Conanicut Friends Meetinghouse, Jamestown, Rhode Island

The Conanicut Friends Meeting was established in 1684 due to the growing Quaker population in Jamestown. Built in 1786, the simple rectangular shingled meetinghouse was constructed after the original one was destroyed by the British in 1776. According to traditional practice, the Quakers worship in silence together. Though there may be elders in the facing benches to manage the service, there is no preacher, as members reach for “that of God” within them individually and only speak when they have something to share with the others. The meetinghouse provides physical remnants of past practices with its two separate entrances and two hinged wide-board partitions that could be lowered so that men and women would have the ability to have separate business meetings. In all of its simplicity, the intentionally plain and purposeful building acts as a testament to the philosophy and principles of the Quakers.

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