Our Quaker Life: Recent Initiatives & Events
BFF Trains with Friends Council on Education
The Brooklyn Friends and Families (BFF) Leadership Group dedicated their October meeting to a training session with Drew Smith, the Executive Director of the Friends Council on Education. The group of our family leadership volunteers invited Drew to lead them in the session dedicated to “clerking” a committee or meeting, as well as spirit-led decision making. Of the session, Brooklyn Friends and Families Co-Clerk Tracey Wells-Schneps shared that, “it’s nice to have a more clear picture on the Quaker process when it comes to the BFF. I thought that maybe it would slow things down, when in fact it gives space for thoughtful conversation to get a decision, or sense of the meeting.”
Spiritual Life Committee Hosts Exploration of the Peace Testimony
On November 15, the Spiritual Life Committee hosted a fascinating and engaging virtual session for the BFS community at which they explored the Quaker testimony of Peace. At the session, they shared that working for peace has been an important part of Quaker belief and practice since its beginnings. They presented the historical roots of the Peace testimony. They then explored how the Quaker identity of our school informs how we approach matters of peace and conflict resolution.They also shared how Quakers search for meaningful connections as a way of making peace and reconciling our differences. In her reflections, Assistant Head of School and Spiritual Life Committee Member Suzie Matthews shared that she had been considering “Peace within ourselves.” and said that “I teach a yoga class at BFS to our upper schoolers. Today, we centered on the peace testimony. I shared that in yoga, it’s called ahimsa, or non-violence. The idea is that it starts with non violence to yourself. I asked the students to think about what is their self‑talk when they are going into something that is challenging? How are they sitting in peace with themselves? I think that everything we do, like silence or thinking about how we are interacting with each other, is tied to the peace testimony.” After additional personal reflections from Spiritual Life Committee members, friends were then posed the following queries and engaged in a discussion of the Peace testimony in their own lives.
- Is the peace testimony a guiding principle in your life? Why? If no, why not?
- How is being guided by the peace testimony a contradiction to the way society handles conflict?
- With the peace testimony in mind, what might you do to enrich the community with others in your life?
Thank you to the Spiritual Life Committee for hosting this impactful session.
Monthly Meetings for Worship for the BFS Community
The Spiritual Life Committee continues to host a monthly virtual Meeting for Worship for the BFS community. In their invitation, they share: Meeting for Worship, or Quaker Meeting, is a central part of the life and rhythm of a Friends School community. At Brooklyn Friends, our students and colleagues regularly experience these reflective times of quiet and stillness across the divisions. We warmly invite the BFS community, including families and alumni, to join us. People of all or no faith traditions are welcome at Quaker Meetings. This school year’s remaining Meetings are scheduled as follows: January 25, February 22, March 15, April 27, and May 31. Check your email from BFS for details. We hope to see you there.
Emily Cowles is the Associate Director —Communications, Community Engagement, and School Events at BFS.
This story originally appeared in The Light—Brooklyn Friends School Magazine. You can view the entire issue of The Light online.