By Galen McNemar Hamann
Director of Friends Education
In our lower school, I use Quaker Faith & Play as a means to help students better understand Quaker beliefs and help tell the history of Quakerism. Working with third grade at the end of the last school year, I used the tale of Mary Fisher, a Quaker who lived in the 1600’s, as a chance to teach about Quaker leadings and to demonstrate how we might approach others of different religions today.
The story explores Mary’s ability to follow a leading – a sense that one should do something. One of the leadings Mary followed, one which she is now famous for, was her leading to travel from England to Turkey to meet with Sultan Mehmet IV, the ruler of the Ottoman empire and a Muslim. Her desire was to share with him her understanding of Quakerism and to talk together about religion. Sultan Mehmet IV received her with hospitality and they were able to engage in dialogue, reaching a deeper understanding of one another’s religion.
These students, now in the fourth grade, will next study world religions and take part in a project based on inter-religious collaboration.