Eye - 14 June 2024

From George Fox 400 - Four hundred flags! and Foxing preserves - to Getting to know Gerard

Laura Conyngham with a vegan birthday cake. | Photo: by Alison Mitchell

Four hundred flags!

Friends in Exeter recently threw open their doors to celebrate with the local community.

Local Friend Laura Conyngham told Eye: ‘Exeter Meeting’s “Fox 400” event was publicised in nearby streets, the High Street and at the university. It attracted young people, young families, enquirers and Quakers, some of whom we hadn’t seen for a while.

‘400 flags of homemade bunting decorated the street, Meeting house and garden. Homemade lunch, vegan birthday cake and cream teas were much appreciated. We were brought together through parachute games, a bug hunt, a 400-year timeline, mental health workshop, singing and circle dancing. On each hour we offered a fifteen minute Meeting for Worship…

‘We are thrilled with how the day felt.

‘The next day Terry Faull from Cornwall and I were on BBC Radio Devon’s Breakfast Show, and at Exeter’s Meeting for Worship one family was back and there were even more young people.’

Eye couldn’t resist hearing Friends’ voices directly, and you can too until 27 July, at: https://bit.ly/Fox400Exeter.The segment that features Laura can be heard from one hour thirty-nine minutes. As well as elaborating on the event itself, Laura paints a lively picture of George Fox – his family, his challenges being left-handed, and the travels he undertook – and shares the Quaker decision-making processes with listeners.

Terry appears two hours and ten minutes into the programme as Mel Osborne’s ‘Have Faith’ guest. He delves into George Fox’s journey through Cornwall, culminating in his imprisonment in Launceston for refusing to swear an oath and the ructions that his imprisonment caused, with Oliver Cromwell getting involved in his release.

Foxing preserves

As anyone who has delved into their family history can tell you, historical records can throw up some unexpected surprises.
As excitement grows for celebrations to mark George Fox’s 400th birthday, Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) shared a nugget of information with their Facebook followers.

According to Elfrida Vipont’s biography, George Fox and the Valiant Sixty, gaps in the historical record about George Fox’s early years are due to some unexpected repurposing of parish records. She writes: ‘The relevant pages of the baptismal records of Fenny Drayton Church were torn out by the sexton’s wife, some time in the eighteenth century, to make covers for her preserves.’
Eye hopes she didn’t have too many bumper crops over the years! For a video by the Quaker Tapestry, events listing, songs, and a Birthday Pack to download, Friends can visit: https://fwcc.world/fox.

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