine house,) and for a shorter time at the United Methodist Church. With a desire to ensure our meeting had better access for those with disabilities the meeting moved from United Campus Ministries in November 2010 to a new home at Bennett House (Omni Center), 3274 N. Lee Avenue in Fayetteville.
We were originally listed as a worship group under the care of Dallas Monthly Meeting, but came under the care of Little Rock when they became a monthly meeting in 1981. Little Rock Friends were instrumental in helping Fayetteville pull ourselves back into meeting when we essentially stopped gathering due to conflicts (1987). Shortly after re-grouping, we became a Preparative meeting, keeping records and having regular business meetings, and began conducting these in the manner of Friends around 1994. In 1997, we wrote to Little Rock, asking to become a monthly meeting. After meeting with them several times, this was approved, and a great party was had at Spring Quarterly (May 1998) at the Ozark Natural Science Center.
Somewhere along the line (1992?), we requested and were given the responsibility of Spring Quarterly – passed on from Caddo. We ventured away from the traditional camping at Devil’s Den State Park (where it ALWAYs rained) and became the traveling Quarterly – trying canoeing on the Buffalo River, Ananda Kanan – a yoga camp in southern Missouri, Ponca Bible Camp, Lake Wedington, Camp Clearfork, and Mt. Nebo, With the re-opening of Lake Fort Smith State Park in 2012 we have found a venue which perfectly fits our current needs.
Our Meeting is small, but growing. We numbered around 10-15weekly, until 1997, when an influx of Friends grew our numbers to as many as 25-30 weekly. We sponsor a young adult group. We promote many activities to help foster spiritual growth – including regular after-Meeting gatherings, book or bible study, and a healing circle. We are involved in helping a local food bank (CEO).