Letters - 14 June 2024

From ‘Cloud of unknowing’ to The sacred oneness

‘Cloud of unknowing’

Although rather surprised, I was nevertheless grateful to see Clive Gordon’s reference (31 May) to my letter of ten weeks ago (22 March).

My understanding of Quakerism is that it eschews dogma. So any religious dogma held or promulgated to be incontrovertibly true beyond all doubt must, ipso facto, be un-Quakerly. It therefore follows that, yes, George Fox, the infallible dogmatist who never doubted that he was right, was unquestionably un-Quakerly in this particular area of faith and practice.

The problem with making this statement is that it is far too dogmatic! And so we are thrown back into that great and mysterious ‘cloud of unknowing’ where the questions always remain… what, indeed, is truth? And does anybody know the answer?

Kevin Skippon

‘The Pity of War’

In the 10 May news, I was drawn to the article about Conscientious Objectors Day, where there was a Meeting for Worship at the Quaker Service Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA).

How moving that this remembrance sculpture has a place for such events. The NMA hosts thousands of people over the year, all wondering about the issues of war and suffering.

The Quakers now have a second sculpture at the NMA, just down the path a short way from the Quaker Service Memorial. This one is called ‘The Pity of War’ and remembers the unknown, forgotten and voiceless civilians affected by conflict. This is powerful and poignant at the moment with Gaza and Ukraine being on our minds.

As I expect most readers of the Friend will know ‘The Pity of War’ is a joint effort with Peter Walker, sculptor, his wife Katie, and Southern Marches Area Meeting. It has been a long journey, but we are there now, with the sculpture erected a month ago. Our unveiling event is on Monday 24 June at 2pm, and everyone is welcome to join us.

Do look at our website www.pityofwar.org if you would like to know more.

I would like to think this sculpture will also offer a place for Meetings for Worship at devastating times of civilian loss, as well as a quiet place for reflection for anyone suffering.

Barbara Mark

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