More on the Intro to Quakerism session

This was posted on the Parents Association page of the SF Friends School today...
Introduction to Quakerism Summary and Handout

The PA's Parent Education Committee hosted An Introduction to Quakerism for some 35 parents this past Tuesday morning. SF Meeting member and SFFS parent Chris Mohr and SF Meeting member Amy Baker gave a wonderful speed history of the Quaker faith and an overview of the SPICES testimonies (simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, stewardship). SFFS librarian Chad Stephenson and SFFS art teacher Caren Andrews spoke about how they incorporate these values into their work with our children.

Chris and Amy asked everyone to briefly mention any faith traditions they were raised with and/or are practicing with their own children. The answers were as diverse as our community, and included: Buddhists raised in Thailand, the U.S., and the Swedish Church in Japan; Catholics raised in the US, Ireland, and Argentina; Jewish; Estonian Lutheran; Catholic-Jewish; athiest; Protestant; Korean Protestant; Korean Presbyterian; "hodge-podge"; Episcopal; mutli-religious; non-denominational spiritual; Episcopal-Muslim; Southern Baptist; Quaker; Quaker-Buddhist; Baptist-Quaker; Quaker-Episcopal!
We passed out a handout with a brief background on Friends and a list of a few resources, including books and websites. Paper versions were included in the students' take-home weekend folders. (I was going to upload a PDF of the document here but can't quite figure it out in blogger.)


Intro to Quakerism at the SF Friends School

Today Amy Baker & I, representing SF Friends Meeting, and Chad, Caren, and Lisa from the faculty of SF Friends School, reprised Amy's and my "introduction to Quakerism" workshop for parents that we first did a year ago in this format. Amy & I tag-teamed a thumbnail sketch of Quaker theology and history. Chad, Caren, and Lisa talked about how Quakerism and Quaker values are applied in the classroom and in P.E., most notably through weekly meeting for worship, regular applications of silent reflection while doing art or writing, peaceful problem-solving, and so on.

We had one of our biggest turnouts for a Quaker-related parent education event! There were at least 30 people there, probably more. They included parents of new kindergarteners, parents of older children who had transferred to the school in the last year or two, and a few who have been with the school for a few years now. It was a nice mix. We didn't have enough time for Q&A both because we had four presenters and because we ended half an hour before I thought we would. Still, it was a good discussion, and clearly people were engaged.

Here's the outline of the talk.

Introduction to Quakerism
  1. Opening silent worship
  2. Introductions; name, connection to school, what faith community if any have you been or are you part of
  3. Quaker theology: Fox’s revelation about “Christ has come to teach his people himself” and there is “that of God in every one”
  4. Quaker values grow out of that theology: simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, stewardship (SPICES)
  5. Some history about how that has played out: truthtelling, equality for women, abolitionism, peace and war relief work, prison reform, etc.
  6. How Friends schools evolved out of this faith tradition and what role do they play today: the search for truth; time for silent reflection; core values of Quakerism; cultivating outer achievement and inner goodness/morality
  7. Q&A leading to sharing
  8. Closing silent worship
The icebreaker (2) is usually one of my favorite parts. We had a large enough group that we had to go fairly briskly through this, but we still gained an appreciation for the variety of experience & identity people brought with them.