Yearly Meeting Gathering 2017

The annual conference of Quakers in Britain continuing the theme of “Living Out Our Faith in the World” was held at Warwick University this year.  The epistle from the event is published below.  You can see some of the presentations and other things in this link.

 

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” [James 2:26]

We send loving greetings from Britain Yearly Meeting gathered in community.

This is the third year in which we have explored our theme of Living Out Our Faith in the World; this time we have considered how we work with others to make a difference and build a better world.e. We have been delighted by the presence of Friends from other Yearly Meetings and visitors from other churches and faith groups. They have helped us to recognise the way bonds form between different communities for the common good, and to value the richness which comes to us when we welcome diversity in our Meetings.

Since our last Yearly Meeting our nations have experienced increasing uncertainty and insecurity. Inequality has become vividly apparent. We are distressed by the trashing of our planet, and angry at the greed, ruthlessness, violence and lies which blight the lives of so many. “What do you mean, says God, that you grind the faces of my poor?”[Isaiah 3:15] In this fractured world, how can we respond? What does Love require of us?

We ourselves are part of the problemMany are too rich. We damage the land, the sea, and all living creatures. We are stealing the future. Change is urgent. We need to recognize our own selfishness and privilege: to be changed ourselves, to live as if the Kingdom of God were already fulfilled.

Throughout our gathering we have heard examples of Friends’ work and involvement in the world as Meetings and as individuals. We are reminded that we all find different ways of being faithful. Inspired by the Fox Cubs (3–5-year-olds) we have worn the ribbons which they gave us to share their concern for hungry and homeless people.

When we engage with the brokenness of the world, one of our tools can be our willingness to listen: to the vulnerable, to each other, to those with whom we disagree, and to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. This will enable us to work alongside others powerfully, telling the truth of what is wrong in the world. Sometimes listening will lead us to stillness, at other times to practical action. In all things the Spirit will direct us.

Working with others gives us strength. Their insights may lead us to see our own shortcomings. We can also hold conversations with those in positions of authority and influence.

Ours may be a supporting role. We may be called to comfort and uphold, to practise small kindnesses, to admit our own weakness, and to undertake practical tasks which enable others to act. Sometimes being there is enough.

Action may demand courage. This may mean taking part in public protests or acts of disobedience. We may be led to challenge rooted injustices and to use our energy to bring about radical change. Jesus overturned the tables of the money-changers in the temple. He taught that the blessed community was formed of the poor, the hungry and those suffering loss or persecution. [Luke 6:20-22]

When our call is clear, we need discipline to test it, and faithfulness to carry it through without counting the cost. May God give us strength and grace to be instruments of change.

Therefore, dear Friends, wait in the Light, that the Word of the Lord may dwell plentifully in you.” [QF&P 29.19]

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Quaker Tapestry exhibition, August 2017

The award-winning Quaker Tapestry, which depicts the history of Quakerism in embroidery and is modelled on the famous Bayeux Tapestry, is being exhibited in Friends House in Euston in August. It was last in London over 20 years ago.

The 77 panels that make up the Quaker Tapestry are the work of 4,000 men, women and children from around the world.  It began in 1981 in a children’s meeting in Taunton, as an alternative to colouring-in and was completed 15 years later.  Some of the panels made journeys of thousands of miles as they passed from one group of embroiderers to another.

Twenty panels, from their Lake District home – the Arts Council accredited Quaker Tapestry Museum in Kendal – will form a free exhibition accompanied by demonstrations, an introductory film, a workshop, and gift shop.

The exhibition in Friends House runs from 7 to 18 August, from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 8pm on Thursdays.

Visitors can book online for an embroidery taster workshop on Saturday 12 August from 10am to 1pm.  For further information and to book a workshop place click here.

 

 

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Standing in solidarity against violence

Quakers in Britain join the international community in condemning the attack on Manchester Arena.

Quakers are part of The Interfaith Network and endorse this statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives or were injured in last night’s terrorist murders at the Manchester Arena, as they are with their families, all others affected and those responding with assistance.

We deplore and condemn this wanton, brutal and cowardly taking of the lives of young and old.

Let us stand together to oppose terrorism and the ideologies that promote it.

Let us also uphold and strengthen the unity of our society and work to ensure that it is a positive and harmonious one where all children and young people can grow up safely and without fear.

It is vital that we all – of every age and background – work to build bridges and positive relationships and to enable difficult issues to be addressed and worked on – always seeking to avoid the use of violence to resolve issues.

We know that each time a terrorist attack occurs, groups within society become the target of abuse or even attack because of terrorist actions which claim, or are perceived by some, as having a link to them. We must stand, likewise, against this. An attack on one is an attack on all.

We remember at this time, in this context, particularly the many in the Greater Manchester area working for good relations.”

Signed,

The Co-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network for the UK and Moderators of the IFN Faith Communities Forum

You can access the statement and related information here.

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Refugee Week 2017

Quakers in Britain are putting on an impressive programme of events to mark Refugee Week 2017 from 19-25 June.  All events will be at Friends House in Euston.  All free of charge.  Have a look at the programme here.

