Does my child need to be a Quaker or convert to Quakerism to attend Friends Schools?
No, there is no prerequisite to be a Quaker to attend any Friends school. In fact, the majority of students and faculty are not Quakers. Quakers do not prostyletize, so there is no expectation that your child would ever become a Quaker. Quakers do not promote religious doctrine and encourage an environment that cultivates religious as well as ethnic and cultural diversity.
What is Meeting For Worship?
In the tradition of Friends, K-8 students, faculty and visitors engage once per week in a period of silent worship and vocal ministry, called Meeting for Worship. All community members are welcome and each person’s spiritual journey and personal beliefs are respected as we reflect and attend the inner voice of the Spirit. The Head of School, a teacher, or even a student might set the tone for Meeting by reading a story or poem, or simply by posing a question or “Query” to help students focus on issues of deep significance. The presenter might read a story about the loss of a family member, or a poem about giving, or simply tell a short story from personal experience and then pose a query such as “What does it mean to be a good friend?” Participants are encouraged to speak out of the silence when they feel “led” to do so. Following silence, elementary students have a period of community singing. These songs are generally favorites that students have been learning in their classrooms. These are not hymns, though a few songs may contain a moral or spiritual message. However, in the tradition of North Carolina Yearly Meeting Conservative and Friends General Conference, 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 “that of God within,” however that may manifest. In the context of silent worship and our focus on universally held religious values, students with a wide variety of religious backgrounds will feel honored and respected at Friends School.
How is Quaker education different from any other educational program?
Quaker Education represents a unique combination of academic excellence and spiritual depth. Work on individual skills and knowledge is balanced with group learning, in which each person’s unique insights contribute to a collective learning. Students who graduate from a Quaker school walk away with a strong sense of self. They are better prepared to advocate for themselves, deal with adversity, and understand the need to promote harmony in their quest for knowledge. Students are challenged to develop inner resources for discipline and achievement. Each student’s gifts and talents are honored.
Where can I find out more about Quakerism?