Individuals performing historical research often would like to know whether their local meetings or their ancestors participated in the Underground Railroad. FGC cannot answer that question.

As with many aspects of the Quaker faith, there are many approaches to the religious education of children and adults that vary among meetings and branches of Friends.The different branches of the Quaker faith often have their own distinct style of worship, organizational structures. and beliefs. How the meetings and churches within these branches approach religious education will be different as well.

Unprogrammed Tradition

In the liberal, un-programmed tradition meetings tend not to have paid ministers or staff other than a meeting secretary or groundskeepers. However, some meetings with the resources do sometimes hire or provide a stipend to trained childcare providers.

In general, First Day (Sunday) School and Adult Religious Education are offered by members of the meeting who serve on the meeting’s “First Day School Committee.” These Friends have varying degrees of experience and education in offering programs and classes to children and adults in the meeting. Sometimes this religious education curriculum is pre-established, and sometimes it is created throughout the year, responding to the needs of the local community.

Some programs, like Faith & Play™ and Godly Play®, need leaders who have gone through a training to offer the program effectively:

Other kinds of curriculum offered by FGC require less training, but still a serious intentionality in offering the curriculum/program to the meeting.

Although different meetings have different guidelines based on who is able to serve on which committees, it’s generally advisable that a person teaching a First Day (or Religious Education) class at least be very familiar with Quaker worship, faith, practice, and the Testimonies.

Many meetings also require teachers to have a criminal background check if they will be alone with children while teaching or providing child-care.

Semi-Programmed & Programmed Tradition

In semi-programmed and programmed Quaker meetings and churches, Sunday services may have a shorter period of waiting worship than in the un-programmed meetings, singing, prayers offered by the pastor and/or the congregation, reading from the Bible, along with a short homily and or a longer prepared sermon.

There is often a paid minister/pastor who may carry a variety of roles, depending on the meeting or church (this often includes preparing a message or sermon for the Sunday service.)

Depending on the size of the meeting or church, it’s not uncommon for there to be a “youth pastor” or a paid children’s program leader. Again, it often depends on the meeting/church, the size of the congregation and what roles are already filled by paid staff.

Friends United Meeting, the umbrella organization which is made up of unprogrammed, semi-programmed and programmed Quaker meetings/churches, has historically had its own curriculum.

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