Bunhill and beyond
an outsider's blog by Andrew Roberts

Bunhill Fields Quaker Meeting House is cherished not just because of its history but because it is held in our hearts and minds as an oasis of peace and the centre of a rimless bowl of prayer. (Memorandum of 8.6.1969)


  Bunhill Quakers have an official website - Which is very good. They have no responsibility for anything on this site. The local meeting has now stopped talking to me. I am very sad about that, because they are good people who I want to be friends with. I will continue to develop my blog with more emphasis on "beyond Bunhill" and a freer expression of my own thoughts. Bunhill will always be in my prayers, but I now worship with our friends at Wesley's Chapel on the other side of Bunhill - Who also have no responsibility for what I say!
"Who ... is desiring life? Loving days to see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, And thy lips from speaking deceit. Turn aside from evil and do good, Seek peace and pursue it." (Psalm 34 in the songbook of Judaism) Referred to by Peter, (Letter one, chapter 3), an apostle of Jesus, who says we should be "all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing" because that is our calling. "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it."

I am not an Osu [outcast] because no one is an Osu

Index:

Our Faith in the Future
[What a good idea]

This is a collection of events, issues and memories put together by Andrew Roberts in a personal capacity. Bunhill is a gift from God to everybody. - So you too could start a Bunhill and beyond blog if so moved.

Olive
Bunhill fun day - Quaker art, pets and love
Winchmore Hill - New Barnet - Tottenham - Stoke Newington - Wesley's Chapel

Worship - Together - Love - Church government - friends - membership - Quaker conflict - cruelty

Books, resources, archives

Kenya - Tokyo

Bunhill: A shared community space - Shabbat - Buddha - Mary - Jesus - Islam - Sufi - Fox - Wesley - Quakers - Sophie - Non violent communication -

Quakernomics - Poverty - After the referendum - Brick Lane - Moral statistics - Quaker apology for slavery -

Tim - Chris - Ernest - Olive - Wanstead

The Friend - Mailings - Sexy website
Thought for the Day - Gorman thoughts
Gardening - History

yqspace is a website for and about young Quakers

Under 19s: Quaker stuff for children, young people and their parents. Including events, in London and a bit beyond, and links to other websites.

The Association of Denominational Historical Societies and Cognate Libraries: http://www.adhscl.org.uk/

Quakers in the world

Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs

Quaker Cuncil for European Affairs

Quaker United Nations Office

Friends World Committee for Consultation

Quaker Committee for Christian and Interfaith Relations [A member of the Inter-Faith Network

Finding out more about Quakers

Finding out more about Methodists

Links to friends in the truth

Sociology of religion

North London Quakers do what Quakers do best.

Join in on facebook

Finishing Sunday 6.9.2015
Tuesday 11.8.2015 to Sunday 6.9.2015

Inside Out / Outside In

St Martin in the Fields

Inside Out/Outside In is an Art Exhibition by Anne McNeill-Pulati from Winchmore Hill and two other Quaker artists, Isa Louise Levy and Caroline Jariwala.

How can our spiritual journeys be shared? A series of Internal and External Human Landscapes. "How can we, as Quaker artists, create an opportunity to depict, show and open dialogue around our spiritual journey?" by three Quaker Female artists 'living adventurously'.

Our collaborative exhibition celebrates human integrity and diversity as we come from multi-faith backgrounds namely Jewish, Hindu and Christian

Anne McNeill-Pulati's paintings are vibrant and complex. They have stories based on metaphor, utilising symbols, which are commonly understood, such as staircases and telegraph poles, rivers, boats and shadows. There are always figures in her paintings, allowing a story to be woven. These are all about travelling on a pathway of communication and choices.

Birds make a frequent appearance, being an ancient symbol for God's presence. Anne's spiritual life has been another journey of communication. She came to Quakers in 1992. Her interest in children and their development became more prominent when she had grandchildren. Anne wrote and illustrated her first book for young children about a dog and a cat and their attitudes and behaviours, the Quaker testimonies Peace, Equality, Truth and Simplicity being the starting point for this book. It is called A Book About P.E.T.S. Peace, Equality, Truth and Simplicity. She found that much of what children learn when they are small often remains unchanged into adulthood, sometimes holding them back from having fulfilling lives and relationships.
Although we are different, we can be friends.   Friends share their space and support one another    

Why are Quakers called friends?

George Fox wrote that, between 1646 and 1648, "meetings of Friends, in several places, were then gathered to God's teaching". In 1650, Fox says, he and his friends were called Quakers. It is generally believed that the term friend is based on the words of Jesus (John chapter 15) that "I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you". We are his friends if we keep his commandments. "These things I command you, that ye love one another".

The 2015 Bunhill Friends and Neighbours Fun Day

Sunday 26.7.2015 from 12pm to 5pm

It was overcast and damp, but we still had

Fun and friendship for everyone
A bouncy castle for children
Free food and drink
Balloon artists and face-painting

Bunhill Quaker Meeting House was open and a group of Quakers provided refreshments, friendship, information, entertainment and toilet facilities. Given the weather, the Meeting House's contribution was more important than ever.

History tour Every half hour a group of people followed Michael Albero around the grounds clutching coffee house mugs (to look at the pictures). This tour included the gardens and the Meeting House: What is now the gardens was once a graveyard where thousands of Quakers were buried in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Michael spoke about how they changed the course of history, how World War Two changed the geography of our square, and how our housing blocks came into being.

A Quaker gardener was there to talk to people about the plants, insects animals and birds that share Quaker Gardens with us.

The pictures below are from 2014 - when it was sunny


Let me tell you a story...


Let me paint your face...


Let's spend time together...

Worship

See welcome assurance

British Quakers say that "As Friends we commit ourselves to a way of worship which allows God to teach and transform us". "Worship is the response of the human spirit to the presence of the divine and eternal, to the God who first seeks us."

British Quakers say that "Quakers believe there is something of God in everyone." They continue:

"Worship is at the heart of what it means to be a Quaker. Meeting for worship brings Quakers together in stillness so we can quiet our minds and open our hearts and lives to God. Everyone is welcome to join us.

Quaker worship (we call it 'meeting for worship') normally lasts for an hour. We enter and sit in stillness and waiting. This stillness gives us space and time to listen and reflect. We don't have songs, set prayers or talks you might find in other places of worship. We know that some people may find the silence uncomfortable, but it can be an opportunity to come closer to God.

What happens in the stillness?

We try to be quiet in body, mind and spirit. We don't worship on our own. We look for a sense of connection with those around us, with our deepest selves, with God. As we feel this sense of connection grow stronger, we may begin to see the world and our relationships in a new way. Our worship may take us to a deep place, beyond our own thoughts and ideas and help us respond more creatively to our lives and the world around us.

