Eastern Hills Friends Meeting is an unprogrammed Quaker meeting. All are welcome to join us in worship. We gather and wait in silence each Sunday (First Day) for about one hour. Often one of us is moved to speak, sharing a message, insight or concern. After worship, we always take time to visit and we often have a program, discussion or other activity. See the calendar for details.
Unprogrammed Meeting for Worship begins at 10:00 a.m. each First Day (Sunday). During the summer childcare is provided for the second half of meeting.
Who we are
We are a member of both the Miami Quarterly Meeting of Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting (Friends General Conference); and of Miami Center Quarterly Meeting of Wilmington Yearly Meeting (Friends United Meeting).
The Religious Society of Friends is grounded in Christian tradition. Not all at Eastern Hills Monthly Meeting would call themselves Christ-centered. For those who are, Jesus’ role in the Meeting is perhaps best described in the words of one of our members: Jesus is welcome here, no matter what one’s relationship to him is. Our worship is not defined by theology or dogma. Christ-centered or not, we are mindful that our identity as Friends comes from Jesus’ saying, "You are my friends if you do as I have commanded you" (John 15:14). We seek to know and to live our understanding of God’s will as revealed in Jesus’ teachings and life and in our own experience of the Divine. We welcome all to our Meeting who feel that they can unite with us on such a spiritual journey. We share the observation of the Eighteenth Century American Quaker John Woolman: "I find no narrowness respecting sects and opinions, but believed that sincere, upright-hearted people in every Society who truly loved God were accepted of him."
At Eastern Hills we begin our Meeting for Worship with brief singing. We then enter the silence and proceed in "open worship" or what earlier Quakers called "expectant waiting."
In the silence, we might meditate, read scripture or other devotional material, or pray, all the while waiting openly for a possible leading from God to rise and speak.
During the school year children sit in meeting for about 30 minutes, and then leave to attend First Day School. Child care is provided for babies and toddlers. During the summer older children remain in Meeting, and care is provided for younger children.
The Religious Society of Friends holds as the basis of its faith the belief that the Seed of God is in every human being. God leaves no one without witness, but gives the light of Divine truth and presence to people of all classes and races.
This manifestation of God in humanity was most fully exemplified in Jesus of Nazareth. The Divine Spirit became so wholly Jesus' own that his teaching, example, and sacrificial life are inspiring revelations in humanity of the will of God.
“To follow the principles in Faith and Practice, making all who wish to join with us feel welcome.” These words were recorded July 1972 in the first minutes that still remain of an untitled worship group meeting in the Clifton area of Cincinnati. How did Clifton Friends Meeting come to exist when Cincinnati was already home to the silent Community Friends Meeting and the pastoral Cincinnati Monthly Meeting?
Spring, 1972, the civil rights movement and the war in Vietnam was as controversial to Cincinnati Monthly Meeting as it was to the rest of the country. Richard Faux, the pastor, was sensitive to “black” issues and supportive of the Quaker peace testimony. This was discomforting to some Meeting members. As part of Cincinnati Meeting’s outreach, Kay and Dick Faux were already involved in an afternoon worship group xfor University of Cincinnati students. They met in the University YMCA on Calhoun Street. The monthly sessions met in a room on the second floor. By the end of the summer, four families from Cincinnati Monthly Meeting, Fauxes, Corneys, Obrocks and Mandels, were meeting weekly Sunday mornings on the first floor of the YMCA. Another national issue, marijuana drug use, became an impetus for the Day family to join this same worship group late in 1972. The Days felt Community Friends Meeting was not supportive of their desire to help keep their teenaged children drug free.
By 1974 Meeting minutes reflect the name Clifton Friends Meeting. The Wesley Foundation on Clifton Avenue, next to the University of Cincinnati, became the Meeting’s rented home from late 1972 to 1988. Most of the first children to attend were teenagers: Priscilla Faux, Miriam Corney, and Eric and Sylvia Day. Since our founding we believe we occupy a theological middle ground between the other two meetings; not as liberal as Community nor as conservative as Cincinnati. Since 1991, as Eastern Hills Friends meeting, we also occupy a slightly different geographic area, attracting new attenders from Cincinnati’s eastern suburbs.
To base a written history of Eastern Hills/Clifton Friends Meeting solely on minutes from Meetings for Business seems unsatisfactory. After the first sentence, almost none of the previous information is anywhere recorded. What are listed are controversies and the tragic loss of valued members due to hurt feelings or misunderstandings. Repeated themes include our failure to keep an active Peace and Social concerns committee and the continuous scramble to find First Day School teachers.
Good things are recorded, too. The four marriages that occurred under our care are duly noted. Attendance at Quarterly and Yearly Meetings is usually listed. The evolution toward owning our own meetinghouse is recorded via problems of space and search committees for better accommodations. Every few years we re-educate ourselves on planning and procedures for end of life issues.
In many ways we record the interruptions to the normalcy of a strong, core group of Friends who share a great love for each other and a strong desire to assemble and seek the guidance of God for our lives. Recorded are questions about the time and resources dedicated to a meetinghouse that usually stands empty. Missing from the notes is the pride of ownership, the freedom of dedicated classroom space and on-site teacher resources, the secure knowledge that we can care for our own spiritual home and the ability to host Quarterly Meetings and other larger groups. Getting to this place has made us a stronger Meeting, solidly settled.
It is also interesting to note what is not recorded in the minutes. The murder of Gene Carte’ in 1977 is absent. The birth of Duncan Hill, Bethany Palmer and other children go unrecorded. Divorces are not mentioned. For years we gathered at Quaker Knoll for a weekend with little official comment.
We are not a quickly growing Meeting, nor a powerful force for social good in our community. We are, however a vital part in the lives of those of us who regularly attend Meeting for Worship. We visualize another 28 years where this continues to be true.
In the following summary chronology, most of the names that comprised the core families of the Meeting over a number of years are listed. Some are mentioned when they began regularly attending Meeting for Worship and others in the year they joined the Meeting as members. The purpose was to include the names, no other distinction should be implied.