The page(s) below need to be transcribed and/or reviewed. Click the button to the right of a page to transcribe or review the text’s transcription.
For transcription tips and more information about transcribing documents in the Jane Addams Digital Edition, please visit About Transcribing.
An Anniversary at the Fellowship School, in Glandê
(REPORT EXTRACT FROM – JOURNAL DE NYON – OF OCTOBER 19, 1925).
Most of our readers are perhaps unaware, or do not know the institute founded in Gland, two years ago by a Quaker family1) and whose goal is so noble and so lofty that in order to give our readers a very clear idea we publish in extensor the (Prologue) of this little evening which was given, Wednesday October 17, 1923, at 8 p.m., in the pretty hall of the institute.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Friends,
It was two years ago today that our school began its work in Gland. It has fortunately prospered, and it is with joy that we are preparing to celebrate this second anniversary, in the company of friends from the neighborhood who thank you very much for coming.
The work of peace to which our school would like to contribute is a long-term work. If we want one day, men to live happily, fraternally with each other, helping each other instead of fighting each other, we must prepare for this new life from youth, from childhood even.
We do not expect this ideal to be realized in two years, in quarter years, or even in ten. Truly, we do not know (neither the hour nor the day) of its realization, but we must work each moment, faithfully, to get closer to the goal. We are convinced that it is accessible; we are certain that nothing, in principle, prevents us from achieving it, provided that we really want it and strive for it patiently and humbly.
The great difficulty, as we know, in establishing true harmony between men, and defeating the spirit of war, is not external circumstances, but in the misery of the human heart itself, in its egoism. And, it must be said with greater precision, the great enemy is not this egoism always sung with complacency, which rests in other nations, in other schools, in other men, but mainly and for each of us, he wui dominates in our own nation, in our own school, and in our own heart. When things go wrong around us, the cause is always to some extent found in our attitude.
If, and this is the big if, we managed to essentially modify our individual attitude, we would soon discover the true solution and we would have the strength to realize it.
There is in fact a force in the world more powerful than that of material means, such as money, the army, or the action of crowds; it is the spiritual strength that emerges from a selfless attitude, from constant good will, never shying away, even from sacrifice. It is certainly this Almighty force of active love that the greatest religions, and in particular Christianity, want us to rely on.
1) Members of a religious sect founded in the 16th century and spread mainly in England and the United States. A deviation from puritanism, it had the shoemaker George Fox as its founder, William Penn as its legislator and Robert Barclay as its theologian. The Quakers, also called (trembling), meet in rooms devoid of any ornament and wait there with meditation for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. If one of them feels inspiration, which is announced by the (trembling) of the inspired person, he stands up, speaks and everyone listens in silence. The Quakers do not admit any sacrament, do not take an oath in court, refuse to bear arms, view war as a fratricidal struggle, speak informally to everyone, admit no ecclesiastical hierarchy and never uncover themselves, even before the king. . They are generally distinguished by the purity of their morals, their probity and their philanthropy. - (Larousse). [page 2]
This spiritual Force is often denied. We are told: (No matter what you say and what you do, ultimately, in this mind it is always Money, Brutal Force, Military Force, which command and determine the lives of people. For serious matters, it is that is to say, when it comes to daily bread, or the defense of one's life, or the homeland, your so-called spiritual strength does not count.) This, we believe, is the great error of our fidelity, our lack of faith, prevent it from manifesting itself in our life.
Proof of its existence has often been given in the lives of individuals, and sometimes in the history of peoples. We have seen men, gifted with a particular moral force – like Livingstone for example – emerge from the most dangerous situations, without difficulty.
Similar examples are rarer in the lives of peoples, because communities practice even less frequently than individuals, an ideal of disinterestedness and generous sacrifice. It is one of these examples, however, that the short living and speaking tableau, which will be shown to you now, illustrates. The scene it depicts is strictly historical; it really happened, in North America, at the time of the colonial wars which raged between the French and the English, for the possession of the continent, which did not belong, in law, any more to some than to to others; that they had conquered, often by driving out the primitive inhabitants with great cruelty. The native Indians naturally took advantage of this war between whites to revolt against them, too, and to massacre a large number of them.
