Beacon Hill Friends House is a Cambridge, Mass., center for Quaker learning and action, the home of Beacon Hill Meeting, and a residential intentional community grounded in Quaker principles. Website: bhfh.org.
Beacon Hill Friends House (BHFH) is a Quaker center and residential community in downtown Boston, Mass., that provides opportunities for personal growth, spiritual deepening, and collective action.
As of this fall, BHFH has a full house of 21 residents ages 20 through 60—students, professionals, retirees, and in-between. Most are not Quaker; one is a former resident from the 1990s, back for a “re-residency.”
This fall starts BHFH’s second year of hosting Program Fellows, who spend a year supporting BHFH programs and their own personal development while living in intentional community.
BHFH has developed deeper expertise in running hybrid gatherings—both for its own events and increasingly in support of other Quaker institutions, including Pendle Hill study center, Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC), and New England Yearly Meeting’s annual sessions. After a break from weekly public programming over the summer, BHFH has ramped back up its cadence of events since September.
This spring, the first edition of a workbook for the Vocational Discernment Project was produced, grounded in Quaker practices but meant for a broader audience. Several workshops have been held based on this curriculum—at BHFH; on the road at Earlham and Guilford Colleges and Friends Camp in Maine; and online for QuEST fellows, QREC, and Friends Association for Higher Education. The curriculum and workbook are available on the BHFH website.
Beacon Hill Friends House (BHFH) continues to nurture a 20-person intentional community in downtown Boston and expand the reach of its online programming, welcoming more than 1,000 participants from more than 20 Friends meetings, 28 states, and ten countries during this past year. In September, BHFH welcomed its first two program fellows, who are spending a year supporting programs while living in the BHFH residential community. New this year, BHFH has been experimenting with hybrid (online/in-person) events. Recent hybrid programs include MIDWEEK, a weekly facilitated spiritual practice, and October’s annual Ernest and Esther Weed Memorial Lecture, which welcomed its largest ever audience of more than 100 people. Another program highlight is Caminando con la Biblia/Walking with the Bible, a bilingual series hosted alongside Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) Section of the Americas, which featured Emma Condori Mamani (Bolivia), Cristela Martinez (El Salvador), and Nelson Ayala Amaya (El Salvador) in dialogue about their relationship with the Bible. The audience was from the United States, Canada, Honduras, Mexico, Bolivia, Paraguay, Cuba, El Salvador, and Guatemala. BHFH also recently developed a workshop and accompanying workbook on vocational discernment grounded in Quaker traditions. It was first hosted at BHFH in December, and BHFH staff will present the workshop at Earlham and Guilford Colleges this spring. An updated video library on the BHFH website hosts edited recordings of more than 80 past programs for individuals and meetings to use freely.
Beacon Hill Friends House (BHFH) is an independent Quaker nonprofit organization and 20-person residential community based in a historic house in downtown Boston, which provides opportunities for personal growth, spiritual deepening, and collective action.
This past summer, BHFH staff wrapped up a master planning process with an architectural preservation firm to help care for its building. The house also began welcoming people into guest rooms and outside groups back into the space.
In June, BHFH celebrated over 40 events in the virtual series MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness before taking a summer hiatus. This weekly facilitated spiritual practice restarted in September. BHFH also held a book talk with some of the co-authors of The Gatherings: Reimagining Indigenous-Settler Relations: gkisedtanamoogk (Mashpee Wampanoag); Alma H. Brooks (Maliseet, St. Mary’s Reserve, New Brunswick); Marilyn Keyes Roper (Quaker, Houlton, Maine); and Shirley N. Hager (Quaker, Chesterville, Maine).
This fall, offering hybrid programs will be considered to allow Friends from anywhere to participate (including lectures and workshops). In September, BHFH welcomed two volunteer program fellows who will help expand and deepen the public offerings, including hybrid programs.
Beacon Hill Friends House (BHFH) has been focusing on building community and connection amid the COVID-19 pandemic through its residential and online programs.
With its intentionally diverse residential community, BHFH recognizes the opportunity to share and utilize the tools of Quakerism in a group setting that includes non-Friends. Many residents combine these Quaker concepts of living in community—decision-making, shared work, and clearness—with their own ideas and perspectives, resulting in committee work that is flexible and focused on the community’s leadings and needs.
BHFH continues to host a broad array of online public programs, including Responding to the Call: Healing from the Sin of Separation. This course focuses on the inner and outer work required to interrupt and address White supremacy, the climate crisis, and the ongoing harm of settler colonialism, and begin the work of reparations. More than 80 Friends from New England and beyond have committed to this two-month-long program. The course is led by Lisa Graustein, Emma Turcotte, Briana Halliwell, Jen Higgins-Newman, and Aiham Korbage. Resources from the course will be available on the BHFH website.
Beacon Hill Friends House (BHFH) is an independent Quaker nonprofit organization and a 20-person residential community (of Friends and others) in a large historic house in downtown Boston, Mass. The Friends house works to provide opportunities for personal growth, spiritual deepening, and collective action—drawing inspiration and guidance from the values, principles, and practices of the Religious Society of Friends.
The center of BHFH’s work (since 1957) continues to be its residency program where people can live for up to four years in intentional community centered around Quaker values.
Additionally, over the past couple of years, the BHFH staff, Board of Managers, committees, and residents have been expanding BHFH’s public program offerings to nurture and support individual reflection and collective action—for Friends and others beyond the current residents.
“How do we share the Light of Quakerism even during this time?” This is one question Beacon Hill Friends House (BHFH) has been sitting with throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has spurred BHFH into moving programs online and developing new programming. The Friends house’s newest online event series is “Midweek: Experiments in Faithfulness”—a free, weekly, facilitated spiritual practice with “a Quaker flavor and an experimental ethos.” Each Wednesday evening a guest facilitator engages attendees in a spiritual practice. Short recordings of these practices are available on the BHFH website.