Letters - 18 November 2022

From Activism to Fracking


I have heard it said that ‘Quakers support Extinction Rebellion’. Without the word ‘some’ this is an inaccurate and potentially divisive statement.

Early Friends endured a great deal of suffering through speaking out or acting for what they felt to be the truth. Throughout our history we have had a tradition of such activism. We have usually been led by inspired individuals who have been supported by the longstanding tradition of seeking clearness within a gathered Meeting.

The testing of a ‘concern’ may, or may not, lead to local Friends uniting with it and carrying it forward. If accepted, the concern may then move on to monthly Meeting and even up to Yearly Meeting.

At this stage, it would be right to say that British Quakers support the concern.

When early Friends engaged in activism they placed themselves at personal risk of harm and ridicule. So far as I know they did not engage in activities that deprived other people of their rights or ability to go about their daily business.

Any corporate action by Quakers should be guided by this important distinction.

G Gordon Steel


Diana and John Lampen in the Friend of 4 November remind us that Jesus himself showed anger when needed.

Hence the words of one of the hymns sung in school assembly at Sidcot: ‘Take not thy thunder from us, but take away our pride.’

Geoffrey Braithwaite

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