By Joshua Toll
All of Quaker life and belief is centered around six Quaker testimonies. Simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship––also known by its acronym, “SPICE”––are the intrinsic values that dictate the lives of Quakers. When visiting the Religious Society of Friends of Pittsburgh meeting house and exploring deeper into their history, each testimony was exemplified.
Quakers live their lives very simply. The meetinghouse has very minimal decoration and technology. Quakers also worship very simply as well. Their worship does not include any texts or leadership, nor does Quaker religion include any direct worship to any particular spiritual entity. Quakers keep it simple. One of the few pieces of art in the meetinghouse is a painting of a dove with the line, “Seek Peace and Pursue it.” While this is a biblical quote from psalms, it nevertheless exemplifies Quakers’ peaceful nature perfectly. As I was leaving the meeting house, a man who worked there who I had encountered was adamant about giving me many of their pamphlets and articles, most of which concerned some of the community outreach they had done. This material is intended for their members as well as the entire Pittsburgh and national community, showing the importance of integrity and community to the Quaker people. Finding evidence of Pittsburgh meetings in old newspapers ranging from the 1830s to the early 2000s, all of the occasions involved friends speaking up about a war or violent treatment of a certain group, showing their strong belief in equality, as well as showing their strong belief in stewardship by speaking out for their beliefs.
While the community at the Religious Society of Friends may be small and simple, their use of the Quaker testimonies within their beliefs and everyday lives makes them a lovely addition to the continuously growing religious diversity in the city of Pittsburgh.
“About Friends.” Pittsburgh Friends Meeting, http://quaker.org/legacy/pghpamm/aboutfriends.html.
“March 17, 1836 (Page 2 of 4).” The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette (1834-1866), Mar 17, 1836, pp. 2. ProQuest.
History.com Editors. “Quakers.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 19 May 2017, https://www.history.com/topics/immigration/history-of-quakerism.
“Pittsburgh Friends Meeting (Quakers).” USA Churches, http://www.usachurches.org/church/pittsburgh-friends-meeting-quakers.htm.
“Friends (Quakers) (Pennsylvania).” Association of Religion Data Archives, http://www.thearda.com/mapsReports/maps/2010/PA_226.asp.
“Religions – Christianity: Quakers.” BBC, BBC, 3 July 2009, https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/quakers_1.shtml.
How to Cite
MLA: Toll, Joshua. “Religious Society of Friends of Pittsburgh.” ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh, 17 Jan. 2020, religyinz.pitt.edu/religious-society-of-friends-of-pittsburgh/
APA: Toll, Joshua. (2020, January 17). Religious society of friends of pittsburgh. ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh. https://religyinz.pitt.edu/religious-society-of-friends-of-pittsburgh/
Chicago: Toll, Joshua. “Religious Society of Friends of Pittsburgh.” ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh, January 17, 2020. https://religyinz.pitt.edu/religious-society-of-friends-of-pittsburgh/