Welcome to the Walla Walla Friends Meeting Website

The Walla Walla Friends Meeting was formed on April 1, 1980 as an unaffiliated meeting. It received preparative meeting status in October, 1980 under the oversight of Eastside Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in Bellevue, which is affiliated with North Pacific Yearly Meeting.  Since then Walla Walla Friends have continued as a perpetual preparative meeting.

The first known Friends activity in Walla Walla was in the mid 1960’s when Friends Chuck and Etta Marie James moved to Walla Walla for a period of work, and began a worship group in their home with Nancy and George Ball and several others. Nancy's parents had become Friends in the early fifties, and she had attended Friends meetings during college and had taken part in Quaker work camps. In the later sixties when the James moved back to Seattle, that group ended.

In the Spring of 1971, when Dan and Barbara Clark moved to Walla Walla, an unaffiliated worship group called the Friends Meditation Group was formed, and began meeting on Sunday afternoons at 4 o’clock in the Fireside Room at the First Congregational Church. The Clarks had attended the Berkeley Friends Meeting while attending law school and had organized an unaffiliated Friends worship group in their home in Napa, California in 1969. The Friends Meditation Group included the Clarks, the Balls, one or two others who had attended the prior worship group at the Jameses’, and several people new to Friends, most of whom had other Sunday morning church affiliations. This group continued to meet until 1977.

In 1980, the Clarks and the Balls decided to form a formal Quaker meeting in Walla Walla affiliated with North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, and invited others to join with them.  At 10 a.m. on Easter Sunday, April 1 at Sherwood Center on the Whitman College campus, about twenty people attended the new group’s first meeting for worship and meeting for business. The group met weekly on the Whitman campus until 2018, except during school holidays, when schedules varied.

Unprogrammed meetings are now held monthly at 10:00 a.m. on the second Sunday at 26 Boyer, the Glover-Alston Center at Whitman College, unless special notice of a change is given. Please call 509-522-0399 or email wwfriends@charter.net to confirm whether meeting will be held on a specific Sunday.

FRIENDS HISTORY AND PRACTICES 
The awakening of the first Friends in the 1650s to the presence of the divine within them was revolutionary to those who experienced it.  Friends variously described the divine presence they found within themselves as the Inward Light, the Truth, “that of God within every person,” the Spirit, and the Inner Christ. Quaker worship is designed to assure that forms such as rituals, books, symbols, and words not coming out of the present experience of the Spirit are not substituted for that experience. 

In addition to time spent individually in cultivating the Inner Presence, Friends gather regularly for worship in what they call silent “waiting”, bringing nothing but an open heart and mind, and a trust that in the silence, beyond the din of words, thoughts, and external clamor, a deeper reality awaits us which has the power to unite us both internally and with our fellows. From that experience, many Friends have become deeply involved in issues of peace, justice and respect for all people.

While small numbers mean the Walla Walla Friends Meeting may never apply for full monthly meeting status, it has a strong and vital history combining spiritual pursuit and social action, and continues to play a significant role in the life of its members and the community.

To learn more about Friends, please see the Short Course on Quakerism link in the upper right hand corner of this page, along with the North Pacific Yearly Meeting of Friends link.