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THE TESTIMONY OF SIMPLICITY arose from Friends’ conviction that avoiding over-dependence on possessions and self-indulgence would better enable us to open ourselves to God. It is a way of organizing one’s life—of setting priorities. It asks us to step back, to free ourselves from emotional and physical clutter, from “busy-ness,” so that we may discern what is truly essential. Furthermore, we are asked to free ourselves and others from all messages and agendas of fear and anxiety. “It implies clarity, calm and focus, rather than distraction, stress and excess.” (Earlham College Community Principles and Practices) 


At Friends, the testimony of simplicity is a tool to help us navigate the demands of a frenetic, multi-tasking culture and our busy daily schedules, finding a healthy, productive balance among our uses of time, attention, energy and technology. We are challenged by this testimony to create the space, within the School and within ourselves, where we can interact creatively with that culture: “to be good stewards of all our resources, including our own time, energy and talents.” (Earlham Principles and Practices)

How can striving for simplicity improve my life and the lives of others?

How do I decide what really matters to me?

How can we achieve simplicity as a school in New York City in the 21st century?


“Simplification results from a realization of what is essential.”

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Faith & Practice, 1995

“Simplicity does not mean that all conform to uniform standards. Each must determine in the light that is given him what promotes and what hinders his compelling search for the Kingdom. The call to each is to abandon those things that clutter his life and to press toward the goal unhampered.”


“Live simply, so that all may simply live.”

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