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A Short History of the Fellowship

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The Fellowship of Friends was founded by Robert Earl Burton on January 1, 1970 in the San Francisco Bay Area. From its inception the vision of the Fellowship was, and remains, to establish a practical spiritual organization and to make it available to anyone interested in pursuing the spiritual work of awakening.

On July 4, 1971, the Fellowship purchased property in the Sierra foothills that is now called Apollo. For the next five years, Robert Burton focused his efforts on establishing a network of centers throughout California, and on developing the property to serve as a central spiritual retreat for Fellowship members and as the focus for both their internal and external efforts.

By the mid-1970s the Fellowship was maintaining centers along the entire western seaboard, from Seattle to San Diego, and in Hawaii. As the membership increased, so did the intensity of efforts, both at Apollo and throughout the organization. In 1976 the decision was taken to open centers across the United States and Canada, and soon after in Western Europe. Approximately 20 centers were founded and the membership increased dramatically. This influx of new members greatly enriched individual spiritual work, and added to the development of the Fellowship.