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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Open Gardens event Sat 18th June

Quakers will again throw open their garden and burial ground, free, as part of the Open Gardens event 11-5pm

Steph the gardener will explain how we manage the site on organic principles

There will be refreshments and Quakers to talk about the history of the building

Picnickers welcome

The poet John Canfield will be in attendance.

More info: Ann Margaret 02083630446

079366963129 (Clerk)

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Yearly Meeting 2016 epistle

‘Living out our faith in the world’

Epistle from Britain Yearly Meeting Held at Friends House, London on 27 – 30 May 2016.

“Loving Greetings to Friends everywhere,

British Friends of all ages, and visiting Friends from around the world, have gathered in London for our second of three Yearly Meetings looking at ‘Living out our faith in the world’ and have experienced a great depth of worship.

We reminded ourselves where we ended last year, with a call for equality and action. We were inspired by hearing an epistle from Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM) and news of projects undertaken by individual Friends, local meetings and area meetings. We all, adults, children and young people, have considered how we use our gifts, how we recognise, test and support concerns, and how we work with others.

Taking so much time to consider the concept of Spirit-given gifts has brought us to a point of deeper understanding. What makes something a gift of the Spirit is not the gift itself but the way in which it is used.

As written in Corinthians: ‘There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are varieties of service, but the same Lord. There are varieties of activity, but in all of them and in everyone the same God is active. In each of us the Spirit is seen to be at work for some useful purpose.’
(1 Corinthians 12:4-7 Revised English Bible)

Even our brokenness and burdens, which may change our lives in deep and challenging ways, can become gifts.
How does the Light push us into action? Quakers have a long tradition of testing concerns in local, area and yearly meetings. Testing a concern may challenge not just the leading of one Friend, but the commitment of the whole Meeting and lead to growth for everyone. Through the right use of this process we can support our Friends in their callings.

We have heard inspiring examples of Friends living out their faith. Friends had the opportunity to see a play about Ada Salter’s outstanding social and political work a hundred years ago. Some Friends described their own personal journeys of acting under concern.

Our Swarthmore Lecturers shared their experiences of Quaker peace work in Central and East Africa. Although we heard the words of both we were deeply saddened that Cécile Nyiramana was prevented and Esther Mombo attended alone. They spoke of using and adapting existing peacemaking tools. Some of the causes of conflict they see, such as poverty and inequality, are present in our own society. Sustainable peacebuilding begins with individuals working within their local communities.

Our working with others and “movement building” will be the theme of our next Yearly Meeting. We have been challenged to consider whether we ought to be a prophetic voice crying in the wilderness, like John the Baptist, or take direct action in collaboration with others.

The problems we face are big and urgent and we may feel as if we are standing at the edge of all we know. However, if we have faith and trust in our leadings, when we take the next step together, either we will find earth under our feet or God will give us wings.

Signed in and on behalf of Britain Yearly Meeting

Deborah Rowlands”

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Swarthmore Lecture 2016

This year’s Swarthmore Lecture was delivered by Esther Mombo on Quaker peacebuilding in eastern and central Africa.  The sound recording is now available to listen to here.

The book will be available later this year and is available for pre-order from the Quaker Bookshop.

 

 

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Christmas Day meeting for worship

Once again, there will be a shortened meeting for worship on Friday 25th December from 10.30 – 11.15am.  All are very welcome.

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A Quaker approach to activism

Friends House, London
Monday, 14 December, 2015 – 19:00 to 20:30

An event to explore approaches to activism that are both effective and grounded in Quaker values.

The speaker Eileen Flanagan, of Earth Quaker Action Team in the US, will share how the Quaker testimonies of peace, equality, and simplicity led her to a concern about climate change. Hear her story of how and why she responded by taking on the power of one of the largest banks in the US, successfully pushing them to stop financing mountaintop removal coal mining.

Email: Ellie Roberts, ellier@quaker.org.uk, to book a place.

Address: Endsleigh Suite D+E Friends House 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

For more information click here.

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Quakers deplore vote to authorise air strikes in Syria

Quakers in Britain opposed the vote in the House of Commons tonight (2nd December 2015) to extend air strikes to ISIS targets in Syria.

The vote was 397 for and 223 votes against taking action in Syria.

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain said: “Bombing is no solution. Quakers work faithfully for peace, not war, respecting the value of all human life and we deplore a decision which will lead to lives being lost.

“Quakers call for a creative nonviolent response, respecting the humanity of all in the region. Bombing and continued arms sales only fuel the war and lead more people into the hands of extremists. Invest in peace, not war.”

To read the fuller statement on terrorism please click here.

