Tuesday, October 9, 2012

West Elkton Friends

We continue our series on introducing area monthly meetings as ESR student and West Elkton Friends pastor Leigh Eason brings us an introduction to her meeting:

"A hundred years from now, people should know that Elk Monthly Meeting was a wonderful place to raise children, to grow up in, and to age gracefully in.  This Meeting cared about others and practiced the basic fundamentals of Quakerism.  It made a difference in the lives of all it touched.". (Wapella Kay Carver, long-time member of Elk Monthly Meeting in A Sense Of The Meeting, a book about West Elkton Friends, written by ESR graduate Donne Hayden.)

Like they provided for Donne Hayden, West Elkton Friends, located in Ohio off of state road 503 about 15 miles south of Interstate 70 (exit 14), has provided internship placement for many ESR graduates as well as some of its faculty including the dean of ESR, Jay Marshall.

A small, progressive, Christo-centric, and now-semi-programmed congregation worships on First Day as it has since 1806 when its first members migrated to West Elkton from Georgia.  Some of its members recall their parents' stories of abolition and the controversies that once split the congregation into those who participated in the Underground Railroad and those who did not.  Pat Tallbert, one of the older participating members married Corky Talbert, the great-great grandson of the first clerk of the Meeting, and the grandchild and grand-nephew of the four members of West Elkton Friends who established the Underground Railroad in the area, including inventing the double-bottomed wagon. 

Valuing unity, action, common sense, and a straight-forward nature, these members are quintessential Quakers who are people of few words, interested in spiritual development and letting their lives preach their beliefs. Four generations now worship together each First Day, most descendants of those who came to Preble County, Ohio to escape the witness of slavery in the Deep South in 1806.  Fellowship is a priority as is diversity among members at West Elkton.  On Fourth First Day all stay after the Meeting for coffee cake and laughter. All are welcome any First Day.

Rise of Meeting begins at 9:30 AM with semi-programmed worship to follow at 10:30. 

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