John Ratliff, a member of Newtown Quaker Meeting and a senior at Haverford College will discuss his study of Gnosticism in the Bible, and Kamryn (Kamy) Loustau, a senior at Princeton will discuss her study of mourning rituals among African American slaves at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, April 16th.
John Ratliff’s program, Interpreting Gnosis: Understanding the Material and Immaterial, will look at “an early branch of Christianity that emphasizes the importance of divine knowledge and salvation, relate Gnosticism to Quaker thought, explore the main gnostic texts, and compare them to our modern understanding of the Old Testament.” John hopes “to invite others to interpret both Quakerism and early Christianity through this uncommon, yet fascinating perspective.”
John is a major in Mathematics and an active member of Haverford College’s Quaker House, a collection of Quaker-interested students who are motivated to serve the community.
Kamy Loustau’s program, Mourning by Morning and Freedom by Night, “investigates the different processes that African American Slaves performed in order to mourn the lives of those lost and explores how they found freedom and hope during these rituals. “
Kamy says, “My paper uses evidence taken from slave narratives to uncover the strength and community slaves found in the midst of their oppression and loss, and how they used mourning rituals to not only care for and honor the life that was lost, but also how these meetings were used to bolster communities among slaves, thus inherently and directly challenging the institution of slavery at large.”
Kamy is on the varsity women’s soccer team at Princeton University, majoring in Religion and African American Studies, and loves popcorn and green grapes and watching movies with her family. She chose to research the consequences of mourning and funerary practices among African American slaves in the 19th century America “because I was interested in the ways that people in bondage found ways to find hope and healing even in the midst of their oppression.”
Newtown Friends Meeting co-founded by “Peaceable Kingdom” painter and Quaker minister, Edward Hicks, in 1815, is open to all who wish to attend. Regular First Day Education classes (Sunday School) for all ages at the Newtown Quaker Meetinghouse, 219 Court Street begin at 9:45 a.m. and Meeting for Worship begins at 11 a.m. Childcare is provided.
Norval Reece, Community Contributor