2. Children & Youth
Birmingham Friends feel a special responsibility to bring the children, youth and adults under their care into full participation in the life of the Meeting and into an understanding of the beliefs and practices of the Religious Society of Friends.
First-day school is organized by age into nursery school, elementary grades and middle and high school. Held each Sunday from September through June during meeting for worship, the First-day school program seeks to provide a religious education foundation that includes both Quakerism and teachings of the Old and New Testament. In addition to learning from a structured curriculum, the First-day school young people also participate in many service projects to benefit local and global organizations.
Holidays are also a time for celebration and joy by our young members. Each Christmas, the younger children join in a “Friendly Beasts” pageant celebrating the nativity. They also have the opportunity to participate in “Craft Day” to make a variety of hand-made objects to give as gifts to family and friends. On Easter, every size young Friend loves either to hide or to hunt eggs behind the meetinghouse!
The Youth Committee grew out of a desire by middle and high school Friends for a meeting for business of their own. Their activities have included raising money for charitable causes, discussing matters of concern such as the draft, reading scripture at the annual holiday Carol Sing and sending cookies to college students.
Barclay Friends Garden – in the late Spring, the First-day school children and many of their parents visit a local retirement home to plant flowers, trees and bushes so the residents may enjoy moments of peace and beauty as they walk or sit among the flora.
Pennies for Pumpkins – Each Halloween season, the First-day school students decorate pumpkins to raise money for UNICEF. These pumpkins are first displayed at the meetinghouse where individuals may donate funds to assist with the protection, healthcare, education and feeding of children in need worldwide. Afterwards, the pumpkins are taken to Barclay Friends, a local retirement home, as festive decorations for the residents.
The Giving Tree – each Christmas, the Youth Committee decorates a small tree with ornaments depicting the needs and wants of foster and homeless children residing at a shelter run by the Friends Association for the Care and Protection of Children.