Telling our Story: A Testimony of FaithWritten by Camille S. Edwards
On the evening of Thursday, December 9, 2021, we gathered on the quad for hot cocoa and then in the Dolan Center theater for our annual faith exchange, called Holidays with Friends. As a Quaker school, committed to the work and learning of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice we are responsible for telling our story in a way that is transparent and authentic. Holidays with Friends is one of our all-school, all-family DEI-focused programs designed to create fruitful pathways for dialogue, meaningful connections, and mission-aligned opportunities for fellowship across our community in the name of a richly diverse and inclusive school. Our faith identities, religions, and points of spirituality are merely one lens of the many social identifiers that we have as people in the world.
As a DEI practitioner, one of my professional responsibilities is to model the teachings that I coach and advise our community to engage in each day. Storytelling, and speaking from the ‘I’ perspective, is one of the most important practices I seek to uphold with integrity and compassion. Holidays with Friends brought us together after a long year apart. And though we were socially distanced and masked, you could sense the quiet magic of togetherness in the room; the magic in gathering together filled the space. Our student performances - both ensemble and solo - were inspiring, the faith testimonies of a dear colleague and student were heartfelt, and the words of the Mufti Farhan and Rabbi Stanger were wise and unifying.
This is the story of us. These moments embody the best of who we are and we are blessed to be in a community where regardless of our faith identities, whether or not we observe a religious practice, we can be brought together because of our belief in our Quaker testimonies and values. Thank you for being a part of our story.
I am so grateful to everyone who was gathered together that evening. Seeing the smiles in your eyes, shaking hands again, and celebrating the warmth of the holiday season brought me great joy. May the days ahead continue to be light-filled and full of life’s simple wonders – family, togetherness, reflections, and boundless blessings. We will see everyone in the new year, friends! Missing you already!
In peace & partnership,
Camille S. Edwards