NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> The historic Newtown Quaker Meetinghouse, 219 Court Street, is closed due to the covid-19 pandemic. However, activities continue on Zoom every Sunday with robust participation.
On Mother’s Day, various members of Newtown Quaker Meeting will read poems they have written and tell stories about mothers, including Margaret Fell (1614-1702), the “Mother of Quakerism,” on Sunday, May 3 at 9:45 a.m. via Zoom.
From 10:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., there will be a Zoom sharing with the children of the Quaker Meeting reviewing their activities and experiences in spotting various birds during their outdoor walks during the week.
Zoom Meeting for Worship in the manner of Friends will follow at 11 a.m.
Margaret Fell, one of the founders of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) was English gentry, married to Thomas Fell, a barrister, and the lady of Swarthmoor Hall in Lancaster, England.
In late June 1652, George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, visited Swarthmoor Hall and Margaret Fell later wrote that he "opened us a book that we had never read in, nor indeed had never heard that it was our duty to read in it (to wit) the Light of Christ in our consciences, our minds never being turned towards it before."
Margaret Fell became a Quaker and Swarthmoor Hall became a centre of Quaker activity, especially after her husband’s death in 1658. She served as an unofficial secretary for the new movement, wrote epistles, including Womens Speaking Justified, in which she advocated for a woman's ability to preach, and raised funds for Quaker activities.
She traveled to London to petition King Charles II and his parliament in 1660 for freedom of conscience in religious matters, was arrested in 1664 for failing to take an oath and allowing Quaker Meetings to be held in her home, and was sentenced to life imprisonment and forfeiture of her property.
After being released from jail by order of the King in 1968, she married George Fox and remained active in the affairs of the Quakers until her death at the age of 87 in 1702. She was buried in an unmarked grave in the Society of Friends' burial ground at Sunbrick in Lancaster.
Newtown Friends Meeting, in ordinary times is open to the public, with Sunday School classes for children and adults every Sunday at 9:45 a.m. and worship based on expectant silence “after the manner of Friends” at 11 a.m.