Ready for Quaker Week

Quakers have much to celebrate despite ‘the depths of grief’

Gretchen Castle, general secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) – World Office, has said that Quakers have much to celebrate despite ‘the depths of grief’, as Friends get ready for Quaker Week 2020 and World Quaker Day (WQD).

‘During this time of distressing news and seemingly endless uncertainty, we go back and forth between feeling the depths of grief and the opening of fresh gratitude,’ she told the Friend. ‘As Quakers, whatever is happening around us, we have so much to celebrate: we have hope through our shared faith and God’s constant presence, and we belong to a family of Friends, both local and global, that assures us we are not alone. World Quaker Day allows us to remember the rich privilege of being together in God’s care. From the West Pacific, to Africa and Europe, to the Americas, we celebrate our precious world, our Quaker ways of worship, and our lives that speak of love and generosity. What a joy to come together. And this year we ask ourselves: “What does it mean to be a Quaker today? Living a faithful life in a changing world.” This query has never felt so relevant.’

As Friends grappled with how to mark Quaker Week, from 2-11 October, or WQD on 4 October, given the outreach challenges of the times, many have been posting images of themselves or inspirational Quaker figures on Instagram. Using the #QuakerStories hashtag, the posts respond to the question: ‘How does being a Quaker shape your life and actions?’ According to the Quakers in Britain website, the Quaker Week theme ‘has a whole new meaning as Quakers and our communities navigate the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic’.

‘Many of the staff who support Friends to create interesting and exciting opportunities for Quaker Week are currently on furlough,’ it said.

Meanwhile, Faith Brindle, sustainability and communications support officer for FWCC, said: ‘This year (as you can imagine) will be a slightly different WQD as we can’t encourage physical gatherings, but Section of the Americas (SOA), Europe and the Middle East Section (EMES), and the Africa section are all welcoming Friends to join for a WQD online service. You can find the links to these on the WQD resources page:’

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