Moving chairs

A friend tried to manoeuvre his wheelchair into position in the circle before meeting for worship this morning but there wasn’t enough room to make the turn. So, I got up and moved a couple of chairs to help him. ‘Move chairs, I’m a teacher. That’s what I do.’ And as I settled down into stillness, I started to reflect on another, more emotive meaning of the word ‘moving’.

‘It’s my mum’s birthday today’, I continued in ministry. ‘Or it would have been. She’d be 86. She died early last year, a week before my birthday. She was kind that way. For her 80th birthday, we had a cake made with a sugar craft model of my mum, sitting on the couch. All I have left is the remote control and the cushion. In her later years, she watched a lot of tele but when she was young, I don’t remember her ever sitting down. She was always on the go, except when we visited my Nan’s. Then, they would talk for hours in the kitchen about everything, me sitting under the leg of the table on a red, leatherette poof, captive.

Last week, I applied for a part-time role as a peace worker, going into schools, secondary and primary. I had to write a supporting statement of two sides of A4 and a c/v. I hadn’t needed a c/v for 30 years! On Friday, I found out I didn’t get any of the training roles and that’s fine. The charity I’d applied to is based in Sheffield and, if you read the papers yesterday, there have been 14 murders of young people by young people in Sheffield in the past month. I don’t think I could do this. It’s too hard, this work. Still, there is the possibility of a place on a conflict resolution course, which might lead somewhere. Let’s see.

Last Sunday was Area Meeting for Worship for Business. On the Monday, I felt I had to write a blogpost about it and fitted it into my workday. Then, on Tuesday, I wrote the beginning of a script for my homework on the Lost Cats Radio presenters’ course I’m doing over six weeks. It imagined the first part of an interview with my community choir’s musical director. It went well. I enjoyed it, moving slide controls while talking at the same time. On Wednesday evening, I facilitated a workshop, called Transitional Stories, for my local Transition Town group. Someone even offered me work…before they’d seen me! It was all old stuff I’d done before but the combination I put together for this brief was new. Thecevening was a success. They want me back.

Afterwards, slightly late, I set off to meet up with my partner in a café bar. She’s been having a really tough time at work recently. When I found her, she was sitting on a bar stool, drinking a beer, behaving inappropriately with another man, a kind stranger, she said. I understand why she did it. He was just being nice to her after a horrible day but it didn’t mean anything to her. I feel sad.

When Thursday evening came, I thought I can’t sing in our choir rehearsal. But I went, anyway, and we sang the Kyrie from Karl Jenkin’s The Armed Man mass and it was good and I came away healing. Find what you enjoy and practise it. It is healing when you need it.

I was still on my feet in meeting. ‘Quaker worship is amazing. Sitting here in the stillness, opening inwardly, then outwardly to let the spirit in, it feels natural to me now but it is so different, alien even, to others. When you move chairs, think of the people who sit on them. We don’t always know what is going on for them or what they’re like. We may think we do.

And for the people sitting on the chairs, others won’t know what’s going on for you. Sometimes you have to share with them, to be open to be asked.

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Right, then, who’d like to be Treasurer?

I was attending Area Meeting for Worship for Business (I know…) on a hot, sunny afternoon indoors and a speaker was talking to us about our ‘ministry’. ‘What do you believe?’ he asked.

It led me back to me remembering my first coming to meeting for worship. It took me time before I accepted and valued coming here regularly, before I finally decided this is the place for me and stopped wandering. ‘No point in having a faith, if you don’t do something with it, is there?’ he challenged us. And I remembered my first trip to Southport meeting for a ‘One World Day’ event. What a great day, that was! We could take the kids. They loved playing under a parachute and running round the garden and playing cricket too, I recall. I discovered more about Nestle and baby milk and Fairtrade and put faces to names. ‘Oh, there are more Quakers outside Liverpool’, I thought.

The speaker continued, ‘What does it mean to be an Area Meeting together?’ It led me on to a ‘Turning the Tide’ workshop at Bolton Meeting. I’d gone there with Joyce in her car. It was a time in the late 1980s when I was feeling particularly powerless to face the ideological onslaught against the notion of ‘society’, which is now bearing fruit. And ‘Turning the Tide’ offered a way of demonstrating non-violent, direct action, which offered hope as well as practical strategies…and introduced me to more Quakers outside our Area Meeting. I started to feel and still do that this Religious Society is a happening place, a friendly, spirit-led society, looking both inwards and outwards.

