JAMESTOWN — After receiving several recent inquiries into what Quakers are all about, Jamestown Friends Meeting will host a public forum to provide answers to any questions about Quakerism. The forum is called: “What’s a Quaker? Q & A? Questions & Answers about Quakers, Quakerism, and the Society of Friends.
The public forum will be held from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm Wednesday, January 29, at Jamestown Friends Meeting’s historic meetinghouse at 48 Washington St. in Jamestown. If there is sufficient interest, additional Q&A forums may be held in the near future.
Two knowledgeable Quaker leaders will answer any questions asked by persons attending. They are Quaker historians James Hackney and William Medlin.
Birthright Quaker Jim Hackney, a leader of Wilmington Yearly Meeting of Friends and member of Chester Friends Meeting near Wilmington, comes from a long line of Quaker ancestors dating back before the founding of the United States and his family has been in the Miami Valley for over two centuries. He is well known for his knowledge of Quaker history and genealogy, as well as Quaker Faith and Practice. He has been very involved in work for Christian social concerns and his family had a key role in peaceful desegregation of public schools in Southwest Ohio. Hackney has traveled internationally as a Quaker representative, and has spoken on Greene County Quaker history in this area. He is also an authority on the history of Ohio and the United States and is a retired history teacher in the public schools of Southwest Ohio. A lifelong resident of the Miami Valley, Hackney now lives in Wilmington. Bill Medlin became a Quaker in 1965 through his work in the Civil Rights movement in the South, and has served the Society of Friends through many of its organizations from the local Meeting to national and international Quaker organizations. He has written a number of books and articles on Friends and Quakerism and has spoken on Quaker topics at many colleges and universities, including Earlham and Wilmington Colleges in the Miami Valley, Washington University, the Universities of South Carolina and Pennsylvania, Guilford College, and other institutions in Kansas, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, and Georgia, as well as in Dublin, Ireland; Australia; Holland; and England. He has represented Friends at several inter-denominational conferences, and was a resource for the first Quaker Faith and Life Conference in St. Louis. Medlin has a keen interest in Christian inner experience, especially Christian conversion. A former newspaper editor and investigative journalist, he is now pastor of Jamestown Friends Meeting. He and his wife, Poh-Kheng Medlin, live in Xenia.
Friends were among the first pioneers in the Miami Valley and established peace and friendship with the original, Native American inhabitants. The protection of Native American rights has continued to be a deep Quaker concern up to the present time. Jamestown Friends Meeting, originally called Seneca, has been in Greene County for 208 years, and at its present location at the corner of Washington and Davis Streets in Jamestown since 1884.
It is estimated that one third of all people born in the United States have Quaker ancestors. The percentage may be even higher in the Mid-West, where Quakers migrated in large numbers from the South in the early nineteenth century because of their strong opposition to slavery. In announcing this public forum, Medlin said, “If you have Quaker ancestors, this is the place to find out about them and to correct some of the false myths about Friends circulating on the Internet.”
Attendance at the Q&A forum is free and no offering will be taken. Light refreshments will be served. Jamestown Friends Meeting welcomes all persons to its worship and other activities.