Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 16th October 2022
Dear Friends, ‘What’s that on the shelf?’ my artistic friend asked. ‘A turbine blade. I designed it’, I replied proudly.‘Oh’, she said. Visiting three weeks later she asked, ‘Why is … Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 16th October 2022
‘What’s that on the shelf?’ my artistic friend asked. ‘A turbine blade. I designed it’, I replied proudly.‘Oh’, she said.
Visiting three weeks later she asked, ‘Why is that still there?‘Because I think it’s beautiful.’
‘Oh’, she said.
My friend enthused over the beauty of a cathedral, a Rembrandt, a Turner, a sonnet. I find none in a cathedral, little in Rembrandt or poetry, a lot in a Turner.
I find great beauty in Concorde, a Norton, a modern suspension bridge, in calculus and a good computer program – especially if I have written it! She little or none. I thrill to the sound of a racing car, the sight and smell of a machine shop, the noise and balletic movement of men and machine shaping white hot steel in a forge – and in my turbine blade. She does not.
We could both be moved to tears by mountains, Beethoven, Britten, clouds … and by friendship.
This entry in Quaker Faith and Practice (21;37), written by Graham Clarke in 1994, continues the theme raised last week about valuing diversity and friendship. During the pandemic, in breakout rooms on Zoom after Meeting for Worship, I discovered new Friendships with people I may not have gravitated toward in our loud coffee area at the Meeting House. Circumstance enabled rich conversation on individuals’ favourite topics, about which I often knew nothing; I value the important Friendships that were borne.
Life has become very busy again, particularly in Lewes Meeting as we ramp up toward the renovations. In times of great busyness, there is a risk that the Quaker tenet of Friendship can get missed. After Meeting, we ask for news of absent Friends, but sometimes Friends’ absences take some while to be noticed. For others, a physical presence may be there, but an absence of true connection may be felt, something that could only be detected by a proper conversation.
How do we, in these times of great busyness, take time to make new Friendships as well as remember to look after our existing ones? Equally, how much responsibility do we take for sharing our own needs and asking for help from our Friends, even if it is just for a good conversation?
On behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (Bob Harwood, David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Theresa Samms, Nancy Wall)