Quakerism and Meeting for Worship
The Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship (“SPICES”) are woven into every aspect of school life.
We practice the Quaker testimonies each and every day. We use the SPICES to navigate academic and social-emotional discussions in the classroom, we approach problem-solving with integrity, and in a resourceful and peaceful manner, we make community service and engagement a centerpiece of our curriculum (for example, students attend school on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to work on community service projects).
We also reflect on these testimonies during the queries presented in weekly Meeting for Worship. All members of the community, from Early Childhood Students to Middle Schoolers, faculty to parents, are welcome to share if moved to do so. One recent query presented by an 8th grader: “What does equality mean to you?”
Meeting for Worship
Gathering in silence, Meeting for Worship plays a special role in the school’s religiously diverse community. Meeting for Worship is the Quaker form of worship, in which the assembled group meets in a silent, communal search for Truth; those who are moved to speak rise to do so out of the silence. Students, grades 2 through 8, and faculty attend Meeting for Worship (MFW) Wednesday mornings at the Haddonfield Meeting House, on the corner of Friends Avenue and Lake Street. Later in the school year, first grade students attend weekly MFW. The first Wednesday of each month, the entire student body, faculty, and staff meet together in an All-School Meeting for Worship. These meetings are sometimes “programmed,” or planned, to celebrate a holiday or mark important occasions or themes in the life of the School. Parents and families are welcome to join us in order to get a better understanding of Quaker life.
The Religious Society of Friends began as a radical challenge to the Church of England in the 17th century. The Quakers’ simple realization that there is ‘that of God in every person’ led them to leave the established church and worship together in silence without ministers and prearranged prayers, to oppose all violence done by humans to one another, to refuse to pay their war taxes, and to challenge state hierarchies by refusing to ‘doff their hats’ to the authorities. These ‘outrageous’ practices brought persecution and martyrdom in England and here in America.
Friends today continue to try to live a witness of simplicity and social consciousness working for prison reform and economic justice, for peace both amongst nations and within families. They come together regularly for silent worship. Haddonfield Friends Meeting a lively mix of long-time Friends and new attenders.