Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 19th June 2022
Dear Friends, This message is taken from ‘The Spirit of the Quakers’ by Geoffrey Durham. When a Meeting for Worship comes to an end, we must hope that those who … Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 19th June 2022
This message is taken from ‘The Spirit of the Quakers’ by Geoffrey Durham.
When a Meeting for Worship comes to an end, we must hope that those who have attended it have found meaning. As they leave the meeting house, that meaning can turn to purpose. And so, with meaning and purpose in their lives, Quakers find themselves not just willing, not just able, but impelled to work for change in the world. For them, through the Meeting for Worship, meaning has become purpose and purpose has become meaning.
As we have seen, Quakers have no creed. There is no dotted line that a newcomer has to sign, no statement of belief, no exam. They do not proclaim a better life for you if you follow them. What Quakers offer is a journey: a voyage of spiritual discovery undertaken with friends, which is reflected in turn in their journeys. They offer a faith which is based on personal experience and which contains no dogma.
It follows from all this that Quakers are unlikely to take kindly to a rule book, or to an agreed prescription for the maintenance of an unsullied life. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, Friends do publish a pocket-sized volume which many carry around with them and which they find to be of great personal help. It is a set of forty-two paragraphs containing thoughtful advice and some distinctly awkward questions. Its introduction declares it to be ‘for the comfort and discomfort of Friends’. It is called Advices and Queries.
The end of the Introduction to Advices and Queries (on page 4) says this:
Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided; and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the spirit, not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. (Postscript to an epistle to ‘the brethren in the north’ issued by a meeting of elders at Balby, 1656.)
On behalf of the newly named Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET); Bob Harwood, David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Theresa Samms and Nancy Wall