Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 2nd October 2022
Dear Friends, Sunday is World Quaker Day – an initiative of the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) to help us all be better aware of the global spread of … Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 2nd October 2022
Sunday is World Quaker Day – an initiative of the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) to help us all be better aware of the global spread of groups of Friends.
I have been fortunate to join in some big international Quaker gatherings so I share with you one experience that I treasure. At an FWCC event in Birmingham in 1997 I took a coach filled with Friends from all over the world to George Fox’s birthplace at Fenny Drayton, a Leicestershire village just 30 miles away. We got a warm welcome in its church from the vicar, unlike the Quakers of Fox’s time. In the building in which Fox had been so often whilst growing up, we had a time of worship with Friends from all the different branches of Quakerism that have developed world-wide. We had silence with well-phrased spoken messages in English, fervent prayers in Spanish and uplifting singing in Swahili. We were united in seeking awareness of the Spirit of God. We closed with handshakes around the globe.
For me it illustrated how all the present day groups of Quakers can trace their origins back to Fox and Fenny Drayton. Those who base their worship on silence and the words that emerge out of it, say this was the form of worship that the first Friends found so inspiring. For evangelical Friends, the priority of sharing the message that Christ can be known within us in a powerful living way remains what they see as the essential witness of those first Friends. For Bible-centred Friends, Fox’s continual use of the Bible is still of central importance. For those who see spiritual riches in different religions, Fox’s acknowledgement that there was a seed of God in everyone gives them a starting point. All hold to the importance of developing communities of belief and action and witness, all uphold the core testimonies about peace and equality and affirm that the whole of life should express one’s faith.
In whichever of these groupings we feel most comfortable, the presence of all of them gives a wholeness to what emerged from one questing person in a small English village and still resonates all around the world.
Happy World Quaker Day,
Chris, on behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (Bob Harwood, David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Theresa Samms, Nancy Wall)