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Our Quaker Heritage and Traditions

Although Lincoln was not founded as a Quaker School, the School came under the jurisdiction of the New England Yearly Meeting and Society of Friends in 1924 to secure the School's financial position and, more importantly, to provide a Quaker education for girls in Providence. While Lincoln School is no longer responsible to the Yearly Meeting School Committee or the New England Yearly meeting, we remain connected to our valued Quaker roots by maintaining our membership with the Friends Council on Education and working continually to incorporate the Quaker testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Service, and Stewardship of the Earth into our lives on a daily basis.

Silent Meeting at Lincoln School provides a weekly forum for reflection on the Quaker values of respect for the individual and the inner light, which reflects the goodness in each one of us.  Silent Meeting begins when the first person sits down in the agreed-upon gathering space and continues while everyone is seated and beginning to, what Friends speak of as "centering down." Centering down is when our focus turns from external distractions to our quiet, centered place. During that time, students or faculty may choose to share thoughts and reflections with the community. At the end of our silence, a designated member of the meeting will shakes hands with another person and each one present shakes hands with those sitting nearby.

At Lincoln, Silent Meeting takes on a different set of characteristics throughout our different programs and divisions. 

  • In the early childhood program, a short silence is followed by the celebration of community and of individual worth.
  • In the Lower School, a longer silence is followed by a student led discussion on community values and issues.
  • In the Middle School, the concept of a "query," or essential question is introduced, and a more extended silence comes before a time to share announcements and sentiments about the community.
  • In the Upper School, the silent meeting is just that - silence that we hope secures a sense of inner peace and tranquility, providing an opportunity for everyone to learn how to listen inwardly and to perhaps share a piece of ones inner-life. Announcements take place in another space making a distinction between the peaceful effect of Silent Meeting and the lively tone of Upper School announcements.

A variety of projects and committees are in place to continually reflect on our Quaker values. The Community and Spiritual Life Committee in the Upper School is involved with the Quaker Youth Leadership Conference.

The Religious and Spiritual Life Committee (made up of students, faculty, staff and three trustees) meets regularly to review our continuing work and to explore new opportunities for outreach and strategies for keeping our Quaker traditions and values vital and accessible within our community. The critical role of this committee remains to share and inform across the community and to the Board of Trustees about the spiritual work and activities that are taking place across the Lincoln community.

The newly created Center for Peace, Equity and Justice through Service promotes the visionary leadership of individuals who embrace the values of Lincoln School and strive to construct new models for inclusion.

At Lincoln, one of our traditional songs, "Simple Gifts," speaks of the calming down into ourselves and discovering our humility, or - from our motto - our lowliness.  Lowliness is a quality of self-confidence, which allows one to encourage the strengths (and voices) of others. It is important that we maintain perspective and remain grateful for simple gifts.  In the third verse of the traditional song, it reminds us: "'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of 'me.'" We are indeed fortunate to be part of a community based upon Quaker values that expect each of us to act with social responsibility and compassion - that it is truly the simplest of gifts.

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