Letters - 19 January 2018

From a caring response to Brexit

A caring response

Mary Brown (5 January) offers a kind and caring response to the needs of our friends with dementia and other needs associated with old age that prevent them from getting to our Quaker Meetings and being included in our Quaker communities.

This prompts some questions:

First, what do we know of the Quaker care homes in our Society? Given that they are independent trusts and charities, much like our Quaker schools, do we know what they are doing in our name and do we support them collectively? Is there a role for Quaker chaplains for elderly care, much as we have chaplains for prisons, universities and hospitals?

Dealing with dementia and later-life care is quite a specialist demand from regular members, elders and overseers. How do we meet the needs of our most elderly and mentally frail who can no longer be part of our regular worshipping communities?

Janet Thomas

Being a catalyst

Roland Carn (5 January) quotes George Lakey [the Quaker activist and writer who spoke to Friends at Yearly Meeting Gathering 2017] telling a story of witnessing a couple fighting in the street and not knowing how to help beyond calling out ‘I’m watching you’ – meaning, I guess: ‘I am a witness’. The fighting continued.

This puts me in mind of a story my teacher once told. He was strolling across London with his wife one day when they came across a young couple fighting. A crowd had built up around the fighting couple. Before my teacher knew what was happening his wife had grabbed hold of his shirt, pinned him against the wall and started shouting, yelling and screaming at him. They had taken over the fighting role, rather than remaining witnesses. The crowd were distracted and the young couple stopped fighting.

Catalysts come in unexpected forms and sometimes we need to risk engaging.

Sue Holden

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