Area Meeting update and notices
Our March Area Meeting was held on Saturday 13th, and during our opening period of worship we were reminded, through a reading of Quaker Faith & Practice, Chapter 4, section 89, that in our meetings for church affairs ‘we are not seeking a consensus; we are seeking the will of God.’
Our major item of business was about how we record the lives of Friends who have died. We reflected on the Quaker tradition of writing ‘testimonies to the grace of God in lives’, which differ from formal obituaries or eulogies in that they aim to reflect a spiritually lived life and its application. But we realise that since we do not write testimonies about all members who die, there is a risk of implying that some people’s lives are more important than others, and we are not comfortable with this implication. So we agreed that we should follow the advice in Quaker Faith & Practice for Local Meetings to write a brief passage for their own records on every member who dies. We may want to consider writing a testimony in addition to this record, but only after some time has elapsed, and with consideration for family members.
Other items included:
- A proposal to develop a course for new attenders and enquirers, to help explain the fundamentals of Quakerism, and our processes. This proposal, from Telford Local Meeting, was warmly received, and we will assemble a small group of people to develop a course that may have some online elements as well as face-to-face meetings.
- We were also pleased to hear that plans for a Community Benefit Society, the Worcester Grassroots Alliance, are now well-advanced, with Worcestershire and Shropshire Area Meeting joining five other charitable and campaigning organisations in and around Worcester; the aim is to help bring about positive change in line with Quakers’ ‘Canterbury Commitment’ (which calls us to act on the intertwined issues of environmental crisis and economic injustice).
- Plans for Area and Local Meeting websites on the Quaker Meeting Network platform are also advancing, and we agreed that we would publish our monthly update and notices on the Area Meeting website, starting now!
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/