‘And how do you get a sense of what an Area Meeting is about?’ the speaker asked us to consider and respond to these questions in worship sharing. There are things happening here and there, Transition Town, Sanctuary meetings but I had no sense of the Area Meeting’s ministry and spoke so. ‘I could be mistaken but I think we have lost our way a little bit. We need to rediscover our ministry…’

The speaker, who had been with us all day, reflected back to us. He’d heard lots of examples of ministry taking place. Isle of Man meeting spoke of being a small meeting with relatively few people, distant from the mainland, but felt the importance of being there, showing there’s a different way. We’d heard that movingly and passionately stated in the report prepared on an IoM friend’s application for membership. Her first time in a Quaker meeting resonated with me. Liverpool, bearing witness in a big city, is a sanctuary meeting. St Helens, I knew, opened their doors on Friday and Saturday evenings to offer people, susceptible to drink and drug misuse, a safe space to come and be themselves, even though the meeting was struggling with not enough people to do all the work. Southport meeting has its inter-faith work.

‘You have all talked about your own individual ministry…what brings you here each Sunday…the holy spirit, God, the children and young people, shared food and community, even the way the light falls in the building…you are just not talking about it! When you stitch together what you do, it offers an amazing tapestry of ministry.’

We’ve started. Friends are beginning to visit each other’s meetings for worship and fellowship. There is an events team in place, organising the Area Meeting Gathering at Glenthorne next February (15-17th). And we’re putting in place a Nominations’ team for Area Meeting. And names are coming forward with a new Overseer and a deputy rep for Quaker Life Representative Council, appointed for three years’ service…which brings me to the role of Area Meeting Treasurer. Who’d like to be on the team..?

The treasurer’s role, our clerk of meeting, informed us, comprises of:

  • taking care of cash and signing cheques
  • reporting on finances to Area Meeting
  • prepare accounts for the Charity Commission
  • collect contributions from Local Meetings for Friends’ House (Britain Yearly Meeting)
  • collect contributions from Local Meetings for Northern Friends’ Peace Board.

We heard how the outgoing treasurer had outsourced the bulk of this work to an accountancy firm, making the role much simpler. We’d already agreed that it made sense to have a treasurer’s team. Two friends from Liverpool have already agreed for their names to go forward. One of these will be the Treasurer. But now we’re stuck. We need still two more friends from other Local Meetings to join the team. Who feels called, friends..?

Quaker Faith and Practice 10.03

The Religious Society of Friends is organised into local meetings, each of which should be a community. It is our search for God’s way that has drawn us together. In our meeting we can each hope to find love, support, challenge, practical help and a sense of belonging. We should bring ourselves as we are, whatever our age, our strength, our weakness; and be able to share friendship and warmth.

Some of us now live away from our families; some of us move house quite often. Although surrounded by others we may be leading isolated and lonely lives. It is important that our meetings welcome newcomers warmly and that we include them in invitations to our homes.

Our sense of community does not depend on all professing identical beliefs, for it grows from worshipping together, knowing one another, loving one another, accepting responsibilities, sharing and working together. We will be helped by tried and tested Quaker methods and procedures, but the meeting will only live if we develop a sense of community, which includes children and adults alike. If all those who belong to our meeting are lovingly cared for, the guidance of the spirit will be a reality. The celebration and commemoration of life’s great events draw us together as we share the occasion and rejoice or mourn with one another.

Our shared experience of waiting for God’s guidance in our meetings for worship and for church affairs, together with careful listening and gentleness of heart, forms the basis on which we can live out a life of love with and for each other and for those outside our community.

1994

spiritoso, self-nominated convenour of washing-up committee (with my own podium), sub-committee of catering committee

espalier

Hello, Bud, what you up to?

I’m thinking of you at a tricky time for you. In relationships, try not to judge. Listen to where the words come from. And try empathy. For work, you’ll know now the challenge ahead. You will need to lean on people, to ask for what you need, don’t be afraid. You also have great gifts.Contemplate first before acting. And I am with you. You are a lovely person. Be love and love will be with you.

