Tag: 2014

At Meeting: 28th December 2014

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Low sun, long shadows, thawing frosts and the remainder of a light snow dusting from the evening before sets the scene around the Meeting house. Squirrels darted across the greenery and fallen leaves out back and a blackbird joined in overturning leaves in a search for tidbits.

A Friend read Quaker Faith & Practice 10.03.

Silence was again shared.

After Meeting we shared tea and coffee and chatted to each other as usual and welcomed a Friend who is not able to often come to Meeting and listened as they shared their experiences both good and bad.

We missed too another Friend who was too unwell to attend.

 

Let You Life Speak (Revisited) – Jersey Thoughts

Revisiting some audio from Quaker week back in October 2014 via Jersey Quakers and their thoughts for the day which went out on their local radio early each morning from a Monday through to Friday are grouped together here… Well worth a re-listen if you didn’t catch them back in October.

At Meeting: 21st December 2014

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Meeting was overlooked by weather that was perhaps cold,dry but grey. The kind of uninspiring grey wash that somehow looks appropriate in impressionistic pencil drawing artworks but that when viewed in the muted and washed out colours of winter forces those indoors to reach for the comfort of artificial light.

Today we had candles. Witnesses from a week that saw the peace light travel through Luton, Hanukkah celebrations in town and last night a peace vigil outside the Town Hall for the victims of the recent Sydney and Peshawar terrorist incidents.

The Light

A while into the silence as the flickering candles drew the eye and the heart to them a Friend stood to read John 1:1 from the revised English Bible.

“In the beginning the word already was. The word was in God’s presence and what God was, the word was. He was with God at the beginning and through him all things came to be. Without him no creative thing came into being. In him was life. And that life was the light of mankind. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never mastered it”.

They prefaced this by commenting on how lovely it was to have the candles on this, the shortest day of the year.

Peace Vigil

Later another Friend felt moved to speak. They said that the peace vigil of yesterday evening was, the felt moving in many ways.Their experience was that people tried to reach out over a deep sense of compassion to the awful suffering of the children, their absolute terror, their fear, shock and utter distress that their families are experiencing. So too the tragic loss of life in Sydney, Australia as well as the loss of young lives in Cairns.

They felt it the vigil was very moving and that as people tried to express their feelings they each got glimpses of each others faith and value systems as people tried to reach out the the souls of children and adults whose lives were lost and also to the hearts and minds of the bereaved.

Reaching Out In The Darkness

They said the were moved by the words spoken by Jainists, Hindus and Buddhists. There was also a reaching out to try to understand the minds and motives of those who do such terrible things though that was difficult and perhaps not the occasion to do so though as Quakers they felt that we know that that is what we must do as well. That the seeds of war and of conflict are in all of us.. They felt we had a duty to reach out with a light of understanding into that sort of darkness as well because the terrorist and the killer are our sisters and brothers as well and their hurt and violence is inside us as well and that Quakers struggle but try to understand this too.

Later still another Friend who had attended the peace vigil spoke. They had come away very moved by the reading by various faiths including from our own Quaker Faith And Practice. They felt that prayer heals the prayers as well as those prayed for.

They recalled that one Sikh gentlemen had said that God is everything and in the hearts of everybody, even the killers though they are killing God by killing other people. The one message and faiths came together as if one world religion as per the earlier reading that said the light will always overcome the darkness.

The Intensity of Isms

Towards the close of the Meeting a Friend spoke to reflect on the week just gone. A week of sharing lights from the peace light, to lighting the third light at the Hanukkah festival and last night the peace vigil. Light, they said, obviously culturally had great importance and significance. Many talk of Christ being the light and despite not being a Christocentric Quaker themselves or believing in an intermediary they did feel confirmed that in our Meeting we may be losing the simplicity of Quakerism by intensity of isms and discussions because in the festival of Christmas like other festivals throughout the years there are messages which people have held onto through many years of giving, of loving, of caring one for another. Of celebrating the birth of any child and what they bring to the life that is going to be theirs. Of an adult who was frightened at the birth of a one child. They said that the massacre of children was not anything new to history.

Of Regret…And Virtual Mince Pies

They also said they were tinged with regret this morning that their thoughts had been pushed to one side by practical things, that we hadn’t decided to do anything this morning in Meeting to mark this special time. They said they felt it should be a time of joy and not of Scrooge. Of being together, not reading emails, not going to meetings but having a very special time with the people who matter most to us. They hoped that after Meeting we could perhaps share a virtual mince pie and a genuine hug.

We we then moved to stand in a circle around the candle lights and put our arms around each other.

After bridging time and notices a Friend revealed they had bought some cakes for us to share during tea and coffee.

 

 

At Meeting: 14th December 2014

A cold grey Sunday morning is brightened with the appearance of festive lights.
Our thoughts take time to clear from our everyday cares – who to get presents for? will it be worth watching the X Factor final tonight? is it alright to still quite like Cliff Richard’s Wired for Sound? Oh my God, I think I left the iron on.Flowers_14_Dec_2014

Mercifully, our minds become settled as a feeling of inner peace arrives and our small gathered meeting contemplate God with a feeling of eternal love.
A Friend reads passage 2.06 from Quaker Faith and Practice and we are reminded, once again, of our leadings to God.
Meeting finishes and we shake hands with a knowing smile. Feeling spiritually refreshed, we drink tea and coffee and congratulate a much loved Luton Friend on an article published in Quaker News in
which he describes how his quaker love and compassion for others is translated into his politics and social action.
The week starts now.

