Letters - 22 September 2017

From membership to the food industry

Quaker membership

I do not think that those who decide to apply for membership of the Society do so because of any doctrine or political views on equality (15 September). They have, I believe, found peace in the stillness of a gathered Meeting where they can sort themselves out away from their everyday problems; they find from existing members acceptance of themselves just as they are, together with a general belief in the worth of every individual of whatever nation or race. They then want to give something back.

Elaine Miles

Yearly Meeting mice

I was delighted to read Stevie Krayer’s reflection (18 August). For me this opening gambit for Yearly Meeting Gathering (YMG) was inspired as it resonanted throughout the week. I was surprised and disappointed that it was not referred to again, in my hearing, and did not warrant a place in the Epistle or the Minute.

Towards the end of one session a Friend’s ministry said that Quakers today are seen as nice people and reminded us that in early days we were irritants. The word ‘grit’ got into a number of ministries and into the Epistle, but with the slightly altered meaning of ‘determination’. I was hoping this ministry might have been the turning point of YMG. Instead, we continued to move deckchairs and fiddle as the world around us burns.

Back home a Friend commented that the Epistle is bland and the Society needs to take action. I remembered that another Friend, in ministry, had asked where the leadership is. I recalled the powerful words of Molly Scott Cato in the Salter Lecture and felt that she had offered inspirational leadership, which again was not referred to in session.

I admire the skills and work of the clerks but left YMG feeling frustrated that the pace of the sessions allowed such little time for ministry. Like the mouse we, too, are small and I am afraid that our timidity this year left our voices unheard.

Peter Rivers

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