April 29, 2020 —At Kendal-Crosslands Communities, we’re often asked if we are a religiously affiliated Lifeplan Community (formerly known as Continuing Care Retirement Community). With a simple answer – yes, we are! That being said, our religious affiliation means that we cultivate a place where people of all backgrounds and religions can flourish, and everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
The community was founded by a group of Quakers and it was supported by a gift given by the Religious Society of Friends, and to this day, we remain deeply rooted in Quaker values and practices. It is these values that nurture a community of openness, acceptance, peace and equality for all.
“To me, to be a Quaker means to understand the experience of living, and I mean that in terms of inner awareness,” says Crosslands resident Thomas Swain. “There is meaning underneath ordinary life. That’s best way I can say it.”
Kendal-Crosslands’ Quaker Roots
In the 1960’s, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (also known as Quakers) appointed a Committee on Aging, to re-examine the situation of older people, a long-time concern of Friends. The Committee recognized the growing number of older people and conceived the founding of what was then called a Continuing Care Retirement Community to address the needs it perceived.
The committee was able to conduct the necessary research, find the available funding, and eventually open Kendal at Longwood – which then expanded to include Crosslands a few years later. Both remain the welcoming community it was when it first began over 40 years ago. You can read more about our history here in our Values and Practices guide.
Values and Practices
Thomas Paxson, a Kendal at Longwood resident says that, “While there is no universally approved list of Quaker values, and none of the values Quakers cherish are unique to Quakers, Quaker values have shaped Kendal-Crosslands Communities and Quaker self-understanding. Everyone is valued as a child of God, loved by God, and deserving our respect. Living in community is valued as none of us is self-sufficient and each person can contribute to the well-being of others in some way or other. Because we live more fully in community, we owe others (and ourselves) our commitment to integrity, truth, kindness, respect, and mutual concern for one another. Valuing our own health and vitality leads to valuing healthy and flourishing communities and to valuing the health of the physical environment in which we live.”
Everyone is Welcome
Many practices at Kendal-Crosslands Communities reflect these values; for instance, in the way community decisions are made, in the way residents and staff interact with one another, and in the way that new residents are welcomed into the community.
“Everyone in our lives at this moment is here for a reason,” says Lark Worth, a resident at Kendal at Longwood, “so we will welcome them, even if we disagree with them, because at our core, we know there are no accidents that we are here together.”
Most of the residents at Kendal-Crosslands do not consider themselves to be Quaker, but it is the Quaker way of life that so many residents find attractive.
“Not everyone here at Kendal (even among the Quakers) share all of these values and there also are a very large number of non-Quakers here who are equally passionate about most of these values – which is probably part of the reason they are here,” said David Leonard, a Kendal at Longwood resident at a recent panel on Kendal Values.
Kendal-Crosslands Communities aim to create many opportunities for different kinds of worship and discussion, such as hosting bible study, mass, and services for other religions, in addition to Quaker meetings for worship. Mindfulness meditation programs and group meditations are also a common occurrence.
“The community supports the individual,” says Thomas Swain. “I am encouraged to be a part of a community, and I feel appreciated for who I am and what I’m able to give as an individual.”
No matter your spiritual background, Kendal-Crosslands will welcome you with open arms and open hearts. See for yourself and visit our campus! To request an appointment give us a call at 800-216-1920.