Issue 21-and-28-12-2018

Featured story

Thought for the Week: Friends and family

FREE 20 Dec 2018 | by Rebecca Hardy, George Osgerby and Elinor Smallman

Some of the most moving messages we get at the Friend are from isolated Friends who, whether from ill-health or geography, are prevented from attending a Local Meeting. They have told us that, for them, this magazine is their most regular contact with the Society – the way in which they...

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Top stories

Hold tight to the truth, and change

FREE 20 Dec 2018 | by Paul Parker

'We should look hard at Quaker structures and practices, simplifying as we go, whilst remaining true to the essence.' | Photo: Pixabay via

The Truth is one and the same always, and though ages and generations pass away, and one generation goes and another comes, yet the word and power and spirit of the living God endures for ever, and is the same and never changes. Quaker faith & practice 19.61 Margaret Fell’s...

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A present from Jerry

20 Dec 2018 | by Chris Alton

Private William ‘Billy’ Stevenson (middle row, right), circa 1917. | Photo: Courtesy of Chris Alton.

The question that drives Marcel Mauss’s The Gift is: ‘What power resides in the object given that causes its recipient to pay it back?’ Gifts foster a powerful sense of obligation.

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The Christmas pause

FREE 20 Dec 2018 | by Beth Allen

'I build to this moment throughout December...' | Photo: Pixabay via

Can I get to the moment of peace this Christmas, and make it last longer? The pause – the time, late in the afternoon of 24 December, when everything slows down, nothing more can be posted or bought, the front doors are shut, and the busyness reaches its purpose.

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Christmas: a learning experience

20 Dec 2018 | by Bernard Coote

'Quakers have mixed attitudes to Christmas...' | Photo: via

Quakers have mixed attitudes to Christmas. Quite strong feelings can be expressed as to the place it should have in Quaker observance. They are in good company.

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Restoring relationships

20 Dec 2018 | by Ivan Hutnik

'…create a path out of the thicket of misunderstanding' | Photo: Espen Webjørnsen / flickr CC.

Our Peace Testimony is central to who we are as Quakers. Peace is integral to our mode of worship. It is inherent in how we run our church affairs. Many of us do our very best to live out this testimony in the fellowship of our Meetings and in the...

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All articles

‘Here we come a-carolling’

20 Dec 2018 | by Alec Davison

‘The universe is the song of God’, imagined the Quaker composer Donald Swann. He and his friend Sydney Carter were, I think, two of the greatest songwriters of the twentieth century, abundant in melody and memorable in lyric. They opened up the world of carols, not limiting them just to...

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Towards a Quaker taxonomy

20 Dec 2018 | by Kevin Redpath

After many years of observing Quakers in their natural habitat, I offer our visitors and new attenders a taxonomy to help them identify the various species. Quaker blackbird (Turdus merula) Forever cheerful, attends Business Meetings regularly, upholds Area Meetings, faithful Yearly Meeting attender, the lifeblood of every Local Meeting. Its...

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A story for our times

20 Dec 2018 | by Ken Smith

It was a cold but clear late January day with a keen north wind blowing. The two women had met in the marketplace, and now in a pub, over coffee, were ready to talk. ‘I’m really glad I ran into you, Mandy,’ said Kate. ‘I need to talk to...

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A whole community of Friends

20 Dec 2018 | by Rebecca Fricker

Lying in bed at Woodbrooke on a Sunday morning, I was reading With a tender hand by Zélie Gross in preparation for a new role, when the start of chapter ten, ‘All age community’, made me yelp: The care of younger Friends and their families is a whole Meeting...

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Leadings and promptings

20 Dec 2018 | by Terry Oakley

What do you do in worship leading up to Christmas? Do you have all-age worship? Do you sing carols? Or do you follow the traditional Quaker practice of not marking times and seasons?

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A symbol for our hopes

20 Dec 2018 | by Elaine Miles

Jesus was born at Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of Herod So says Matthew’s Gospel (chapter two, verse one), and Luke’s Gospel (chapter two) agrees on that, but their accounts are very different otherwise.

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Who’s in control?

20 Dec 2018 | by Philip Allum

Just about the most disturbing sentences in the current Advices & queries are in number 11, and they stick with me for days whenever I hear them spoken in Meeting. They read: ‘Be honest with yourself. What unpalatable truths might you be evading?’ In my personal case, there are lots of...

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The Jesus ghost

20 Dec 2018 | by Linda Ewles

When I was little Jesus lived behind sunbeam clouds, wearing a white nightie, like an angel who didn’t need wings. He sent my aunty a miracle baby and heard my prayers in Sunday School. I won a prize for a plasticine Joseph and Mary.

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The gifts we bring

20 Dec 2018 | by Catherine Henderson

‘We three Kings of Orient are Bearing gifts we traverse afar’ - John Henry Hopkins Giving presents at Christmas time is a tradition dating back long before the birth of Jesus. In Ancient Rome people gave each other gifts on 23 December as part of Saturnalia, a week-long festival with lots...

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From the archive: Treasures and curiosities

20 Dec 2018 | by Janet Scott

The archive of the Friend is a treasure trove of insights into the Religious Society of Friends and its history – something I have appreciated since my time as a trustee and, more recently, as the writer of the ‘From the archive’ pages each month.

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20 Dec 2018 | by Elinor Smallman

Puzzle made at Photo: Joanna Kosinska via Unsplash.

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