Letters - 10 April 2020

Worshipping from home to titular moods

Worshipping from home

It was interesting to hear all that Friends House, Woodbrooke and other Meetings around the country have been doing to run online worship time (27 March).

I must also thank you for including Jamie Wrench’s article, in the same edition, about worshipping together from home without the aid of electronics.

I might be unusual, but I would find having a computer on a distraction from the silence. I do believe we can be together in spirit without the need for anything but quiet and contemplation. I have had a very strong feeling of togetherness during these worship times for the last three weeks.

I, like Jamie, have given time during the hour to think about all those people at Meeting and those in particular need of being held in the Light. This time on Sunday is still very special.

I am saddened that our Quaker hubs like Friends House and Woodbrooke have only given advice on using computer-based worship. I am glad you mentioned there are alternatives in your article, because not every Quaker can have a computer-based Meeting.

As I write this, Daniel Clarke Flynn’s article (also 27 March) is in front of me. Surely the simplest way to have a Meeting for Worship is through the spirit. It also uses no power at all, outside our own personal energy.

Jamie has also started a Zoom coffee morning chat once a week for our Meeting. So we are not frightened of the internet.

Barbara Mark

Protecting the economy?

Is there something we can do as Quakers to respond to ‘it is more important to protect the economy than the population at large’?

The prime minister has told us he is taking scientific advice. However, he tends to omit reference to medical advice. Some in the media suggest that closing down the economy would result in more people dying of poverty. This fails to consider the redistribution of wealth.

I have personal reasons which help me to appreciate that the coronavirus pandemic could be tackled differently. In Denmark, my daughter works in a hospital for older patients; she is on standby for the COVID-19 ward and physically protected with face mask, cloak and long gloves. I believe she is safe. In Colombia all but essential businesses are closed. No one is allowed out. My other daughter, who lives there, feels safe.

What is happening in this country now cannot be right. A nurse in a ‘flagship’ hospital reports having a patient with COVID-19 symptoms on an open ward for days. The patient wasn’t tested, there was no infectious disease control. Eventually the patient was tested and moved to a COVID-19 ward.

The advice to us about social distancing seems ambiguous. The guidance about who should go to work and who shouldn’t remains unclear. I believe the government’s concern for the economy is outstripping the need to close down non-essential work and help more people to self-isolate.

Is there a statement we could make as Friends on this matter? I would welcome hearing from Friends who have similar concerns.

Carmel Schmid

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