Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 31st December 2023

Dear Friends, As we prepare to begin a new year, we also prepare for a new era in the life of our Meeting.  There is a sense of excitement about Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 31st December 2023

Dear Friends,

As we prepare to begin a new year, we also prepare for a new era in the life of our Meeting.  There is a sense of excitement about the possibilities that will open up with new physical spaces and new room in the hearts and minds of those that have been so filled with the practicalities of the building project.  Gathering together in our new space will bring opportunities for reconnecting, for deepening friendships and for new discoveries. Have you ever sat with a friend when in the course of an easy and pleasant conversation the talk took a new turn and you both listened avidly to the other and to something that was emerging in your visit? You found yourselves saying things that astonished you and finally you stopped talking and there was an immense naturalness about the long silent pause that followed. In that silent interval you were possessed by what you had discovered together. If this has happened to you, you know that when you come up out of such an experience, there is a memory of rapture and a feeling in the heart of having touched holy ground.

Douglas Steere, 1955, Quaker Faith and Practice, 22.09

I have been reflecting on experiences in Quakers that have moved me this year.  Several of these have occurred in the last two months at the newly formed Discussion Group.  One friend, spoke movingly that the older she gets, the less she feels certain and the more she finds herself saying “I simply don’t know”.  Other friends have spoken about experiences, hopes, realities and acceptance.  By sharing and listening together, we develop new knowledge and understanding, not just of each other, but also of ourselves.  Our newly extended building will bring more opportunities for these rapturous conversations, if we turn up and open ourselves to them.  I can’t wait! In friendshipTheresaon behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Caroline Pybus, Theresa Samms and Nancy Wall)