Sunday 3 October was World Quaker Day and this week we celebrate Quaker Outreach Week. Ackworth was founded as a Quaker school in 1779, to educate Quaker children ‘not in affluence’. Much has changed since then but we still state in our aims that Quaker values underpin the school. At the heart of the Quaker faith is the statement in the first Advice:
Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life.
Hence the emphasis on silence which still shapes our day at Ackworth and which is such a feature of the school, giving as it does a reflective feel to our daily lives. Having listened, a Quaker tries, however imperfectly, to translate faith into practice. This year’s theme is Hope and Resilience – so what did our pupils have to say about what Quakerism means to them and how it has helped or affected them over the last 24 months…
- Quaker beliefs and values allow you to connect with other people who may also be going through their own personal challenges. Quakerism gives you the ability to bring people together in friendship for the mutual benefit of all. Climate crisis’ need a collective response. That single solidarity can be found when people are brought together equally, something found in Quakerism. (Rhys)
- The world has been in a severe pit of crisis (due to COVID-19) for almost two years and as a result we have all endured an immense struggle. Quakerism may be perceived as more than a religion, it is a community that highlights core values which are beneficial for positive human interaction. One Quaker ritual that people may be able to draw strength from is meeting for worship -period of silence. Silence presents vital opportunities for reflection, stimulating many parts of the brain, which encourages awareness and gratitude of the now and present moment. This will enables the ability to focus on the positives of the situation as opposed to the negatives linked to the time of crisis. I attend Ackworth School, a Quaker boarding school, which has a motto of ‘Non Sibi Sed Omnibus’, meaning – not for one self but for all. This values the process of working together in a small community, in order to benefit the larger community. This approach embodies the simplicity and sustainability values of Quakers. Even if we don’t believe our small change will be impactive upon global warming or other global climate change, one small step made by a smaller population will in turn help the greater picture in the future. (Emily)
- Quakerism helps me to clear my mind to be able to perceive the truth and help me enlighten my outlook on my peers and allows us me to connect even through trying times like COVID-19. (Matthew)
- The Quaker faith allows you to draw strength in many different ways. In a time of crisis, living in truth provides clarity and simplicity to your life and allows you to reflect on what is important. The silences that are carried out throughout the day, allows me to reflect and learn more about the community and gain perspective about the world around me. Quakerism also helps me deal with the climate crisis as it allows me to be educated on the resources that I am using and the sustainability of the products being used in everyday life. By being mindful about the worlds natural resources and learning how to live a simple and sustainable life, allows you to help fight against the climate crisis in an informed and effective way. (Abrielle)
- Quakers are kind and peaceful followers of their practices and through every action, the thread of equity and empathy is evident. As we approach a global warming crisis, it is important that we all accept responsibility in improving the state of our Earth as we all live here together. Quakerism is against the blame culture of who initiated the potential crisis, instead it focuses on the positive impact each individual can have on recovering from global warming. The motto of Ackworth school – non sibi sed omnibus, not for oneself but for everyone is a reminder of the impact and importance of selflessness and it’s powers. (Harriet)