Who runs the meeting for worship?

We believe all people are equal, we can all have a direct relationship with God and anyone can contribute to worship. Quakers do not have priests or anyone leading the worship.

During worship people may feel prompted to speak, pray or read aloud. They may stand to share their insights and inspirations with the meeting. We call this ministry. Ministry can inspire and enrich; we listen in silence and without judgement. It may also prompt others to say something connected to what they have heard.

Where do you sit?

In a Quaker meeting you can sit anywhere you want. We do not reserve or have special seats. Chairs or benches are usually arranged in a circle or a square. This helps us to be aware of each another and reminds us that we are worshipping together as equals. The meeting starts as soon as the first person enters the room.

What books do you use?

The Bible and copies of a book called Quaker faith & practice - a collection of writing and experiences of Quakers from our 350-year history - are to hand. We also use a small booklet called Advices & queries; a collection of prompts, insights and questions that Quakers read regularly.

How does a meeting end?

Meeting for worship finishes when two Quakers shake hands. The rest of the meeting joins in by shaking hands with those around them. Someone may then share news and information. After meeting has finished, please approach someone if you want to ask questions about the meeting or anything else about Quakers.

Who can come to meeting?

Quaker meetings are open to everyone. You do not have to be a Quaker to attend. Most meetings welcome children and some run a group specifically for them. Please be aware your children may need to sit quietly for at least the part of the meeting, when all ages are together.

Meetings can be held anywhere, at any time, although they usually take place on Sundays in a Quaker meeting house.

There are around 500 Quaker meetings in Britain, attended by more than 20,000 people. If you would like to join us, you are very welcome."

You are reminded that I have no authority to speak and that quoting Quaker sources does not imply approval of my interpretation.


Reaching each other

"Never forget your experience of God, in whatever way it has come to you. When you leave the meeting for worship, what do you carry with you into your daily life? Attend to what love requires of you..."

From Questions and Counsel, a proposed revision of Advices and Queries January 1988. My emphasis of "what love requires of you", which seems to have taken on a life of its own.



What can we do with what we have got?

Is your meeting tired and struggling? Are you looking to reinvigorate your life as a spiritual community?

Do you find it hard to fulfil all your responsibilities as a meeting? Do people feel overburdened?

Are you thriving inwardly but looking to engage in the world?

Quakers reflected on the practical and spiritual resources of meetings on Saturday 20.6.2015. They thought about priorities and sought creative solutions together.

This flip chart of ideas about what nourishes meetings seems relevant to many churches and communities.

All the flipcharts are online


The day was run by Simon Best of Woodbrooke on the Road

 

Not enough of us

There are not enough people at the meeting house to do everything that needs doing. Can we perform miracles with a slice of bread and an olive when we need loaves and fishes? Perhaps, but that is above my spiritual pay scale.

Thinking about a few decades at Bunhill I thought the following. These are not miracles, but they may help.

Local Meeting seems the real element of Quaker organisation. It is this particular group of people meeting and relating in connection with this particular place that we think of as the meeting. But this is not the way Quakers have worked historically. Until recently local meeting was called preparative meeting. We prepared for the monthly meeting of which we are just a part. We are not alone and should be open to the help that is available.

Old books of discipline talk a lot about love and unity. It is a lot harder to work together if we do not like one another. Quakers are supposed to be friends. When someone told me I was a "Quaker Friend" not a "real friend" s/he was honestly revealing a flaw in this Quaker argument. Being friends is sometimes much harder than we think and enmity in a meeting needs healing. Take this seriously and fewer hands will do more work.

Love is the highest Christian virtue. God is love. I agree with the old Quakers on aiming for that, but it may be more practical first to seek mutual respect. Can we overcome bad feelings about others and see the positive side of their contribution?

Some things, as I said, are above my spiritual pay scale. I accept that Mary chose the higher gift when she sat and talked to Jesus and left Martha to prepare the food, but did she eat any of the food? Meetings take place in material circumstances and I think we should pay attention to these as well as to the spirit of love and truth. I think Jesus did the washing up and I think that if we are all open to sharing tasks and to accepting help it will make any miracles we need easier.

That is my condensed wisdom from thirty years at Bunhill. Not much, but I thought I would write it down.

Membership See belonging and statistics

In 1657 Quakers had no members. Membership is something seen. George Fox read in an epistle of Paul that we should "look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" and he wrote his own epistle to friends everywhere, saying, "Meet together, and in the measure of God's spirit wait, that with it all your minds may be guided up to God, to receive wisdom from God. That you may all come to know how you may walk up to him in his wisdom... And friends meet together, and know one another in that which is eternal, which was before the world was."

Quakers now record members and get rid of members. Until recently, one way of getting rid of members was known as "disownment". Now, Britain Yearly Meeting calls it "termination of membership under Quaker Faith and Practice section 11.30(c)". In the ten years from 2006 to 2015, fourteen members had their membership terminated under this section because the society held that the "spiritual bond" had been "broken".

Quaker conflict - avoiding the punch up - Gospel order

Read George Fox: "If there happen any difference between Friend and Friend, let them speak to one another...

Read also William Blake's poems on the divine image in innocence (mercy, pity, peace and love) and a divine image in experience (cruelty).

On Saturday 19.3.2016 at North London Area Quaker Meeting at Winchmore Hill we experienced a time of compassion and love that muffled and contained the pain of Quakers fighting.

During the meeting people sometimes touched one another to offer comfort and reassurance.

The opening worship was much longer and deeper than it usually is and in it someone spoke about the importance of listening to one another. In the silence we reflected on that.

Then these passages of Quaker Faith and Practice were read:

10.01 Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand. (Isaac Penington, 1667)

10.22 Part of the creative experience of a community is learning how to deal with conflict when it arises, and Friends are not usually good at this. 'Speaking the truth in love' is a Quaker cliché, but 'papering over the cracks' is the principle more commonly acted upon. Conflict met in 'brokenness' of spirit can take a meeting a long way on its spiritual journey, whereas unresolved it deadens the life. We are a small Society. Clashes have always arisen, just as they arise in any family group. In one sense the members of a family know each other too well, in another sense not well enough. It is impossible to impress one's relations, but they can be a great stand-by in time of need, and it is then that they come to know each other better, if the bond is strong enough. (Joan Fitch, 1980)

Church Government

"There can be a reluctance to consider the written word, however, it was felt that sharing our experience, not simply our reading, was very important in leading to greater understanding". Bunhill minute of 9.8.2015 on considering the responsibilities of eldership.

