BYM cancels events amid COVID-19 crisis

Britain Yearly Meeting cancels four events in response to the COVID-19 crisis

Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) has urged Meetings to ‘consider how best’ to keep each other ‘informed and protected’ amid the coronavirus outbreak, as it cancelled four Quaker events. In a statement posted on 13 March on the Quakers in Britain website, BYM said: ‘So that we can care for each other we all need to take care. Meetings are encouraged to take sensible precautions while not increasing levels of anxiety.’

The gatherings cancelled in response to public health advice are Quaker Peace & Social Witness Conference (20-22 March); Area Meeting Trustees Conference (21 March); Meeting for Sufferings (4 April) and Quaker Life Representative Council (24-26 April).

Woodbrooke has also suspended its onsite courses, initially until 30 April, and said it is looking to expand its virtual gatherings. Staff at Friends House are also working to help Meetings worship online.

Many Meetings continued to gather on Sunday 15 March. Chichester Meeting laid out thirty chairs instead of sixty, set at two metres apart. The majority of London Meetings also gathered, from Bromley to Winchmore Hill, while Friend Fred Ashmore started a threat on the London Quakers Facebook Page for Meetings to list if their Meeting for Worships (MfW) will go ahead. Other Meetings, such as Walthamstow, are also exploring how to use virtual MfWs for those self-isolating or social-distancing.

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