A banner of 48 single doves from the CND marches hangs at Beccles.
Leicester Meeting’s children planted 300 bulbs in a park near the Meeting House.
Chicken-wire Picasso dove at Beccles.
Quaker week celebrations
THE THEME OF BELIEF IN ACTION was taken up and reflected in many different and imaginative ways by Friends throughout Britain during this year’s Quaker week. Up and down the country Quakers hosted exhibitions and talks focusing on a wide range of subjects including Quaker testimonies of peace and care for the environment. Friends said they had been energised by the events.
The theme at Beccles Meeting house was building peace through friendship across the world, especially in China and Russia.
The Meeting’s warden, Jill Allum, said: ‘We have been bowled over by the response we had. We expect about 500 people to have visited our exhibition by the end of the week. Organising the exhibition was exhausting but very, very rewarding. We sent out invitations to eighty groups including schools and churches and we got a response from fifty.’
Lucy Roberts, Quaker Peace & Social Witness project development manager, said talks and other events were arranged to the theme of ‘Belief. In Action’. She said: ‘We had five lunch time talks aimed at people who don’t know about the work that we do here. Each talk attracted people who are new and they came and asked questions.’
Leicester Meeting also found an imaginative way of expressing belief in action. Rachel Carmichael, the convener of the outreach committee, said: ‘We took twenty-five people including some children (see above) and planted 300 crocus bulbs to show that Quakers love the world and they want to look after the environment.’
‘One evening we had a special Meeting: Chocolate Unwrapped: the Quaker Way,’ added Rachel. ‘We heard why Quakers went into the chocolate business. It was about Cadbury and Rowntree and how today the Quaker trusts are supporting very important initiatives.’
Rachel said: ‘Quaker week helps us to focus on what we believe and to try to share it with other people.’ Friends said that they found Quaker week invaluable.
Leicester Meeting’s events included a talk by two Quaker Peace Workers: Daniel Edge’s engagement with the Christian Muslim Forum and Chris Walker on the Alternatives to Violence Project.
Jill Allum added that Beccles Meeting’s activities were inspired by the last Kindlers’ newsletter: ‘Let the newcomers be your sparks.’ The idea was hatched to hold a ‘Peace and Social Justice Display’.
Jill said: ‘We were bowled over by the response and especially by the care and trouble people have gone to. It was opened on Saturday 2 October by the mayor and mayoress, followed by nine-year-old Jennifer Steed performing a “Fairy Dance”.’
‘A “One Sky, One World” kite flew from the ceiling, thirteen translations of the word “Peace” hung high, a banner of forty-eight single doves from the CND marches of the 1980s almost overpowered us.’
‘A chicken-wire Picasso dove was made by young artists and there were many more amazing contributions. A Peace Tree grew overnight in our Quaker garden with the words: “Peace is more than the absence of war. Peace is every step”.’
However, while some Meetings did not have a specific theme, they still took part in the Quaker Week’s activities, which ran from the 2nd to the 10th of October.
Celia Waterhouse, a member of the outreach committee at the Jesus Lane Cambridge Meeting said: ‘We didn’t have a particular theme but we put a couple of events together. Given that we didn’t have the time and energy to do a major programme it was a success.’
Beccles photos by Humphrey Manning and Leicester photo by Susan Littlemore.
the Friend, 15 October 2010