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INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843
CONTENTS – VOL 168 NO 23 3 Epistle 4-5 Photo montage Trish Carn 6-7 The unequal world we inhabit review by John Lampen 8-9 Youth minutes 10 Inspiration follows routine business Trish Carn 11 To have or not to have Ian Kirk-Smith 12 Work toward the ‘divine commonwealth’ Symon Hill 13 Salter Lecture: Living in an unequal world Symon Hill 14 Communication is the key Rhiannon Grant 16 Ministry of giving Trish Carn 17 q-eye: witness 18 Detained children still need help Symon Hill 19 Friends & Meetings 20 Youth minutes Cover image: The sunny courtyard on Saturday at Yearly Meeting 2010. Photo:
Trish Carn. Images on this page: top, Paul Lacey, the Swarthmore lecturer. Tony Stoller handing over The Friends Quarterly essay competition cheque to Linda Murgatroyd.
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the Friend, 4 June 2010 Epistle
To all Friends everywhere,
We send you loving greetings from Britain Yearly Meeting, held from 28th to 31st May 2010. Quakers of all ages from Britain and other yearly meetings gathered at Friends House London. It has been a joy to ‘see one another’s faces’ and to bring the spirit of celebration from our Yearly Meeting Gathering last year in York into this year’s consideration of our ongoing work. Worship in different settings and groups has been deeply grounded.
At the beginnings of our sessions individual Friends have responded to the questions: Why am I a Quaker? How am I a Quaker? Their joy and commitment have formed a strong thread linking the different agenda items. Quaker work can pick us up and turn us round, strengthen and transform us. There is such a variety of things to be done that everyone can feel they have something to give, in money, time or energy. When we give from our hearts, we are enriched and we deepen the lives of our communities. It is good to be challenged to contribute our gifts; it is a sign that we belong.
We have asked ourselves hard questions about the ministry of giving. Do we give enough to notice the impact in our lives? Each of us is called to give in proportion to what we have. Do our attitudes to money challenge or mirror those of the world around us? Our money may unlock opportunities for service.
Our Framework for action 2009–2014 asks stronger meetings to help weaker ones. Sharing otherwise burdensome tasks makes service a joy and helps to build our Quaker community. A priority of the Framework is using our resources well, whether they are of people, money or buildings, and we are excited that many meetings are engaging creatively with this aspect of stewardship. We have seen a model of what vision can achieve in the creation of the new Quaker Centre. It opens Friends House to the world. With money, time and love, the Large Meeting House might also be rejuvenated.
We have reflected on our engagement with the political process in its widest sense. We have a ministry of listening and mediation. Our own daily decisions about the way we live are part of our witness. Quakers have messages to share on justice, equality, simplicity, integrity, peace and sustainability. Let us speak out passionately to the world for the values inherent in our testimonies. Our challenge is to convince those with power that equality benefits all.
Our effective political action following last year’s decision on same-sex marriage has shown us that Quakers can act fast and network effectively. Our Quaker heritage still carries weight; we must continue to live up to it.
We have agreed the principle that journalists should be admitted to Yearly Meeting in session, leaving decisions on detailed procedures about this to an appointed group.
The richness of this yearly meeting’s life has grown from many points, enveloping and deepening the main sessions. It has been good for us to be together; we are strengthened by sharing our experience of serving our community and the world. We feel inspired to become our best selves and act with God’s guidance as agents for transformation. What matters is that our lives should speak, as ‘living minutes’ of this yearly meeting.
Signed in and on behalf of Britain Yearly Meeting
Lis Burch, clerk the Friend, 4 June 2010