Traditional Quakers referred to the days of the week by their number, in order to avoid reference to the “pagan gods” whose names are embedded in those familiar words. Although few Quakers do so regularly now, we retain this practice by refering to Sunday as “First Day” and our religious education program as “First Day School.”
Families are encouraged to worship in attentive silence with the entire Meeting for the first ten or fifteen minutes, when worship begins at 10:30. Thereafter the children are directed upstairs, where First Day School activities are held until the rise of Meeting at 11:30. Families then participate in fellowship, with refreshments, fresh-picked fruit and home-made baked goods.
Child care is provided for children too young to participate in class discussion or organized projects. Younger children are engaged in crafts, singing, UNICEF projects, story-telling and other age-appropriate activities. The older children are challenged by group discussion of spiritual, historic and religious themes. They learn about Quaker history and spiritual traditions; about the stories of the Old and New Testaments and their meaning; about social and spiritual issues in their own lives; and about the application of Quaker principles to daily living. Classes are usually taught by adult Friends who volunteer.
On special occasions, we hold “pot luck” lunches and families intermingle for festive events. Christmas singing, Easter egg-hunts, and other special observances throught the year foster close ties among us both within and outside our Quaker activities.
In this tradition, generations of Quaker families have sustained the Cornwall Friends Meeting since 1790.