Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 7th August 2022
Greetings Friends, A passage from Quaker Faith and Practice which I have always found intriguing and insightful is the ministry given in York in 1721 by Luke Cock, a butcher … Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 7th August 2022
A passage from Quaker Faith and Practice which I have always found intriguing and insightful is the ministry given in York in 1721 by Luke Cock, a butcher by trade (QF&P 20.21). Unfortunately it is too long to quote in full and some of the language and metaphors – and maybe the social situation – are quaint and hard to grasp. He describes four major hurdles he had to negotiate in bringing his life into line with his Quaker faith. They are all interesting but I’ll only mention the first, which is about truth and integrity. He says of this:-
…. I remember when I first met with my Guide. He led me into a very large and cross [place], where I was to speak the truth from my heart – and before I used to swear and lie too for gain. ‘Nay, then,’ said I to my Guide, ‘I mun leave Thee here: if Thou leads me up that lane, I can never follow: I’se be ruined of this butchering trade, if I mun’t lie for a gain.’ Here I left my Guide, and was filled with sorrow, and went back to the Weeping Cross: and I said, if I could find my good Guide again, I’ll follow Him, lead me whither He will. So here I found my Guide again, and began to follow Him up this lane and tell the truth from my heart. I had been nought but beggary and poverty before; and now I began to thrive at my trade, and got to the end of this lane, though with some difficulty. ….
This is a perennial issue where candour may threaten your safety or livelihood. Faced early in life it may be a case of admitting the dog did not eat your homework. Later it may be whistle-blowing, or admitting, for instance that your meat is not as fresh as might be expected, or admitting that crucial corners were cut on this job, or that your supposed fireproof cladding panels are actually known to be very flammable, or that … the list is endless.
These are not easy or comfortable choices, especially when it is not just your own livelihood that could be affected, or where a collective responsibility is involved. In Luke Cock’s case his truthfulness led to some initial hardship, but eventually he came through it, perhaps by getting a reputation for reliability. It was, however, clearly a long struggle, and the moral stance does not always produce obvious rewards in our lifetime. His “guide” I take to be an inner conviction or leading which he would probably describe as the Holy Spirit. He trusted that this guide would be patient with him. Following the example of Luke and others like him, I take heart that we should be patient with others and with ourselves when progress seems slow; the guide can be found again.
The Pastoral Care and Eldership Team met twice in July. At the first meeting the main items discussed concerned arrangements for meeting when David and Louise Tinsley moved to Settle. These matters have since been covered at MfWfCA.
The second meeting was with the circle conveners, when the main business was the life of the circles and duties for circles in looking after meeting on Sunday mornings now David and Louise have departed. We also decided to work towards merging Brighton, Castle and Nevill & Winterbourne circles.
on behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (Bob Harwood, David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Theresa Samms, Nancy Wall)