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Our First Meeting for Worship, 1941

Meeting for Worship is such an important element of the Brooklyn Friends School experience that it is difficult to imagine that it did not exist in its present form at Brooklyn Friends School until October 30, 1941. We can thank Douglas G. Grafflin and S. Archibald Smith, two former BFS Heads of School, for introducing the Meeting for Worship we know today to both Brooklyn Friends School and
Friends Seminary. Prior to the introduction of the monthly Meeting for Worship, it seems Brooklyn Friends School held short assemblies weekly which may have included the “devotional exercises” which also were held daily at the beginning of first period classes.

Friends Holds First Meeting for Worship
The Life, October 30, 1941

To accompany the article above, the October 30, 1941 edition of The Life included a guest editorial from the Head of Friends Seminary, S. Archibald Smith. For those wishing a refresher, Douglas G. Grafflin was a Quaker and was only 26 years old when he took charge of Brooklyn Friends School in the Fall of 1937. S. Archibald Smith, Grafflin’s immediate predecessor at BFS, was also a Quaker, and had been the Head of Friends Academy at Locust Valley for fifteen years before being called away from his proposed retirement to lead Brooklyn Friends School in 1934. Smith retired from his long career in education in 1937 and even settled in his hometown of Wilton, New Hampshire. Smith’s retirement was short-lived for he was soon pulled back to New York City to become the Head of Friends Seminary in the Fall of 1938. It seems Smith finally did get to retire to Wilton in 1943 when he left Seminary. Smith’s editorial on how Friends Seminary came to hold its own monthly Meetings for Worship is below.

S. Archibald Smith, Former Head of BFS, Guest Editorial
The Life, October 30, 1941