Issue 16-04-2021

Featured story

Unseeing is believing: Hazel Inskip’s thought for the week

FREE 15 Apr 2021 | by Hazel Inskip

‘If their tonsils have been removed, you will not see them. This is the area you should swab.’ In the early phase of the pandemic, these words were part of instructions to the general public for taking a throat swab from people who couldn’t do it for themselves. The...

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Beside the point: How did a Quaker doctor come to inoculate the empress of Russia? by Rebecca Hardy

15 Apr 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

‘My objective was, through my example, to save from death the multitude of my subjects.' | Photo: by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

Friends going for Covid jabs probably won’t have seen any getaway cars parked outside, engine running, for volunteers ready to scarper. But this was the case 250 years ago for the Quaker physician Thomas Dimsdale, who inoculated Catherine II, empress regnant of all Russia, against smallpox in 1768. So risky was...

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Present company: Chris Rose on a bond of generosity

15 Apr 2021 | by Chris Rose

‘The gift was regarded as extraordinary at the time, coming from so distant a culture. But in Ireland people felt a common bond.’ | Photo: ‘Kindred Spirits’, the sculpture remembering Choctaw generosity; Gavin Sheridan CC BY-SA 4.0

At long last it seems there is an end in sight to all the pandemic lockdown restrictions. We will all have things to remember from this difficult time. We will all have stories to tell.

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Blue plaque for Kathleen Lonsdale

FREE 15 Apr 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

Kathleen Lonsdale | Photo: courtesy Smithsonian Institution

The Quaker scientist, peace campaigner and prison reformer Kathleen Lonsdale is the first of six women being recognised by the English Heritage blue plaque scheme this year.

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Meeting a maker: Julia Richardson on an inspiring inmate

15 Apr 2021 | by Julia Richardson

‘For a few weeks Denzil would appear with a big grin on his face. He was secretly making something but couldn’t yet tell us what.’ | Photo: by John Salvino on Unsplash

I have known Denzil since around 2003, when I became Quaker chaplain at one of our prisons. He is a ‘lifer’ who has been in prison for many years.

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Larger than life: Denzil finds space for self-understanding

15 Apr 2021 | by Denzil

'Well, I don’t know about you but the only thing I see that comes close to what God is, is space.' | Photo: by Zulmaury Saavedra on Unsplash

I can’t say I’ve had much of a life when for the last forty years I have been in prison. I suppose that, like most people, I hoped I would have a nice life, with family and friends. But, not understanding myself, I made too many mistakes and...

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Bristol Friends consider ‘Kill the Bill’ protests

FREE 15 Apr 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

Bristol Quakers are considering what they can do to support nonviolent campaigning against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Several Friends in the city have been taking part in the ‘Kill the Bill’ protests that have been rising up in cities across England and Wales. Quakers including Fran De...

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Quakers celebrated on Women’s Day

15 Apr 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Scottish History Society have launched a video celebrating Quaker women to mark International Women’s Day.

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Tackle harm from gambling, urge campaigners

15 Apr 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs has joined churches and charities to urge the UK government to act decisively and urgently in tackling the harm caused by gambling.

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QSA announce new homeless project

15 Apr 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

Quaker Social Action (QSA) has launched a new scheme aimed at providing a space for people who do not have access to a kitchen to prepare meals.

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‘Why did your Meeting grow?’ ask Friends

15 Apr 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) is investigating why some Meetings grow and others decline. The consideration follows an analysis of the Tabular Statement, the annual report of all Quakers in Britain, which reveals that ‘between 2009 and 2019, 105 local meetings – a quarter of our society – grew in size’.

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Meeting for Sufferings: Facing change

15 Apr 2021 | by Joseph Jones

In her letter to Meeting for Sufferings (MfS) representatives, clerk Margaret Bryan welcomed the signs of spring. It was fitting for a Meeting that dealt with change, perhaps even to MfS itself.

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Meeting for Sufferings: Becoming an inclusive Society

15 Apr 2021 | by Joseph Jones

After registering Escaping Victimhood as a Quaker Recognised Body, and approving a letter of greeting to Ireland Yearly Meeting, the report from Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) trustees gave rise to a discussion on race, in the wake of social media complaints from two former employees. Caroline Nursey, clerk to BYM...

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Meeting for Sufferings: End to overseers

15 Apr 2021 | by Joseph Jones

Further change came with a Quaker Life Central Committee (QLCC) minute asking Friends to stop using the term ‘overseer’. It was ‘hurtful and must be changed’ said the QLCC clerk.

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Meeting for Sufferings: AM/BYM relationships

15 Apr 2021 | by Joseph Jones

Last December, BYM trustees asked MfS whether it would be useful to have a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between BYM and Area Meeting (AM) trustees. MfS welcomed the idea, and asked trustees to keep them informed of progress. Chris Willmore, BYM trustee, now offered that with a report. She wasn...

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Meeting for Sufferings: Assisted dying

15 Apr 2021 | by Joseph Jones

After a period of worship to clear minds, the Meeting turned to what clerk Margaret Bryan had referred to as ‘the principal item for consideration’. In October 2019 MfS received minutes from two AMs seeking discernment on the question of support for legislation to enable assisted dying in the UK. These...

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Meeting for Sufferings: Simplification

15 Apr 2021 | by Joseph Jones

After an update on the agenda for Yearly Meeting in session (30 July to 8 August 2022), and a minute from Manchester and Warrington AM calling for increased consideration of the plight of the Uighur communities in China, the Meeting received a paper from BYM trustees on a process for simplifying Quaker structures....

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Model behaviour: Robert Ashton’s earth-sheltered home

15 Apr 2021 | by Robert Ashton

‘Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.’ Albert Einstein I’d met a Friend for a socially-distanced coffee in her garden and the conversation moved to climate change. She told me the steps she was taking to improve the energy efficiency...

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Letters - 16 April 2021

15 Apr 2021 | by The Friend

A different paradigm During my lifetime our class structure combined with the capitalist ethos has dominated the functioning of society. Trade unions have been the prime agencies responding, opposing and highlighting the disadvantages and discrimination inherent in British life.    The decline in trade unions and many recognised institutions...

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