Quaker life Representative Council
19-21 April 2013
Report for Hardshaw and Mann Area Meeting
We were asked to write down who we are in 25 words in our home group. I wrote ‘I am a member of Hardshaw and Mann AM – hart for deer and shaw for glade plus an island. I like to hear stories.’ What would you say? I know an historian I met later said, ‘Show me your evidence!’
Ideas flew up.
Inreach – meetings for learning, coffee mornings, gatherings, children’s activities.
Outreach – buildings, community, Quakers and other groups; boycott.
Then, Thomas Swain spoke of the need to come to terms with the truthfulness of what our gifts are. That these need to be affirmed by others.
Then, Helen Roberts spoke about encouraging people to nominate themselves for a role but you should never put the word ‘should’ in; it leads to hardening of the oughteries.
We learned that the bi-monthly publication, Quaker Voices, would like contributions about children’s meetings.
We met the staff from Quaker Life. I was particularly taken by the talk by Chris Nickolay about the resources available for working with children and young people. Do I do enough to support children’s committee and help to make our meeting a welcoming place for them to come? He told us about a useful resource, ‘Journeys in the Spirit’. There are separate editions for children and young people. There is even a pack called ‘What about the children in our meeting?, resources for building a meeting working with children. Just ring me up at Friends House or email me, he urged. Nice man too. Oh, and he nearly forgot to mention ‘Spring into All Age Worship’ too.
David Blake dipped us into the library and archives at Friends House. It holds photos, for example, 1st World War, Russian famine; objects eg Nobel Peace Medal; online exhibitions, a Facebook page and even a blog, QuakerStrongrooms. Watch a video called ‘Quakers Living Adventurously’ on Gresham College website or Youtube. Does that mean on the edge? They recently opened an old suitcase left to them by a member of the Cadbury family which contained a Friends Ambulance uniform.
Andrew O’Hanlon, Outreach Development officer, said he gets 30 enquiries a week for book boxes (leaflets, publicity as well as books on a sale or return basis) for events.
Oliver Waterhouse (not Southgate! Don’t know where that came from…well, I do but that’s another story) told us about Quaker Life Network. He wants more people to join. It’s a good way of seeing what is happening in other parts of Britain and the world, where Quakers are active. Click here to go to the page at http://www.quaker.org.uk/qlnetwork
There are cluster groups on QLN to explore specific issues. So far, there are ones on:
- Mental health
- Children and young people’s work
- Peace education
- Area Meeting clerks cluster
It was a fascinating and enjoyable weekend. Particularly look out for Thomas Swain’s talk as it appears in the May edition of Quaker Voices. If you would like to follow up how we might discover our gifts and affirm them in one another, then Thomas recommended David Ewart’s website, Spirit Given Gifts (www.spiritgivengifts.com)
I was struck by how much there is a need to uphold those carrying out roles on behalf of our meetings as well as for nominations work. Nominations is central to all that we do. It is spirit-led. How else can we ask people to serve in the roles with enthusiasm and growth? If there is a role you would be interested in doing, then let it be known. Ask someone or look it up in Quaker Faith and Practice. ‘It’s all in the flippin’ book’. We’ve all started out by doing the washing up, which is often where we begin to get to know one another better. And still is.
The theme of the next QLRC in October is ‘Worship’. I hope you will find time to consider what this means for you over the intervening months and share it with the friend you find yourself sitting next to next time after meeting.