Guilford celebrates World Quaker Day in Founders

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“Lets begin with a moment of silence,” said Director of Friends Center Wes Daniels.

On Oct. 2, 2017, members of QLSP and the greater Guilford College community, gathered in the Gilmer room of Founders Hall for the World Quaker Day Panel.

“We wanted to highlight some of the global aspects of Quakerism,” said Daniels. “When we’re here at Guilford, it’s very easy to sort of focus on North American Quakers and … our little branches and yearly meetings, but as you all know, there are Quakers all over the world.

“While we have a very small slice of the Quaker world here, and we’re certainly glad for that slice … there’s a lot more going on as it pertains to Quakerism globally.”

The Friends World Committee for Consultation organization focuses on bringing Friends of various cultures together in worship, communication and consultation to express common heritage, and share the Quaker message globally.

According to the FWCC, there are Friends in many regions of the world, including 140,065 Friends in the Americas, 32,141 in Europe and the Middle East, Friends, 23,946 in Asia West-Pacific, and the largest Friends population of 181,405 in Africa.

This diversity in Friends worldwide was reflected in the speakers at the panel. They included Edith Lebrato-Shepherd from Cuba, Yves Dusenge from Rawanda, Nour Salhoub and Tamara Mahmoud from Palestine, Emma Graham and Hayley Lowry who studied abroad in Belize and Gwen Erickson and Daniels, who presented general information about Quakers.

Salhoub spoke of her experience at The Ramallah Friends School in Palestine.

“I used to go to … St. Josephs School before I went to the Ramallah Friends School … Growing at that school, a catholic school, and then (going) to the Quaker school … really helped me grow and become a very independent and outspoken woman,” said Salhoub.

Salhoub better understood Quakerism through attending Guilford College.

“When you go to a Quaker high school, the administration is mostly Quaker, but there aren’t a lot of students who are Quaker, so you don’t really understand (what Quakerism is) because you’re … a student,” said Salhoub. “I was actually able to take in each value and understand what (Quakerism) is by itself, and know how I can affect people and affect myself if I take in that value, and I think Guilford made (Quakerism) much more clear to me.

Throughout the panel, the speakers constantly spoke of how the Quaker community does not allow borders and distance to separate Friends from helping one another.

“The reason why we came from Cuba to New York, the reason why we came to Guilford (was) because we had all these connections already,” said Guilford alum Lebrato-Shepherd, another speaker at the panel. “When I came to Guilford I came with tuition for the first semester. It had given to me by (the) new yearly meeting… After I got here, the United Society of Friends Women heard about me and began to help me with my tuition, and I was able to finish all four years.”

The panel highlighted the emphasis of lending a helping hand within the Quaker faith.

Whether it was providing food and shelter for refugees or visiting schools in Belize and teaching English, World Quaker Day celebrated how all over the world, Quakers are present to aid one another.