Centre Monthly Meeting

The history of the Centre Monthly Meeting is a bit hard to follow at times as the original property was not actively used for a long period of time. The Meeting was started as Centre Meeting of New Ark (Newark) when settlers on the west side of the Brandywine asked for permission to hold a meeting closer to their homes, in large part due to the difficulty of crossing the Brandywine in poor weather. The request was granted and the first home of Centre meeting was established, initally as a seasonal worship meeting and by 1690 as a year-round meeting. The first meetings were held in the homes of the members but by 1695, land was purchased from Alphonsus Kirk and a meeting house of logs was completed in 1711. The original trustees included Thomas Hollingsworth, John Gregg, Alphonsus Kirk, Samuel Greaves and George Harlan. The original log structure at Centre was replaced by the current brick building in 1796.

In the early part of the 1700’s a meeting was established at Hockessin under the care of Centre Meeting, and in 1738 their first meetinghouse was erected. When the Centre Monthly Meeting was established in, both Centre and Hockessin preparative meetings became part of it

By the early 1800’s the Hockessin area had far more Friends than the Centre area and by the end of the century, meetings were held almost exclusively at Hockessin, though members still met occasionally at Centre. To make things confusing, the meeting at Hockessin was formally called “Centre Meeting held at Hockessin”, the two meetings having been essentially combined in 1884.

In the 1950’s, a new meeting for worship was started at Centre and the meeting began to grow strongly through the 1960’s and 70’s. In 1990, the meeting began a preparative meeting again, which led to its becoming a Monthly meeting in 1995.

Along with its meeting house, Centre also has recently renovated their old school-house and the former caretaker’s house.

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