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Sunday, 9/25: Reconnecting with Our Roots

Homecoming Celebration and Open House

Come learn about the history of our meeting, which began as an antislavery colony in the 1840s.

Enjoy a day of reflection, fellowship, food and fun.
Connect or re-connect with our Quaker community.

Schedule for the Day

  • 9:45am – Informal welcome on the front porch.
  • 10:00–11:00am – Talk and Slide Show presented by Martha Catlin, Meeting Historian: “The Woodlawn Quaker Antislavery Colony” (see below)
  • 11:30am – Meeting for Worship in the manner of Friends
  • 12:15pm – Greetings and Introductions
  • 12:45pm – Cookout and Picnic Lunch
    Tour our historic meetinghouse
    View displays illustrating our meeting’s history
    Find out about the life of our meeting community today
  • 1:45pm – Children’s musical performance around the new oak tree on the front lawn
  • 2:00–3:00pm – Live music on the back lawn, with sun tents for shade

Bring your checkbooks!

We will be collecting contributions for the Gum Springs Historical Society and Museum.

The Woodlawn Quaker Antislavery Colony

Meeting Historian Martha Claire Catlin will share her research on the Quaker antislavery colony that Friends from northern states created at Woodlawn fifteen years before the Civil War—and the seeds of its beginnings as a branch of a broader antislavery movement.

Theirs was a uniquely Quaker communal enterprise that was built on a deliberate, spirit-led strategy to transform the local plantation economy. If they could cause Virginia’s “desert to blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1), slavery and oppression would be conquered. They resolved to commit their labor and ingenuity to fulfill the divine call, as they expressed it, to “peace on earth, good will to all men.” Their commitment to antislavery was not only a just cause – but a central principle of their faith.

By demonstrating to their slaveholding neighbors the successful outcomes attributable to sustainable practices employed by independent farmers, both Woodlawn Quakers and free Black farmers of Woodlawn and nearby Gum Springs illustrated the path to fulfilling the promise of freedom, years before slavery’s advocates forced the Nation into war.