Friends Center at Guilford College is a collaborative endeavor of the school and the Religious Society of Friends. Its mission is to provide programs that nurture servant-leaders both at Guilford College and in the wider community through activities that are grounded in prayer, informed by Friends’ faith and practice, nourished by worship and spiritual formation and brought to fullness in Quaker community.
The Quaker Life Committee of the Guilford College Board of Trustees oversees Friends Center. Programs are made possible by the generous financial support of many individuals, Friends meetings, United Society of Friends Women circles, grants and Guilford College. Contributions to Friends Center are an important investment in the future of the Religious Society of Friends and the spiritual vitality of Guilford College.
Quaker Leadership Scholars Program
Since Friends Center developed the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program (QSLP) in 1992, more than 150 students have been a part of the program. Spiritual growth, academic study, mentoring and exposure to campus visitors from the worldwide family of Friends help prepare Quaker Leadership Scholars to be of significant service to the Religious Society of Friends.
In 1990, Friends Center began Guilford’s first Office of Campus Ministry. Since then, weekday morning, midweek evening and Sunday worship have been instituted. Guilford’s historic “Hut” has been turned into an inviting campus ministry center where forums, teas, small group discussions and gatherings are held. Thirteen student religious organizations flourish on campus with Friends Center’s assistance. An annual Religious Emphasis Week brings internationally known religious leaders to campus. Throughout the year, a campus ministry newsletter and many visiting speakers keep spiritual life vital and active. Friends Center, in association with North Carolina Friends Disaster Service, also sponsors fall, spring and summer break work trips, which have included disaster relief, inner city work and international projects.
Quaker Renewal Program
Friends Center offers comprehensive adult continuing education programs in Bible, Christian thought and Quaker history. Three six-week courses in Quaker studies are offered annually. Topics have included North Carolina Quaker history, Friends in healing, Quaker women, Quaker diversity, the spirituality of Thomas Kelly, spirituality and peacemaking, ethics in public life, Quakers and culture, Quakers and Christ and numerous book studies.
As a major Quaker resource center for the South, Friends Center fields numerous inquiries about Friends and provides guest speakers for schools, churches, meetings, civic organizations and the media. Friends Center provides the orientation to Quaker faith and practice for Guilford College faculty, staff, administration, students and parents and was instrumental in assuring that Friends testimonies are creatively addressed in the school’s curriculum.