Issue 06-05-2022

Featured story

Present company: Neil Morgan’s Thought for the Week

FREE 5 May 2022 | by Neil Morgan

Martin Heidegger, the Existentialist philosopher, refused to be labelled an atheist. He preferred to speak of the absence of God, rather than the non-existence of God. That was his position, and he refused to be budged. It opened up for him the field of human existence.

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Benjamin Lay: Another look at an old Friend by Simon Webb

5 May 2022 | by Simon Webb

'‘Lay’s activism against those involved in the slave trade was just one part of a principled life.’ | Photo: Benjamin Lay painted by William Williams in 1790

Some time around the year 1731, a Quaker called Sarah Lay went to visit her neighbour on Barbados. Sarah was shown into her neighbour’s kitchen, and couldn’t help noticing something hanging from a beam in the ceiling. It was not a side of ham or a brace of conies,...

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Embarrassment of riches: Abigail Maxwell on worship

5 May 2022 | by Abigail Maxwell

'I saw for the first time beauty in grey hair and veins on the backs of hands, of people made in the image of God.' | Photo: by Kealan Burke on Unsplash

The Earth is on track to be too warm for human civilisation to continue, and Poland is accommodating over two million Ukrainian refugees. Meanwhile, Quakers in Britain debate what to call the people formerly known as elders and overseers, whether membership should be reformed again, and still, sometimes, whether nontheists...

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Winning, hands down: Jim Paris offers some personal reflections on the war in Ukraine

5 May 2022 | by Jim Paris

‘Is our willingness to supply arms to Ukraine a genuine offer of help? Or is it an attempt to use the crisis to continue our domination.'

There has been much comment on the invasion of Ukraine in the Friend in the last few weeks. The views expressed have identified a number of issues. These centre on patriotism, flag-waving, and how best to act so as to reduce the impact of the war on suffering people in...

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Poetry emotion: Angela Greenwood is transported

5 May 2022 | by Angela Greenwood

'The silence that we share is real. In fact it is the only reality' | Photo: by Swapnil Sharma on Unsplash

In my meditation today, Jim Pym’s poem ‘The Deep Silence’ came into my mind, particularly in relation to what I had felt about ‘being Peace in the midst of horror’ (29 April). Jim’s poem transports me to a deeper place, and I have used it often in our Experiment...

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Muting for worship, a Shakespearean sonnet from the pandemic

5 May 2022 | by Glenn Oldham

'Yet though that assured silence is thus freeing, We seek a larger, deeper, vital one.'

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought, By host assigned, I join the breakout room; My sighs and teacup’s clinks make others fraught, If I neglect to mute myself on Zoom.

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William Penn room renamed after Benjamin Lay

FREE 5 May 2022 | by Rebecca Hardy

The William Penn room at Friends House is to be renamed after abolitionist Benjamin Lay. The new name was suggested by staff of the Quiet Company, which manages Friends House, after it was decided last year that it was not appropriate to commemorate William Penn any longer.

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Quakers ‘devastated’ by final police bill vote

FREE 5 May 2022 | by Rebecca Hardy

Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) has said it is ‘devastated’ that the House of Lords has voted through the final measures of the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

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Friends condemn plans to send refugees to Rwanda

5 May 2022 | by Rebecca Hardy

Quakers have slammed government plans to send refugees to Rwanda. The proposals have also been heavily criticised by Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, who called them ‘ungodly’.

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BYM appoints new deputy recording clerk

5 May 2022 | by Rebecca Hardy

Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) has appointed Siobhán Haire to be its new deputy recording clerk.

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Mount School defends hosting army recruiter

5 May 2022 | by Rebecca Hardy

The Mount School has spoken out over criticisms that it invited army staff to talk during the school’s careers week. Some Quakers have expressed disquiet over the invitation, particularly as the school was made a Quaker Recognised Body in 2019.

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The Gospels: A new translation, by Sarah Ruden

5 May 2022 | by Jonathan Wooding

Like Scrooge, Elizabeth Bennett and Sherlock Holmes, Jesus arrives in our imaginations via the word. Our imagination shapes such characters mysteriously and, we find, mysteriously they shape us. They may not have a life without us, but equally we would not be who we are without them.

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Letters - 6 May 2022

5 May 2022 | by The Friend

Rattling sabres The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been problematic for Quakers and pacifists generally. We know enough of Russia to reckon that lying low and hoping for truth to emerge would have got the Ukrainians nowhere. How can we preach any nonviolent response? There is one concept that can...

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