This minute arose from my suggestion in a discussion group that people might have something to share that was not a reading of Quaker Faith and Practice. The Clerk faithfully recorded my opinion in the minute, but I was severely castigated for it in subsequent emails from other Quakers. I still think that human experience has more of value in it than letters and that those of us who spend much of our time reading should welcome what others can bring.

"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" (1 Corinthians 12. 4-6)

Discipline

Does a blog called "Bunhill and beyond", written by an individual, infringe a right of Britain Yearly Meeting and clerks of meetings to speak for (British and local) Quakers? I have been asked to reflect on the passage of the current Quaker Book of Discipline, which says:

"Authority for public statements

"Individuals and groups must be careful not to claim to speak for Friends" [Quakers] "without explicit authority. Any activity or statement made in public which claims to be undertaken in the name of Friends and relating to the corporate life and witness of the Religious Society of Friends must be authorised by the appropriate meeting for church affairs. Any public statement which claims to be given on behalf of Friends in Britain Yearly Meeting as a whole will require the judgment of a more widely representative body than a meeting, area meeting or ad hoc group; it should be considered and agreed by Meeting for Sufferings or by Yearly Meeting before publication. It must be made clear when local initiatives relate solely to local meetings. Similarly, individual Friends or ad hoc groups should make it clear that they speak only for themselves unless their local or area meeting has agreed a minute supporting their action.

"On occasion it may be necessary for the clerk of a meeting, or another appointed Friend, to take urgent action to correct misleading reports in the press or other misunderstandings in the public domain. This section is not intended to hamper such necessary action undertaken responsibly in the interests of a meeting."

I do not speak for Quakers, but some may believe that the above passage means Quakers should not speak as individuals. Others do not think this is what it means. We make different interpretations of the same passage.

A rat in May

An extract for Charlotte Mew

I remember one evening of a long past Spring
Turning in at a gate, getting out of a cart, and finding a large dead rat in the mud of the drive.
I remember thinking: alive or dead, a rat was a god-forsaken thing,
But at least, in May, that even a rat should be alive.

Welcome assurance

Seen on Stoke Newington Quaker website: Everyone is welcome to attend [Meeting for Worship].

Seen on Winchmore Hill Quaker website: We seek to be a friendly and open spiritual community, which welcomes everyone. You are very welcome to join us for worship.

Seen on New Barnet Quaker website: We are a small meeting, but we pride ourselves in being friendly and welcoming.

Seen on Tottenham Quaker website: Everyone is welcome to attend

Seen on the Bunhill Fields Quaker website: Worship is at the heart of what it means to be a Quaker. Meeting for worship brings Quakers together in stillness so we can quiet our minds and open our hearts and lives to God. Everyone is welcome to join us.

Hymn writer Marty Haugen wrote in 1994:

Let us build a house where all are named,
their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace,
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place

Stoke Newington Quakers are not burdened with their own meeting house

They meet on Sundays at 10am in Clissold House, Clissold Park, London, N16 9HJ

Tottenham
594 High Road
London N17 9TA

Sunday Meeting Time: 10:30

website

Winchmore Hill

59 Church Hill,
London
N21 1LE.

Check their website for how to get there


New Barnet

55 Leicester Road,
New Barnet, Hertfordshire. EN5 5EL.
Map

Transport: New Barnet National Rail station - about 10 minutes walk. High Barnet Underground (Northern Line) - about 20 minutes walk. Nearby buses include 84, 107, 184, 307 and 326.

website

  Bunhill: A shared community space

There are people at Bunhill who remember the times when Quakers wanted to close the building. Common sense seemed to dictate no other course as there were so few Quakers and so much repair work. But then the vision was presented of a meeting house that was shared, a community centre.

Nowadays, Sunday morning Quaker worship is one part of a tapestry of activities. Every first Sunday the local community gathers with Quaker gardeners to care for the natural, wild life friendly, garden that we share. Every Sunday evening 'Conservative' Quakers meet in Christ centred worship and once a month, a mid-week meeting includes conservatives, liberals and many others who share not only worship, but food. Every month, a member of St Albans meeting conducts a Quaker walk through the City that includes the possibility of sharing food and worship with mid-week meeting at Bunhill.

Also on Sunday, At Ease, who have their offices in the meeting house, provide a much needed rights advice service to members of the armed forces. On Monday's the meeting house has recently become host to the City group of Al-Anon, for families and friends of alcoholics. Another welcome development is the use of the space in front of the building by the Quaker Homeless Action Library van. Social action groups that have used the meeting space have campaigned against female genital mutilation, for cycling and clean air, against waste, befriended the earth, befriended prisoners, cared for animals and worked for disability rights.

A memorandum of 8.6.1969 described Bunhill "as an oasis of peace and the centre of a rimless bowl of prayer". Last year, one Quaker described it as a "multi-faith prayer space". During the week, muslims from local offices conduct their mid-day prayers in the main meeting room and Sufis pray and meditate in the specially designed Sufi Centre on the top floor. On special days the meeting house is used throughout the night for prayer and fasting. Buddhists have long held meditation classes on Monday evenings and the building is increasingly used by other meditation groups including Mind Space, London Energy Share, Discovering Unity and Live from your Heart. Saturday meetings include sessions of the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary.

Bunhill seeks to be a centre of local community life. It has been used for a two day planning consultation, is used every year for the annual meetings of the local Tenants Management Organisations, and is used for informal meetings of residents. The highlight of this community cooperation was the bumper "Friends and Neighbours Fun Day" on the last Sunday of July 2014, organised jointly by Braithwaite House, Quaker Court and Bunhill Quakers. One of our Methodist visitors described this as the "noisiest Quaker shin- dig" he had ever been to.

Therapists, business people, charities, amateur investors and others have used the meeting house for various activities, including a fund-raising linch. It also has an intellectual life. In the coming year, a group with a Christian tradition plan a weekly philosophy discussion. In the past year, many discussions have been organised by the Quaker worship groups. In addition, people from local churches have discussed war and peace, people from different denominational libraries have heard from a Quaker historian about Quakers and war before they became pacifists, and the Powys society have watched the "age of aquarius" arise from the cauldron of war in an essay by John Cowper Powys.

 

The Shabbat Blessing for Children

May God bless you and protect you.
May God's face shine toward you and show you favour.
May God look favourably upon you and grant you peace.

Those stanzas comprise the Priestly blessing said in the Temple 3,000 years ago and it is what we say when we bless the children on Friday night. (Martin Gaba). Blessing children can be traced back to the patriarchs.

Passover: What makes this night different?

