Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 14th January 2024

Dear Friends, Belonging to a community has always been a vital part of my life…..and, in Quakers,  I have found a community for life (in both senses of the phrase). Serving Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 14th January 2024

Dear Friends,

Belonging to a community has always been a vital part of my life…..and, in Quakers,  I have found a community for life (in both senses of the phrase). Serving the Meeting is a great privilege… it deepens my connection, and gives me purpose.  I’m sure others find, as I have done, that at times it can feel a challenge, tiring and stressful.  However, I have often felt that perhaps a lot of us Quakers live longer, more active and meaningful lives than those not involved in faith communities.  I sometimes joke that Quakers don’t have time to die of old age….they are far too busy!So, it was with great interest that, a while ago, I came across a few programmes of a series called ‘Live to 100: Secrets of the The Blue Zones’. Blue Zones are places around the globe where a much higher than average percentage of the population live to the age of 100. Many studies have been carried out into these populations, and 9 main reasons have been discovered as to why such folk live so long. And (spoiler alert!): belonging to a faith-based community is one of them. Here is a link:- https://www.bluezones.com/2016/11/power-9/ A belief in the Divine, and the ability to communicate directly whilst sitting in silence with other Quakers in Meeting for Worship, is the bedrock of Quakerism.  However, as we know, loving and caring for one another is essential to the strength of our community:- “Our sense of community does not depend on all professing identical beliefs, for it grows from worshipping together, knowing one another, loving one another, accepting responsibilities, sharing and working together. We will be helped by tried and tested Quaker methods and procedures, but the meeting will only live if we develop a sense of community, which includes children and adults alike. If all those who belong to our meeting are lovingly cared for, the guidance of the spirit will be a reality. The celebration and commemoration of life’s great events draw us together as we share the occasion and rejoice or mourn with one another.”  QF&P 10.03 (part) “Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand.”  Isaac Penington, 1667 QF&P 10.01 In Friendship Veryan Greenwood on behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Caroline Pybus, Theresa Samms and Nancy Wall)