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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 (email@example.com).
Amelia Schafer-Rutherford, our AM representative on Quaker Life Representative Council, has sent us a report on a recent gathering at Woodbrooke on the theme of Quakerism and Sustainability. Attached to it is a list of useful resources.
On 13 November 2016, Remembrance Sunday, three Friends from Cheltenham Quaker Meeting took part in the wreath-laying ceremony at Cheltenham war memorial. They laid a specially-commissioned wreath of mostly fresh white flowers with a few red poppies included. The attached card read “In memory of all victims of conflict”. They each wore one white and one red poppy with a “Quakers for peace” badge.
Quakers from Forest of Dean meeting laid a wreath of white and red poppies at the war memorial at Lydney.