What is Quakerism?
Is there religious instruction?
There is no formal religious instruction at Lancaster Friends School. We welcome other faith traditions to feel at home alongside people who are Quaker and others who are not religious. We do discuss and practice the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, equality, and stewardship, and our mission is to embed these values in every day life. Middle school students may engage with the history, traditions, and principles of Quakerism, but again, this is done within the context of examination and inquiry.
What religious practices are included in an LFS education?
At Lancaster Friends School, we gather for a weekly Meeting for Worship together. Meeting for Worship is simple, and embraces religiously diverse community members. Students and faculty gather to worship silently. If a person feels moved to speak, they are encouraged to speak to the community from their hearts. The unprogrammed nature of Meeting for Worship, with its focus on the strength of the gathered group, gives children and adults of all faiths a powerful tool for spiritual growth.
What if our family does not practice Quakerism?
Families that practice any or no religion are welcome at Lancaster Friends School. Meeting for Worship is a meditative, introspective practice that can benefit children of a different or no religion. Quakers do not seek to convert individuals to Quakerism or to impart religious beliefs on any person who believes differently. Shared silence allows for quiet space outside of the normal day, and carves out time for students to spend time listening to their inner voice and sharing that with the community.
Why Quaker Education?
If you're wondering why Friends education is so great, hear it from Quaker school graduates:
"...changed my life for the better."
"Going to a Quaker school was a shocking switch from my public school system. I was used to being a number, and being black, I was used to feeling like I had to go the extra mile to have my humanity and intelligence acknowledged. One of my favorite parts about the Quaker philosophy is the necessity for equality for all. The belief that there is the light of God in all of us, whether you are religious or not absolutely changed my life for the better. I could see this principle in my relationship with my teachers, which was one of my biggest and favorite shocks about Quaker school...Another rarity I have found in Quaker Schools is the mindset and lens students are given to see the world with. Students are not only taught about the many problems our world has, they are taught that they have a responsibility to do something about it. Moving students out of the observer's position and into the position of changemakers is not only radical but so incredibly necessary. Overall, the Quaker school experience is so much more than an education. It is about evolving students into their highest potential in a safe, nurturing environment and ensuring that they leave the school an improved, well-rounded individual who can share what they’ve learned with the world." - MAK, Westtown School
"...a more holistic approach..."
"I loved the Quakerism aspect! I definitely got an education that took a more holistic approach and focused less on solely academics. The religion and history courses I got to take would never be offered in a public school setting. I also learned that there is a greater importance than being hyper-focused on getting good grades, social status, and being self absorbed." - EJ
"Strong social justice focus"
"My Quaker grade school and high school educational experience was an incredibly powerful influence on my desire to dedicate my life's work to advancing social justice. It was in great part due to my Quaker education that I began to investigate ways to be of service to my community. Teaching critical thinking, compassion and tolerance for others as well as a focus on the connections formed by striving to recognize the inner light in each person were all tenets of my Quaker education. I began volunteer work with the homeless community in Philadelphia and have continued to be a professional advocate for human rights and environmental justice ever since. The strong social justice focus in my earliest years in Quaker grade school was instrumental to developing my sense of duty to community and the importance of working to make the world a better place." Paul Paz y Miño, Associate Director at Amazon Watch, Greene Street Friends School and Friends Central