Always be peaceful and harmonious with others

The Precious Fish. One of the eight auspicious symbols that adorn the Kadampa Buddhist Temple in Ulverston, England. Photographs of all sixteen illustrate Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's book How to Solve Our Human Problems.

Bunhill has been the home of Kadampa Buddhist meditation for many years. The Monday evening meditation classes are open to everyone - Buddhists and non-Buddhists

The Buddha in the Library

In January 2013 a heavy brass praying figure was donated to Bunhill by a Buddhist, Redwood Fryxell, who worshipped with Quackers on Sunday and at mid-week meetings on occasions. We believe this donation is because he learned of Buddhists (and Muslims) meeting at Bunhill regularly. The figure has been placed on the mantelpiece in the basement library- children's room.

Copies of a new booklet on Quakers and other faiths are available among Bunhill's free introductory publications and library materials on the ground floor.

The picture of the Buddha in the Library was taken by Helen Hulson in May 2015.

Mary said

My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things ....

Jesus said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Marcus Aurelius said: "we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids"

Islam - submission to the will of God

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community use Bunhill Meeting House regularly for prayer. They have recently made free copies of Life of Muhammad by Hadrat Mirza Basiruddin Mahmud Ahmad available to all users of the Meeting House. Thank you.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has sponsored The Review of Religions since 1902. Jesus in India is a treatise written (originally in Urdu) by Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement.

Links for the study of Islam

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

In the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

This seems to say that to submit to the will of God is to attempt to do everything in the spirit of compassion, mercy and good intention to others.

Begin with a transformation of the heart

Students of the School of Sufi Teaching begin with practices which bring about a transformation of the heart rather than beginning with the transformation of the ego. This approach, known as "in their end is our beginning", was first taught by Khwaja Baha'uddin Naqshband who died in 1389.

The School of Sufi Teaching occupies all of the top floor of Bunhill, which has been designed as a centre for worship. The room is used for prayers and so anyone who enters is asked to remove shoes.

George Fox said

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.

A heart warming experience

Charles Wesley wrote

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray-
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Britain Yearly Meeting Quaker faith and practice

Our diversity invites us both to speak what we know to be true in our lives and to learn from others.

The promptings of love and truth in your hearts [are] the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life.

Hold yourself and others in the Light, knowing that all are cherished by God.

Take time to learn about other people's experiences of the Light.

Quaker meetings are held at Bunhill on Sundays every week and once a month on Wednesdays.

[Using their logo for illustration does not imply approval of my blog by Quakers

Christian Quakers

Jesus Christ is with us now... He is the Light given to each and every human being that shows what is right and what is wrong. And he is the Power which enables us to do right and resist wrong... We believe anyone, of any faith, can know God's saving power.

Christian Quaker meetings are held at Bunhill at 4pm on Sunday evening every week. Everyone is welcome.

Bunhill's Christian Quaker Group are affiliated to Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative Friends), and use their Book of Discipline

Sophie sang

Loneliness is not the will of God
Go into the church to make it vanish in your mind
Read sometime the word of life
To give your spirit peace
Don't think bad about yourself
Appreciate your life
God we need your grace - To be happy


Giraffe speak (non violent communication) has been at Bunhill since September 2015

To move blood up such a long neck takes a strong heart. That is why the non-violent communicators call one another giraffes. Non-violent communication, they say, is the language of the heart.

Nonviolent communication is also known as compassionate communication and is also known as collaborative communication. Compassion is one of the emotions that the heart symbolises.

Every Monday evening - Downstairs - 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The first Monday of every Month is open for anyone to attend. For other meetings some preparation reading or video watching is suggested. A contribution of £2 helps pay the rent. See the website

When we are met with compassion and respect for our autonomy, we tend to have more access to our own compassion for ourselves and for others. Open-hearted living aims to meet ourselves with compassion and understanding for our own needs. It aims to express our feelings and needs clearly and to ask others for specific things they can do to help. It aims to hear the feelings and needs behind other people's expressions and actions, regardless of how they express themselves.

Central London Meetup Non Violent Communication group:

UK Nonviolent Communication ~ Community Website

Center for Nonviolent Communication: An International Organisation

Quakernomics is a forum for discussion and debate about the relationships between the economic system, our lives, and the Earth. It is a space to both reflect on and plan ways to build a more just and sustainable world.

Quakernomics been set up by Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW) as a space to share ideas, debate, learn and be inspired to take action.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE SPACE

Earth and Economy newsletter 1

Earth and Economy newsletter 2

Newsletter 1 includes (page 6) an article by Suzanne Ismail, a Quaker economist, on the importance of concepts like wellbeing, which include more than economic wealth (link to Andrew Roberts' site). The article includes these links:

Office of National Statistics wellbeing project

Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress

All Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics

Church Action on Poverty - Building partnerships of hope an transformation

Muslim Aid - Serving humanity

Poverty - The Tottenham statement - May 2013

We, the Quakers of Tottenham Meeting, have carefully considered the question of using our Sunday collections towards food banks. In an austerity-era approach to the problems faced by civil society, food banks and the volunteers that run them are filling a yawning gap created by frozen wages, rising food prices, and fuel bills. While we recognise the importance of emergency food aid, and the moral imperative behind the need to support it, in whatever way we can, we strongly believe that the access to food is a fundamental human right. We believe that this therefore is a social justice issue disguising itself in such a way as to allow government to ignore hunger and its obligation, committed to when the UK ratified the international covenant on economic social and cultural rights (ICESCR).

What is the right to food?: "States that sign the covenant agree to take steps to the maximum of their available resources to achieve progressively the full realisation of the right to adequate food, both nationally and internationally." (ICESCR 1966: article 2(1), 11(1) and 23.; Ziegler 2012.)

We urge all, at the same time as supporting food banks, to remind the government of its own obligations.


Margaret Roe
Elder, Quakers of Tottenham Meeting

This letter was written after and Oxfam/Church Action on Poverty report which says that half-a-million people are now dependent on food banks in the UK. The letter was sent to Tottenham MPs, raised at the North London Area Meeting of Quakers and published in The Guardian on Friday 30.5.2013


July 2015 Parliamentary briefing on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill

After the referendum: Imams speak out - Methodists call for respect - Quakers build bridges - a sign of hope


Imams speak out

"The fact that there has been a 57 per cent rise in the number of hate crimes reported in the aftermath of the referendum shows that the result has given a new found confidence to those who may have previously expressed such views online or in closed quarters; they have been emboldened to take their messages of hate to the streets." (Qari Muhammad Asim Senior Imam - Makkah Mosque, Leeds)


The Methodist Conference of 2016 unanimously passed a resolution calling for respect and tolerance in our national life in the wake of the divisive EU Referendum Campaign. It asked that the statement below be sent to MP's and others in positions of leadership.