God 🙂 x

We’re the same

It all starts one Sunday morning as I go about setting up the kitchen area for tea and biscuits for after Meeting for Worship. Two women friends were talking by the hatch. Suddenly, one of them asked me, ‘Are men controlling..?’ ‘Yes’, I said straight way. ‘It’s an ego thing, I think…but when you learn to let it go, it’s wonderful, liberating. You don’t have to feel responsible for everything and can share with others. Why do you ask?’, I looked at her. Her husband had told her the evening before she wasn’t ironing his shirt right. His mother had taught him the right way to iron and she wasn’t doing it the right way.’ ‘Oh, well, mothers do have a lot to answer for,’ I smiled, ‘and men also have to take responsibility..!’

During meeting for worship, a friend ministered on the nature of violence. He’d recently been on a peace vigil in Chester where a placard had upset him. It spoke of a bombing in Yemen of a marriage party in which 20 people were killed, including the bride and 20 children injured. He went on to talk about members of the Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Gay and Transgender (LGBT) community, whose lives are still affected by prejudice and violence. ‘Where’, he asked, ‘is Love in all this?’ And we fell into stillness again.

It prompted me to think about my recent visit to Goodison Park to watch a football match. I found myself on my feet, ministering too. When I’d gone there as a boy and a teenager, though committed by a minority, there was violence all around. Most people going were there to watch the football, but violence or the fear of it was ever-present, every week, in your face and inescapable, at least, so it seemed to me then. Nowadays, there is a much safer and friendlier atmosphere. So, what has changed in that time? Well, there are many more women and girls going to the match together now. In the 1970s, you hardly ever saw a girl at the match. The police and football authorities and clubs have all done a lot of work over the years to deal with this problem, so maybe they started coming because it was safer, rather than making it safe…or maybe, one leads to the other..?

The night before, I continued in ministry, I was talking to a friend about the new production of Othello at the Liverpool Everyman. The lead role is played by a black woman who is a lesbian. ‘How will that work?’, I asked

Brian Roberts

her. ‘I mean, how plausible is that? You rarely hear of women carrying out acts of violence, and certainly not murder…do you? It’s mainly men. So, I just wonder how believable it will be..?’

After meeting for worship, drying the cups and saucers, one of the women friends commented that women got a ‘good press’. She felt they were just as capable as men of searing rage and jealousy, leading to acts of violence. It made me think how, in Greek tragedy, women like Clytemnestra murdered her husband, Agamemnon, with her lover, only to be murdered herself by her son and daughter, Electra, in revenge. ‘I know there are cases where women commit violent acts, but they’re relatively rare, aren’t they? I mean, statistically, most domestic crime is male on female…it’s something to do with power..?’ And a friend said, ‘It’s because the crowd’s mixed they’re friendlier now…and, yes, power has a lot to do with it…or the lack of it..?’ We finished the drying and packed all the mugs away.

‘And men tend to be stronger, bigger than women…that has an effect too…’ I thought of portrayals of male and female characters I’d watched recently on television. Orange is the New Black shows women in prison in many different lights. And This Country too is a mockumentary about typical life today in a rural village in England today, which veers towards stereotyping, while unfolding kinder relationships between the characters, if you care about them.

It made me think about violence and what it looks like. I’d been thinking mostly about physical violence but I’ve read that most violence that takes place is passive-aggressive or non-verbal. I know many people find this difficult to believe but it does cause a great deal of hurt and then harm to people. Thinking about the morning’s big question, I felt women, on the whole, were more able to solve the ‘ironing’ conundrum without resorting to violence, cooperating in a peaceful, collaborative fashion. ‘Umm’, my friend said, ‘sometimes, all women groups can be really vicious.’

And I left it there. It’s funny the things that come up in meeting for worship. And I’d thought it was going to be a relatively quiet one, just after the reading aloud of the Advice and Query number 11,

Be honest with yourself. What unpalatable truths might you be evading? When you recognise your shortcomings, do not let that discourage you. In worship together we can find the assurance of God’s love and the strength to go on with renewed courage.

Later, that afternoon, I went with a friend to the pictures to watch a new film, ‘Beast’. I thought it was fascinating, set on an island and written like a fable. My friend thought it overlong and clichéd in parts. A series of abductions and murders of young girls and women have taken place on the island and the lead male character becomes a main suspect. Does his girlfriend believe him, trust him? She has her own problems, having once stabbed a fellow schoolgirl, we think, who was bullying her, or so she said. We watch as people play out their roles in the family, in the police; see the group mentality of a close knit community take hold at times; feel at times buoyed and freed up and at other times confined and bound by the sea. We are all asked to identify the Beast, the killer, but it felt at different times that a beast was in all the characters.

