Queries and Spiritual Life at Stratford Friends

Every morning at Stratford Friends School the day begins with Meeting for Worship. On some days it is silent and the sun streams through the window and the only sounds are the birds and the traffic outside. On other days Teacher Julia, the music teacher, plays the piano or harp. About once a week we have a query. Queries are questions written by a group of the oldest students in the school. The Query Committee meets once a month to write queries and to decide on a schedule of closing meeting. By being the ones to close meeting, ask for announcements and dismiss teams, the students take ownership of the Meeting for Worship time.

When the Query Committee meets, they struggle with what sorts of questions are spiritual. Sometimes the queries are topical and have to do with what is going on at school or in the world. “How can we welcome new people to the school?” and “What would you do if the whole world were at peace?” were two recent queries. Sometimes the queries have to do with the time of the year. “When you give thanks, whom do you give it to?” was a Thanksgiving time query. “How can we say good-bye to those who are graduating?” is an end of the year query.

The faculty also has a committee that thinks about Meeting for Worship. The Spiritual Life Committee makes sure that the teams do activities to prepare students for Meeting for Worship. They also think of the other ideas to make Meeting for Worship and the spiritual life of the school more meaningful. This year they have set up a schedule for teams to bring in a “focus object.” This is usually a natural object of beauty or meaning that is put in the center of the room during Meeting for Worship. The objects have varied from live chicks that were just hatching in Teacher Richard’s science room to the first beautiful daffodils in the spring. At the beginning of the year, the Spiritual Life Committee organizes the writing of the school’s Spirit Document. You can read this year’s document, which is hanging in the front hall. We begin with talking in teams about what the word “spirit” means. Then students brainstorm ideas about how to make the SGS spirit the way we want it this year. During Meeting for Worship the various ideas form the teams are shared and discussed. After as many drafts as are needed for all to be able to agree to it, the document is written on a large piece of paper and everyone in the school community signs it.

Stratford Friends School Streamer Fall/Winter 2005


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