Racism is a denial of the gospel

The Methodist Conference believes that the British Isles are enriched by diversity and celebrates the contribution made by those who have come from other parts of the world.

The Christian tradition calls for respect, tolerance, love of neighbour and hospitality to the stranger. All bear the responsibility of speaking and acting for healing, reconciliation, and mutual respect.

The Methodist Conference abhors and deeply regrets those actions and words which incite hatred and lead to the victimisation of groups within society and notes with concern that such actions and words have been normalised in recent public discourse. Believing that racism is a denial of the gospel and that to stay silent when others are abused is to collude with those who seek to promote hatred and division, the Methodist Conference calls:

  • on the Methodist people to challenge racism and discrimination.
  • for a political debate which neither demonises any nor leaves the vulnerable (the foreigner, the immigrant and refugee) in danger of victimisation.
  • on political leaders to work together for the good of the whole community putting the needs of the nation before party politics.
  • on all those in positions of power and authority to hear the voices of those who have been marginalised and alienated and to respond to them in ways which offer real hope for the future.


    Quaker statement

    Building bridges after the referendum

    The outcome of the EU referendum and the campaigning that led up to it have shown up and sometimes exacerbated divisions within and between our communities.

    There is now a great need for bridge-building, for reaching out to one another in love, trusting that below the political differences lie a shared humanity and a wish for flourishing communities.

    Inequalities run deep in society and some are exposed by the vote. Quakers in England, Scotland and Wales are committed to working together and with others - including Quakers across Europe - for a peaceful and just world. In the coming year our Quaker Yearly Meeting will focus on building movements with others locally and globally. We refuse to prejudge who is or is not an ally.

    Turbulent times can be frightening, but the Spirit is a source of strength for all, guiding us in who we are and what we do. We take heart from the knowledge that with change comes opportunity. We will look for creative ways to find common cause, to listen, to influence and to persuade. As the status quo is shaken we and our neighbours must look to one another for support, wisdom and above all ways of healing divisions.


    Wearing a #safetypin is a symbol of our solidarity - all of us are held together, wherever we come from.

  • Tower Hamlets Church Leaders' Statement on the "Christian Patrols"

    We, representatives of all the major Christian traditions in Tower Hamlets, strongly oppose the presence of Britain First on our streets and reject their views. We are not living in "occupied East London" and we do not require these trouble-makers to "take back" Brick Lane or any other part of this diverse Borough for Christians, or for anyone else. We are proud to be part of the diverse communities of Tower Hamlets and will continue to work with all of them, including our Muslim neighbours, to maintain that diversity in the face of any who attempt to undermine it.

    Britain First try to justify their mis-named Christian Patrols on the basis that we are constantly endangered by the (equally mis-named) Muslim Patrols out to enforce their own set of standards. That very small group were active for only one weekend at the beginning of 2013 and, because of prompt action by the police and community groups - including local mosques, were quickly arrested and have been sent to prison. Neither group is welcome and neither speaks in the name of the Christians or the Muslims who live here.

    The Christian churches here in Tower Hamlets remain active, lively and committed to living out our discipleship to Jesus Christ through worship, teaching and service. Britain First do not just threaten Islam by their presence here, but all of us, by their hateful words and behaviour. They do not represent Christians in Tower Hamlets and they do not represent Christianity. Please do not come back!

    Signed,
    The Tower Hamlets Borough Deans Group:
    Captain Kerry Coke, The Salvation Army in Tower Hamlets
    Fr Michael Dunne, The Roman Catholic Deanery of Tower Hamlets
    Rev Hugh Graham, The United Reformed Churches in Tower Hamlets
    Rev Preb Alan Green, Church of England Borough Chaplain & Interfaith Adviser
    Rev Mike Houston, The Tower Hamlets Evangelical Fellowship
    Rev Cameron Kirkwood, Rev Andrew Pantland, The Methodist Church Circuit of Tower Hamlets
    Rev Andy Rider, The Church of England Deanery of Tower Hamlets
    Rev Jane Thorington-Hassell, Victoria Park Baptist Church

    Thursday, February 5th, 2015


    "Britain First, who came to the borough last year to "bait" Muslims by smoking and drinking outside a mosque, were also condemned by Muslim leaders. Hira Islam, secretary general of Council of Mosques, said: "Britain First will never succeed in dividing our communities in Tower Hamlets. "We are stronger as a borough through our work together." Last week the protests were denounced by the council, the East London Mosque and Rushanara Ali MP." (East London Advertiser 4.2.2015


    I find the solidarity of faiths in Tower Hamlets inspiring. Many Quakers and friends of Quakers would agree. However, Quakers advise that "individuals and groups must be careful not to claim to speak for Friends" [Quakers] "without explicit authority", and my blog has no authority. There is an official statement by British Quakers on inter- faith relations that you could read.


    Moral statistics Quaker statistics - belonging

    The British Quaker Survey 2013: believing and belonging in secularising society.

    Ben Pink Dandelion, Woodbrooke and the University of Birmingham

    "The respondents were aged between 17 and 100, with a mean age of 64. In terms of gender, 61% were female, in line with national figures. In terms of ethnicity, 99% belonged to the white ethnic group, and 71% had undergraduate degrees with 32% of these a Masters or doctorate in addition. The Quakers are not typical of the British population as a whole but represent a very particular demographic."

    Only 1% of Quakers classify themselves as non-white. Does this make you feel uncomfortable?

    Only 29% of Quakers have not got a degree. Are you feeling more uncomfortable?

    Writing in Barbados, George Fox and other Quakers said that native Indians and people from Africa "make up a very great part of the families in this island, for whom an account will be required by Him who comes to judge both quick and dead,"

    "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance" (2 Thessalonians 1: verses 7-8)
    (An epistle from the Quakers to the Governor of Barbados, 1671, re- published in the First Edition of George Fox's Journal in 1694)

    On 21.4.1676 the government of Barbados made it a legal offence for people with black skin to be allowed in Quaker meetings. "Enforcement of the 1676 Act had little impact on Quakers." (Larry Gragg, "The pious and the profane: the religious life of early Barbados planters". The Historian 1.1.2000.)

    A Quaker meeting is for everyone.

    Quakers advise that
    "individuals and groups must be careful not to claim to speak for Friends"
    [Quakers] "without explicit authority", My blog has no authority.
    I am not expecting mighty angels to support me (-:.

