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Reflections from the SPARC Conference

Reflections from the SPARC Conference

Faculty members Kimani Lumsden (Lower School, Performing Arts Department Faculty) and Sofia Dias (Upper School, English Department Faculty) recently attended the SPARC (Spirited Practice and Renewed Courage) Conference at the Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May, New Jersey. Here are their reflections from their experience. 

On Tuesday, they checked into their accommodations at the hotel and had dinner at the Magnolia room. Following dinner, we gathered as a group to recommit to our community guidelines and share reflections on our school years. 

We created connections by reflecting in small groups on the following questions:

  1. What’s happening in the larger world that makes leading from a Quaker value-set so important? What Quaker principles seem most important to you in today’s world? What seems most present in your mind?

  2. Where do you see Quakerism in your school? How do Quaker values “show up?” What are the unique characteristics of working in a Quaker organization?

  3. What helps you learn best? What are the characteristics of an environment that brings out the best in you as a learner?

  4. What do you want to get from this SPARC session? What themes and / or questions are you hoping to focus on during our time together?

On Wednesday, we shared breakfast as a cohort and gathered on the beach for Silent Meeting. After Silent Meeting, we participated in a field nature journal activity in which we recorded observations, perceptions, and feelings of the natural world. We used a variety of materials such as pastels, watercolor, and collage to create our journals. Following our nature journaling, we participated in a Quaker Clearness Committee. A Clearness Committee in Quaker practices meets with a person who is unclear on how to proceed in a dilemma. The goal of a Clearness Committee is to support a person in reaching a deeper understanding of the issue and gain clarity about how to move forward. We practiced engaging in a clearness committee in small groups by sharing dilemmas and asking open, honest questions. Following the clearness committees, we explored the beautiful town of Cape May.

On Thursday, we participated in a Silent Meeting on the beach and reflected on our nature journals. In April, our cohort will meet again at Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat in Wallingford, Pennsylvania.