Letters - 23 August 2019

From veganism to a Quaker on a tea towel

Veganism and open doors

I felt proud to see The Guardian Live talk at Friends House London in April hosting Greta Thunberg, Anna Taylor and Caroline Lucas MP. We have an ageing population at our Quaker Meeting houses throughout the country and in order to attract the younger generation I think we have to address veganism.

It is an essential issue that Quakers could lead the way on.

When you visit a Sikh temple you are always only served vegetarian food. I think in Quaker Meeting houses only vegan food ought to be served. It’s sending a clear message that this is an important spiritual value, which demonstrates that Quakers listen and are always ready to evolve and care for our environment.

The football team Forest Green Rovers only serves vegan food to staff, players and fans. Quakers need to also adopt this essential spiritual message to inspire the younger generation to attend Quaker Meetings.

Quaker faith & practice really needs updating with a whole chapter addressing food production and the horrors of factory farming.

The Greta Thunberg generation is inspired by Extinction Rebellion (XR) and, I believe, by veganism. One of the founding members of XR is Rupert Read and he emphasises that a spiritual path is required in caring for our planet. The Quaker doors are open. Let’s lead the way!

Sarah Sheard

Creation of welcome

Why do people start to come to a Quaker Meeting? We don’t always know but I suspect it is often because they have some need with which they think or hope we might be able to help.

I’ve recently finished reading the novel Missing Persons by Nicci Gerrard, which contains a moving account of how a Quaker Meeting is helping one of the characters in the story.

Felix and Isabel, in their different ways, are trying to come to terms with the painful disappearance of their teenage son, who they thought was away at university.

Even though Felix professed no belief in God, in his distress, ‘every week he biked to his Quaker Meeting, eleven miles away. Isabel had gone to a couple with him, trying to understand why they meant so much to him. She had seen how everyone there welcomed him, how he had found a new kind of family who didn’t judge him and with whom he didn’t feel a failure, and she was grateful to them. Perhaps they could make him better. She couldn’t – but accepting that had been a melancholy kind of liberation… Only Felix could rescue himself, accompanied by his impartial new friends and their silent ceremonies…’

Whatever our beliefs – or lack of them – about God, we can all contribute to the creation of welcoming, accepting, non-judgemental and inclusive Quaker Meetings.

Michael Hennessey

You need to login to read subscriber-only content and/or comment on articles.