A Taste of Quaker Silence
“In turbulent times: be a Quaker.” This is the theme of national Quaker Week in 2017, running from 30 September – 8 October.
Every autumn Quaker meetings across Britain celebrate Quaker Week, offering everyone a chance to focus on welcoming newcomers and helping people discover more about the Quaker way. This work is supported by a central campaign which this year includes social media posts, press coverage and online adverts. Look for the hashtag #QuakerWeek on social media platforms.
Lewes Quaker Meeting will host “A Taste of Quaker Silence” on 30 September. Participants are invited to arrive from 9.45 for a 10 a.m. start. Brief descriptions of what happens are followed by short periods of silence, introducing such terms as “hearts and minds prepared”, “centring down” and “gathered meeting”. The meeting will end around 11 a.m. after which there will be time to ask questions and offer comments.
However long any of us has been attending, there is always the possibility of taking a fresh look at what goes on in a Quaker meeting. Anyone who is curious to know about our method of worship is welcome to come along and find some answers to their questions, or join us in seeking greater clarity in the stillness.
Jim Pym, in his book Listening to the Light, has a lovely phrase: “If we are able to listen, we will find that the silence is by no means empty.
All are welcome.
Artwave at Lewes Friends meeting house
AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND 2017
The Artwave Festival takes place in the Lewes area every year during the week either side of the August Bank Holiday. Artists and makers open up their studios and houses, or get together in groups to exhibit their work.
A group of members and attenders transform some of the rooms at Lewes Friends Meeting House each year over the August Bank Holiday weekend to exhibit paintings, drawings, ceramics, quilts and prints, etc.. Some of this work is offered for sale. There is always a welcome for people in the Meeting to join us, if they have artwork or made objects they would like to put on display. As well as giving an opportunity to show work, the occasion is also a major Outreach event, as many of the visitors show an interest in the old Meeting House, and this sometimes leads to discussions about the Quakers and our Meeting.
Brochures with details of all the exhibition venues in the town and the surrounding area are available from the Lewes Information Centre in August.
This year the exhibition at Lewes Friends Meeting House will be held on :-
SATURDAY 26 AUGUST 11.00 to 17.00
SUNDAY 27 AUGUST 14.00 to 17.00
MONDAY 28 AUGUST 11.00 to 16.00 (August Bank Holiday)
Tea and coffee will be available.
For further information about our exhibition contact John Fisher at email@example.com or phone 01273 472529.
A Quaker Manifesto (by Children's Meeting)
On 11th June the children discussed the recent general election, then wrote their own Quaker manifesto. The points on their manifesto were:
- Lower the voting age.
- Spread the wealth through a fairer tax system.
- More homeless shelters; help homeless people.
- Back to basics: knitting dresses, etc.
- Put a UN building in every country’s capital.
- More homes & a fairer housing system.
- More investment in emergency services.
- Fairer immigration laws.
- Diplomacy before violence.
- Abolish the bedroom tax.
- Clothes banks for refugees.
- Welcome refugees.
- Encourage charity.
- No hate laws / tolerate difference.
- Every town must have higher energy efficiency.
- Look after the elderly.
- Save the NHS.
- Scrap tuition fees.
- Invest in schools.
- Invest in people with disabilities and learning difficulties.
- Make big companies pay big tax.
- Support small businesses.
- Make sure your vote counts.
- Target overseas aid to poorer parts of the world.
The manifesto can be seen pinned to the board in the children’s room at the meeting house.
A Sponsored Walk
On Sunday we were told of a sponsored walk taking place on Sunday 30th April in aid of refugees. This is the same day that Needlemakers Circle are organising a walk to Glynde. It is also the week before the children’s choice of “Good Cause” for May, which is the Refugee Council. We therefore thought it would be appropriate to suggest that Friends who join the Circle walk might like to get sponsorship in aid of the Refugee Council. Any money raised will be added to the month’s collection.
The route is not suitable for buggies, but families with young children might like to walk a mile or so, then join us for tea at Glynde by train or car.
We will provide a sponsorship form for anyone who feels they would like to take part in this way. Please let me know, Helen or Tess know. Helen and Tess can give more details of the route, if needed
Donations needed for the kitchen
Catering for Regional Meeting in March brought to Friends’ attention an imbalance in stocks of crockery and cutlery in the kitchen. Although we have a large number of vases, there is only one small water jug remaining. It seems breakages have caught up with us! In addition, although there are dozens of small plates, there are not enough large dinner plates to go around at events the size of Regional or Area Meetings.
Therefore, it would be helpful if Friends could make donations of both water jugs and dinner plates to the kitchen. Please trawl through cupboards at home, or visit charity shops to make some inexpensive purchases for the meeting house, if you can. Simply leave contributions on the side in the kitchen, with a note attached to say it is a donation and does not need to be returned.
Hospitality Committee wishes to emphasise that there is plenty of all other types of crockery, and cutlery, so please stick to these two items when making donations
Thank you, Friends!
