Area Meeting update and notices

Friends from all our constituent Local Meetings gathered online for October’s Area Meeting, which began with a reading from Quaker Faith & Practice, 26.18, about life-long learning and the need for Friends to continue being seekers as well as finders. This proved to be a thread running through various parts of our meeting.

Major items included:

  • A review of the use of Advices & Queries in Local Meetings. One of Area Meeting’s responsibilities is to keep under regular review various aspects of the life of Local Meetings, and this month we focused on the use of Advices & Queries. Changes to the format of our meetings for worship during the pandemic have led to some disruption in usual patterns for the reading of Advices & Queries, but these are now being re-established. At the same time, we reminded ourselves that it is good to take a fresh look at how Advices & Queries can be used to the best advantage of all members and attenders.
  • We received a very positive report on the ‘Quaker Basics’ day for newer members and attenders held in Worcester on 25 September. This led to a wider discussion on the continuing need for learning for all of us, and we agreed to set up an Area Meeting Learning Committee. One of its first tasks would be to arrange some online sessions for newer Friends who were unable to attend the in-person event last month, but we would also like to revive some learning initiatives that had to be abandoned during the pandemic, as well as explore new topics.
  • Amongst the various Nominations and Appointments, one wholly new item was the appointment of two Friends to work with Central England and Staffordshire Area Meetings to support the recruitment of a Local Development Worker (LDW) for the West Midlands. This is part of Britain Yearly Meeting’s re-organisation, offering meeting-centred support from staff based in different parts of Britain. We will provide updates on this important new development as the plans progress.
  • Our representative on Meeting for Sufferings provided us with a wide-ranging report from the meeting on 2 October. We considered some of the implications of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, and in another topic of national importance heard about the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. We reminded ourselves of the importance of everyone observing our Safeguarding Policy and lines of referral. Also, returning to the general theme of learning, all Friends are encouraged to subscribe to Quake!, the regular email update for Quakers in Britain which includes news of training opportunities that are available to us all (the link here should take you to the sign-up page: subscribe to Quake!).
  • We have looked afresh at our pattern of Area Meetings for 2022, and will be including some all-day in-person meetings in the summer as well as shorter online meetings, some of them at times other than Saturday mornings. We would also like to find ways of involving children and Young Friends in our meetings where possible. The full 2022 calendar will be published on the Area Meeting website once venues for the in-person meetings are confirmed next month.

Preparing for the UN Climate talks

(Conference of the Parties – COP26) in Glasgow, November 2021

Quakers have long been concerned about the global environmental crisis and the links between an exploitative economic system and violence against the planet. This year, as the UK prepares to host the United Nations’ climate talks in November, Quakers are campaigning for climate justice, greater support for countries hit by climate disasters, and a just transition to a fossil-free future for all.

The Quaker Peace and Social Witness team at Britain Yearly Meeting has provided a number of resources for us to use in the run-up to COP26.

A good starting-point is BYM’s new guide to taking action.

50 resources on climate justice includes articles and toolkits, films and documentaries, books, podcasts – and games.

You can also sign up for the Quaker Faith in Action newsletters – select climate justice and sustainability for newsletters about COP26 and other climate justice work.

Woodbrooke is running monthly spiritual preparation calls for COP26.

Find information about the FWCC pen pal project.

QPSW also recommends these resources from other organisations:

Relay to COP26

COP26 Coalition’s ‘Boiling Point’ series of webinars, for those who want a more detailed look at the COP negotiations (this link is to the first in a series of six).

Climate Fair Shares infographic (from the presentation).

Framing Climate Justice – a useful piece of research on how we can communicate the need for climate justice.