Among the white settlers, the Quakers had always treated the natives with gentleness and kindness – and it is one of their experiences that our sketch represents. It should perhaps be remembered here that the Quaker custom has always been to pray to God in silence.
The happy outcome of the adventure could well have been explained, moreover, it could have turned out quite differently and ended with a general massacre. But the Quakers were ready to live if they could do so without sacrificing an ideal more precious than life: ready to die if they could not preserve their lives without betraying God's command to love their brothers.
They have directly experienced the truth of this fundamental word of the Gospel: (He who gives his life – who offers his life as a sacrifice – will save it, while he who wants above all to save his life in the long run, inevitably, the will lose.)
Isolated individuals can, in a short life, accidentally escape this rule – for people whose lives are longer, the punishment of selfishness, of those who do not want to give their life – is inevitable.
The little historical scene which took place after the reading of the prologue was very well rendered. In the foreground, a whole community of Quakers, united in a feeling of absolute confidence in their God and listening with quiet assurance, despite the danger they face, the message brought to them by a Pastor sent to support them. In the background the invasion, in this quiet asylum, of a troop of armed and threatening Indians, bows drawn, arrows aimed at this small pacifist group.
Faced with this confinement, this assurance of an upright and pure conscience, the hatred of the savages falls and with it their weapons. The Indians touched by this spiritual weapon which emerges from this peace come to sit down one after the other, alongside the Quakers, and the outstretched hands soon come to seal the fraternal friendship which should unite all men.
The reproduction of this historical scene illustrates the purpose of Miss Thomas' School, its aim and desire to bring those entrusted to it, for their education and instruction, to realize in their hearts and lives firstly , around them, quite naturally, subsequently, this thought and this word of Christ: (You shall love your neighbor as yourself), a thought whose realization by all men would save the world.
It was then an allegorical piece as interesting as it was captivating, composed by all these little pacifist people, teachers and students, decorated and costumed by themselves and very well rendered in every way. It is titled: (The Rainbow of Hope). [page 3]
In the first part, the good spirits of nature, represented by seven young girls dressed in the seven colors of the rainbow, let their gaze fall on the world of Humans. They demonstrate their suffering and sadness at the sight of the discord, hatred and war that ensues between men.
Suddenly a young and beautiful child appears in their midst, running and playing. The sight of this innocence and this grace brings the spirits a first hope.
In the second painting, the child has become a beautiful teenager. He is solicited in turn by War, represented by a young and valiant Warrior dressed in red brandishing a sword and leading him into the exhilaration of his exploits, and by Peace personified by a young girl dressed in white with a olive wreath. It is the struggle, very well understood in this little painting, which ends with the victory of Peace which only welcomes the adolescent when he has turned resolutely towards her, determined to support her cause and to work towards bring people to understand and love each other.
The third painting shows us the teenager who has become a man who suffers, in prison, from the consequences of his choice. He is tormented by the demons of doubt and despair represented by two evil spirits armed with tridents who harass him. But his cause is that of Law, his goal is love and fraternity between men and he emerges victorious from the struggle and the realization of his magnificent dream takes place which becomes a reality:
In the same thought of fraternity are united the fierce Redskins (image of War) and the confident and calm Quakers, image of Peace), while the blessed spirits celebrate with their gracefully rhythmic dances this triumph of love over hatred and the reign on the land of Peace and Fraternity.
A small note to this last table:
Faced with the magnificent vision of this beautiful day, why did these men keep such a sad attitude which was only appropriate at the beginning and should have changed at that moment to joy and gratitude? And why do redskins still worship fire? since on this day of which this painting gave the vision, all men will worship the true God, by faith, because this day will only come when the Prince of peace has subdued all hearts?
The work of this School is beautiful and great, and if all our environments, families, schools, governments, were inspired by this spirit, the problem of peace would soon be resolved. We must encourage those who understand it and thank them for their effort; the repetition, for children for example, of these allegorical paintings so touching in their elevated thought, so captivating and graceful by the artistic note brought to their execution, would undoubtedly more in these young minds than many learned theories.
After the evening, a friendly snack was offered by the students of the School, among whom there was a little American Negro whose face, like those of his fellow students, radiated pure and confident joy. .