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Quaker Process

Meeting for Worship 
Meeting for Worship - the Quaker practice of sitting together in silence in a spirit of expectant waiting -  lies at the heart of the FSW  experience. Through weekly Meetings for Worship, students learn to use mindfulness as a tool for active reflection. The Head of School, a teacher, or a student will often set the tone for meeting by reading a story or poem, or simply by posing a question - known in Quaker circles as a “query”-  to help the community come together around a common theme.  While silence may continue throughout the period of worship, it also happens that an individual may feel compelled to speak out of the silence in order to express whatever has come to the mind or heart.  FSW’s Meeting for Worship generally closes with community singing. 
In the tradition of Quakers, Friends School of Wilmington does not seek to proselytize or convert others to follow the Quaker faith. Rather, it is our goal to encourage each student to seek “the Light within” and develop a discipline of reflection. In the context of silent worship and our focus on universally-held religious values, students with a wide variety of religious backgrounds - or none at all - will feel honored and respected at FSW. 
 
Meetings for Business
In the tradition of Friends, the FSW Board, faculty, and other entities within the FSW community follow Quaker practice when conducting meetings and carrying out business. Through this process, participants are asked to “seek truth” as a body regarding whatever issue is at hand.  By listening respectfully to one another and, for some, listening for spiritual guidance; gathering new insights through hearing others’ perspectives; and thus achieving deeper understanding; the group strives to arrive at a shared understanding of appropriate steps forward.  It is important for meeting attenders to share any insight they have even, and especially, when it appears to be conflicting.  When the group’s “clerk” - the meeting’s facilitator - senses unity among the participants, s/he will articulate the “sense of the  meeting” and ask for approval.  No votes are taken, and all those present must agree with the decision.  If consensus is reached, the decision is noted in the minutes that serve as the official record of the meeting and the matter is considered closed. If unity cannot be reached, the matter is tabled, or held over, for further exploration.  Some decisions rest solely with the Head the School or other school personnel, or require a timely response.  In those circumstances a meeting may be called to gather insight and “seek truth” and, while a “sense of the meeting” may be noted, consensus is not sought. 
 
Addressing Conflict  
The Quaker Peace Testimony, rooted in the belief that there is “that of God” in everyone, lies at the heart of how Friends schools have led the way for decades in teaching conflict resolution to young people. Related to Friends’ business practice, FSW employs Quaker principles and practices in response to conflicts that arise within the community.  It is understood among Friends that no single individual holds “the truth,” that “either/or” thinking is often limited in scope and imagination, and that through deep listening and respectful discourse solutions may be discovered or generated that serve the community best.  Friends School of Wilmington introduces this process with our youngest children when tensions between students occur, and throughout the grades students are taught strategies for peer mediation and peaceful resolution of conflict. In keeping with the Quaker testimonies of peace, respect, and community, these practices are expected to be utilized throughout the FSW adult community as well.  Just as  students are held to high standards, so, too, are the adults in our community. FSW uses Quaker processes to address conflicts, demeaning language, or disrespectful behavior whether it occurs in the classroom, the playground, the soccer field, or in a meeting among adults.