Talking about it with my friend afterwards, she felt it portrayed human nature grimly while I said the number of questions it asks is amazing. I felt humanity came out of it alright. They’re the ones you only see in blur or silhouette. They play the bit parts in the movie, sitting al fresco eating their meal or playing with their children on the beach or ‘cowboys and cowgirls’ dancing their moves in the bar on Country night. Although you barely noticed them, as the action raced, it was then I felt the love.

Pillar, Pillar, Pillar

Goodison Park, the home of the Mighty Blues, Everton FC, was built on pillars in the late nineteenth century. Once again, paying over £40 each for the pleasure, me and my two sons shared the experience of a packed and glorious Lower Gladys Street stand.

I’m not a season ticket holder or a member of the Everton Members’ Club, so I must wait for tickets to go on General Sale for the half-a-dozen games or so we go to. This has often led to us sitting at the back of the Lower Gladys, nearly always behind a pillar. Do we resent the pillar? After all, they restrict our view. and there are so many of them. A friend of my youngest recently went to his first Arsenal game and sent him a photo of the ground. Joe returned the favor with a shot of our Pillar.

You look closely at it. It’s made of wrought iron, rivets up and down on either side, rising up to touch the descending roof, painted in royal blue, the club’s colour. We are seated now but, back in the day, when I was a lad, I stood in the Boys’ Pen here, a large caged area in the corner of the ground, for sixpence or 2 1/2p in today’s money. It kept you safe-ish, while, outside, young men chased and fought each other, sometimes with knives.

It’s a friendlier place now. The club is rebuilding again, the team and the ground, with planning going on in the next few years to move to a site on the north docklands. The team is safe in the middle of the league and this evening scored the only goal against an in-form Newcastle United team. It was a dull game overall. The main success was in getting three points, keeping a clean sheet and having over 75% of possession. ‘Job done!’, said the manager. And who would disagree?!

But Operation Goodison when the stewards appeared in a row at the Bullens Road exits along the gangway, wearing their bright yellow, hi-viz coats under the floodlights was the highlight for me. I was waiting for them to start dancing, high stepping in a chorus line in search of Hedy Lamarr but they didn’t. Not this time,anyway.

It was difficult for my lads to see. They’re both six feet or more and when everybody stands as the ball heads towards goal, the view is restricted to a six inch gap from side to side, except for the pillar, which is everpresent. And you stoop. Another proof, if proof were needed, that the ideal height for a man is 5 feet 7 and 3/4 inches, statistically, classically and philosophically proven.

Should Everton move to a new stadium, it will be a happy-sad feeling for me. The pillar has been part of my footballing comunity experience, practically all my life. Going first one way and then the other, dodging the pillar, calling out, ‘What happened..? Did you see..?’, while waiting for the replay on the big screen, if you could see it, was ample return for the price of the ticket on a damp April evening. Job done once again.

I offered to swop seats with my youngest son; my view of the pitch being slightly better than his but he shook his head. He pointed out he was listening to the commentary on Radio Merseyside, who were watching the match on Sky. He shrugged his shoulders. ‘It’s one of those’, he said. It certainly is and we will miss the pillar when it’s no longer there.

Do you want sedation?

Bulletin (Bull) 1: holding up my end so far, S. Oh, no, gotta go…graphic to follow.
T: NO GRAPHICS!! X Aghhhh, no, Vesuvius…
T: Poor you xxx
Reaching the moment of no return, T. (Bull 2)
T: xxxx
x On R3 now, the woman who co-wrote Animal Farm. Night, T. Bull 3. Holding on xx T: Night xxxx

After a stormy night (Bull 4), entering the mince and gravy stage…more gravy. Only good news I can see is no veg. Will keep you posted xx Ooo, have to go…

Haven’t got long to write this…must be down to my last ounce of solid matter, surely..?
T: xxx

How much liquid can flow out of the human arse..? T: xxxx

How are you feeling? Xxx
T: Coughing a lot. x See you at 4.15 xxxx
Are you sure? I can ask our C. to meet me. You can stay in the warm and look after yourself. I don’t want you catching more cold.
T: I’d rather be with you. c u in a bit xx
Ok, love. Me too. It’s at the Gastroenterology unit. I bought some bread and Lancs white cheese for you too. Oops, need the loo…though slowly drying up, if you get my meaning xxx

Xxx Going out for bread and loo roll…don’t ask…would you like cake?

