Saturday, March 3, 2007

Gravelly Run Meeting House - Quakers

The Gravelly Run Meeting House was a Monthly Meeting for the area Quakers of Dinwiddie County and Petersburg. It was also a burial place for several of its members., locate just north of where Gravelly Run Creek crosses Rt 660 / Quaker Road on the East side of the road at the top of little hill there.

A rare book concerning the early Quaker movenment entitled A Test and Protest Against Popery: From The Conscientious Christian Protestants called Quakers. Printed in London: Printed for Benjamin Clark, Bookseller, in George-yard, in Lumbard-Street, 1680. 1st Edition. 18 pages. OCLC: 10690403, locates only 10 copies. Includes, Yale, Harvard, Boston Athenaeum, University of Pennsylvania Library, Duke University, Guilford College Library, EARLHAM, Claremont College, University of Leeds and Cambridge University. For more information please refer to Alfred L Brophy’s work titled “The Quaker Bibliographic World of Francis Daniel Pastorius’ Bee Hive. A copy of this text was recently sold for only $425 on E-bay 3-2-2007.

The Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers, is a body of Christians that originated in 17th century England under George Fox. In 1988 the society had 200,260 members, with heavy concentrations in the United States (109,000), East Africa (45,000) and Great Britain (18,000). Quakers unite in affirming the immediacy of Christ's teaching; they hold that believers receive divine guidance from an inward light, without the aid of intermediaries or external rites.Meetings for worship can be silent, without ritual or professional clergy, or programmed, in which a minister officiates. Although their antecedents lie in English Puritanism and in the Anabaptist movement, the Society of Friends was formed during the English Civil War. Around 1652, George Fox began preaching that since there was "that of God in every man," a formal church structure and educated ministry were unnecessary. His first converts spread their faith throughout England, denouncing what they saw as social and spiritual compromises and calling individuals to an inward experience of God. In spite of schism and persecution, the new movement expanded during the Puritan Commonwealth (1649 - 60) and after the restoration of the monarchy (1660). By openly defying restrictive legislation, Friends helped achieve passage of the Toleration Act of 1689.In colonial America, enclaves of Quakers existed in Rhode Island, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and western New Jersey. In Pennsylvania, founded by William Penn as a refuge for Quakers and as a "holy experiment" in religious toleration, Friends maintained an absolute majority in the assembly until 1755 and remained a potent force until the American Revolution. Between 1754 and 1776, Friends throughout America strengthened their commitment to pacifism and began to denounce slavery. After the Revolution, Friends concentrated on a wide variety of reform activities: Indian rights, prison reform, temperance, abolition, freedmen's rights, education, and the women's movement. In a conflict over theology that was complicated by social tensions, the Society underwent a series of schisms beginning in 1827 and ending with the formation of three major subgroups: Hicksites (liberal), Orthodox (evangelical), and Conservative.

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