    Mostly Kenya Mount Kenya

    You used to be able to dance and sing with Quakers in Kenya - (Chwele Yearly Meeting youth choir), courtesy of The Friend

    Friends United Meetings is an international Christian fellowship, made up of member Yearly Meetings throughout North America, the Caribbean, East Africa and the Middle East. Gathered together in the living presence of Jesus Christ, we are FUM.

    Friends School Tokyo

    August 2009 25 students from Friends School Tokyo visited Woodbrooke as part of their annual George Fox Tour. Outings included visits to Lichfield Cathedral, '1652 country' including Swarthmoor Hall and Pendle Hill, an evening watching Julius Caesar at Stratford.

    The annual visits conclude with a trip to Bunhill Fields Meeting House and the grave of George Fox. The visit is led by Maud Grainger from Woodbrooke and Lisa Bowers Isaacson from Bunhill. Last year it was on Saturday 15.8.2015

    Friends School Tokyo is a school for girls established by the Women's Mission Board of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1887. A fire in 1902 and the firebombings of Tokyo in the spring of 1945 destroyed the buildings, but the school was repeatedly rebuilt.

    The school begins each day with meeting for worship and ends each day with the singing of a hymn and a moment of silence. Students study the Bible or world religions at every grade level.

    The Friend, which calls itself "The Quaker magazine", can be read free at most Quaker meetings in Britain and most will let you take a copy home.

    A Friend being read is worth ten on the shelf - Go on - Take one!

    If you visit The Friend online, you will find you are allowed to peep at its contents without being charged.

    The Friend 25.4.2014 The Fox Report from the North East.

    Mailings

    Clerks' monthly mailings (Available to members and attenders at Quaker meetings)

    Bunhill and beyond mailings. Occasional unauthorised mailings from Andrew Roberts. Available to anyone who can stomach the unofficial.

    Sexy website

    In November 1999 James Grant's new "Quakers at Bunhill Fields" website was widely praised with comments like "the site is sexy and direct. And full of life" - "colourful and accessible, almost, dare I say it?, fun" - "attractive and loads quickly" - "excellent - very much in keeping with Quaker philosophy - simple but effective. I particularly like the larger print text on a white background ... so much easier to read than the typical web page" - "all the things that were recommended at the Woodbrooke conference in July ... will copy your ideas shamelessly"
    Tbe Bunhill website followed the model James set until January 2016, but the compliments stopped flowing long ago and Bunhill moved its website.


    There are many unexpected links between the quite of Quaker Gardens and the music of Wesley's Chapel on City Road.

    "Hope for All", the Methodist School was built in Quaker Gardens.

    George Fox's stone and John Wesley's statue were erected to make old graveyards a memorial to dissent.

    The campaign to restore Fox's stone started in Wesley's Chapel.

    A conservation plan envisages Quaker Gardens, Bunhill Dissenters Burial Ground and Wesley's Chapel on a historic green pathway.


    On 31.12.2012, BBC Today Programme "Thought for the Day" (live at 7.45am), had a 2013 message from Helen Drewery, General Secretary of Quaker Peace and Social Witness. I have copied this and a thought for Hanukah from The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks below. You can still listen to these online on the BBC website - Along with other thoughts for other days by many thoughtful people. By clicking on a thought, you will be able to listen to it and/or read the thoughts.

    January 2013 With great joy we welcomed Michael Albero, Richenda Carey and John Foley to the life of our meeting. Spring 2016 Michael is recuperating from illness. Richenda and John have, sadly, withdrawn. We wish them well.

    Tim Gee of New Internationalist thinks we should make peace a way of life. As his friends deliberately misunderstand him, he reflects on what Quakerism is really about. "The essence of Quakerism" he says "is not an easily repeatable creed or dogma, but space. In shared silence there is profoundness and intimacy that is difficult to experience in any other situation. But the space goes beyond the Quaker meeting. It is a community.... " Oh, go on, click the link and read the rest yourself!

    Our friend and long-time Premises Clerk, Christopher Vincenzi died on Wednesday 14.11.2012. His funeral was on Friday 30.11.2012 at Wanstead Quaker Meeting House. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

    Christopher Vincenzi obituary

    By two of his children: Dominic and Rebecca Vincenzi
    guardian.co.uk, Thursday 22.11.2012

    Christopher Vincenzi, our father, who has died aged 73, was a humanitarian lawyer, peace activist and Quaker. He probed into obscure areas of English law and brought to light the powers enjoyed by the crown that affect our rights and liberties.

    Born in Ipswich, Suffolk, Christopher was the son of Julius, a GP, and his wife, Dorothy. Julius's father, Paulo, was a hatmaker from Carpi, Italy, who had established a business in Luton in the early 1900s. He left money for his family's education, and Christopher was sent to boarding school at the age of five with his older brother Paul. He went on to be educated at Stowe school in Buckinghamshire, and Christ Church, Oxford, studying law, and later obtained a PhD at Leeds University.

    He became devoted to the struggle against inequality, injustice and discrimination, and soon became a dedicated socialist. He married Ruth in 1965, and they moved in the late 60s to Bradford, where Christopher served as a Labour councillor and in 1980 helped found the first Bradford Law Centre, which offered free legal representation to those who could not afford to pay.

    As well as working as a solicitor and lecturing in law at Huddersfield Polytechnic, Christopher was a steward for his union, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education. His published work included Law of the European Community (1992, which went into several editions) and Crown Powers, Subjects and Citizens (1998), the latter a controversial book which was recommended in the Guardian as giving a "full, unprepossessing picture" of the operation of crown prerogative.

    Christopher supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and campaigns to stop the National Front. In the 1970s he was a member of the group campaigning to preserve the old Kirkgate Market, a historic Victorian building in Bradford; their efforts were thwarted, and in 1973 the building was replaced by a concrete shopping mall. The following year, the architect John Poulson was imprisoned for bribing council officials in return for contracts including the redevelopment of the market site. Christopher was asked to give evidence in court against those who had been receiving bribes.

    He was an honest man with great integrity and a vision of social justice. After 35 years in Bradford, he and Ruth returned to London, where Christopher was active in the Quaker movement. He is survived by Ruth, us and our brother, Simon, and three grandchildren, Rosy, Ruby and Luca.

    God's grace to us through Ernest Yarrow

    18.7.1921-19.2.2003

    The grace of God is the gift of God. Freely given, freely received. What words would you use to describe the grace that God showed in his friend Ernest Yarrow? We thought we could start with: Good nature and good humour. Friendly with children. Steadiness. Solidarity. Faithfulness. Rock of the meeting. Friend and husband. Now, could you continue?

    Ernie's family lived in Dalston. His mother had to struggle. Her husband worked for the Metal Box Company and suffered from tin poisoning. When Ernie was only seven years old, his father went into hospital and he was continually ill until he died, when Ernie was fourteen.

