A Brief History of Mid America Friends
“The attention of Friends (Ohio and Indiana) was first turned to Kansas in connection with Indian Missionary activity” (Sheldon Jackson, A Short History….). This attention was given action in 1836 by the construction of a boarding school a “meeting house”, stables and a meat house to the southwest of what is now Kansas City. So began what has become Evangelical Friends Church- Mid America Yearly Meeting. By 1872 the territories had opened their doors to many settlers, among who were a significant number of Friends who established Friends Churches in various places. Indiana Friends were in agreement to establish Kansas Friends their own Yearly Meeting with headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas.
Post-Civil War migrations saw a great influx of Friends settling in the Midwest. Soon churches were established in Oklahoma and Texas so that by 1925 the membership of Friends in Kansas Yearly Meeting had reached just over 10,000. This was the year that the headquarters was officially moved from Lawrence to Wichita.
In the intervening years, Kansas Yearly Meeting changed its name to more appropriately reflect its constituency, first to Mid-America Yearly Meeting, then in 2000, to Evangelical Friends Church – Mid America Yearly Meeting. Those years also saw the formation of Friends University, Friends Bible College (now Barclay College) and Camp Quaker Haven.
Heeding the call to “go into the world”, Mid America Friends launched the Friends Africa Gospel Mission in Burundi Africa in 1934. The church grew and developed until it is now one of the largest groups of Evangelical Friends in the world. Partnership with Evangelical Friends Mission now occupies the missionary vision and calling.
Mid America Friends have been planting churches throughout the region and encouraging its people to enter into the communities of our world with the good news of Christ and being the incarnation of Christ to the ones who have yet to believe.