Personal thoughts on the future of our group of Quaker Meetings

Note for non-Quakers.  Each local worshipping community of Quakers is also part of a larger Quaker community, in our case five meetings. (Us, New Barnet, Stoke Newington, Tottenham, and Bunhill Fields on the borders of the City of London.)

Membership and some important roles are held in the area.

My thoughts:

This is a very personal summary of the morning discussion we held on the future of our Area Meeting. 50 people were present – exceeding expectations – and there was a great sense of spiritual gathering. We heard how things are hard – people long and tired in major roles, it is difficult to find people to step up, ‘business’ that feels like a burden and does not bring us joy. Even many longstanding Friends don’t find routine area meeting rewarding, nor are we good at explaining why we work with other meetings. We urge people to come and to care and yet we don’t give them confidence. (It was great to have a number of people at their first area meeting ever!) We heard many positives, about love and connection and about benefiting from the different strengths of different meetings. Changes in society have brought challenges – it is more complicated and bureaucratic to run any small organisation than it used to be – but also opportunities. Our nominations teams work hard: we began to hear how we might build on better supporting people in their roles and explore different ways of finding them – how we could be better at succession planning – and different ways of organising our business to feed our spirits and get to know each other in the things that are eternal. Did we come away, with clear answers? No, that wasn’t the point. And it is too early to say whether purely structural changes such as boundaries are worth exploring. (Mergers might create as much trouble as they solve.) Whatever we decide about such bigger changes, I believe that we can transform our meetings by doing these other things better. But that is just my view from the start of our process.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The life in Winchmore Hill Quaker Meeting – some thoughts

Challenges for our Meeting in 2019  -   As I see it

(We are compiling our annual Life of the Meeting, a brief summary of how the truth prospers among us.  In considering this, Pamela wrote these notes.)

The successful outreach activities accomplished throughout this year presented us with challenges.

It became apparent that some people were either unaware of a worshipping Quaker presence in their area or that Quakers still lived in the past.  Misconceptions spread and can stop people from visiting us.

We have already discussed how we can make walking in from the gate to the door on a Sunday less challenging,  by having more folk around.

Open our doors for social meetings so that an understanding of who and what we stand for can be understood.

Improve our connection with other churches, for instance -

How do their members feel about our silent worship and belief that we do not need an intermediary to communicate directly with God.  That there isn’t any  heirarchy.   Might others see our way as a rejection of their way?   Does any of this prevent our union in spirit?

We have been made aware of the unacceptable pressure that our loyal admin. volunteers have been experiencing, whilst at the same time having to cope with the pressures of their own personal living.

Measures have already been taken to encourage others to play their part in upholding The Meeting and  so lessen the burden on others.

Whilst always holding fast to that which is precious, is it not our most important challenge to let go of that which can be laid down for the benefit of others’ welfare.  Tradition not being as important as People.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

World Quaker Day

For World Quaker Day we asked those involved with the meeting to bring a friend or neighbour to meeting.  It turned out to be a good way to help those who come but rarely to come as well.

WP_20181007_12_51_38_Pro WP_20181007_12_50_24_Pro

Among the spoken contributions in worship were two of the Advices and Queries (8 and 9)

Worship is our response to an awareness of God. We can worship alone, but when we join with others in expectant waiting we may discover a deeper sense of God’s presence. We seek a gathered stillness in our meetings for worship so that all may feel the power of God’s love drawing us together and leading us.

In worship we enter with reverence into communion with God and respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Come to meeting for worship with heart and mind prepared. Yield yourself and all your outward concerns to God’s guidance so that you may find ‘the evil weakening in you and the good raised up’.

Quakers have different views about what words to use about the power that draws us together, and what leads us.  There is a time and place for that discussion.  But more important is that we feel that communion and take it out into the world.  We can feel, like Robert Barclay, a Quaker more than 300 years ago, meeting together raising us up.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Housekeeping the website

We’re doing some minor refits.  Hopefully nothing will go wrong


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Open House London

We will once again be taking part in the annual heritage and architecture weekend.  This will be on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September from 2-5 pm.

The Friends Meeting House is one of the oldest places of worship in Enfield.  Find out about the history of this elegant, eighteenth century building. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of the historic garden and burial ground.  ENTRANCE and REFRESHMENTS are FREE!

Meeting House front before we painted the shutters. Photo Neil

Meeting House front before we painted the shutters. Photo Neiland burial ground. Entrance and Refreshments are FREE! 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Photographs from Celebration event, 14 July 2018

Here are some photographs from our successful event held on 14 July 2018 to celebrate the refurbishment of our meeting house.

