Letters - 17 June 2022

From Meaningful reparations to Racism

Meaningful reparations

Having read the Britain Yearly Meeting epistle, I am unsure of what is meant by the term ‘meaningful reparations’ in the context of British society’s culpability in the slave trade.

I hope that any initiative from Quakers would lie in the field of education. This could mean lobbying the government for British involvement in slavery to be more fully covered in the national curriculum. If Quakers contribute to producing education materials on this topic, it could help us understand the roots of the systemic bias in our society today.

If people in this country, Quaker and non-Quaker alike, are to have a better understanding of how our nation has benefited from slavery and is still tarnished by racism, we need to be better informed.

Ken Smith

No to online worship

I know that Zoom has created opportunities for people to engage in Quaker worship while our Meeting houses have been unavailable because of Covid. However, I am not convinced that the Zoom experience is genuine or complete.

The Quaker way is not about sitting in meditative silence; neither is it about being inspired to speak; it is about creating a gathered Meeting in which Friends can be drawn into communion with each other and God.

My experience is that a gathered Meeting can only happen when Friends are in physical presence with each other. Human interaction, communication and relationships are far more than seeing a person’s face and hearing their voice, especially when these are mediated through poor quality cameras and out-of-synch microphones.

For weeks, yes, I joined Meeting on Zoom. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I went back to our Meeting place. That is reality. It is most unfortunate that there is so much talking up how wonderful it is, leading us to believe that Zoom can substitute for reality, let alone be real itself.

Anthony Gimpel

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