From inclusive communities to values in education
Recently, while on a walk in the countryside around Ledbury, Herefordshire, we walked past the noticeboard of a parish church. We stopped to see if the notices told us something interesting and were struck by a colourful one talking about the ‘Inclusive Church’.
The notice read: ‘We believe in a church… which does not discriminate, on any level, on grounds of economic power, gender, mental health, physical ability, race or sexuality. We believe in Church which welcomes and serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ; which is scripturally faithful; which seeks to proclaim the Gospel afresh for each generation; and which, in the power of the Holy Spirit, allows all people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ.’
We were struck by how particularly Quakerly the first part was, and happy to see that other faiths are with us – or perhaps catching up with us.
On the same day we read of a young girl who had committed suicide, as she didn’t believe her church would support her in her search for an understanding of her sexual orientation.
If we are now seeing an increased awareness of inclusivity, equality and respect within wider faith and non-faith communities, we as Quakers need to make sure it is clear to all that we take this as our basic position, and that our own inclusivity statements are shown outside Meeting houses and on our websites.
Elizabeth Redfern and Alistair Heslop
Do Quakers really believe in equality?
In the 14 September edition of the Friend there were thirteen letters. Eleven were from men!
In the news story about Jocelyn Bell Burnell in the same edition, it was reported that she is funding ‘women, under-represented ethnic minority and refugee students’ and said: ‘minority folk bring a fresh angle to things… a lot of breakthroughs come from left field.’
On the same page, in a item about Quaker Homeless Action supporting a street festival for the homeless, it was reported that there was ‘a guy coming with a barbecue to feed 500, a women-only space…’ (my italics).
These two pieces seem to suggest that women are not equal to men and need special attention.
I’m intrigued. They can’t have it both ways!
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