    Ernie left school as soon as he was legally able, and went out to work as the breadwinner of the family.

    When war came, Ernie was sixteen. When he was old enough to be called up, he found he was rejected by the navy because he was hard of hearing. He went for a course to do engineering, and was sent to Acton where he helped make gliders.

    Ernie was, by profession, a carpenter and chair constructor. He worked for Cinque Chair Makers, who also did upholstery and made settees - but mainly chairs. Ernie was innovative. He called himself a "saw doctor". He was the person who kept the tools sharp and repaired them when they were broken. His hobbies were gardening and keeping tropical fish. All these skills, apart from the fish-keeping, he later lent to the service of God at Bunhill Meeting.

    About 1948, Ernie met a young Quaker friend of his cousin Iris. It was Iris's birthday party and the Quakeress was Olive Jenkins. There was something very un-Quakerly about Ernest. Olive's account of the meeting is plain and matter of fact. Ernest's account sparkled with romance.

    The Jenkins family had a problem. Their meeting house had been burnt and bombed during the war and was a small fragment of its former self. The part that survived had a tarpaulin for a roof for about two years after Olive first showed the Bunhill Meeting House to her new friend. So Ernie's first involvement in Bunhill Quaker meeting was practical. He repaired the forms and chairs; polished and sparkled the furniture that was dull and fire- tired; helped to decorate the meeting room and tended the meeting house garden.

    Ernie Yarrow and Olive Jenkins were married at Bunhill Fields Meeting House on 24.1.1953. They were married on the top floor (later used as a wardens' flat and then an office) - which was then used for meetings. So many gathered to witness the wedding that they were told afterwards that it was only the grace of God that had held the bomb shaken floor in place.

    A couple of years after the marriage, Ernest decided to take another step, and applied for membership of the Religious Society of Friends. At one time he was the overseer of the meeting. In those days there were not enough members for Bunhill to have more than one overseer and one elder at a time.

    Ernest and Olive lived at Greenwood Road, Hackney until 1966, when they moved to South Woodford. From there they travelled to Bunhill every Sunday and helped to keep the meeting alive during very difficult times. One of us remembers hearing of Bunhill in 1971 as the meeting where one family and a few friends thought they had a mission from God to keep His meeting alive in defiance of all logic and in a building that threatened to fall down. Ernest was a quiet part of that family. God's rock and anchor in the storms.

    Two of us first came to Bunhill in the 1970s. At that time, Ernest's health was fine and he was working full time. We remember him most as an affectionate uncle to the Hooker children (Stephen, Ian, Janet, Philip and Alison), who regularly attended Bunhill meeting with their parents, Ron and Kathleen Hooker (Olive's sister). Coming to Bunhill then was, in every sense, being welcomed into a family.

    As the years moved on, Ernest's health began to decline. He had a special chair in the meeting and his slow, heavy breathing was the regular ministry in what was otherwise a silent meeting.

    Eventually, it became impossible for Ernie to attend meeting regularly. One day, not long before he died, a small group from Bunhill went over to Woodford on a Sunday morning to join Earnest and Olive in worship in their front room. The sun shone, the spring flowers were out in the garden, and we were all supremely grateful for the grace of God.

    Getting to Wanstead Meeting House

    By clicking on this Transport for London link you can plan your own journey within London by typing in your own postcode and the meeting house postcode E11 3AU

    Leytonstone on the Central Line is 1/2 mile from the meeting.
    Wanstead on the Central Line is 3/4mile
    Leytonstone on London Overground is also 3/4 mile.

    Buses: 66, 145, 257, W14 and W19 (not Sundays) go to the Green Man Roundabout.
    Buses 101 and 308 to Blake Hall Road/Bush Road.

    This map shows the walking route from Leytonstone Tube Station to the meeting house. Transport for London suggest you allow 17 minutes for the walk.

    Click here for a detailed map that shows you the route exactly and locates other places near the meeting house, including the 'Green Man Roundabout'.

    In December and January Prunus autumnalis, winter honeysuckle, and wintersweet (chimonanthus fragrans) were all in flower in the garden giving scent and beauty.

    Wintersweet - click to know more
    Quaker Garden

    Brigid Philip overseas our gardening and provides seasonal news for our website. The gardening session is usually from 12.30pm to 3pm with a bring and share lunch. Everyone is welcome to join in. We hope to garden on the first Sunday of every month.

    There are many pleasant things to do at all times of the year. In January we removed the remaining leaves from the scythe shaped and the Meeting House garden beds, and weeded and tidied in the garden. We also transfered more mint to the mint bed. We moved shrubs in need of more space, pruned shrubs where the berries were over, and generally took stock of our future plans and the compost heaps.


    Message left "To George Fox": "I hope thy gardens are as vibrant as when you first saw them"


    2012 Within Area Meeting a Spiritual Events Group has organised two successful retreat days at Capel Manor, and another is planned, on the theme of Healing, this autumn. Rupert Price has provided a report of the last one, on the Winchmore Hill website.

    Summer 2012 Follow this link to hear about a piece of direct action by Sam Walton a member at Bunhill. Sam has given his own account. He works at Friends House on Peace and Disarmament, although he is acting on a very serious issue his blog is very funny! Ruth Vincenzi

    Saturday 20.4.2013 was the Inauguration of the Quaker service memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire A witness to the work of the Friends Ambulance Unit and the Friends Relief Service. Linda Davis and John Hindmarsh represented Winchmore Hill and North London Area Meeting.

    See Martin Wainright's Guardian article

    Winchmore Hill blog about The Friends Relief Service in post-war Europe,



    28.8.2013: Quakers urge nonviolent response to Syria crisis



    Haringey exhibition looks at the local men who refused to fight in the First World War Kate Clements 30.4.2015

    A new exhibition in London takes a look at the hundreds of Haringey men who made the decision to become conscientious objectors - men who refused to fight - in the First World War.

    No More War! Haringey's World War One Conscientious Objectors looks at Religion, Politics, Work Camps and Prison and tells the tale of who had the resolution to say 'No' to war. The exhibition is now open at Bruce Castle Museum, Tottenham.

    It was produced by the Peace Pledge Union, with support from the Peace Research and Education Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The exhibition takes a look at some of the places and people that formed the conscientious objector (CO) movement in the borough of Haringey, showing their varied motivations, experiences and beliefs.

    Haringey was a centre for anti-war protest and anti-conscription activity, with large and well-organised groups campaigning from 1914 for an end to hostilities.

