Affirming the Quaker Identity of Friends Schools
for the purpose of Membership Renewal
The Quaker Self-Study and Membership Renewal Process (MRP) is designed to be a rich learning and growth experience for a school community. It involves a year-long self-study followed by a school visit from Friends Council on Education at least once every ten years.
The Hope - Our Friends schools' most fundamental strength and source of renewal is our Quaker faith and practice. There is a profound and hopeful ambition in the Quaker vision of schools as spiritual communities. When we approach this potential, our schools are places rich in love, challenge, collaboration, fruitful conflict, and a generative sense of what is possible in the classroom, in the community, and in each other. We are able to help children and adults bring the light of the spirit to each other and out into the world.
To engage in the Quaker Self-Study and Membership Renewal Process (MRP), the school will form a self-study committee that includes representation from all constituency groups – faculty, administration and staff, board, parents, alumni/ae, Friends Meeting members as appropriate, students as appropriate. Friends Council has compiled a list of resources to support the school in the self-study process and is available to consult with the self-study team. The focus of the self-study is to affirm the Quaker identity of the school.
Cycles - Our ability to truly live this ideal, to sustain clarity of focus on the Quaker life of our schools, comes and goes amidst the many challenges of contemporary schooling. Indeed, healthy spiritual life in schools seems to unfold in cycles: periods of active focus and attention to this dimension of the community, sharpening our vision for it, developing key skills, consolidating our efforts of faith and practice, and strengthening the commitment of the community to our most fundamental values. This vital work is often followed by a quieter period of living out the fruits of this labor, using the community's renewed strengths to turn to other important agendas. In time, the need for a new cycle of community reflection and inquiry into Quaker faith and practice comes around again.
The school will confirm faithfulness to its Quaker identity as evidenced by its commitment to the Principles of Good Practice for Friends Schools: Affirming the Quaker Identity with the confirmations through a brief, clear report to Friends Council on Education supported by documentation confirming the six principles. After a school visit, Friends Council Membership Committee will provide commendations and recommendations to the school, and to the FCE Board, which gives final approval for membership renewal.
The Opportunity - Gathering all in a Friends school community in this reflective work, engaging the full range of voices in this dialogue, and making new the meaning of Friends faith and practice in the school's life is a process that can be tremendously rewarding and renewing. We hope that you will consider where in the cycle of spiritual work your school is right now and when among the other rhythms of school life it may be the right time within the next ten years for the school to undertake a self-study process for renewing membership in the Friends Council on Education.