History of Boulder Friends MeetingAn Overview
Click on section headings below for more extensive summaries.*
Boulder Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends first came together in 1950, initiated by a community member through a newspaper ad. It was established as a monthly meeting in 1954, gathering in private homes and rented spaces. By 1960 it included about 40 adults and 17 children.
In 1960, planning began for building a meeting house. A lot was purchased at low cost on Upland Avenue. For a very low fee, well-known architect Charles Haertling developed a design. The building was constructed thanks to thousands of hours of volunteer labor. Growth in attendance led to expansion of the building in 1970. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, social issues were of great concern, with efforts to assist refugees, end the Vietnam war, and oppose the building of nuclear weapons.
Attendance grew rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s as the Meeting continued working for peace and justice. In-depth discussions and deep soul-searching led to actions to alleviate the suffering caused by war. Tensions developed within the Meeting between using our resources to address social issues or to meet the needs of our own Meeting community.
In the 1990s, a new Quaker Studies curriculum was adopted for a series of adult classes. Program Hours were presented after Meeting for Worship on several Sundays each month. A workshop was held on “Constructive Conflict”. Service activities were carried out in local communities and at Pine Ridge Reservation. Assistance was provided to projects in Latin America.
Ultimately, the growth in these decades led to another major building expansion, which was planned and carried out during 1995-99.
Peace work was paramount in the early 2000s, after the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, and the U.S. entry in the Iraq war. Service activities for the homeless, for immigrants, and for Pine Ridge Reservation continued. The children’s program expanded with the development of a new First Day School curriculum.
Beginning in 2010, our website (www.boulderfriendsmeeting.org) was developed and became an important means of publicizing the Meeting and its activities.
In the 2010s, the meeting faced challenging decisions and projects. Our numerous committees continued working effectively; however, many beloved Friends passed away. Membership was declining while the budget continued to increase. Installation of new carpeting in the meeting house resulted in intolerable conditions for people with chemical sensitivities. Strong disagreement arose over what kind of financial support the Meeting could provide for the leading of one of our members. After 5 years of partial financial support for the Toward Right Relationship project, the Meeting ended its fiscal sponsorship in 2018. The project continues under the sponsorship of Friends Peace Teams.
The 2020s: Setbacks and Revitalization
Early in 2020, with the start of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, governments throughout the world issued stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Large social gatherings were prohibited. The Meeting adapted quickly by developing capabilities to gather online, via the Internet. Online worship and activities allowed us to continue our work, even bringing back Friends from faraway places.
In 2022, as vaccines became widely available and fears of serious illness declined, the Meeting resumed in-person activities while continuing to offer online worship and committee meetings. A hybrid electronic system joins online worshipers with those at the meeting house through a large digital display on the wall of the worship room.
Worship and discussion have begun toward revitalizing the Meeting as the Spirit leads.
* Much of this historical information was compiled by Maria Krenz (1944-2022) during her many years of participation and service in Boulder Friends Meeting.