Celebration in turbulent times

Friends around the world celebrated World Quaker Day on Sunday 1 October

Friends in Troon marked Quaker Week with several outreach activities, including an enquirers day and an open day | Photo: Alastair Reid

Friends around the world celebrated World Quaker Day on Sunday 1 October.

Across the country, Friends have welcomed people during Quaker Week (30 September-8 October), an initiative of Britain Yearly Meeting to raise the profile of Quakerism and explain what being a Friend is all about. People who are exploring faith journeys were invited to learn about the Quaker way, and events were held in many Local Meetings around the theme ‘In turbulent times… be a Quaker’.

Alistair Fuller, head of Ministry and Outreach at Friends House, explained the invitation: ‘There can be little doubt that today we live in troubled and turbulent times.

‘Throughout our history, rooted and nourished in the deep stillness of our worship, Quakers have sought to respond to turbulent times with compassion and courage. The same is true today and we invite you to discover more about the Quaker way and how our faith shapes how we live today.’

Coinciding with the start of Quaker Week in Britain, World Quaker Day was celebrated by Friends around the globe on 1 October. The theme of World Quaker Day, ‘Gathering in Worship Around the Globe’, focused on uniting Friends in different parts of the world and from different traditions in one big virtual worshipping community.

Friends all over Britain took part, uniting with others in all four of the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) sections. Winchmore Hill Quakers, in London, celebrated World Quaker Day and the start of Quaker Week with their first shared lunch in their newly refurbished premises, while Friends in Troon, Ayrshire, enjoyed a fruitful Meeting for Worship followed by a discussion about their outreach activities for the week.

Alastair Reid, a Friend who attend the event, said: ‘While the rain lashed outside, we discussed the highlights of the previous day’s successful enquirers day in which several members participated. We also finalised planning for our open day.’ This was held on Wednesday 4 October in Ayr and focused on peace education and how faith leads to action.

Commenting on the success of this year’s World Quaker Day, FWCC general secretary Gretchen Castle said: ‘World Quaker Day brings us together across the world in a remarkable way. My eyes well up with tears every year as I see faces, so many faces, these precious people: my sisters or my brothers. I love to feel the strength of this Quaker family, giving us hope, giving us courage, and bringing us tremendous joy.

‘God is smiling to see us gathered in his Spirit. We have good reason to celebrate.’

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