At Meeting: 7th November 2014

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Temperatures have finally fallen into the single figures as winter finds its feet. Mainstream media is full of possible hyperbole regarding an overdue cold snap of epic proportions (whilst at the same time predicting a record hot summer next year).

Squally showers welcomed us to Meeting and looking out of the grounds behind the Meeting house it was easy to see how the colours of autumn had been bleached and faded by the advance of more wintery weather. By the end of Meeting a brief tint of yellow sun shone briefly from low on the horizon as if somebody had briefly opened a the door that prevents the northern hemisphere from glimpsing the distant summer sun enjoyed in the southern hemisphere. And as soon as it arrived and coloured the scene the door quickly closed again.

Meeting was silent.

During bridging time a Friend said they were disturbed by the news this morning of the devastation of a typhoon hitting the Philippines. They said it was so humbling to see people facing such and extreme situation and yet remain stoical in the face of all this and they observed, in comparison quite how down they could get themselves over comparatively so minor a problem. They felt there was a lesson to be learned there.

After Meeting we shared tea and coffee and chatted about austerity, climate change and whether protest makes a difference.

At Meeting: 30th November 2014

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The genuine winter weather is yet to arrive as temperatures only just begin to look like falling into the single figures. Dampness is forever present as moss creeps to the north and the silver dew clings to grass throughout the day. A sun that breaks the mists but never climbs far and seems to be on the setting side of the sky before even the morning is out.

A Friend read Quaker Faith and Practice 25.15

During bridging time a friend expressed their thanks and respect to local Quakers and everyone who has attended the fuel poverty action event in London on Friday last and how the event had been discussed and shared online. They also contrasted this with the fallout from the rampant consumerism of Black Friday that was taking place at the same time as people literally came to blows in the name of acquiring stuff they perhaps didn’t need but were persuaded they wanted. They felt that that balance was something we desperately needed.

After Meeting we heard about the fuel poverty march that local Quakers attended and did our best to tackle the issue of inequality and its likely causes and talked of the February Area Meeting in Watford that the Equality Trust would address.

At Meeting: 23rd November 2014

Flowers at Luton meeting 1

Only a few of us at meeting for worship this Sunday, but we were gathered in intense silence.A very grey morning, with rain that was heavy by the time we ended.
In discussion we thought about the Energy Bill of Rights advocated by Fuel Poverty Action and which QPSW has signed up to. One or two of us are intending to participate in the Day of Action on fuel poverty in London on Friday (28 November) as part of a Quaker presence.
We also held a more lengthy follow-up discussion about the Consultation on the Way Ahead for Quakers 2015 – 2020, hoping to give our considered feedback to Area Meeting before Christmas. Various ideas were explored about streamlining our structures, communicating Quaker work and identity both to ourselves and to the wider world.

We agree on the need for practical action – our faith is expressed and perhaps partly rediscovered through action. We see the Peace testimony as crucial, but peace has many applications besides opposing war in an unstable world facing crisis on many fronts. Quaker work for peace, economic and social justice, and saving the planet in environmental terms are three great areas of endeavour that link with each other.

At Meeting: 16th November 2014

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squirrel

Tactical Foraging

A misty day in Luton with little direct sun to dry the paths and grass-ways. The remaining autumn leaves on trees are yellowed with brown mottlings. Out the back of the Meeting house squirrels engage in foraging and tactical storage chores with the occasional territory skirmish. The finest drizzle comes and goes ensuring that tree bark is darkened, concrete painted with depressing stains and each blade of grass made to hold as many water droplets as they can accommodate.

Our Community

A Friend stood to read a section of Quaker Faith and Practice. In preface of this they commented that we are advised to come to Meeting for worship with hearts and minds prepared and that QF&P 10.3 really did express what was in their heart and mind today.

Later another Friend said that they found the reading challenging and all embracing. The emphasis on developing community was, they said, always challenging for Quakers and especially so for our small and scattered Quaker group and with so many leading busy lives.

“Spiritual but beyond words…”

They said that they felt we were called to develop not just friendships but a sense of community and for Quakers to share something much deeper that is spiritual but beyond words and may be very individualistic. They thought it was very important, if we are to develop a sense of community to listen to each other,listen to our differing perspectives,  share our troubles and accept each others differences and accept that all insights, ways of being are valid.

After Meeting

After Meeting we discussed the upcoming EDL protest scheduled for Saturday next and possible Quaker views on this. We also donated food for LAMP and had a shared lunch. Many thanks to all those that contributed to each.

Next Sunday

Next Sunday after Meeting will be a focused discussion on the local Meeting response to the way ahead for Quakers over the next five years.

 

 

 

Luton Peace Walk 2014


The Luton Peace Walk is an annual multi faith event held in Luton to forge community links and demonstrate unity of purpose. Here’s our informal video record of this year’s walk that was held in and around Luton’s Farley Hill area. Hope it captures some of the flavour of that day. Look forward to next year’s walk which will be held nearer to to tail end of the summer months.

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