Monday, 27 June 2011

a beginning...

Sunday 18th June was Sheffield Central Meeting's Living Witness Project Sheffield Launch Day. If you weren't able to join us, here's what happened:

Meeting for Worship was well-attended and it was the time of the month for a reading from Quaker F&P. The LWP Sheffield support group offered to the Meeting 25.12 ( and the 2nd half of 25.14 (, from the chapter Unity of Creation.

Both the Children and Young People's Meetings were themed, with Huw leading the children in games that explored resources and recycling and the young people had a chance to get hands on with me as I gave an introduction to Deep Ecology, which, the more I get into it, seems to be a science-based way of seeing 'that of God in everyone'

After Meeting, there was a chance for friends to find out about some aspects of the support group's own 'living witness' to sustainability. Anne presented her tapestry made from recycled materials; Gordon brought in a rich garden compost, with instruction on how to cultivate your own; Rosalie offered info sheets on where to buy locally grown food and organic box delivery schemes; and I presented Dave's low-carbon travel schedule, as he was on holiday in Vienna at the time (having travelled there by train, he cut his carbon travel footprint by well over 3/4s). Meanwhile, Huw led a group of about 20 friends on a tour of the Meeting House, showing recent changes that have made to the building as part of a long-term project to improve the efficiency of the building. Last I saw the tour group they were ascending into the loft...!

The Meeting's first attempt at a low-carbon lunch yielded much more variety than I expected - a great spread! With an emphasis on regionally-grown organic produce, home-harvested salad and vegan-friendly recipes, the vast majority of ingredients were reliably 'low-carbon' alternatives to imported foods. However, it was clear from some shop-bought foods just how many ingredients in processed products come from untraceable sources.

The Launch Day was capped off with an informal session, the 3rd of 4 sessions on concentric circles of sustainability (from Quaker Meeting to planet). Over 20 friends attended, giving a chance to reflect on and share concerns and ideas in relation to sustainable community. So many seeds were sown by the group; some may germinate, in time.

A positive 'first day' for Living Witness Project Sheffield.
More events to follow!

Saturday, 18 June 2011


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.............

To Friends In Amersham, Isaac Penington, 4th of Third Month,1667. Also Quaker Faith and Practice 10.01

All Motherhood and Apple Pie, isn't it? Should we not be out there working to make the world a better place, ministering in meeting, working “on our many committees, hospitality and childcare, the care of finance and premises......teaching, counselling, listening, praying, enabling the service of others or other service in the meeting or the world.' (London Yearly Meeting, 1986, Quaker Faith and Practice 10.05)?

No. If we start with service, we will court guilt at not being good enough, or at getting tired or feeling burdened. We will 'burn out' and become depressed or worse. We will compare ourselves with others and either be puffed up with pride at our success or downhearted when we see others do better.

Our life is love, and peace and tenderness. We do not need to be good to give or receive love, we do not need to feed people to feel loved. Love does not need an object – love is. Unless what we do comes out of love and peace and tenderness, it will just be so much busyness.

Seek first love and peace and tenderness and all these things that need doing will sort themselves out.