Port Townsend Friends Meeting buys a home after outpouring of support

By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — After gathering in rented space for more than a dozen years, Port Townsend Friends moved quickly to get its first real home.

Much of the $250,000 needed to buy the former Church of Christ building at 1841 Sheridan St., was pledged within a week of the news that the structure was for sale, said Caroline Wildflower, clerk of the Meetinghouse Committee for the Port Townsend Friends Meeting.

“In a period of less than a week, we had pledges and donations for over half of the building’s cost and potential lenders queued up,” she said, adding that “the building absolutely looked like a traditional meetinghouse and was in excellent condition.”

People also stepped up to offer funds to maintain the meeting house, she added.

“It was truly spirit moving among us,” she said.

The group — made up of 25 members and another 25 involved “in one way or another” — had met at the Port Townsend Community Center for more than a dozen years, announcing its presence with a sandwich board out front, Wildflower said.

Port Townsend Friends Meeting — officially members of the Religious Society of Friends but often known as Quakers — kept its belongings in a rolling cart, two lockers in the community center and spread out among members in the area, Wildflower said.

Now, it has 2,280 square feet, a main worship room with a 75-person capacity and four additional rooms, earmarked as spaces for a children’s program, a library, an office and eventually a kitchen.

The building needs no major renovations, Wildflower said, but a banner announcing the group will be replaced by a permanent sign and, along with adding a kitchen, the group is considering installing large windows.

Members had been contemplating purchasing a meetinghouse for nearly a decade, Wildflower said.

During that time, about $37,000 had been collected in a meetinghouse fund.

Soon after hearing on June 2 that the building was available, pledges came in — several for $20,000 and one for $50,000 — while one couple offered a loan.

The sale closed Aug. 14, and the group had its first meeting — an unusual evening meeting to bless the new place — on Aug. 17.

Said Cathy Thomas, treasurer of Port Townsend Friends Meeting: “I am amazed at how quickly things came together.

“We are a small group that had been saving large and small donations for years in order to do this.

“Then I saw an incredible amount of faith and generosity surface fast enough to come up with the rest in donations and one significant loan.”

The Friends gather at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday, with silent worship from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

“It is peaceful place, “ said Clint Weimeister, clerk of the meeting.

“It has always been a place of peace, and we are delighted to continue a spiritual light here.”

For children’s programs, phone ahead at 360-379-5376. For more information, visit www.PTQuaker.org.

Last modified: September 02. 2014 6:37PM
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