Barnesville is a village in the beautiful Appalachian area of southeastern Ohio. It is the location of the historic 1878 yearly meetinghouse of Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative).
Conservative Friends. Quaker Spring began meeting in Barnesville in 2007, in part because many Friends from different branches of Friends felt drawn to and curious about Conservative Quakerism. Ohio Yearly Meeting Friends warmly welcome those attending Quaker Spring. The Ohio Yearly Meeting’s Friends Center, which is based in Barnesville, has worked closely with the Quaker Spring planning group over the years to support and nurture our gatherings.
Conservative Friends have unprogrammed worship waiting on divine leading. Their faith and practices are similar to early Friends and tend to be more “Christ-centered” than unprogrammed meetings in other yearly meetings. There is considerable knowledge and love of the Bible. Friends in Ohio Yearly Meeting continued using plain dress (similar to Amish dress) and plain speech (“thee and thou”) longer than most Friends and a few still do. They still have recorded ministers (although these are not paid pastors) and officially appointed elders.
There are three Conservative Yearly Meetings today: Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative), North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), and Ohio Yearly Meeting. Attending a Quaker Spring Gathering in Barnesville is a wonderful opportunity to find out more about Conservative Quakers and their beliefs and practices. The Conservative Friend is an outreach website of Stillwater Friends Meeting.
Stillwater Meetinghouse. All of our morning and evening sessions are held in Stillwater Meetinghouse, a large traditional-style meetinghouse originally built to accommodate 1500 Friends during yearly meeting sessions. Many members of the active local monthly meeting attend sessions of our gatherings. We are deeply grateful to Stillwater Meeting for welcoming us and allowing us to use their beautiful meetinghouse for our gathering.
Olney Campus. Olney Friends School is a small but vital Quaker boarding school, which goes out of its way to offer food and lodging rates that make it possible for us to keep our own gathering costs extremely reasonable. (All of our fees are on a “pay as led” basis.). Olney is situated on a 350 acre organic farm. Some of the food served in the dining hall comes from the school gardens. Baby goats in the barn behind the Girls Dorm are a delight to visit. Organic eggs are available for purchase in the cool room. The campus has a small lake, large playing fields, and woods. There is a long brick walk that runs from the Main to the meetinghouse. In recent years, the Livezey Lake has not been fit for swimming.
There are lots of exciting options for afternoon field trips in the Barnesville area including:
- Chestnut Ridge Friends Meeting – A small meetinghouse, known as Chestnut Ridge, located near a Quaker apple orchard about 3 miles south of Barnesville. They still worship with women and men sitting on separate sides of the meetinghouse. We hope to have an outing to Chestnut Ridge Meeting, perhaps for a meeting with local Friends, or a picnic supper.
- Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing Ohio (17 miles)
- Barkcamp State Park has swimming and boating (11 miles)
- Mt Pleasant Quaker Yearly Meetinghouse The original home of Ohio Yearly Meeting is a brick structure built in 1814. Stillwater Yearly Meetinghouse was built by the same Quaker architect to the same design, but smaller. Following the 1854 schism between Conservative and Evangelical Friends, the Evangelical Friends met at Mt. Pleasant for yearly meeting sessions for several decades. The building is now owned by the Ohio History Connection. (30 miles)
- Ice cream: Sadly a Quaker Spring favorite destination (“Fairyland”) has bit the dust. Yet we can count on a run to the local supermarket to bring back lots of ice cream to the Stillwater kitchen in the evening. Or we may want to take a trip to Kirke’s Homemade Ice Cream shop in St Clairsville (20 miles)
- Raven Rocks. In 1970, 19 alumni of Olney Friends boarding school bought 843 acres of beautiful undeveloped land threatened with destruction due to strip mining. With additional purchases, the total property now is over 1200 acres. Locust Hill, an underground and solar warmed house, now under construction, is an interesting visit. The first ravine provides a beautiful, short hike that accompanied children can do. Raven Rocks is an undeveloped private wilderness area; do not go hiking alone past the first ravine, get advice about bushwhacking and notify someone. Tick Repellant Necessary. (17 miles).
- Belmont County Victorian Mansion Museum: north edge of Barnesville. Fully restored architectural and historical gem. Fascinating and worth a visit.
- Barnesville City Park: pool and well-equipped playground.