Free Quaker Meeting House
Located at the intersection of Arch Street and South 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
While Quakers were pacifists based on their understanding of Matthew 5:39, some Quakers in the midst of the American Revolution concluded that the American struggle for independence was a just war against tyranny. For this reason, these Quakers chose to take up arms and establish another Quaker community, which met in the Free Quaker Meeting House. Betsy Ross was one of their members. Along with other revolutionary leaders, their decision to fight reflected Hebrews 11:32-34,“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies” (NIV). After the war, these Quakers reunited with the original Quaker community.
According to a strongly held tradition commemorated by an early 1900s postage stamp, a Quaker once observed George Washington praying while encamped at Valley Forge. The Quaker, upon seeing Washington pray so fervently, became convinced that the war must be a just war and was converted to the Revolutionary cause. While many doubt the validity of this story, a massive statue of Washington at prayer is found at the Freedom Foundation adjoining Valley Forge National Park. We also know that Washington often prayed as evidenced frequently in his massive writings.
He even speaks of his own “fervent prayers” in a letter dated November 16, 1782:
In return for your kind concern for my temporal and eternal happiness, permit me to assure you that my wishes are reciprocal; and that you may be enabled to hand down your Religion pure and undefiled to a Posterity worthy of their Ancestors is the fervent prayer of General, Your humble and obedient Servant, George Washington