We invite our whole community to join us as we focus on the Quaker Testimony of Equality this year.
How equality has existed in Quaker Schools
Quaker schools have many ways in which the testimony of equality is present but the most striking, for those coming from outside of the community, is when students refer to their teachers by their first names. When children call teachers by their first names they are following the original Quakers' resistance to social hierarchy: if we all are children of God, and are all equal in the eyes of God, then the respect we owe each other should manifest itself in ways beyond mere titles.
"Friends hold that all people are equal in the eyes of God and have equal access to the “inner Light.” This profound sense of equality leads Friends to treat each person with respect, looking for “that of God” in everyone. This testimony was reflected in the practice of early Quakers, who granted equal spiritual authority to women, refused to use forms of address that recognized social distinctions, supported religious freedom, and worked to abolish slavery." - AFSC “An Introduction to Testimonies,” Booklet, 2011.
Quakers use queries for personal reflection, self-examination, or spirited discussion. We have included queries throughout our Introduction to Quaker Testimonies, inviting us to examine the testimonies in light of our own convictions and life experiences.
- How do I show that I am open to all people and different ideas?
- What can we do to make sure that all people are treated fairly?
- How do I speak up when I see someone being treated poorly?
- How do I look for the good in everyone?
- How can I help things be fair, so that everyone can be included?
- How can I help people in need?
Here are some links to books that may spark terrific conversations at home.
Books for Lower School Students:
Books for Upper School Students:
- Quakerspeak - How Quaker Cemeteries are Different
- Quakerspeak - Quakers and Women in the Ministry
- Quakerspeak - How Modern Quakers Challenge Traditional Gender Roles
"If God is directly accessible to all persons, regardless of age, gender, race, nationality, economic or social or educational position - if every person is held equally in God’s love and has equal potential to be a channel for the revelation of God’s Truth, then all persons are to be equally valued. There is that Seed, that Light - there is that of God in every person. For Friends this insight has meant, from the beginning, equality of the sexes and races. In England and the English colonies it had to mean the end of privilege based on wealth or on class. In Japan and Kenya, where the existing cultures made women little more than chattel, it meant the establishment of Quaker schools for girls. It has meant equal respect for all honorable work. It has meant that one could not lie to nor cheat another child of God. Thus, veracity and honesty become part of the broader definition of Truth. It has meant respect for persons without regard to age - even the very young - even the very old - even the sometimes painful adolescent!" - Gordon Browne’s “Introducing Quakers,” a Pendle Hill pamphlet, 1992.