Letters - 17 September 2021

From Peaceful schools to Bayard Rustin

Peaceful schools

Thank you for including an item about the peaceful schools online training courses (3 September). Just to correct an impression – these courses, and the peace education programme they arise from, are run by Mid-Wales Area Meeting rather than Bristol Quakers. 

The training is designed to encourage and enable groups in other areas to set up similar programmes. Or indeed for anyone with an individual interest.

The participative nature of the online courses brings huge exchange and learning to the process, so all the groups and individuals involved in courses so far have contributed to them. It is really encouraging that each course so far has prompted further work in schools.

If anyone wants to sign up for future training please email helenporter@phonecoop.coop.

Helen Porter

Words and symbols

I agree with Neil Morgan (3 September) that ‘erasure of the word “God” would be a signal that our humanity had atrophied’.

Words are powerful symbols. They articulate meaning and convey information. They also create new entities which can illumine, educate and forge relationships.

We have only to read in Genesis 1 how the word which God’s breath exhaled created everything from light, flora, fauna and God’s image itself.

All creation is of the breath of God. And in Exodus 3:7 God expresses awareness and concern for the slaves of Egypt, thus establishing a relationship with them, and with us.

That relationship is celebrated, nourished and deepened in prayer and worship. Relationship is at the core of what makes us human and social.

If we erase words like God, prayer, worship we must replace them with words of equal valence and resonance. Language is not a passive instrument to be manipulated randomly. It is a force of human, indeed divine, nature, dynamic and creative, able to penetrate to the frontiers between spirit and body.

Frank Regan

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