Listening to a consultant from our seminary accrediting association last spring, I heard that a seminary that has a denominational attachment is only as strong as its denomination. The Earlham School of Religion is only as strong as our Quaker communion.
I am one among many concerned that Quakerism, particularly in the global north, is diminishing in numbers. It is astonishing to think that a meeting at the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting with 20 members once had 600 members, for whom the historic meetinghouse was built. Another meeting I attended in Philadelphia once had 100 members; now only 15 remain.
At the Quaker Leadership Center conference in April, those gathered from various Quaker traditions and across many yearly meetings quickly realized our concern is broadly held. (For more information on the conference, contact Andy Stanton Henry at [email protected].)
At the Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting, I encouraged Friends to be part of the evolution we are in, acting as co-creators with God and each other. Covid, climate justice, Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movements have changed our perception and heightened our sense of how, as a human family, we must respect all of life. The movements interface with important and persistent questions in religious life.
As those of us connected to Earlham can attest, our Quaker testimonies and ways of being offer an important perspective to the world. Quakers encourage radical love and spiritual presence. At Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion, we embody the Quaker testimonies of community, equality, peace, simplicity and integrity, with a smattering of good stewardship in the choices we make. We respect all people and our beautiful, fragile earth. We respect all life. Earlham provides the space to practice this and consider what more we can do for the good of humanity and the world.
I am grateful to be part of this Quaker effort. I am grateful to be part of this Quaker seminary where spiritual formation and ministry serve the world. And I am grateful to work to “keep the Q in Earlham.” It matters and will, I am sure, make a big difference to those whose lives Earlham touches.
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Dean of the Earlham School of Religion
“At Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion, we embody the Quaker testimonies of community, equality, peace, simplicity and integrity, with a smattering of good stewardship in the choices we make. ”