The CLEVELAND MEETING OF THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (QUAKERS), while not the original Friends organization in Cleveland (an orthodox Quaker meeting was formed in 1871, known later as First Friends Church), began in the early 1920s. It differed from the earlier Quaker organization in its adherence to the "unprogrammed" meeting, that is, worship without creed, liturgy, or clerical leadership, wherein members gather and participate as they are moved. With 10-20 members, the Cleveland Meeting met first in homes and by 1925, in Eldred Hall and later Adelbert Hall of Western Reserve University. In 1940 the meeting moved to the CLEVELAND MUSIC SCHOOL SETTLEMENT, and finally, in 1956, it purchased a house in UNIVERSITY CIRCLE at 10916 Magnolia Dr., designed by ABRAM GARFIELD.
At first the meeting had little formal organization and little connection to other Quaker groups. The Cleveland Monthly Meeting formed as a new and united meeting under the American Friends' Fellowship Council, created by the American Friends' Service Committee, to give encouragement to new groups and promote intervisitation among U.S. Friends. From 1938 AFFC met with the new Friends World Committee for Consultation Section of the AFS until they merged in 1954. The Monthly Meeting, the business session of Quaker polity, directs the organization, admits new members, manages properties, and carries out other administration. In 1965, Cleveland Meeting joined Lake Erie Yearly Meeting and Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative). The former joined the larger group of Friends General Conference in 1967. Cleveland Meeting was disowned by Salem Quarter of Ohio Y.M. in 1994.
The Cleveland Meeting has grown to approximately 100 members. It has sponsored such activities as a course in alternatives to violence, support of a hunger center, and the Friends' Round Table, a discussion group. Additionally, a part of the Meeting House, known as Peace House, is given over to several social-action organizations. In 1965, disagreement regarding meeting response to the American involvement in Southeast Asia, among other factors, resulted in the formation of a second local meeting, known as Community Meeting. The two operated separately until 1975, when the differences were resolved and a merger accomplished.
After selling their University Circle building to the HAWKEN SCHOOL, the society now rents a space at the CHURCH OF THE COVENANT at 11205 Euclid Ave. The Meeting continues activities involving peace and social and environmental concerns. It also encourages a variety of small groups for spiritual nurture, study, and discussion.
See also RELIGION.