News

Area Meeting update

At our Area Meeting on Saturday 8 May, we welcomed Friends from all our Local Meetings, a number of whom stayed online afterwards in breakout rooms for a virtual shared lunch and informal conversation on the theme of community. Feedback from those conversations will be discussed by our Eldership and Pastoral Care group as we reflect on how to learn from our experience of nurturing our Quaker communities during the last 14 months and into the future.

The morning’s agenda items included:

A wideranging report from April’s Meeting for Sufferings. We heard of the challenges Friends face as we seek to become a more inclusive society, and about the ongoing process of simplifying our meetings.

Inclusion and diversity were also prominent themes in another report, from the recent Quaker Life Representatives Council. We were reminded of the need to clarify our position on racism, and the report also considered the need to accept gender diversity in our meetings, ending with questions for us all to consider.

Malvern Local Meeting submitted a minute about central support for Quaker work on criminal justice. This is an urgent matter, prompted by changes in Britain Yearly Meeting’s staffing structures. We were concerned about risks to Quakers’ work in the field of criminal justice (which goes back to the seventeenth century and is just as relevant today), especially the role of Quaker Prison Chaplains. Our minute on this topic has been sent to Meeting for Sufferings.

Another topic on which the meeting was thoroughly united was connecting younger Friends across Area Meeting. Our representative on Young Friends General Meeting will be setting up a Facebook group to facilitate these links, and, looking forward to the time when not all connections need to be online, Area Meeting offered financial support for Young Friends’ in-person activities.

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.

Woodbrooke Simpler Meetings series

Jonathan Carmichael is leading a series of online sessions to share insights from the ‘Simpler Meetings’ project of Britain Yearly Meeting. There are eight topics, and you can dip in and out of as many topics as you’d like. Sessions are repeated on different days and at different times between 10 March and 15 June. The course fee is £10 per session, and funds are available from Area Meeting for anyone who would like to register.

There are also free ‘bitesize’ sessions on Sundays, 12.30-1.00, from 18 April to 13 June. Details at: https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/product/simpler-meetings-series/