Where We’ve Been
Fairfield Friends Meeting was started in 1826, when Quakers from North Carolina moved north to escape the slave economy of the South. In ten years, nearly 18,000 Quakers left the South and settled in Ohio and Indiana. By 1850, it was estimated that more than half of Indiana’s population was descended from North Carolina Quakers. A small number of families were given the responsibility of starting a new meeting, which they did on August 5th of 1826, in a log structure, at our present site. Several members of our meeting are direct descendants of those original founders.
Our second meetinghouse was erected in 1844 at a cost of $491.50. In 1892, that structure burnt, and was replaced by our third meetinghouse; additions were made in 1936 and 1964. Our current meetinghouse was built in 2012.
It was the custom among early Friends not to employ pastors, but in the late 1800’s, due to an influx of new members, Quakers began employing gifted Friends to help teach new attenders. In 1891, Fairfield employed its first pastor, a woman named Drusilla Wilson. Our current pastor is Philip Gulley.
Throughout our history, Friends at Fairfield have been especially concerned about matters of justice and care for the poor. This emphasis continues to this day with our members serving in a variety of places and vocations, helping to alleviate suffering in our community and around our world.
While our earliest members had long ties with the Society of Friends, many of our members and attenders today grew up in other religious traditions. In Quakerism, we have found the intellectual and spiritual freedom necessary for our personal growth. We are indebted to the Quakers who went before us, laboring to provide an atmosphere of loving acceptance. We commit ourselves to continuing their legacy and adding to it.