Friday, 13 July 2007

'Members of one another'

This is part of the Minute from our Meeting on 1st July, at which we considered participation in our Meeting community. Please add your further thoughts and comments by clicking on 'Comments' (below):

We have spent most of this Meeting for Worship for business considering the question “What are the opportunities for contributing to the life of the Meeting, and how we can all be more fully part of our community?”

In a large Meeting it can be difficult for everyone to feel included in our community. We would like to address issues of communication and feel that this could be improved. In particular those new to the Meeting can find it difficult to discover more about Quaker practices and different roles within the Meeting. We would hope to collate this information into one place and make this more readily available to newcomers. We also wish to be clearer about the envelope system, our main means of distributing information, opening this to all including our children and young people.

It can be difficult to come forward and tell each other about our lives, but we urge Friends not to be too shy. We all have times when we need the support of our spiritual community. We can all be overseers, helping in the pastoral care of our Meeting; and we would like to look further into a Circles of Support scheme.

The word job can be an off-putting one and we hope that Friends will offer service rather than feeling that tasks are too onerous. However there needs to be a balance between responsibility for oneself and responsibility for the life of the Meeting. We need to feel free not to do a job or offer service and respect this for other people in the Meeting who may have many other unknown pressures in their lives. We wish to recognize the grace of God within each one of us and give thanks for the gifts and talents of everyone in our Meeting and community.

Monday, 2 July 2007

What's the opposite of a Quaker Meeting?

Last Sunday after Meeting I went with Moya and Jonathan to worship with the Liberian community, which meets at Highfield Methodist Church every Sunday afternoon. Wow! Not so much like going to church as going partying - with a fantastic Gospel choir (pictured) and everybody on their feet, toddlers and teenagers included.

The Liberians were the first group to come to the UK under the UN Gateway Protection Programme, which re-settles small groups of people from refugee camps in poor countries. Sheffield was the first city in the UK to accept refugees through this programme. They have survived a horrific civil war, in which amputation was used as a method of mass terror, with dignity and graciousness. We were enthusiastically welcomed to their worship, at which we were the only white faces (a good chance to experience how it might feel to be a Black person at our Meeting...)

Oh, and they took a collection. For the people of Sheffield who have suffered from the flooding.