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History of Santa Monica Meeting

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The Founding of Santa Monica Friends Meeting

From the “History Corner,” October 2014 issue of Friendly Notes, the newsletter of the Santa Monica Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

October is a big month in our Meeting’s history.

On Oct. 6, we will celebrate the 68th anniversary of the very first Meeting for Worship of the newly formed Santa Monica Friends Group.

It was held Sunday, Oct. 6, 1946, at 5:30 p.m. in a basement classroom (the Fidelis Room) of the Trinity Baptist Church on California Ave. near 10th Street in Santa Monica. Twenty-six people attended.

The Santa Monica Friends Group was the brainchild of two members of Orange Grove Meeting, Edith Sperry and Nina Heaton, who lived in Santa Monica and wanted to build a more local Quaker community.

Edith Grace Sperry, who was the guiding light of the Santa Monica Friends Group and, later, our Santa Monica Friends Meeting, had been the librarian at Occidental College before accepting the post of Santa Monica College Librarian and moving here in 1942.

Edith was both practical and intellectual. She was determined and active but also rather reserved. She was not one to grab the spotlight of attention. The 1956 Meeting Directory had thumbnail histories and interests of all who were listed, as well as the best times to reach by phone or to drop by for a visit. Edith wrote “Do come and see me and compare notes!” Her entry shared that she was fond of hiking, gardening, and experimenting with art activities. She was active in the various Quaker organizations, in Santa Monica’s Consumers’ Co-op, the YWCA, and the Guild for Psychological Studies.

Birth of the Meeting House

From the “History Corner,” December 2014 issue of Friendly Notes

It was December 8, 1962. A community work party finished applying some interior final touches. It was done. What had taken three years of serious fundraising and two years of working with an architect and working through countless decisions on design and furnishings was, at last, completed. We had our Meeting House.

The first use of the new Meeting House was for our monthly Business Meeting held on Wednesday night, December 12. Four days later, on Sunday, December 16, our first Meeting for Worship was held in our new home. Our evolving community has come to our Meeting House for worship on each following Sunday for the past 52 years. Happy Birthday, Santa Monica Friends Meeting House!