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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Following the Quanglican way

Good article in the Church Times about the crossover between Quakers and Anglicans.  Published to mark Quaker Week 2016.  Read it here.

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Echo Chamber

 Echo Chamber is a free exhibition at Friends House, Euston from 18 August to 2 September. Open daily, 11.00am till 4.00pm, except Bank Holiday Monday.

The free exhibition marks the centenary of the Military Service Act, which brought in both conscription and the right to refuse to fight, on the grounds of conscience.  Quaker MPs worked to get the conscience clause into the Act.  Quakers were among 16,000 conscientious objectors in WWI.

Conscientious objection to military service is now recognised as a human right at United Nations and European levels although not all countries yet apply the law.

The artists will give talks at 2.00pm on Saturday 27 August.

For more information click here.

Family photos feature in Echo Chamber. Several generations came to mark the COs’ principled stand.  Donald Saunders spoke of his father and uncle’s courts martial and hard labour in prison, as well as the insults and vilification suffered by his mother.

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Break up the banks? We need a banking revolution!

Saturday, 1 October, 2016 – 10:30 to 16:00, Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road London NW1 2BJ

A day conference organised by London Quakers for everyone.

In 2011, Britain Yearly Meeting (the governing body of the Quakers) said “The global economic system ……is often unjust, violent and destructive…We must urgently work with others of faith and good will….”

Morning session 10.30am to 12.30pm (including tea/coffee break)

David Shirreff , Economic Journalist and author of “Break Up The Banks!” https://goo.gl/R9mGSI will address:

 What banks do.
 Why they aren’t doing what is needed.
 What banks could become.

Afternoon session 1.30pm to 3.45pm (including tea/coffee break)

Positive Money – Fran Boait ,Executive Director of Positive Money.
Triodos Bank: A bank that is different. – Neil Hewitt, of Triodos.
Towards a new economy in which Quaker Testimony can flourish – Cait Crosse, member of QPSW team.

A Question and Answer session, including David Shirreff.
Considering Ways Forward!

Nuts and Bolts

No fee, but registration requested.  Please use the London Quakers’ contact form (click here) and say who you are and if appropriate, which Quaker meeting you are from.
The Quaker Centre café will be open for lunch.
Queries to LQEvents2016@gmail.com or phone Fred Ashmore, tel 07976 299721 or Sue Newsom, tel 0208 3508272.
No charge but there will be a collection towards costs at the end of the day.
It will be helpful to read “Principles for a new economy” and “What’s the economy for?” by QPSW. www.quaker.org.uk/neweconomy

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Building bridges after the referendum

Statement by Quakers in Britain (BYM)

The outcome of the EU referendum and the campaigning that led up to it have shown up and sometimes exacerbated divisions within and between our communities.

There is now a great need for bridge-building, for reaching out to one another in love, trusting that below the political differences lie a shared humanity and a wish for flourishing communities.

Inequalities run deep in society and some are exposed by the vote. Quakers in England, Scotland and Wales are committed to working together and with others – including Quakers across Europe – for a peaceful and just world. In the coming year our Quaker Yearly Meeting will focus on building movements with others locally and globally. We refuse to prejudge who is or is not an ally.

Turbulent times can be frightening, but the Spirit is a source of strength for all, guiding us in who we are and what we do. We take heart from the knowledge that with change comes opportunity. We will look for creative ways to find common cause, to listen, to influence and to persuade. As the status quo is shaken we and our neighbours must look to one another for support, wisdom and above all ways of healing divisions.

You can access the statement here.

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