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the Friend INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843
CONTENTS – VOL 167 NO 32 3 Wigton Meeting House: shedding light 4 Scottish parlimentarians urged to ‘lift ban on same-sex marriages’ 5 Guided by conscience Jez Smith 6 Prospects for civil liberties Rupert Booth 7 Integration is the key Roger Cullen, Lesley Richards, Julia Gordon and Chris Skidmore 8-9 Letters 10-12 The long path to justice 13 Quaker Peace Studies Trust archive Helen Roberts 14 What is Evil? John Lampen 15 Water Gerard Benson 16 q-eye: a wry look at the Quaker world 17 Friends & Meetings
Cover image: The 2007 Janadesh, a march of 25,000 landless people in India. Photo courtesy of Britain Yearly Meeting. See pages 10-12. Images on this page: Top: Learning from a A-bomb survivor how to make peace cranes: (left to right) Sam Walton (Peace and disarmament programme manager for Quaker Peace and Social Witness), Shoso Kawamoto and Chris Wood, a QPSW peace worker with Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Below: Takako Mendl speaking with Shoso Kawamoto at the Hiroshima Exhibition at Friends House from 2 to 12 August. Photos: Jez Smith.
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the Friend, 6 August 2010 News
Wigton Meeting House:
Every Meeting house is a place of many precious memories. It is also a landmark and a symbol. So the decision to lay down a Meeting, and sell a Meeting house, is not one taken lightly. It is done with a heavy heart.
There are Quaker ways of laying down a Meeting and disposing of its property. These have been carefully discerned over centuries.
Last week an article was published on the third page of the Friend about the laying down of Wigton Meeting and the sale of Wigton Meeting House. It contained some significant inaccuracies and omissions. In a letter on page eight some wholly unfounded, derogatory allegations about North Cumbria Area Meeting (NCAM) trustees were also made. They were untrue. The Friend apologises unreservedly to the trustees of the Area Meeting.
Ian Kirk-Smith, editor
The Managing Trustees North Cumbria Area Meeting Wigton Meeting House write:
Some of the relevant facts are as follows: Wigton Local Meeting (LM) was laid down at its own request. Full details can be found in the appendix to the NCAM Trustees’ Report for 2009 (see http://www.ncam.org. uk/Trustees2009.pdf ).
The date and the time of the Special Area Meeting where it was decided to lay down Wigton LM were arranged – as was the venue in Wigton – to suit Wigton Friends and attenders. Two of the signatories of the letter published agreed to that date and time but then either arrived very late, or did not come at all, and subsequently complained that the timing was inconvenient. Wigton Friends Meeting House (FMH) is owned by the North Cumbria Area Meeting Quaker Trust (NCAM). To suggest therefore that trustees ‘sequestered’ money relating to the Meeting house is untrue and defamatory since they are the lawful owners. Since Wigton LM was part of NCAM, any residual funds were rightly transferred on its demise.
The name plate was removed, as were details from the website, because the Meeting for Worship had been properly laid down.
Only one of the signatories is a member. Four of the other signatories came infrequently to Meeting for Worship before Wigton Local Business Meeting asked for it to be laid down. The fifth person first started attending in January of this year, after that decision had been taken.
The movement of furniture from Carlisle Meeting House during its refurbishment was announced well in advance by letter, and with the intention of causing as little disruption as possible. There are a number of rooms at Wigton FMH and far more space than is used. The letter closed by asking the group to contact the clerk of trustees if what was proposed was inconvenient. It did not do this.
However, during the previous week persons unknown and unauthorised changed the combination on the locks, preventing entry to the building by the trustees and legitimate persons like our cleaner. Trustees then said that unless the new combination was made known to them the police would be informed. Only then did one of the signatories tell the trustees what the number was.
Some of the people involved on the day when police were called were neither Quakers nor former attenders, but people with no connection at all with Quakerism.
Area Meeting (AM) has on a number of occasions asked the group if they wished to apply to AM for Local Meeting status, as laid down in Quaker faith & practice (Qf&p), but they have not done so.
AM has also suggested to them on a number of occasions that they should follow the procedure laid down in Qf&p 4.25 (fourth edition) for resolving disputes, but they have never done so. Instead they instructed solicitors to write to the Trustees.
(continued on page 4)
the Friend, 6 August 2010