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Radical spirituality: the early history of the Quakers

This free, very popular,  online course is being repeated in May 2017.   Learn about the beginnings of  Quakerism as it emerged in 17th century England.  To find out more and register click here.

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Quakers stand alongside victims of racist policies

Quakers in Britain have responded to the global unease about recent political developments around the world with a clear statement asserting that, “Humanity needs leaders of integrity and conscience, ready to be held to account by individuals and institutions, national and international.”

In the statement made on Saturday 4 February by their representative body, Meetings for Sufferings, Quakers say, “There can be no peace without justice; no love without trust; and no unity without equality. Our faith urges us to welcome the stranger as our equal and friend, feed those who are hungry and shelter those who are homeless, needy and frightened.

“Alongside Quakers in the USA, and their American Friends Service Committee, we stand with those whose lives are blighted by racist, discriminatory policies and those whose faith is denigrated by association with a tiny violent minority.”

The full statement from Meeting for Sufferings held at Friends House, Quakers’ central offices in London is here:

‘We are a people that follow after those things that make for peace, love and unity’ (Margaret Fell, writing to Charles II in 1660). Quakers in Britain see these values now under growing threat around the world, not least from recent developments in the United States of America.

We condemn all acts of government which set people against one another; which discriminate against people because of who they are or where they were born. We reject policies which condone suspicion and hatred; which turn away those who need and depend upon our help. We were not put on Earth for this, but to be a people of God, to live in harmony with each other.

“There can be no peace without justice; no love without trust; and no unity without equality. Our faith urges us to welcome the stranger as our equal and friend, feed those who are hungry and shelter those who are homeless, needy and frightened.

“Alongside Quakers in the USA, and their American Friends Service Committee, we stand with those whose lives are blighted by racist, discriminatory policies and those whose faith is denigrated by association with a tiny violent minority. We pray for the courage and steadfastness that will be needed as we uphold our testimony of equality, justice, peace, sustainability and truth. For us, prayer is inseparable from action.

Humanity needs leaders of integrity and conscience, ready to be held to account by individuals and institutions, national and international. We pray for those in positions of power. We call on them, as public servants, to work with all of good faith to build the world we seek, to fertilise the soil in which the tender shoots of peace, love and unity may flourish.” 

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Exploring Islam in Britain

Exploring Islam in Britain

Wednesday 1st February 2017, 7pm (refreshments from 6:30pm), Tottenham Meeting House, 594 High Road, London, N17 9TA

Tottenham Quakers invite you to meet with friends from the Muslim community in North London. All welcome.

The event will explore: the richness of Muslim faith and practice; the realities of Muslim life in Britain; our shared values and our diversity.

Speakers: Mustafa Almansur (Finsbury Park Mosques) and Henrietta Szovati.

More details in the link.

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Christmas Day 2016

In a spiritual sense Quakers view every day as sacred and therefore Christmas Day is no different from any other.

However, we shall have a meeting for worship as usual on Sunday 25th December with refreshments after.  Usual start time of 10.30am but on this occasion the meeting for worship will only last 45 minutes.

All very welcome.  We look forward to seeing you.

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Quakers caution against scrapping the Human Rights Act

To mark Human Rights Day on 10 December, Quakers in Britain have sent a plea to the Prime Minister to drop the government’s commitment to ‘scrap’ the Human Rights Act. This move signifies their centuries-long history of standing up for human rights and for working for peace and justice.

The letter was co-ordinated by the British Institute of Human Rights and was signed by 164 organisations, including those working with new mothers, children, patients, carers, people with learning disabilities and mental ill-health, women experiencing violence, migrants and older people, and groups campaigning for LGBT rights, fair trials, access to justice, decent housing and against racial discrimination.

The full text reads:

Dear Prime Minister,

Today, on Human Rights Day, we will celebrate the difference the Human Rights Act makes to all our lives.

The Human Rights Act is something to cherish. It helps those delivering frontline services to make difficult ethical decisions and enables families to hold those in powerful positions to account. It is key to defending our free press and to protecting our democracy. It is the Bill of Rights we already have.

This year, huge uncertainty and upheaval began that will continue for years to come. It is not the time to add to the legal confusion, to risk further division or signal that the UK wants to walk away from international standards. Now is the time to champion, at home and abroad, the protection of hard-won human rights. For everyone.

The day you became Prime Minister you said your mission was to make Britain a country that works for everyone, including the disadvantaged. You said that when your government passes new laws you would listen to ordinary people and you would do everything you could to give them more control over their lives.

The Human Rights Act makes a much-valued difference to all our lives and for many people that difference is dramatic. Please, Prime Minister, drop the government’s commitment to “scrap” the Human Rights Act.

You can access the full list of the signatories here.

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Meet Quaker Social Action, Saturday 19th November

All very welcome to our annual public meeting of Quakers in the North London Area.  This year it is an interactive one on the work of  Quaker Social Action, a charity that does some excellent work around community building and social inclusion.  10.30am for 11am on Saturday 19th November. Free entry.  More details on the poster in the link below.

qsatalk-nov-2016

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