Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 4th September 2022
Dear Friends, Recently, my younger daughter’s class at school was given the opportunity to ask the local vicar any questions they wanted. My daughter reflected on this afterwards and said … Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 4th September 2022
Recently, my younger daughter’s class at school was given the opportunity to ask the local vicar any questions they wanted. My daughter reflected on this afterwards and said she wished that she’d asked whether, as a Christian, he believes that all other religions are wrong?
Faith has been described as belief in the absence of proof. How do we therefore explain the differing belief systems to which many of the world’s population are faithful? Henry T Hodgkin writes about his resolution of this question; “I believe that God’s best for another may be so different from my experience and way of living as to be actually impossible to me. I recognise [a change] to have taken place in myself, from a certain assumption that mine was really the better way, to a very complete recognition that there is no one better way, and that God needs all kinds of people and ways of living through which to manifest himself in the world” (QFP 27.07).
The personal journey, without dogma, is what drew me to Quakers. I was brought up as a Christian but wrestled with central tenets and found sense in many other spiritual belief systems. As an adult, it became important for me to find people who also sought their own path. George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends, was famously recorded as saying “You will say, Christ saith this, and the apostles say this; but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of Light and hast walked in the Light, and what thou speakest is it inwardly from God?” (Margaret Fell, QFP 19.07).
I enjoy a sense of mutual acceptance, respect and companionship in Quakers as I navigate my own ongoing personal spiritual journey. There is room for doubt, there is room for questioning, there is acceptance that no one way is the way, and I am happy to have found this. I don’t know what the vicar would have replied to my daughter, but I have explained what I would have said. That she asked the question at the age of 10 gives me confidence that she will feel equally at home with Quakers as I do.
Theresa, on behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (Bob Harwood, David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Theresa Samms, Nancy Wall)