Letters - 1 November 2019

From the parable of the sower to different characteristics

Parable of the sower

I have been challenged as never before by seeing older Friends active in Extinction Rebellion being arrested. They have prompted me to consider afresh my response so far to the issue of climate change. As I was reading Luke 8:11-15, where Jesus is reported as explaining the parable of the sower, the realisation dawned how the seed of this concern has impacted on me.

The seed that fell on the path was when I heard about these issues but didn’t take them seriously enough, so nothing much came of it. The seed that fell into rock and had no root was when I thought this was a key issue, but other current issues came to the forefront of my thinking and action, and I did not fully respond. The seed that fell among thorns and thistles I realise is what happened when I felt I really must respond, and have made small steps to recycle household stuff and reduce my carbon footprint. However, the lifestyle I have grown old in is so very comfortable that I have been reluctant to face up to some of the radical changes demanded by the issue.

Now I am having to really consider how I will allow this seed to grow in me, and how I will ‘hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance’. All this – from just seeing a photograph of a Friend I know, and reading some verses in the gospels!

Michael Wright

Long-term investments

Richard Stewart writes of his concern about the loss on Britain Yearly Meeting’s (BYM’s) investments at the end of 2018 (18 October). When I spoke at Yearly Meeting in May I reminded Friends that there was much uncertainty in the wider economy during 2018 and December saw a substantial fall in the stock market. We cannot control this, nor is it possible to predict political decisions and the effect they will have on the economy. However, with the revision of the investment policy by trustees a year ago, we agreed to spread our investments more globally and this puts us in a better position going forward. A recent valuation showed our investment portfolio had more than recovered the loss of £2.3 million by the end of September 2019.

As Quakers we invest for the long term, and our investments are just one of the ways we fund centrally-managed work. Having diverse sources of income mitigates the high level of risk associated with depending on one source, and BYM is well-positioned to withstand with short-term market volatility.

Linda Batten
BYM treasurer

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