Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Nottingham Refugee Week 16th - 24th June

posted by Kathy

Refugee week, which lasts eight days, starts this Saturday (16th June) . If you're in Nottingham between 11 and 2, there's a stall outside St Peter's Church* (the church near Marks & Spencers).

There's a leaflet which has details on events, but it doesn't have full information. For instance, it doesn't give the time and place for Crossing Borders, which is the opening party/entertainment on Saturday. The national Refugee Week website doesn't give the information either, but it does give list events all over the country. There are helpful e-mail addresses too. You can also contact Notts Refugee Forum by clicking on the link in the sidebar on the right.

*for very traditional Quakers, a "church" is what George Fox used to call a "steeplehouse". And for Quakers so devoted to simple living that they weave their own cloth, Marks & Spencer is a big shop.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

a new blog!

posted by kathy.

This is a blog for Beeston Quakers. It's a new idea and only semi-official, in that no-one said "Don't" when I raised the question after Meeting. For the moment it will be managed by me and Rhiannon. Other volunteers from the Meeting are welcome. So are visitors. If you visit, do feel free to post a comment.

One announcement at Meeting was about the Stop the War protest at the Labour Party's Leadership Conference in Manchester on Sunday 24 June. There are coaches from outside the Salutation Inn, leaving at 9.30 a.m. (£14 waged, £7 unwaged) but you need to book in advance. See the website of Nottingham Stop the War campaign for further details.

But this blog isn't just for external political events. I thought it would be a good idea to include extracts from Quaker and other writings from time to time. As the notice I'm posting is about peace, I thought it would be a good idea to include some early Quaker writings about peace and the peace testimony.

"We…utterly…deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretense whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world. … The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as to once command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the Spirit of Christ which leads us into all Truth will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for any kingdoms of this world."
(George Fox, 1660)

May we look upon our treasures, the furniture of our houses, and our garments, and try whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions.
(John Woolman, c.1764)

This more recent statement sadly seems relevant today. I don't know if Quakers in 1976 thought such words might one day be applied to the British and United States governments:

"It is a matter of grave anxiety that torture and secret imprisonment are being used by many governments, anti-government groups and others to extract information, to suppress criticism, and to intimidate opposition, so that throughout the world countless numbers of men, women and children are suffering inhuman treatment. We believe in the worth of every individual as a child of God, and that no circumstances whatsoever can justify practices intended to break bodies, minds and spirits.
"Both tortured and torturer are victims of the evil from which no human being is immune. Friends, however, believe that the life and power of God are greater than evil, and in that life and power declare their opposition to all torture. The Society calls on all its members, as well as those of all religious and other organisations, to create a force of public opinion which will oblige those responsible to dismantle everywhere the administrative apparatus which permits or encourages torture, and to observe effectively those international agreements under which its use is strictly forbidden."
(Friends World Committee for Consultation, 1976)

Finally, from the introduction to the Advices and Queries which are sometimes read (just one or two at a time) in Quaker Meetings for Worship:

Our diversity invites us both to speak what we know to be true in our lives and to learn from others. Friends are encouraged to listen to each other in humility and understanding, trusting in the Spirit that goes beyond our human effort and comprehension

This seems a good starting point for this blog.