Delta Friends Meeting is able to note its beginnings to the years of World War II.
In 1942, in Tracy, California an intentional community was formed by several families and individuals, including several conscientious objectors to war. Some lived and worked on land belonging to the Boyd family and in surrounding areas.
From meeting in the Boyd’s living room to Friends homes, a Quaker Meeting sprouted and grew, until the Tracy Friends Meeting was formed in 1944. Meeting minutes indicate that Tracy Friends Meeting was an oﬃcial signator of the creation of Pacific Yearly Meeting (PYM) and College Park Quarterly Meeting (CPQM).
Over the coming years, the Tracy Meeting grew, Friends moved, children grew up in the love and care of the Meeting.
In 1955, Tracy Meeting finally evolved into Delta Monthly Meeting of Friends. Children outnumbered adults in Meeting, families thrived. In the mid-1950s, Meeting minutes indicate that that “Delta Meeting was represented at PYM by 22 souls!”
During these years, there were two Preparative Meetings,* one in Modesto and another in Stockton. Many Friends attended both Monthly and Preparative meetings regularly. By 1968, Delta Monthly Meeting oﬃcially moved to Stockton, incorporating the Preparative Meetings into the Monthly Meeting. This move included a large geographic area from South of Modesto to Stockton and up into the Sierra Foothills. The Meeting was large and diverse and very active in local and world aﬀairs.
So many Friends, then as now, served both the Meeting and beyond. Longtime Friends, Catherine and David Bruner served as clerks of PYM and were essential in the forming of Friends Committee on Legislation in California, now FCL/CA and Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL).
Delta Meeting has a long history of dedicated involvement to peace actions, and international understanding and service. Community organizing, participation in peace marches and events, protests, civil disobedience all are essential to Meeting history. Friends were invited to work in prisons, even holding Meetings for Worship with prisoners regularly. Today, some Delta Friends continue with dedicated participation in prisoner issues.
In 1982, Delta Meeting joined the larger Choose Life Witness at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, and continues a twice yearly witness there at the Labs at this time, protesting weapons research, driving U.S. policy, which is studied and developed at that facility.
In the 1990s, Delta Meeting began participation with the larger Stockton community in the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) sponsored International Friendship Day. This hallmark event continued yearly for eleven years. Delta Friends participated every year with a booth and activities for everyone.
Also, in the 1990s, Delta Meeting began active support of the Modesto Peace Life Center’s annual Peace Essay Contest, open to all students in Stanislaus County schools. Meeting continues this support today. In 2010, there were 1,207 student entries.
More recently, Delta Friends joined Sacramento Friends Meeting and other groups to participate in the AFSC Eyes Wide Open exhibit and event at the state capitol over deep concerns about the heavy civilian toll form military actions in Iraq.
A sense of community and caring has always been central to Delta Meeting. As early as 1966, the Meeting co sponsored a half yearly meeting retreat for valley and mountain Meetings. We have continued this action, even to today. We have sponsored a number of small Meeting and regional gatherings. Each year, in July, Delta Meeting holds a one day Meeting gathering at Calaveras Big Trees, among the giant Sequoias in the mountains of Calaveras County.
Over the many years, Delta Meeting has grown larger, then smaller, families have moved and followed other paths. Our children have grown and built their own families. The physical home of our Meeting has changed many times, worship groups have been formed, yet our center of caring and identity as a Meeting remains firm and deeply grounded in our values of peace and justice in the world. All are welcome. Some visit for a short time, others come and stay, ever strengthening and deepening our Meeting of Friends.
* A Preparative Meeting is, “a body of Friends under the care and guidance of an established Monthly Meeting, preparing to become a Monthly Meeting.” (from PYM Faith and Practice, 2001)