Nailsworth Quaker Meeting are making a special contribution to the Nailsworth Remembers activities to mark the end of the First World War. Members of the meeting are making a large fabric banner (12′ by 5′) to hang in front of cottages adjacent to the Meeting House in the week leading up to Armistice Day (11 November). The banner is inspired by the description of the official war artist William Orpen who visited the Somme six months after 415,000 men had been killed there. He wrote:
I had left it mud, nothing but water, shell-holes and mud – the most gloomy abomination of desolation the mind could imagine; and now, in the summer of 1917, no words could express the beauty of it. The dreary, dismal mud was baked white and pure – dazzling white. White daisies, red poppies, and a blue flower, great masses of them, stretched for miles and miles. The sky was dark blue, and the whole air up to a height of 40 feet, thick with white butterflies.”
The banner will carry the words “In memory of victims of conflict everywhere and in the hope of peace”.
Anyone who would like to contribute is invited to make red, white and blue flowers in different mediums (fabric and felt as well as knitted). These can be left at the Meeting House over the next few weeks – by 21st October at the latest, please. The butterflies can be knitted or more easily made from white felt. Patterns and templates have been circulated via News of Friends and can be downloaded here.
“The Friend” has recently published two articles by Gloucestershire Quakers. Helen Peters of Painswick Meeting has written about Money, while Noel Baker of Cheltenham Meeting has revealed his love of Strictly Come Dancing!
At our Area Meeting in June, we heard about the experiences of Friends in Cheltenham and Forest of Dean meetings of promoting white poppies as a commitment to peace building on Remembrance Sunday in November. But what are poppies, red and white, all about? Friends in Nailsworth Meeting have recently written this short article about the history or red and white poppies, and explaining why they are both relevant today.
Quakers have kept records faithfully since the very beginning of the Society in the 17th century. Written records give us a glimpse of the life of a meeting in earlier generations and we in Gloucestershire do our best to preserve these in good order. In July 2017 Nailsworth Meeting produced a compilation from one section of their past minute books. We attach a copy here for the use and enjoyment of others beyond our Area Meeting.
Last year, Gloucestershire Area Meeting was awarded funding by QPSW to run carbon footprinting sessions.
We will be running another facilitator training weekend on 30 September – 1 October, in Gloucester. Because places are limited and we want to take the maximum value from the training, we ask that participants are actively recruiting a group in their local area, and have a start date for sessions. There should be two people from each group at the training, who will then co-facilitate their group together.
Further information, and ideas about recruiting, from Alison Crane, email@example.com.
Area Meeting at Staunton on 9 June 2017 received the following minute from the Link Group
On 6th May 2017, four young people with supporting adults met at Painswick Meeting House to think about Mental health, a topic chosen at our last Link Group Meeting. Co-operative juggling in the garden confirmed the way we would work together during the day.
We talked about Mental Health problems which may lead to an illness or disorder. We drew pictures and took photographs to illustrate a booklet called ‘Well being – how to look after my Mental health and how I can support my friends’
Walking across the valley to the Quaker Burial ground we ‘Time travelled’ in story, to the site of the original Quaker Meeting House.
We made collages of Our Feelings, which we shared in Epilogue with our families.
A copy of the booklet “Well-being – how to look after my mental health and how I can support my friends” have been sent to all young people in Area Meeting and to each local meeting. Mary Penny (01453 860262) has further copies if you need them.
The event Harnessing Hope in Difficult Times, which was to have taken place on 27 May has been postponed. This is because our principal speaker has had to withdraw, as she is standing as a candidate in the general election. We hope to arrange a new date later in the year.
On 4 February, Meeting for Sufferings issued a statement entitled “Quakers stand alongside victims of racist policies” . The full text is here.
Lis Parker’s report on the Forced Migration Conference (Woodbrooke, 3 to 5 February 2017), which she gave to Area Meeting on 12 February, can be found here.
The Gloucestershire Area Meeting Sustainability Support Group has secured funding from Quaker Peace and Social Witness to train local facilitators (Quaker and non-Quaker) to run a community carbon reduction programme in their neighbourhood, church or other community groups. The programme comprises 7 sessions, looking at home energy, waste and water, consumerism, food and transport. The aim is to help one another to reduce our carbon footprints in a supportive group environment. The programme has been tried and tested by Transition Leicester. Known as “Footpaths”, many groups in Leicester and elsewhere have already taken part.
The programme is aimed at people who take climate change seriously and want to reduce their own carbon footprint, but aren’t sure what else they can do. In Leicester, it was found that although the participants in the sessions were aware of the issues, their carbon footprints were around the average for the UK, so with plenty of scope for learning and action.
Sessions are very practical, and create the opportunity for people to think about their needs, and how to meet them in a low-carbon way. The programme also deliberately focuses on emotional support and group work, knowing that making changes with others is more fun and easier than doing it alone. See http://www.leicesterfootpaths.org.uk/ for more background information.
We have already had a lot of interest, and booked the facilitator training for the weekend of 22/23rd April. It’s not too late to sign up – please let us know if you are interested (firstname.lastname@example.org).