History of Monteverde Meeting of Friends

During the years following the close of World War II when each country should have been making every effort to establish peace among nations, the United Status was, instead, becoming one of the most militarized countries in the world. The heavy direct taxes and hidden taxes for war purposes and preparations for war made it impossible for one to make a living without supporting the war effort and accepting the profits due to a war economy.

Several Friends of Fairhope Monthly Meeting of Friends, Fairhope, Alabama, and some others, came to feel very uncomfortable under this economy. They felt they could best do their individual part toward building for a peaceful world by seeking an environment as free as possible from militarism in which to live and rear their children. Their feeling that they should move was strengthened when five of their young men were sentenced to serve prison terms for refusing to register for the first peacetime draft because they considered that doing so would be the first step toward directly supporting the military machine.

Therefore, when they learned of the peaceful, friendly little republic of Costa Rica, devoting her efforts and resources toward the betterment of her people, three members of the Meeting visited the country. On their return, following their favorable report , several families made their decisions to move there. It was indeed a soul-searching, prayerful time. They had to try to know for a certainty that it was right for them to make the move, before leaving their Friends Meeting and beloved friends and relatives in a country which they held dear. Their friendly reception by the officials of Costa Rica, and by many others, and the opportunity to establish homes where a man could be with his wife and children or free to pursue his life’s calling, instead of in military service or prison, made them feel they had been led aright in selecting Costa Rica. This feeling grew as others, from various parts of the world, felt led, for similar reasons, to join them here.

On11-4-1950, after the paroles of the young men who had served prison terms expired, families began to make the move, leaving as fast as they could sell their property and make arrangements. At the end of three months those who had reached Costa Rica numbered forty. After searching for about six months they located the tract of land now called Monteverde, and began establishing permanent homes.

On arriving in Costa Rica, the families began holding Friends’ Meeting for worship on First-days, and it was not long before a mid-week meeting was also being held. After the permanent location was reached, steps were taken to organize a meeting for business. The difficulty of transacting business at such a distance with a meeting in the United States, the improbability of members attending Quarterly and Yearly Meetings, and the fact that this meeting could be of little or no real help to them were some of the factors which led to the feeling that an independent meeting in Monteverde would be most satisfactory. Since the growing membership is made up of persons from various Yearly Meetings, and some who have joined Friends here, an attempt has been made to form a new discipline to suit the needs here. We wish to acknowledge our indebtedness to the Yearly Meetings from whose disciplines we have selected material.

The first meeting for business of Monteverde Monthly Meeting of Friends was held 2-6-1952 at Monteverde, Costa Rica.

If you would like to learn more about Monteverde history, we recommend Walking with Wolf (sold at Chunches, the Reserve or by email via kaychornook@gmail.com) or the Monteverde Jubliee Family Album (while they last), sold at the Meeting and Chunches.