Walk down South Street in Davidson and you may notice the “Little Yellow House,” a newly renovated space next to Davidson Elementary School. Recently expanded, painted a sunny shade of yellow, the building is simple yet cheerful, welcoming, but unassuming. It is the site of the Davidson Friends Meeting (Quakers), and the exterior reflects the values of the people who gather inside it.Your knowledge about Quakers may be limited, conjuring images of Colonial days, William Penn, or that omnipresent representation on the oats label. But in the Lake Norman area, the Davidson community of the Religious Society of Friends has been coming together since July 1989. The group initially consisted of Barbara and Wolfgang Christian, Patty and Ralph Levering, and Suzy and Lauren “Buzz” Yoder. In 1991 the group decided to officially become a worship group under the care of Charlotte Friends, and in 1994 began conducting meetings for worship with attention to business. The group met in various spaces around town over the years, including the Carolina Inn and Tomlinson Building on Davidson College, as well as Calvary Presbyterian Church. In December 2007, they accepted a gift of property at 625 South St., then renovated the space so it would be large enough for meetings of worship. The Davidson Friends worship in a style known as “unprogrammed,” meaning there is no one person to lead, nor are there prearranged scripture readings, songs or hymns. Meeting for worship consists of silently and expectantly waiting for the awareness of Divine presence and guidance. “Basic to Quakerism is an understanding that we can have a direct and unmediated relationship with God,” said Patty Levering. “We gather because One gathers us. As we come together, we encounter that One and each other. That impacts who we are and how we live. “The most wonderful thing is that you gather in silence,” said Levering. “When you are busy racing from one thing to the next, it’s important to be quiet and listen and gather inwardly.” Although some meetings of worship can remain completely quiet, at times people may feel motivated to share a song, prayer or scripture. “It’s important to be open to whatever message, if any, comes to you,” said member Barbara Gardiner. Meetings for worship close with the shaking of hands. The Davidson Friends also strive to reflect on how the choices they make affect the world around them. “Arising out of our understanding of Christ and faith come certain ways of living that are a byproduct of that,” said Levering. “These testimonies include simplicity, integrity, equality, community, peace and stewardship of the Earth.” Decisions are made as a group. “It’s important to listen to one another and try to hear different ideas. Sometimes that can take weeks, even months, but it’s about respecting one another and not being so tied to your opinion,” said Levering. In a similar vein, the Friends hope as part of their commitment to stewardship, that their building will be used to serve the community.
Wednesday, Dec. 05, 2012
Davidson Friends gather at ‘meetings’
Quakers worship silently until they feel inspired to share
The Davidson Friends recently dedicated a permanent meetinghouse, located on South Street next to Davidson Elementary School.
Learn more: The Davidson Friends invite all to their meetings of worship 10 a.m. Sundays. Dress is casual and childcare is provided. For information, go to http://davidson.quaker.org.