Culture Articles

Spring 2020

11 June 2020 | by Jean Harbour

'In all this exuberance and sunshine...' | K. Mitch Hodge / Unsplash.

The quagmire that beset the lane in winter became spring’s dusty track, lined now with straggles of forget-me-nots and clumps of healing borage. Further on mellow docks nudge nettles. Everywhere may and cow parsley merge, shoulder high.

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Growing Hope:  In Woodbrooke’s Online Learning

04 June 2020 | by Dana Littlepage Smith | 1 comment

'Our teacher explains that now we will grow hope in our bodies...' | Christina @ / Unsplash.

Our teacher explains that now we will grow hope in our bodies,  yet first we must start on the ground of despair. We descend to the floor. I curl like a foetus, let myself feel the fist of meaninglessness and impotence banging.

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The Wood (lockdown memories of an autumn walk)

28 May 2020 | by Leya Spiers

'The autumn leaves danced around me...' | Tanner Boriack / Unsplash.

‘Here I am’ I said to myself, ‘The one place I can be free.’ The trees greeted me like I was a queen going into her palace.

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Are We Done Fighting? Building understanding in a world of hate and division

28 May 2020 | by Eric Schiller

Close-up of the book cover. | New Society Publishers.

In a world that was supposed to become more unified by technology and communications, the opposite seems to be happening. Divisions are deepening between nations and even within nations. The conflicts are often class-based, racially-based, generationally-based or even gender-based. We need a guidebook and Matthew Legge has written one.

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Grasping Shadows: The dark side of literature, painting, photography and film

28 May 2020 | by Judith Roads | 1 comment

Close-up of the book cover. | OUP USA.

I treasure this book. It has become a way for me to go deeper into art, metaphor and religious thinking. Much of it relates to my Quaker life.

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Silence Like Rain

FREE 21 May 2020 | by Philip Gross

'Silence, like rain, falling / on the Quaker Meeting...' | SpicyTruffel /

Silence, like rain, falling on the Quaker Meeting, on the congregation of rooks at the edge of the wood, on the sangha where a young monk enters late, at the back, folds his saffron robe in place a little too carefully, then even he forgets himself

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‘Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Ecumenical Quest’ by Keith Clements

21 May 2020 | by Richard Seebohm

Close-up of the book cover. | World Council of Churches.

For many years Dietrich Bonhoeffer was general secretary of the Conference of European Churches. Cross-referencing this book with Bonhoeffer’s own Letters and Papers from Prison offers illuminating takes on theology. It even makes me more comfortable about the divide between theist and nontheist Friends.

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‘MBS: The rise to power of Mohammed bin Salman’, by Ben Hubbard

21 May 2020 | by Reg Naulty

Close-up of the book cover. | William Collins.

The paradox of Saudi Arabia is that it is a close ally of the United States, and that it has a conservative version of Islam. In the attack on the twin towers in New York on 9/11, fifteen out of the nineteen hijackers were Saudis, as was their leader, Osama bin...

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‘Somehow we even managed to fit in free time and a Saturday evening entertainment.’

07 May 2020 | by Barbara Parry

‘Singers were united in the joy of working on some of the best examples of choral repertoire, ranging across many centuries and styles.’ | Jonathan J Castello / Unsplash.

It must be more than twenty years ago that I first took part in the annual Quaker Choral and Chamber Music weekend at Charney Manor, where singers and instrumentalists of all ages gathered to sing, play and live together for a weekend of intensive musical and spiritual fellowship. A lot...

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‘His sermons are filled with a humour born of setback and humility.’

07 May 2020 | by Dana Littlepage Smith | 1 comment

Portrait of John Donn. | By unknown artist, circa 1595.

With the simple and deep gift of time in my hands – time in our garden – I find myself dipping into John Donne’s sermons. It feels right. He was writing them in a time of plague and he was a man who consistently believed in mercy, in prayer and in...

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