Issue 05-02-2021

Featured story

Thought for the week: Kate McNally’s tough love

FREE 4 Feb 2021 | by Kate McNally

Voltaire famously said that ‘God created man in His own image, and man has been trying to repay the favour ever since.’ I was raised with images of Jesus as a blue-eyed European who looked a little like my brother, with God as an old white man on a cloud,...

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‘Stansted Fifteen’ charges quashed

FREE 4 Feb 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

‘The appellants should not have been prosecuted [under this act]… There was, in truth, no case to answer.’ | Photo: Kristian Buus

The ‘Stansted Fifteen’ protestors have won their appeal against terrorism-related convictions for stopping a deportation flight from taking off in March 2017. The verdict came on 29 January when the Court of Appeal said: ‘The appellants should not have been prosecuted [under this act]… There was, in truth, no case to answer.’

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The Godless Gospel: Was Jesus a great moral teacher?, by Julian Baggini

4 Feb 2021 | by John Lampen

‘Jesus understood that compassion drives personal and social change.’ | Photo: Sixth-century mosaic, Basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano, Lazio, Italy (Ivan Vdovin/Alamy)

I found this a very stimulating book. It asks whether Jesus was ‘a great moral teacher’, as Richard Dawkins has called him, and whether his ethics are still valid for us if we remove all the divine and supernatural elements. You may think this is rather a narrow, even irrelevant,...

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Body building: Sue Newsom and Jo Keogh on pandemic recovery

4 Feb 2021 | by Sue Newsom and Jo Keogh

'We considered what we could do individually, in our Meetings, and in our communities.' | Photo: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the deep inequalities of our economic system, where ‘normal’ has been failing millions. Quakers in Britain have joined the Build Back Better campaign, a coalition of over eighty organisations, acting to ensure that the needs of the worst-off are at the heart of recovery. Last...

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Supremely stupid: Fred Ashmore on the challenging work of understanding racism

4 Feb 2021 | by Fred Ashmore

Photo from the YouTube video ‘The Woke Lab: Layla Saad - Defying White Supremacy to Find True Freedom (

The minute about racism from November’s Meeting for Sufferings (MfS), and the minute from Britain Yearly Meeting trustees on the same subject, were rather shocking. Both invite us to consider whether our Society has racist attitudes embedded in its structures. Are we ready to reach a well-informed view about...

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Pain barrier: Margaret Cook responds to an anonymous Friend

4 Feb 2021 | by Margaret Cook

‘Healthy religion offers us a pattern for transforming our pain.’ | Photo: Amer Mughawish on Unsplash

Like the Friend who wrote ‘Fighting talk’ (22 January) I’m sure we all have experiences of our Meetings being divided. We would not be a normal group of people if this didn’t happen.  But I think we can approach any difficulty in a way that hinges on what...

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Hannah Brock Womack joins JRCT

FREE 4 Feb 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

Quaker Hannah Brock Womack has been recruited as one of six new appointments at Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT), in a push for a more diverse staff team as it expands its grant-making capabilities.

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Friends join push for fair tax

4 Feb 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

Quakers have welcomed a campaign launched by Church Action for Tax Justice to push for more fairness in taxation.

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Katherine Barclay marriage certificate for sale

4 Feb 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

The marriage certificate of Quaker Katherine Barclay and Daniel Bell is being auctioned on the website eBay, with bids starting at £195.

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The Penn Club to close

4 Feb 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

The historic Quaker-founded Penn Club is closing just months after celebrations for its centenary birthday were cancelled. In a statement on its website, the Penn Club board wrote that: ‘The Club in its present situation is unsustainable and must cease business from the end of March this year. After deep...

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Tackling racism within: Michael Perry & Maggie Smith’s experiences of local group work

4 Feb 2021 | by Michael Perry and Maggie Smith

Michael Perry: I was so inspired by the good nature and positivity at a Black Loves Matter protest that I decided to become more involved. I ministered about this at Meeting, wondering if anyone might be interested in a group to share personal experiences and attitudes. Within a few days...

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Quakerism: The basics, by Margery Post Abbott and Carl Abbott

4 Feb 2021 | by Rhiannon Grant

This is a considerable achievement: a book that balances size, scope, readability and rigour to produce something short, yet with a wide range of material. It is also easy to read while retaining accuracy and original sources. Published by Routledge as part of ‘The Basics’ series, it comes into a...

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The Scholar at Cuddesdon

4 Feb 2021 | by Jonathan Wooding

I take God out of the dictionary and listen to G-d’s breathlessness. There are claims that God’s vocation is to tell of flittings.

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Letters - 5 February 2021

4 Feb 2021 | by The Friend

Peace and justice The late and now largely-unlamented British Empire eventually came to the conclusion that the slave trade should stop, and from 1808 the navy was given the difficult task of suppressing it. In 1834 the Emancipation Act became law. Prior to that time, slavery had existed all over the world...

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