T: In cafe. REALLY early!! xx
Good for you, missed the rain! Which cafe? Still at bus stop xxx
T: Cafe in hospital. First floor x
That’s the Costa, then. There’s another one on ground floor
T: It’s outside the Costa – by the big window x
I know…will come and get you…I’d love a coffee ! Anyway, on the bus! See you soon xx T: No rush. x
There’s the bum rush, T. xx T: Come to cafe 4 coffee. Same one x phone cut out xxx

Well, here I was in the changing room with my partner, T. The nurse in sky blue asked me questions..’Are you allergic to anything? Heart attack in last three months..? Have you been scuba diving or deep sea swimming in last three months? Do you want sedation?’ ‘No…I said ‘No’ on the phone and I’ll stay no.’ ‘You sure?’ She looked at me with all her years of experience. What if it really is painful..? I saw the look in her eyes…and said ‘No’.

My reasons for this were two fold. Firstly, surely they were exaggerating any pain..? It probably was as bad as going to the dentist…or getting your ears syringed. And, secondly, I could get away straight away with T. and have our tea. So plans are formed. ‘You are aware of the risks?’ I nodded. I‘d read the leaflets the night before. ‘You sure then..? Sign here on the screen with your finger.’

‘Right then, change into these sexy blue shorts and night gown. The

hole goes round the back. You’d be surprised how many blokes get it wrong. You’ll have to wait awhile, not sure when you’ll go in. The one before is overrunning and I’m tired’. ‘What time did you come on?’ ‘7am. ‘And onto..?’ ‘7pm.’ ‘That’s a long day’, said S. ‘It’s the lists, you see. They won’t let us alter the lists and staff are off over Easter. And the young doctor in there said I don’t work fast enough!’ And she laughed.

By now, I had heard and read about the ‘procedures’ several times. A gumshield would be put in my mouth. There would be suction (so, it was like the dentist’s then). A tube would be put through the gum shield with a camera on the end. Would I be able to see the pictures, I’d wondered? Would you want to?! ‘The tricky bit is getting it up and over your larynx’, the young doctor said. ‘You’ll feel a slight reflection. That’s natural. We spray it to keep it numb.’ ‘Ok’, I said. ‘It takes about 10 minutes.’ And it did. I didn’t really take in much, as I was baulking a fair bit. ‘Are you ok?’ the nurse asked. ‘Yes’, I tried to say,’ crack on with it. I’m fine’ but it’s hard to talk. So, I waved my hand and gave the thumb’s up. In truth, it was uncomfortable but felt worth it to get checked over.

I’d been referred, following blood tests showing iron deficiency. And before Christmas, I’d noticed an abnormal amount of dark blood in my poo one day. Because I’ve had piles, wiping blood away from my bottom wasn’t that unusual but I’d not seen anything like this before. And it scared me. It wasn’t until the January that I was able to go to the GPs. She checked me over, thought I was ok and referred me to Endoscopy just to be sure. So here I was.

The young doctor said, ‘Right, turn onto your left side for me. I’m just going to pop my finger into your bottom with some gel (he was wearing surgical gloves) to check it’s ok to take the camera. And off we popped!

A colonoscopy takes longer, about forty minutes, but it flew over. They push the tubing in quickly to the far end of your small intestine, the caecum. (I chuckled inwardly; it brought a whole new meaning to the question, have you ever been on the ferry to Secombe (local reference)?) Biology class seemed real to me now and I wish I’d learned or remembered more. ‘We do this quite quickly. The real observations take place on the way back.’

Without the sedation, I was wide awake and began to follow the journey of the camera inside my stomach tubes. ‘They’re fantastic’, I exclaimed. ‘Yes, you’re right’, said the doctor. ‘Although I’ve never done it, I think it’s like caving or potholing.’ ‘Yes, I said, having tried it once…under water.’ ‘Yes, we do it under water sometimes. We flush you with water…’ and on it went through long corridors, opening up into high caverns. Ridges like vaulted ceilings led the way. It was amazing. The stomach tubes have folds, which halt the flow of the food, dropping it into sections, so that it didn’t all squash into one place. ‘Great design’, I thought. ‘So clever and really beautiful!’ And I am usually so squeamish.

And yet they were looking for a polyp; something that caused the bleeding. ‘So far, so good. Those white drops in the lining..? Do you take Safarel..? ‘What’s that?’ I asked. ‘…is the right answer. So, you don’t. It’s a condition, which makes little white droplets, like those.’ I looked carefully at them on the screen. ‘I think they may be quinoa seeds. I have them in my breakfast cereal.’