    Local pub corners, meeting houses and Finsbury Park became centres of lively debate and campaigning, with thousands of supporters attending rallies to hear speakers ranging from local labour leader Henry Sara to suffragist and anti-war campaigner Sylvia Pankhurst.

    Hundreds of Haringey men made the choice to become conscientious objectors once conscription came into law in 1916. With letters and documents written by the men themselves, this exhibition lets them speak for themselves, one hundred years later.

    Their stories span the breadth of the CO experience and this exhibition tells some of their fascinating stories - including Fred Murfin, sentenced to death in 1916; Charles Titford, sent to prison as a CO four separate times; and German socialist Walter Hohnrodt, who faced his father's deportation from his cell in Wormwood Scrubs.

    Ben Copsey, Objecting to War Project Officer at the Peace Pledge Union says:

    "No More War: Haringey's First World War Conscientious Objectors lets us really focus in on what Haringey men were doing from 1916-1920. It's a borough with nearly every type of CO story. Its a great opportunity for people to come and find out what was happening in their local area and it's a great chance for us to display some of the most interesting pieces from our archives."

    Thoughts by and about Lucy and George Gorman

    "The Gorman home felt 'open /house' and when the Meeting started a tennis evening in Grovelands Park we always adjourned to their home for coffee and fellowship afterwards. Looking back I think I would have to admit that it was the warm, welcoming fellowship of Friends in Winchmore Hill Meeting, and especially George and Lucy Gorman that attracted me to Quakers" (anonymous p.19)
      [When Valerie and I moved from Swanage Meeting to Winchmore Hill in 1969, we were invited home by Lucy and George]
    "A Quaker Meeting, he said, that was not literally a miniature Society of Friends - a community of people who love and care for one another - would not be likely to get off the ground; and he advised a Meeting which asked: "Is our Quaker worship adequate?" to ask itself first: Is the fellowship of our Meeting adequate? In an atmosphere of loving understanding such as he described, the next encounter in the Meeting for Worship was possible: the encounter with oneself." (The Friend 9.6.1967 p.695)
    "He steadfastly opposed proposals to dissociate" [people like me - Andrew] "who had not been seen in meeting for years. Who could know, he asked, why they did not appear or when they might be able to attend regularly again?"

      [In the late 1970s, Valerie and I received a friendly handwritten letter from George hoping we valued the meeting keeping in touch and asking if he could help in any way. I replied that I did value the regular newsletters but was not sure if there was a meeting near where I lived. Gorge wrote back suggesting Bunhill or Bethnal Green. So Bunhill can blame him. Andrew Roberts]
    "Dear George...": An Anthology of Recollections of George H Gorman (1916-1982), a paperback, was pucklished by Quacks Books in York on 20.11.2013. You can buy it online for less than £10.

    A thought for 2013 from Quaker Helen Drewery - BBC Radio Four 31.12.2012

    Good morning. Two incidents of horrific violence have shocked us all in recent days: the church organist killed in Sheffield on his way to Midnight Mass, and the medical student in Delhi whose funeral was held yesterday. In the light of those I want to tell you two different stories about ordinary people's successful efforts to counteract violence.

    A young woman in Year 9 at school - about 14 years old - was walking home through a park at dusk, and saw a group of Year 10 students she recognised from her own school, standing in a circle. As she got nearer she could see that one of them was holding down and punching someone from her year group. He was being hit in the face repeatedly. The crowd was jeering. The young woman was terrified but walked into the centre of the circle and just said 'stop doing that', and to her amazement they did, and she was able to take the boy back to his home.

    But peace does not just require personal courage. It can be organised for. My second example is set in Kenya. Local Quakers there, learning from past experience, were determined to be well prepared to limit the predicted violence around the coming general elections. So they invited in a British Quaker project to give them training in skills of active non-violence, helping people to see that real political change can be achieved by peaceful means. Already they have launched a campaign to challenge unfair local taxes. The alternative might easily have been a violent riot.

    As we turn to face the new year, maybe bracing ourselves for more conflicts and challenges, we need a sense of hope. I try to remember all the countries and communities which don't feature in the news headlines, because ordinary people are busy keeping the peace. And many feel supported by their faith to do more than they could have done in just their own human strength.

    Who knows what violence has been prevented, at an early stage, by the unknown actions of ordinary people? A century ago there were people working to prevent the outbreak of World War One. They failed - but failure is not inevitable. Wars that have been prevented have no names and no dates - documentaries are rarely made about them.

    So what would it take for us to be peacemakers, in the coming year? I suggest it takes, mostly, a willingness to build trust, and some skills in cool-headedness, which can be learnt by anybody. And many people find that it really helps to see every human being as unique, precious and a child of God.

    It has been said: "there is no way to peace - peace is the way." Or as Sydney Bailey, a Quaker who worked at the United Nations, put it: ''peace is a process to engage in, not a goal to be reached'.

    A Thought for Hanukah from The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks - BBC Radio Four 13.12.2012

    This week we've been celebrating Hanukah, the Jewish festival of freedom, and what a week it's been. On Monday night, together with thousands of people, we had a Hanukah ceremony in Trafalgar Square, with choirs, a rock band, and chocolate coins for the children. And I thought, this would have been inconceivable even a generation ago. So haunted have Jews been by a history of prejudice and persecution, that we often used to hide our identity in public; and yet here we were sharing our joy with others, with confidence and pride.

    On Tuesday together with Jewish and non Jewish members of the metropolitan police, we lit candles in Scotland Yard, and I recalled the extraordinary remark I heard some years ago from one of the people who'd been rescued from Nazi Germany by kindertransport, the operation that saved 10,000 Jewish children in 1939. She spoke of the shock of freedom she felt when she realised that in Britain a policeman might be not an enemy but a friend.

    Last night we lit candles in the speaker's residence in the House of Commons, and again I had that same feeling, remembering that not until 1859, two centuries after Jews returned to Britain, could someone of our faith be admitted as a member of parliament. These are, by any historical standards, extraordinary times, and this, a remarkable country. There are few places in the world where the leaders of our many faiths are such close personal friends, and where minorities have the confidence to share their celebrations with neighbours and strangers.

    So when the results of the census came out this week, showing that there are six million fewer religious believers than there were ten years ago, but that the minority faiths are getting stronger, I thought: perhaps heaven is summoning us to a deep and difficult truth, that all religions are at their best when they are a minority voice, when they have influence but not power, when they make space for people whose views are different from their own, when they offer others their stories and songs, hospitality and food, seeking nothing in return.

    Religion isn't about power but about the powerless. It's about those who have more than they need sharing their blessings with those who have less than they need. The candles of Hanukah are the light we share with the world; and the more faiths Britain celebrates and the more we share, the more light there will be.