Film nights at the meeting house
As resident Friends, Chris and I have decided to put on film nights as a way to get together with people from meeting, to hopefully spark interest in a topic and get people thinking. We wanted to show films that are related to concerns of people in meeting, but which are also uplifting. So much of what is in the media is gloomy at the moment, and it can be very easy to feel helpless in the context of what is going on around us. However, films can inform, uplift, give hope and hopefully lead to action.
The first film we showed was This Changes Everything, based on Naomi Klein’s book of the same title. The film is about climate change and those perpetuating it – the fossil fuel industry and government lobbyists, for example. But it also documents the international movement that is coalescing around this struggle by people on the front line; from air quality campaigns in China to local people fighting to keep their land in India. It was inspiring to see the scale of this movement and the ferocity of opposition to climate change. Hopefully this film showed people that all climate action, however small, is important, and is part of a global movement for change.
The next film we are planning to show is Tasting my future, which was voted Best Documentary Feature Film in the 2015 Chichester International Film Festival.
It features women who faced conflict and persecution in their home countries – Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Ethiopia – and who now live in Brighton and Hove. Although the women are all from very different backgrounds, they share a love of food and cooking together. We discover the women cooking a feast together in Brighton, and it is one of food, laughter and story telling. “When I feel sad, I do some cooking. When I feel happy I do cooking and make everybody happy with me” says Reem.
Tasting my future will be shown at 7pm on March 24th at the meeting house.
Lou, March 2017
On Sunday 19 February we said goodbye to our children’s worker Emily Wallis in our traditional way with a shared lunch.
For the last three years or so Emily has been with the children each week, supporting them and the leaders and helpers with all kinds of activities. She has achieved great success professionally too, with her illustrations being used in various books and her series of dot to dot books for adults published by Macmillan. Now she and husband Lewis are moving to Wells in Somerset and we wish them well in their new home. We gave Emily a scrapbook of photos and artwork by the children and others, and she gave us two beautiful pieces of her work, which will be hung in the entrance lobby and children’s room.
We welcome our new children’s worker, Mary, and look forward to her being a part of our children’s meeting.
All Age Christmas Meeting for Worship
On 18th December the children joined the adults for our all-age Christmas Meeting. We were delighted to see so many friends and children, including our two youngest members, Athena and Iris, 6 weeks old, who joined us for the first time.
The theme of our Meeting for Worship was Light and some of us came dressed in wonderful sparkly, star-studded clothes. The children had spent the previous two weeks thinking about Light at Christmas and painting the Christmas Star and lots of smaller stars. During the Meeting they gave the stars to each of the adults, who were invited to write the name of someone they wished to hold in the Light, or a thought about Light, on the back of their star. The children then stuck the stars around the Christmas Star, making a beautiful picture of the night sky over Bethlehem.
Caroline read to us from Boris Pasternak’s poem, Star of Nativity. Here is an extract:
Nearer – unknown – shy
as a candle in a
on the way to Bethlehem, the star.
It flames like a haystack in some country
set apart from God and sky –
a sign of arson – like a farmstead burning –
conflagration from a threshing floor –
towering like a stack of straw,
of hay on fire,
this new star, centring
a startled universe –
the star’s aura, reddening
with meaning –
and three stargazers
hurrying at the invitation of unprecedented burning.
Berta read some verses about Light from the Bible. Here are her two favourites:
Psalm 119, verse 105:
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
John 8, verse 12:
Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Other Friends talked about how sad they felt thinking of the children of Aleppo and how they wanted to hold them in the Light.
We lit lamps the children had made and put them around the star, then sang “Twinkle Twinkle” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem” to end our Meeting.
When Friends look at our picture, I hope they will remember all the names and thoughts written on the stars and hold the Light of Christmas in their hearts.
Preparing the meeting house garden for winter
While many of the creatures that live in our garden will hibernating for the winter (taking the walnuts from our tree with them!), the gardening group at the meeting house has been busy.
With all the clearing of beds, mulching and the last weeding of the year, Ann, one of our extremely knowledgeable gardeners, rescued a Hawthorne sapling from by the stone wall and has moved it to the front of the garden where it will thrive in the future.
The leaves are nearly all gone from the trees now, but they will turn into leaf mould in our new leaf mould frame, and will provide excellent compost and mulch over the coming months.
You may have been wondering what this curious looking structure that has recently sprung up is. It is a bug hotel, created as a habitat for the beneficial insects in the garden. These insects, such as ladybirds, bees and lacewing, munch on the pests such as aphids that we want to keep away from our plants. Built with wood and dried grasses from the garden, plus discarded bricks and slate, bug hotels are a great way to encourage biodiversity and reduce pests without having to resort to chemicals.
Making Quilts for Refugees
A group of members and attenders meets regularly on Friday afternoons to make quilts to welcome refugees to Lewes district. They are joined by members of Lewes Group in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (LGSRAS) in this project. No prior knowledge is required as this is a skill-sharing exercise.
At the moment this project is for members and attenders of Lewes meeting. However, if you would like to participate, or if you have materials or equipment to donate, please do contact us by using the Enquiry Form on this website, and someone will get in touch with you.