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Quakers respond to terrorism

As Parliament prepares to debate next steps in Syria, Quakers in Britain have made this statement:

The attacks in Paris on 13 November were deeply shocking and our hearts continue to go out to those killed, injured, bereaved and traumatised.

It is human nature that the closer suffering comes to us, the more acutely we feel the pain and grief. But that experience should sensitise us to the suffering caused repeatedly by acts of war and violent crime in more distant places, including Beirut, Sinai, Bamako and Aleppo. It should strengthen our determination to build a safer world together.

Terrorism is a deliberate attempt to provoke fear, hatred, division and a state of war. War – especially war with the West – is what ISIS/Daesh wants. It confirms the image they project of the West as a colonialist ‘crusader’ power, which acts with impunity to impose its will overseas and especially against Muslims.

The military actions of Western nations recruit more people to the cause than they kill. Every bomb dropped is a recruitment poster for ISIS, a rallying point for the young, vulnerable and alienated. And every bomb dropped on Syrian cities drives yet more people to flee and seek refuge in safer countries.

Our political leaders seem determined that Britain should look strong on the world stage. Quakers in Britain believe our country should act with wisdom and far-sighted courage. A wisdom that rises above the temptation to respond to every problem with military might. A wisdom that looks back at our failures in Libya and Iraq and Afghanistan and learns from experience. The courage – and strength – to think through the likely consequences of actions to find a long term, lasting solution.

The courageous response of ordinary people who refuse to give up their way of life and refuse to be driven by fear is one that politicians could learn from.

The courageous response of ordinary people who refuse to give up their way of life and refuse to be driven by fear is one that politicians could learn from.

- Quakers in Britain

 

Although there are no quick or easy answers, there are things we can do, all of us together, which will defeat the terrorists more assuredly than military action. Quakers in Britain commit to playing our part in these actions.

We can quieten ourselves and listen to the truth from deep within us that speaks of love, mutual respect, humanity and peace.

We can and will refuse to be divided. By bridge-building among faiths and within our local communities we can challenge and rise above the ideologies of hate and actively love our neighbour.

By welcoming refugees, we can not only meet the acute needs of those individuals but also undercut the narrative of those who seek to create fear and mistrust.

And we can ask our political leaders to:

  • Treat terrorist acts as crimes, not acts of war
  • Stop arming any of the parties fighting in Syria
  • Observe international law and apply it equally to all parties
  • Build cooperation among nations, strengthening those international institutions which contribute to peace
  • Export peace rather than war, so that we can create the conditions the world needs to address its most serious problems, including climate change.

The statement concludes with this extract from a statement made by Quakers in Britain in 1943 (Quaker faith & practice 24.09):

“True peace cannot be dictated, it can only be built in co-operation between all peoples. None of us, no nation, no citizen, is free from some responsibility for this.”

Quakers in Britain
24 November 2015

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The Art of Quaker Worship: WHO and HOW?

THE ART OF QUAKER WORSHIP

a time to worship & experience: a time to question & explore

led by Thomas Swain visiting from the US, former clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting assisted by members of The Kindlers team

Wednesday 11th November:  WHO and HOW? What is worship? Who are we worshipping? How do we start?

Wednesday 18th November: PRAYER- Babble or Conversation? The nourishment of stillness and silence:  being in tune – at one with Spirit

Wednesday 25th November: COMMUNITY:  The Need for Others Being helped and being hurt – finding forgiveness that starts with ourselves

Wednesday 2nd December:  QUAKING and SPOKEN MINISTRY Testing discernment to break the silence: what is Spirit-led and what is not?

Wednesday 9th December:   LOVING MY SOUL INTO BEING Glimpses of transformation – the heart of the matter in living the Life

6.30 refreshments for 7.00 pm start – 8.30 pm finish

These worship workshops will be participatory with inputs and group-work All welcome – come to any of them, or come to all

_____________________________

Small bring-and-share snack contributions welcome: tea/coffee provided.

Cost:  No entrance fee. Donations encouraged. No booking in advance

Address:  The Quaker Centre at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, NW1 2BJ opposite Euston Station.  Disability access.

_____________________________

The Kindlers     -     working for Quaker renewal. For more information look at the London Quakers’ web page.

 

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Classical concert will back refugees and our building fund

Concert

Mozart in Mannheim
classical flute quartets performed on historical instruments
with Rachel Brown
and members of the
Revolutionary Drawing Room

Sunday November 15th 2015, 3pm

Winchmore Hill Meeting House
Church Hill, London N21 1LE

Tickets available from Linda Davis
Email: linda.davis.sheepdip@btinternet.com
Tel: 020 8366 3137 Mobile: 07748 617398
£15 (£10 concessions)

Proceeds shared between the Winchmore Hill Friends Meeting House building fund and UNHCR supporting refugees

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