Issue 26-02-2021

Featured story

Thought for the week: Christopher Stokes’ sacred heart

FREE 25 Feb 2021 | by Christopher Stokes

Friends are fond of saying that the whole of life is sacramental. This is a colossal claim to make. If I define a sacrament as an event possessing a sacred or mysterious significance, and claim that every moment in my life is thus blessed, I may be deceiving myself.

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Top stories

By the board: Sarah Sheard on chess

25 Feb 2021 | by Sarah Sheard

'The queen truly lives life adventurously! '

In lockdown after breakfast, lunch and dinner, my husband and I play chess – at least three times a day, quite often six. When passions have risen high we have even reached the dizzy heights of nine or ten games.

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‘Peace is possible’: Chris Hunter and Rustam Musaew on conflict training in Chechnya

25 Feb 2021 | by Chris Hunter and Rustam Musaew

‘I was very much affected by the fact that the programme calls us to love and protect the world as it is.' | Photo: by Rustam Musaev

Over the last quarter of a century, people in Chechnya have experienced two devastating wars, years of sporadic fighting and conflict, and continued violence and suppression today. Acceptance and openness towards others is increasingly discouraged. Chechnya was once a multi-ethnic country, and much more open. But since the wars, most...

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General Meeting for Scotland: Jane Mitchell reports

25 Feb 2021 | by Jane Mitchell

'People living at a distance or with transport difficulties were able to join when they couldn’t before, and think of the fuel and travelling time saved.' | Photo: by Andreas Haslinger on Unsplash

There were over ninety participating devices, and some of them were shared by two Friends, so our special meeting to discuss blended worship had a very large attendance. There is an obvious logical difficulty in using a Zoom meeting to decide whether to promote further usage of online Meetings, but...

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Mixed blessing: Fred Ashmore recounts a meeting on blended worship

25 Feb 2021 | by Fred Ashmore

‘Forethought, care and possibly extra time are likely to help.’ | Photo: by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Quaker Stewardship Committee (QSC) recently hosted an online meeting for Area Meeting (AM) trustees to talk together about blended worship – combining those gathering in person with those online in a single Meeting for Worship. Nearly fifty trustees joined in the discussion, hearing from Martin Burnell (South-East Scotland AM) and Jonathan...

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Deep space: Kate McNally considers the in-between

25 Feb 2021 | by Kate McNally

‘This is a place of possibility and power.’ | Photo: by Joanna Nix-Walkup on Unsplash

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about the ‘in-between’ spaces: that pause between inhale and exhale when there is neither; that moment when a ball thrown up is poised between rising and falling; that narrow space between fear and hope which is the place of faith. When...

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Nobel Peace Prize nominations

FREE 25 Feb 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW) have nominated two organisations – Mwatana for Human Rights and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) – for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Greenbelt review at The Retreat

FREE 25 Feb 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

Land owned by the Quaker mental health institution The Retreat is under a review into what areas should be granted greenbelt status in York.

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Friends House accused of ‘toxic culture’ on race and religion

25 Feb 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

A former Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) employee has made a series of allegations over social media about her treatment at Friends House, accusing the organisation of being part of a ‘toxic culture’ around race and religion in the charity sector.

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Manchester Friends drop ‘overseer’ term in push for racial justice

25 Feb 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

Manchester and Warrington Area Meeting (AM) has decided to drop the term ‘overseer’ and to substitute the term ‘pastoral care team/member’ ‘wherever possible’. The move is part of its commitment to promote racial justice within Quaker work.

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Quaker Africa interest Group 2021

25 Feb 2021 | by Rebecca Hardy

About forty Friends from Britain Yearly Meeting met online last month for the annual gathering of the Quaker Africa interest Group (QAIG).

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Good Ground Beneath My Feet: Poems from Iona, by Martin Hayden

25 Feb 2021 | by Jonathan Wooding

The Quaker poet Martin Hayden won’t mind me saying that he reminds me of the ‘old men’ in TS Eliot’s ‘East Coker’: ‘Old men ought to be explorers | Here or there does not matter | We must be still and still moving | Into another intensity’. He’s on the...

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Eye - 26 February 2021

25 Feb 2021 | by Elinor Smallman

A welcoming aura An off-the-cuff comment lingering in a footnote caught the eye of Stuart Yates, of Bournemouth Coastal Area Meeting. Behave, written by neurobiologist and primatologist Robert Sapolsky, explores the biology behind why we do the things we do. Following a section in which he writes about religious sensitivities,...

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Letters - 26 February 2021

25 Feb 2021 | by The Friend

Tradition of citizenship Homelessness and poverty speak to the kind of people we are. Since Neolithic times the person with the biggest club has grabbed what they wanted. Read the Bible, look at the history books, see the statues in the squares and the portraits in the galleries to see...

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