Many organizations have their own creation story, and CFHA is no exception. It came into being out of a concern for the preservation of a small, somewhat decrepit little meetinghouse out in the countryside west of Uxbridge, Ontario. When word that this meetinghouse might be purchased and moved to the United States reached Toronto Monthly Meeting, Kathleen Schmitz-Hertzberg made it her goal that the building and its heritage not be lost. Out of this a wider concern for the preservation and appreciation of Quaker legacy in general developed. Together with fellow Toronto Monthly Meeting member Grace Pincoe, the concept of the Canadian Friends Historical Association took shape. Establishment of the Association in 1972 provided an organization where non-Quaker academics, Quaker descendants, and historians could join members of the Religious Society of Friends in shared concerns and activities.
The rest, as they say, is history. A viewing of the CFHA website contents reveals the significant and numerous accomplishments of CFHA during the past 48 years. This includes many scholarly articles, outreach resources (including our new “Who are the Quakers?” panels), plus an ever-growing library of searchable transcriptions of minute books and documents.
While much has been accomplished, many more areas of concern remain. Modern technology now opens possibilities to preserve and promote appreciation of Quaker faith and heritage that Kathleen and Grace could not have imagined. Like many similar volunteer organizations, CFHA has been challenged to adapt and modernize. This work is being diligently pursued. That CFHA has survived 48 years is itself a remarkable achievement. We trust that new generations of members and supporters will help sustain and realize the great potential and important work of CFHA in years to come. As for that little meetinghouse near Uxbridge, it has been lovingly embraced by the wider community and is cared for by the Friends of Uxbridge Meetinghouse.
The Canadian Friends Historical Association is a similar success. As we celebrate 48 years of achievements, we wish to thank the very many members, contributors, and supporters who have made CFHA an unique, fun, and enriching community.
Happy birthday, CFHA!