In our 2014 summer issue of the First Day School Threadletter, we published an article from the Coordinator of Western Quarterly Meeting about a new program called “First Day School Convergences.” Then, the program was still in development. Now that one event has happened, we thought we’d update Friends. See below for a note from the Western Quarter Coordinator and the Religious Education Coordinator at West Grove Meeting, where the first FDS Convergence was held.
From the Coordinator, Sarah Kastriner:
In an effort to gather Quaker youth (in grades K-12) together–across monthly meetings but without the formality of quarterly meeting programs–Western Quarterly Meeting is experimenting with FDS Convergences. This is a non-event, wherein any monthly meeting in the quarter can extend an invitation for all other monthly meetings to bring their FDS programs and, as the name implies, CONVERGE in one place for a giant FDS experience. The goal is to keep “hosting duties” to a bare minimum and have the gathering of F/friends be the main event. Our first convergence was held at West Grove Monthly Meeting on November 16, 2014. It was a great success! London Grove Monthly Meeting will be hosting next in late winter.
From the Religious Education Coordinator at West Grove, Coleen Kennedy:
The first First Day School Convergence for the Western Quarter is now a part of our experience base! Imagine with me, First Day at West Grove Meeting on November 16th where the air is crisp and blessedly dry, in support of the favored outdoor setting for our first convergence gathering. Inside, most every Meeting House bench is warmed with approximately 30 youth and their loving support for a period of worship prior to the youth segment. Selected folk head out to the bird sanctuary, where two large leaf piles await. ‘Happy Helen’ Sibol (one of the High-School-Age Friends) puts forth an attentive adaptation of a meet and greet exercise, as a lead-in to a lesson on the Beatitudes. A treasure hunt for the first and last portions of the beatitudes on previously hidden tiles ensues only to land us all back in the bird sanctuary, to match each blessing with promised fruit, as given in Matthew’s gospel. At long last, attention gives way to the invitation of the leaf piles with shrieks and laughter as if between youth (and adults) long familiar with one another.
The spark in the eye of our individual and collective youth is grounding like little else! Thank you to the loving soul of our Quarter for this to be.