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?


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


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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Open House weekend, 19-20 September 2015

A reminder that we are open once again for London Open House / Open City weekend from 2-5 pm on Saturday 19th and 20th September. All very welcome with refreshments on sale in aid of our building funds. More details here .

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Towards Wholeness Group


September 14th  A CELEBRATION OF HARVEST – please bring poems and thoughts        on the theme of autumn.  Laura McGowan

September 28th  CREATIVITY AND INTUITION   Anne McNeill Pulati

October 12th  WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF OUR LIFE ON EARTH?    Pamela Wells

October 26th  WHERE DOES LOVE COME FROM?   Nigel Norie

November 9th  CHIMES OF FREEDOM – responding to the spirit in the songs of Bob  Dylan. Do you have a favourite Bob Dylan song? If so, bring it along.  Bob Newsom

November 23rd  THE GENTLE ART OF BLESSING – reflecting on Marjatta Bryan and her legacy.   Led by Anna Barbara and Paula

December 14th  WHAT IT IS TO BE A HINDU IN THIS COUNTRY   Deepak Jethwa

Please contact Paula on 0208 882 6092 for further details.

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Quakers urgently call for safe paths for refugees

News Release

05 September 2015


Quakers urgently call for safe paths for refugees


The unfolding crisis of refugees fleeing across Europe, has prompted Quakers in Britain to urge the UK Government and other European Governments to create secure paths to safety.


Quakers’ representative body meeting in London on Saturday (05 September) made this statement:

“That which is morally wrong cannot be politically right” (A Quaker statement in 1822).

“Quakers in Britain urge the UK Government to welcome those desperately seeking a place of safety, in Europe, from the dangers in their own countries. In this urgent situation it cannot be right to harden hearts against people who are struggling and dying on European soil and in the seas around us.

“In Britain we have a tradition of sheltering those in danger, as we did with the Kindertransport, rescuing thousands of children from Nazi-occupied Europe so many years ago, and more recently, when we welcomed refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosova. It is time to open our hearts and communities again.

“This exceptional time of need calls for a proportionate response from all the governments of Europe working together. We call for mechanisms to be created that will enable people to travel safely and to secure legal protection – including in Britain.

“Refugees are fleeing from fear. Further violent interventions in countries such as Syria will not provide a solution. Difficult but compassionate decisions need to be made to secure peace for people in these regions.

“Quakers assert that all human life is precious – each person is a child of God and the loss of one diminishes us all. In this severe crisis, we hear the Spirit calling us to throw ourselves into the fray with all the love and courage we can muster.”


Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN) and Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) have previously called for safe paths to legal protection and protested against the cessation of funding for the Search and Rescue Operation in the Mediterranean.




Notes to editors

·               Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends.

·               Around 22,000 people attend 480 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

·               “That which is morally wrong cannot be politically right” is taken from Quaker Faith and Practice 23.26

·               Read more on QARN here www.qarn.org.uk

·               Read more on QCEA here https://www.qcea.org/ including the paper “Recommendations for the development of safe and legal paths to protection in the European Union”

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