And yes, we did do the rounds on how do you pronounce keen-wha or Quinn –oh-a, if you’re from Bootle (the posh end, obviously; a spoilt childgood, I thought sadly).

‘You can cook quinoa as well, you know’, Anna said, one of the two nurses present. ‘Yeah, but I just put them raw in my breakfast cereal.’ And that led onto a discussion about breakfast cereals…as the tube progressed slowly backwards, revealing…a pea. ‘Last night’s tea’, I beamed and punched the air. It was so exciting.

As we neared the rear end – I’d barely looked at the clock – the doctor said, ‘I think this may be the cause of your bleeding.’ I looked but…’There it is, a haemorrhoid.’ ‘Ah’, I said, still not seeing very much, till he zoomed in. ‘Oh, there you are, my little friend, my good, itchy, little friend.’ And if a haemorrhoid could smile and offer a hand of friendship, it was, for sure, albeit briefly, as we were off and out popped the tube and the camera…the pictures faded.

‘All done! You have an almost pristine prepared bowel for your colonoscopy.’ I may have started to glow with pride…till more questions. ‘Are you vegetarian, vegan?’ ‘No, I don’t’ eat meat…haven’t for over thirty years…but I do eat fish and dairy, so….’ ‘Pescatarian, then..?’ ‘No…’ and that led into a discussion about what was a pescatarian. Anna said, ‘…sounds like someone belonging to a cult, doesn’t it?’ ‘They mainly eat fish and I hardly eat any.’ Dare I mention that I eat a lot of fruit..? And pictured guiltily the orange whisps on my folds, like flock wallpaper…and thought better. ‘Well, I don’t think I was asked…if I was vegetarian. Lots of questions, but not that one.’

‘Well, I think that’s the cause of your low iron. You may have to take an iron supplement for a while. Talk to your GP.’

And off I went on the trolley. Though short, it was like a sleigh ride. Bells were ringing and we nearly had a 2-bed and a blood pressure unit trolley pile up in Gastroenterology, which would have been spectacular but for the skilfull breaking of my navigator, Anna. She furled me over into a cubicle. ‘Here’s your clothes…you can stay and have a cup of tea and a biscuit in the recovery suite, if you like, but as you haven’t had sedation, you’re free to go.’ ‘Really, can I..?’

My throat felt a little sore. My bottom was a trifle uncomfortable but nothing much. I looked down onto the white sheet, now stained with a small patch of watery poo and started to feel embarrassed, then stopped. This is what comes of bottoms and the doctors and nurses deal with it everyday, no problem.

It felt good to get dressed. I put on my favourite green top and made for the door. Almost out, a nurse called me back. ‘You can have a cup of coffee before you go, you know.’ ‘I know, thanks,’ I said, ‘…but I’m gonna have a pint!’

They say live for today. Be present. Don’t let yourself get absent for who knows about tomorrow…hopefully, full of good stuff. And I rang T. to tell her the good news. ‘All done, on my way, 2 mins.’

PS Text sent the next day…Boss dump at 08.45 this morning, T. It felt soooo goooood. T: Aww, that’s nice xxxxx

The clothes we wear

Mother Julian of Norwich used to say that God can come to us through the clothes   we put on. They make us feel safe, comforted and protected. They express our exhuberant personality, our sporting prowess (if we have any) and we change them as we grow or do different things, like singing in a choir at a concert or gardening.

She was a remarkable woman, writing in the 14th century in Norwich. Her words are as she spoke them. They talk about ordinary experience of life, like putting on clothes. She wrote in English, indeed, is reckoned to be the first woman to do so.

Our children’s meeting last Sunday looked at the clothes we wear and asked how do they draw up closer to God, to the great mystery? How does it work..?

I’m fortunate, I think, to have a job which allows me to dress casually. But I do look forward to the weekends when I can put on jeans and a baggy jumper. I feel comforted. They are familiar. They keep me warm, if need be.  At other times of the year, they let the heat out from shorts and t-shirt when the sun shines on us warmly. But where is God in all this? Julian said that no matter how hard or sad life becomes at times, through loss or sense of failure or…, God is always present, always there for us, wrapping us round with love. It just takes work, like my favourite pair of socks.

Further Reading:

Brenda Clifft Heales and Chris Cooke, Images and Silence: future of Quaker Ministry, Chapter 4 (Swarthmore Lecture, 1992)

Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, 1395