Retired teacher and administrator, 69
"This is the only church I've belonged to. My grandkids are ninth generation Quaker. I like being a Quaker because I can live my life the way the Lord would have me live. Responding to the spirit is part of the service I really like. I have friends that are Methodist and Baptist, still I'd rather be a Quaker than anything."
U.S. Marine Corps, Retired, 69
(married to Frances Hill for 49 years in December)
"A hallmark of the Friends denomination is that faith becomes personal between you and God. This might be why Quakerism doesn't always grow: because a lot of people like to have a set routine. Some people say you can believe anything and be a Quaker. When it gets to the personal level, it makes you responsible."
The gentle ticking of this (presumably) 1800s clock pervades the church, providing
a counterpoint to moments of silence. It only needed adjustment every five days
or so, but for about a week after this picture was taken, it ran an hour slow
each day. The Friends jokingly say the photographer put a hex on it.
Seafood Clerk at Wal-Mart, 57
"I've lived in practically every part of the country, and attended every denomination imaginable. I've spent my whole life searching for what I've found in the Quakers. It's uniquewe're quiet, we don't do a lot of things, but for me this is it. We try to live the true essence of Christianity and we don't withdraw from the world."
The Guillaume Family
Health and fitness consultant, 40
"It's been good for us to have a period of time without a pastor. We've been sharing the different sermons and getting different people to speak, and sometimes the Worship in the Manner of Friends can go on so long that we don't really need a sermon. It's brought us closer together."
Runs Mountain Challenge at Maryville College, 45
"I don't see our church ever being big. And we might leave if it ever did get too big. I do think everybody would like to see more youth. But, if all that happens is that things stay pretty much the same and there's five or so kids that attend Emily's Sunday School class regularly, it would be good. I'm glad we're small. If you get big, you can become anonymous. Big companies spend a lot of money and time trying to answer the question: What are we in business for? And what are we supposed to do. If you're small, you don't have to do that. You know what you're supposed to do. You can't be anonymous. Everybody's got to participate. You have to keep your character. And that's what I like about our Meeting."
Kindergarten student, 5
While there are as many as nine regular students in the preschool Sunday school class, Emily is the only one with perfect attendance.
In the past, Quakers eschewed the use of months named after Greek and Roman gods,
as seen here on an older headstone in the graveyard behind the Friendsville meeting
Engineer for Martin Marietta, 58
"As I've grown up here, we typically don't notice the differences between Methodist, Baptist, or Quaker. If we all believe the same way, the outward things like lack of ritual are not so much of a problem. It's only when you get to the point when you say, 'If you are a Christian you have to do this.' It's at that point that many other religions break off from the Quakers. Because we break off and say 'No the Scripture doesn't say you have to do this, it says there's only one requirement for salvation, and that is to believe in Christ.'
"The differences between us and other religions are based more on personal experience and formality than anything else. We tend to look at the individual and their experience and how they share that experience and how they live, not what church they go to or who they follow as a minister."
George B. Henry
Church historian/retired teacher, 65
"I have that freedom of worship. I have that freedom to say what I want to. If I have something on my heart, I can stand up and express it. Friends care about one another. This is a very caring community. We know we're loved here. Even though the number is small now, we know we come to a group that is still very close togetherthat we can worship God in our way. That's the reason I feel comfortable herethe feeling of freedom."
Mary Louise Morgan
Retired teacher, 81
"When I was a young woman, there was a group of Quakers from Philadelphia that must have thought we were primitive down here. They saw us as a mission area. They were always sending us the charity barrel. Well, I guess it was out of spite, but I got together with some friends and we put on some old work clothes and borrowed a mule. I got up on that mule and they took my picture and we sent it up to Philadelphia."
Sophomore at Tusculum College, 19
"When I'm faced with a situation or problem, I think back on what I was taught. Every one of these people in this church has brought me up in their own way; it's like I've had 20 or 30 different families growing up. So every time I go to do something, I think: How would this affect my life with so-and-so, or with God? Closeness and family best describes this church. Everybody here is a big family. Once you're here, you're part of that family."