Welcome to Inland Valley Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. We hope you will find a spiritual home here, where we work together towards a just and equitable community and society.
As part of the wider Quaker movement, we look at our long history of supporting marginalized groups in the belief that there is that of God in everyone. From the earliest days of Quakerism in seventeenth-century Britain, women participated in ministry alongside men. Early American Quakers were influential in prison reform and the reform of mental hospitals. Quakers in the United States and Britain became convinced that enslaving people was wrong; many became leaders in the abolitionist movement, and in the underground railroad in the United States.
Since their founding, Quakers have worked for non-violent, peaceful approaches. During World War II, the American Friends Service Committee supported Japanese Americans in concentration camps with legal and material support, and later helped with war resistance to the Vietnam war. Quakers also helped develop public support for the Civil Rights movement and support the Black Lives Matter movement. Pacific Yearly Meeting, of which we are a part, has formally supported gay and lesbian marriage since 1972. Friends Committee on Legislation of California and Friends Committee on National Legislation continue to actively lobby for peace, justice, and equity in the state and federal legislatures.
Inland Valley Meeting works for police accountability and reform, marches against hate groups and is in support of women’s rights. Since the 1980s, we participate in the refugee and sanctuary movements, support groups that feed unhoused persons and provide services for undocumented immigrants. We also engage our state and federal representatives to advocate for peace, justice, and equity.
We are committed to learning and growing in our efforts to decolonize and respond to contemporary issues. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, more than 100,000 Native American children suffered the direct consequences of the US federal government’s policy of forced assimilation via boarding schools. Quakers were among the promoters of this policy and managed over 30 such schools. Quakers acknowledge the enormous cultural harm that was done, and now seek ways to contribute toward healing and reconciliation in Native American and colonizer communities.
In our continued work to embrace diversity and inclusion, we ask ourselves, “What more can we do?” Through our committees and discussion groups concerning these issues we are discerning how to do better. We invite you from this spiritual and activist home to continue working together for peace, justice, and equity.
If you would like to learn more about the broader Quaker community, links to resources are available at Pacific Yearly Meeting.
Quaker gatherings in the Riverside area began at least as early as 1928. “Fellowship Meetings” were begun at the home of Alice K. and Robert K. Leinau on May 27, 1928. This followed a special “Fellowship Pilgrimage Meeting” on May 6 at the Congregational Church which many Friends from various Meetings attended. The fellowship meetings were held once each month. A loose Association (Riverside Friends Association) was formed about one year later in 1929. In November 1939 a regular Meeting was organized which has become affiliated with the American Friends Fellowship Council as an Independent Monthly Meeting.
Attendance through the 1940s and early 1950s varied from 1 to more than 30 with most meetings drawing around 10 people. There is a notation about the meeting on Nov. 26, 1939 as follows: “About 30 in attendance. Business Meeting appointed Wm. Holcumb Clerk, Edith Halling [t]res[urer] [a]nd Robert Leunau Recorder (latter not being able to serve W.S. Fawcett appointed next mon. in Dec.) Meeting asked for Affliation with Am. Fr. Fellowship Council.”
On August 10, 1952, Meeting for worship was held in Redlands as a part of Yearly Meeting. Regular attendees around this time included Eubanks and Harriett Carsner, Gladys Fisher, Helen Fawcett, George Osborn, Rosa McKusick, and Leta Guernsey. When Mike and Linda Dunn joined around 1972, the Eubanks and Harriett Carsner were mainstays of the Meeting which often met in their home.
The Redlands and Riverside Monthly Meetings merged to form the Inland Valley Friends Meeting.