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the Friend INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843
CONTENTS VOL 170 NO 23
3 Thought for the Week:
What being a Quaker means to me Leah Heywood 4-5 News 6 Imagining a different world Jane Harries 7 Working together Rowena Loverance 8-9 Junior Yearly Meeting 2012 10-11 All are equal
Roland Carn 12-13 Minutes from the children and young people’s group 14 Fellowship Members of Young Friends
General Meeting 15 Letters 16 q-eye: a look at the Quaker world
Queue eye Jamie Wrench 17 Friends & Meetings
Cover image: Parachute games are great fun. Photo: Trish Carn See pages 8-9 and 12-14.
Junior Yearly Meeting travelled into Friends House for sessions.
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Young and ildren courtesy Ch
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the Friend, 8 June 2012 Thought for the Week
What being a Quaker means to me
At yearly meeting I met my grandmother on the way to a session on ‘What it means to be a Quaker today’. She said it was a question that every Friend should think about, young and old. She invited me to respond to it – in writing.
Okay. By tomorrow morning? Tomorrow morning? In the heat of the moment I agreed, only to be overcome with adolescent doubts the moment she vanished into the lift.
‘But to me being a Quaker is about not knowing!’ I wailed at lunch. ‘That’s hardly useful!’
That’s fine, I was assured by my mother and old family friends. Not very comforting for a teenager achingly uncertain what value could lie in her spiritual journey, new as it is.
But it is the truth, and the truth is what drives me to remain in Quakerism. All other religions have holy books, in which The Truth is held, immutable and unchanging. The Truth, we are told, Simply Is.
I disagree. To me, Truth is a vibrant, dynamic creature, never the same and always far beyond human understanding. It is less a rock to stand on and see further (or lean against in smug certainty), and more a wave to ride, carrying you on towards the future – where the Truth is just a Truth, because Truth changes; Truth here and now is different from Truth there and then. Quakers do not pretend to have the Truth. We have questions, in the Queries, and some possible answers, in the Advices. We change both, as with all the Quaker faith & practice, recognising that everything changes and we must keep up if we hope to help anyone. We don’t lead – we seek, and we hold that everyone can. That, to me, is the most important thing – to know, in effect, that we don’t really know anything, but to try and do the right thing anyway. That, to me, is what being a Quaker is all about.
Leah Heywood Muswell Hill Meeting the Friend, 8 June 2012