It was attended by 65 people; Friends, neighbours, members of local churches, police officers and 3 local politicians (Bambos Charalambous MP, Cllr Christine Hamilton and Cllr Maria Alexandrou).  John Dash from London Quakers Property Trust also spoke as did David Olver, who wrote the history of our Meeting in 2003. We are grateful to all who came to give thanks for our Meeting and to help us look forward to the future. WP_20180714_16_55_45_ProWP_20180714_10_48_13_ProWP_20180714_10_48_05_ProSerner McHugh Dash CarmichaelRP and Chris HamiltonMet Police officers Giladi PageMatthew FeatherMaria AlexandrouJohn DashFeather Page DanielDavid Olver 2Carmichael DashBuck AlidaBambos speaking 2

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Quakers in Enfield look forward in celebration

Sometimes it’s just time to feel the joy.

In 2012, Quakers in Enfield faced a challenge.  Our Grade Two Listed, 1790 Meeting House was cracking up.  We had significant subsidence without a clear idea how fast it would spread; parts of the boundary walls of the burial ground were unsafe; people kept stealing the lead off the roof; and the loos were sub-standard.  We needed to make the building and the site safer, more welcoming, and more sustainable.  We weren’t quite sure we could do it.

We raised money – from Quakers locally and nationally, and from the local community.  We had a plan and lots of people worked hard.  And this weekend we celebrate the end of a long phase of thinking and working.  The next phase of the Friends Meeting House and its community begins,

The Meeting House is historic – the oldest place of worship in Winchmore Hill.  It’s an asset to the community, with local groups meeting there, and local people able to enjoy the grounds the whole year round.

Right from the beginning the meeting wanted to emphasise the spiritual community which led to the Meeting House being built and sustained.  We could let our history  be a weight round our neck, or it could be a sound foundation from which we can leap for the stars.

In 2012 I wrote

  • We try to be an optimistic spiritual community in a divided and materialistic world.  We reject war and the threat of war.
  • Our worship is based on silence and stillness.  It speaks to many in a world overloaded with clamour.
  • We are open to different spiritual insights.  We draw on the strengths of our Christian roots while accepting many paths.  Listening, waiting, and trusting, we connect with a divine which we understand in many different ways.
  • We share responsibility across the whole group, we don’t have professional spiritual leaders.
  • Our concern for equality led us to be pioneers in women’s rights to speak and partake in public life.  We were campaigners against slavery; and now, we offer marriage to same sex couples.
  • In the face of the environmental and economic crisis, we find the traditional Quaker emphasis on simple living comes into its own.   Peace, the environment, the economy, and relations between peoples and countries are all linked together.

Now Quakers in Enfield are looking to a future reaching out, to those of all faiths and none.  Continuing to meet in stillness, and to ‘raise each other up with a tender hand’.  Trying to work with others to heal divisions in our divided borough, reflecting our divided society.  Speaking necessary truths.  And providing a haven for those who need time to reflect, to connect, and to grow.

We will need to think about how we run the meeting for the WhatsApp age.  Younger Friends are dancing down the road ahead of us, towards a kingdom of peace.  But the central truth of the Quaker way still resonates and has meaning.  That the spirit is poured out on all of us, and it makes us all one, if we will listen.

Stephen Cox

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fancy Fair

Our Meeting House and grounds will be open on Saturday 7th July, between 1 and 5pm, for those attending the Fancy Fair on Winchmore Hill Green.  We look forward to welcoming you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Quakers embark on new shaping of their guidebook

Quakers decided at their annual gathering to look again at their handbook Quaker Faith and Practice.  The process follows years of thought and discussion locally, and is likely to take several more to complete.  Revision will be highly inclusive, and appeals for comments and suggested additions are underway.  The final draft(s) will be approved by the Yearly Meeting, a gathering at which every Quaker is entitled to attend.

Considerations raised during the process include:

-the need to reflect the range of current Quaker interests and thought, and draw more on Quaker insights from around the world

-the need to separate out broad principles and the spiritual dimension from detailed guidance, which often changes more rapidly and is best left to separate handbooks

-the need for the book to be more accessible in various ways – at its simplest, it opens well but the chapters are not in a good order for beginners.  It may have images, diagrams, video…

-the need to hear from younger Friends and be fully inclusive


I hope Winchmore Hill will feel the challenge and rise to it.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Open Gardens 9th and 10th June: all welcome

Open garden 06 18

Quakers in Enfield are taking part in the London-wide event of Open Gardens.

Free. Come and enjoy the tranquility of the historic garden at the Friends Meeting House, Winchmore Hill. See our Peace Tree and learn more about the historic burial ground. Free refreshments.

Winchmore Hill Friends Meeting House, 59 Church Hill, N21 1LE.

Accessibility: Some ground in the garden is uneven and can have unexpected holes. Wheelchair access to the building is good. All ages welcome.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment