Lesson on Early Friends

Last Sunday at meeting, the Friends School community was specifically invited to attend meeting for worship and the regular potluck afterwards. There was a wonderful turnout and a great potluck, and not that many new people actually came. Mostly, the regular-but-not-every-week families from school came. And one family that likes to come once a year when we do this, and otherwise goes to a really interesting, progressive Episcopal church.

So the potential (hoped-for? feared?) turnout of two dozen children at Firstday School did not materialize. (It did in 2003, when we first had this intervisitation event.)

I had three third-grade boys and one fourth-grade boy (my own), plus two adults. A decent ratio when dealing with that much boy energy! (One of our older girls decided to help in the nursery with the babies, and I missed her participation in the conversation.)

This time I decided to teach more about the Society of Friends; I wanted the children to know why it's called the Friends School -- it's NOT just because your friends go there! I post the outline here in case there are seeds that might be planted in other locales.

INTRO: Say your name, year born, and something true about you.

OBJECTIVE: Learn a bit about Quaker history and testimonies.

I lectured much more than usual. I'm not sure it served the boy energy well. Yet I think they were listening.

1. History: George Fox sought answers about God as a young man, beginning to wander about the countryside as a teenager. In 1652 in his early 20's he had a revelation about the "Inner Light" being available to all. He wanted others to know, too, so he walked across northern England and preached. He found a lot of others who agreed with him.

2. Names of what became Society of Friends:
- Children of the Light
- Friends of Truth
- Publishers of Truth
- Quakers: Fox on trial, the judge asked if he quaked before the Lord, the name stuck
- Religious Society of Friends (later)

3. Testimonies:
I asked if they knew what "SPICES" stood for. One boy quickly rattled off, "Simplicity Peace Integrity Community Equality and Sympathy." I said that was very good though most people talk about "Stewardship" if they use a second S. I explained a little bit about each word, then asked the group if they knew what integrity meant; none did. I also added Love as a testimony (thanks, Pam and Allison).

4. Exercise:
- Write your own newspaper on a form I cadged from another church's Sunday School.
- Space provided for a main story, a sidebar on an upcoming event (soccer game? choir practice?), space for a "truthful" ad, and a weather report. (Earthquakes and various forms of fantastical hailstorms were popular!)
- Space at bottom to write your name in as "Publisher" -- hence becoming a Publisher of Truth!

RESULTS: Mixed, but I think they picked up some content along the way.

AFFIRMATION: They had fun. See comment above about picking up content.


Allison said...

3 cheers for Love. You rock Chris!

I heard fantastic things about the Friends school from someone who is not a Quaker. She likes the philosophy at the school so much now she is interested in Quakers.

Chris M. said...

Thanks, Allison.

Glad to hear the school is attracting interest to Quakers!

-- Chris M.