Issue 16-10-2020

Featured story

‘We can play a ‘goodness’ game – profess love and goodwill for all – but how real is it?’

FREE 15 Oct 2020 | by Piers Maddox

There’s a space between theism and nontheism that is important to explore. Early Quakers witnessed the breakdown of village-based community, with enclosures driving the landless into towns. Merchants cheated, and you doffed your cap to your rich masters. It was the beginning of capitalist society. Those Friends felt the...

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Top stories

The Retreat announces major expansion

FREE 15 Oct 2020 | by Rebecca Hardy

'The Retreat has a long history of innovation dating back to the eighteenth century.' | Photo: courtesy of The Retreat.

The Quaker mental health provider The Retreat has announced a major expansion of its range of services and digital technologies in response to the Covid-19 crisis. With demand for mental health support expected to soar as a result of the pandemic, the two-hundred-year-old Quaker institution made the announcement after undertaking...

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‘We are so closely joined it feels as if we are holding hands.’

15 Oct 2020 | by Peter Blaker

‘Things we do “because we have always done them” are set aside. There isn’t room.’ | Photo: by Ave Calvar on Unsplash.

As with everything else in the pandemic, our Meeting house shut down. Weeks went by in empty darkness with the doors closed and locked. The first sign of life reemerging was when a day care unit, for people with additional needs, asked if they could use our space. They provided...

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‘The village shop closed years ago, and there was nowhere for people to meet.’

15 Oct 2020 | by Robert Ashton

'One part of the facility is now a medium secure unit. It houses young men who have been referred by the criminal justice system.' | Photo: courtesy of Robert Ashton.

I recently visited a community-owned shop and café in Little Plumstead, on the day that it started trading. ‘The Walled Garden’ is a work in progress. A café and shop are already open where locals and visitors can enjoy coffee, cake and conversation. The business sits between a primary school...

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‘I prepare for death with a relaxed acceptance.’

15 Oct 2020 | by Michael Wright

'Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.’ | Photo: by Aron Visuals on Unsplash.

I grew up in a household that was strongly opposed to religious faith. As a teenager I was a troublesome presence in RE lessons. At sixteen I became so confident that I could demolish this house of cards that I set out on a personal programme of research to do...

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‘The underlying problem is one of trust rather than physics.’

15 Oct 2020 | by Barbara Mark

‘As Friends, we have a Light to follow. A deep goodness to believe in.’ | Photo: by AJ Colores on Unsplash.

We live in this world and must face up to things going on in it. Quakers are not known for shying away. So what do we think about those who believe the earth is flat?

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Friend casts doubt on peat plans

FREE 15 Oct 2020 | by Rebecca Hardy

A Quaker and bioregional expert has raised doubts about the Scottish government’s plans for peat restoration, as speculation rises that pledges to ban peat-burning across the UK are being stalled.

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Woodbrooke consults over cuts

15 Oct 2020 | by Rebecca Hardy

The Quaker study centre Woodbrooke has said it is exploring ways of reducing costs as it grapples with the ‘huge economic impact’ of the Covid-19 pandemic since March. In a statement released on 5 October it says that they are ‘working with staff’ and there will be ‘further updates once this...

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British think white people most impacted by climate crisis

15 Oct 2020 | by Rebecca Hardy

Black British Christians are more engaged with the issue of climate breakdown than the public at large, according to a new survey which shows that a significant chunk of British people mistakenly think white people are most impacted by the emergency. The Savanta ComRes poll, commissioned by the charity Christian...

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‘The moment that got me into Quaker theology wasn’t some feeling of being one with God.’

15 Oct 2020 | by Om Patil

‘Oats and pacifism.’ For about fourteen years of my life, that’s all ‘Quaker’ meant. Not a great starting place for a kid about to matriculate at a Quaker high school. My definition of Quakerism changed soon enough, to ‘oats, pacifism, and sitting in silence’. Just kidding.

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Bible and Ecology: Rediscovering the Community of Creation, by Richard Bauckham

15 Oct 2020 | by Frank Regan

Richard Bauckham, a former professor of New Testament Studies, invites us to rediscover our membership of the Community of Creation. This community is larger than the community of humankind. It consists of many species, some extinct, others recently born.

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Choosing Life: My father’s journey in film from Hollywood to Hiroshima, by Leslie A Sussan

15 Oct 2020 | by David Zarembka

I should say up front: Leslie Sussan and I are both members of Bethesda Meeting in Maryland, USA. She has been working on this book about her father, Herb Sussan, for thirty years.

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Conspiracy, directed by Frank Pierson

15 Oct 2020 | by Helen Porter

I recently plucked up courage to watch this film, which I have had on my shelves since I bought it in a charity shop a couple of years ago. It is a hard watch but essential viewing, increasingly so with the resurgence of fascism in the world.

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The Book of Trespass: Crossing the lines that divide us, by Nick Hayes

15 Oct 2020 | by Tony Tucker

Nick Hayes’ fascinating and provocative book is a tearing away of much of the pretence of British history. A nation’s view of itself is rarely realistic and in our case the fabrications are literally set in stone. The great houses and estates of the land are, if we care...

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Ground zero

15 Oct 2020 | by Jonathan Wooding

Rain is all mist without fall, and mottled with grey motions, the sky. There’s a sea-roar in that fruitless sycamore, and eucalyptus leads the cheer, throwing jackdaws in streaming perichoresis about a pale, unblooded sky.

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Letters - 16 October 2020

15 Oct 2020 | by The Friend

Ethical veganism The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism event in September addressed veganism in the workplace. An interesting legal case was presented by the lawyer who represented the vegan and zoologist Jordi Casamitjana at an employment tribunal. Briefly, Jordi claimed unfair dismissal. He discovered that his employer was...

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