QUAKER HISTORY &
PRESENCE IN NORTHEASTERN SC
Introduction to Quakerism
Quakerism originated in the 1650s in England, inspired by George Fox, who, with the support of Margaret Fell, William Penn, and others, spread this religious practice to the remainder of the British Isles, continental Europe, the Caribbean, and England’s American colonies by 1670.
From the beginning, Quakers insisted that there is “that of God” in every human being. From this belief flows directly the traditional Quaker testimonies of the equality of the sexes and races, and the principled opposition to war and violence.
Five Rivers Friends Monthly Meeting continues in the historic tradition of unprogrammed silent worship. Our meeting actively supports testimonies of pacifism and equality. While we are clearly rooted in Christianity, we do not defer to a specific creed. Nor do we require belief in trinitarian doctrines or sacraments as practiced in many other Christian sects. We hold to the divine love in whatever form is meaningful and do so without prescribed rituals, set prayers, or the mediation of a priest or minister.
Modern Quaker Presence in Northeastern South Carolina:
Founding, History and Present Status of Five Rivers Friends Monthly Meeting (April 2020)
In the latter 1960s and at the height of the Vietnam War, several residents of Myrtle Beach organized a Friends worship group. They did not formally affiliate with the Religious Society of Friends, and ceased meeting in the 1970s. In 1987, Quakers living in the Conway-Myrtle Beach area joined to establish Horry Friends Monthly Meeting. They requested and were granted direct affiliation with Friends General Conference (FGC). Two years later Horry Friends joined with Friends across South Carolina to establish a fellowship named Friends Gathering (PFG). They hoped, and continue in the hope, that PFG might eventually evolve into South Carolina Yearly Meeting.
In 2000, Horry Friends Meeting changed its name to Five Rivers Friends Monthly Meeting (FRFMM). This reflected its service to Friends not just in the Grand Strand region of South Carolina, but throughout the low-country region of the state drained by the following rivers: Waccamaw, Little and Great Pee Dee, Lynches, and Black.
In 2017, several members of Five Rivers Friends began requesting yearly meeting affiliation. Other members were not in favor of this. The matter ended splitting FRFMM. On January 12, 2020, several members opposing yearly-meeting affiliation departed FRFMM to establish their own group under the name Horry Friends Meeting. Those who remained set about seeking yearly meeting affiliation. They took the additional step of finding their own meeting house. They speedily achieved that goal, securing the first-ever Friends meeting house in northeastern South Carolina. It is located at 1103 Main Street, in Conway.
Procedures and Affiliations of Five Rivers Friends Monthly Meetings (FRFMM)
In January 2020 FRFMM adopted the policy of a three-year rotation for Clerk, Recording Clerk, and Treasurer. The meeting is in the process of formulating other by-laws. Five Rivers Friends is a constituent member of Palmetto Friends Gathering, and it maintains its affiliation with Friends General Conference. Thanks to its membership in Palmetto Friends Gathering, FRFMM enjoys affiliation with its sister group in North Carolina, Piedmont Friends Fellowship.