“Can anyone guess why we’re doing bird-watching instead of Meeting for Worship?” Katy VanDusen asks her group.
— “Ya – bird watching is quiet and peaceful.”

Teaching Quaker process and values is an important part of our school’s education, but we also want to support the various spiritual journeys our students will take.  So instead of our normal “pre-meeting” and silent meeting for worship, last week we let students select from a menu of alternative worship options.  Community members and teachers shared their various practices (see below), giving students the chance to learn ways other than silent worship to connect to the divine and their inner selves.

In addition to birdwatching (above), Tai Chi, Meditation, Walking in the Rain, and Yoga (too intrusive to take photos, sorry), students enjoyed:

Exploring Movement with Marisela.
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Harry Potter: Recent grad Grace explored the spirituality of our favorite magicians. “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” (Dumbledore)
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Poetry: Professor Joe Heithaus and teacher Carlos Acuña supported our budding poets.
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Pizza!: Aaron and Joni came at 6am to stoke up the fires in our new wood-burning oven so that students could experience the culinary divine, and the gift of giving as they shared pizza with the other groups.AlternativeWorship9

Gospel singing with Melanie and Carol is always a moving experience.  Click here to enjoy a brief video.AlternativeWorship5

And of course, art: Zen Doodling with Amy, Finger painting with Chrissy, Meditative Art with Carla, and Outdoor Painting with Evan.
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Students and community members were also welcome to choose to attend the normal Silent Worship practice, which we all re-joined at the end to complete our experience in community.
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Thank you to all our volunteers who shared their practices and passions, and to our Quaker Life coordinators Monty and Pam for the vision and energy to make this happen.  Based on positive feedback from students and leaders, we hope to repeat this next semester.  Our hope is that students graduate from Monteverde Friends School with a deeper understanding of their own beliefs and a vision of how to manifest those values in the world.  A spiritual practice that resonates for each student could be the greatest graduation gift we can give.