Lonely Planet review
In 1949 four Alabama Quakers (a pacifist religious group also known as the 'Society of Friends’) were jailed for their refusal to be drafted into the Korean War. Since Quakers are obligated by their religion to be pacifists, the four men were eventually released from prison. However, in response to the incarceration, 44 Quakers from 11 Alabama families left the USA and headed for (much) greener pastures, literally. The Quakers chose Monteverde (Green Mountain) for two reasons – a few years prior, the Costa Rican government had abolished its military, and the cool, mountain climate was ideal for grazing cattle. Ensconced in their isolated refuge they adopted a simple, trouble-free life of dairy farming and cheese production. In an effort to protect the watershed above its 15-sq-km plot in Monteverde, the Quaker community agreed to preserve the mountaintop cloud forests.
Quakerism began as a breakaway movement from the Anglican Church in the 1650s, founded by the young George Fox, who in his early twenties heard the voice of Christ, and claimed that direct experience with God was possible without having to go through the sacraments. Today, this belief is commonly described by Quakers as the ‘God in everyone,’ and the Monteverde Quaker community continues to lead a peaceful lifestyle in the area and remain extremely active in the local community.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Society of Friends, prayer meetings at the Friends Meeting House in Monteverde are held on Sunday at 10:30am and Wednesday at 9am. If you’re willing to give at least a six-week commitment, there are numerous volunteer opportunities available. For more information, contact the Monteverde Friends School.