Spiritual growth is ongoing in all parts of our lives. Religious education is a useful part of this growth. It should be carefully planned to meet the needs of varying ages, but everyone in the meeting can help us understand that religion and everyday life are one and the same.
- Do we give our young people, starting well before senior high age, a good grounding in Quaker ideas and activities including worship and the process of business, so that they know what this religion is, and how we are putting our principles into action in our lives and our world?
- Do we make it clear what the joys and responsibilities of membership are so that they know what is and isn’t expected?
- Do we make it clear that we are seeking too?
- Do we involve them regularly in activities that include people of all ages? Do we involve them in the workings of the meeting: committees, planning and running activities including business meetings?
- Do we try to keep our business meetings from being “dull, boring, and uninteresting”?
- Do our adults know our young people as individuals, not just as a collective group of “them” or as “so-and-so’s children”? Are we really Friends?
- Is there joy in our worship, business, first day school, and other activities?
- Do we celebrate together?
– New York Yearly Meeting, 1979
Specifically, through a realization of the living presence of God, religious education should enlarge and enrich our lives in such areas of experience as worship, the world of nature, the Bible, the life and teachings of Jesus, the history and testimonies of Quakers, the examples of other great religious leaders, the work and play of the meeting, and sharing with other peoples.
Meetings often appoint a religious education committee. This committee, or the monthly meeting on ministry and counsel, provides guidance and suitable material for classes for children, young persons, and adults. Meeting retreats and conferences provide times to grow spiritually and to expand awareness of the ways of Friends in other places and of people of other faiths.