New Quaker House at Chautauqua

Quaker House interior. Photos by Ted First.

A new Quaker House is scheduled to open at the Chautauqua Institution in the summer of 2021, dependent upon COVID-19 restrictions.

The Chautauqua Institution is a nonprofit education center and summer resort for adults and youth on Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York. It offers programming for nine weeks in the summer, including arts, lectures, interfaith worship, and recreational activities. There are ten other denominational houses on the grounds that offer religious services and housing options during the summer season.

Quakers have a long history at the Chautauqua Institution. The first Friends General Conference Gathering took place there in 1900, and meeting for worship has been offered on the grounds every Sunday during the summer by Fredonia (N.Y.) Meeting.

Some N.Y.-based Friends have long sought to have a greater Quaker presence at Chautauqua. Due to an anonymous gift, they were able to buy the Quaker House property. According to two members of the Founding Committee—Sue Tannehill of Buffalo (N.Y.) Meeting and Ted First of Fredonia Meeting—a nonprofit will soon be established to manage the property.

Quaker House exterior.

Quaker House is a five-bedroom cottage at 28 Ames Avenue, within the Chautauqua Institution.  Four bedrooms will be rented to guests. The remaining bedroom will be for a Friend-in-Residence, a Quaker who will guide meetings for worship and other activities at the house and will serve as a Quaker presence at Chautauqua.

Emily Provance is scheduled to be the Friend-in-Residence at the Quaker House in 2021. Following the mission statement of the house, she plans to “invite Chautauquans into Quakerism and introduce Quakers to Chautauqua” through conversations and activities at Quaker House.

The Founding Committee and Provance emphasize that they want the house to be open to a wide group that is diverse in terms of income, race, age, theology, and family structure. A website for the house, quakerschq.org, is forthcoming.

Correction: An earlier version of this news item stated the address of Quaker House as 28 Ames Street. It is located at 28 Ames Avenue.

FJ News Editor

Erik Hanson and Windy Cooler are the news editors for Friends Journal. They contributed to the reporting of this story. Do you know about any Quaker news stories we should be covering? Send us tips at [email protected].

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