Historic Newtown Friends Meeting at 219 Court Street traditionally gives to each graduating eighth grader a copy of Faith and Practice, the Quaker guide to beliefs and conduct published by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, the coordinating body of 11,000 Quakers in 103 local Quaker meetings in the Greater Philadelphia Tri-State Area.
The ten eighth graders who received their copies of “Faith and Practice” and the high school each plans to attend this year are: Charlotte Bancroft of Newtown (Council Rock North), Dixie Hurst-Blair of Langhorne (George School), Owen Buxton of Newtown (Council Rock North), Zachary Somogyi of Yardley (George School), Emily Hulihan of Newtown (Council Rock North), Chiarina Hunt of Newtown (Council Rock North), Eva Kinnel of Newtown (George School), Alex Li of West Windsor (West Windsor Plainsboro High School North, NJ), Charlotte Spence of Newtown (George School), and Conrad Stebbins of Yardley (Pennsbury High School).
The presentation of the copies of Faith and Practice is part of a process in the Quaker Meeting of recognizing young people and their contributions to the Meeting.
Also acknowledged during the year are newborn babies at Easter with gifts of potted flowers, fourth graders at Easter with their own Bibles, sixth graders in the spring with a mentor each selects from among the adults in meeting, twenty-one-year-olds at Christmas during “Quaker Homecoming” with a gift of a reproduction of “The Peaceable Kingdom” painting by Edward Hicks, and adult young Friends being invited to speak to the Adult Class about their work, experiences and/or spiritual journeys.
Faith and Practice is considered a “guide” since Quakers have neither creed nor rigid rules which one must follow but rather depend on each individual to find the Divine and the truth for herself or himself as “way opens” or as new truth is ascertained in one’s spiritual journey.
Early Quakers described it this way. In 1656, on the occasion of a Meeting of Quaker Elders held at Balby, England, the following was published: ”Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all with the measure of the light which is pure and holy may be guided, and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit, —not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”
Newtown Friends Meeting (www.newtownfriendsmeeting.org) co-founded by “Peaceable Kingdom” painter and Quaker minister, Edward Hicks, in 1815, is open to all who wish to attend. First Day Education (Sunday School) classes are in recess for the summer (held at 9:45 a.m. during the academic year). Meeting for Worship begins at 10 a.m. (held at 11 a.m. during the academic year) followed by coffee, juice and snacks in the Gathering Room. Childcare is provided for all events.