Britain Yearly Meeting Gathering – Sunday

What a day!

I got up too late for any of the larks activities – unsurprisingly, I should not have expected to.   Nevertheless, I had expected too, so I was dissapointed in myself.

Meeting for Worship

I went to Meeting for Worship which was amazing.  One of the things that has impressed me most was the way that meetings start. In Quaker circles it is known that when one person lifts an arm, silence is required and others then lift there arms in response and go quiet. To see that happen in a room of well over a thousand people is impressive in the extreme. I found that there was a little too much Ministry in MfW, and some gaps between Ministry could have been longer, but some of it was inspiring. I came out feeling exhilarated.

Connecting to the Spirit

This was a truly inspirational talk given by Rachel ? (I think, but am not sure) who talked animatedly and with humour. She said that Jesus is reported as being pressed by crowds and his disciples are all about him and it says Jesus sat. She explained that often we have to take action without thinking and that we sometimes need to sit and take stock, just as Jesus did. She also talked about being inspired and being inspiring. She really is an excellent speaker.

Practical stuff

I thought now would be a good time to go shopping for the food I needed – how wrong could I be? The supermarket was overpriced, understocked and with a queue that proved that many Quakers had clearly made the same assumption. Not only that but it was even further away from my room than the other venues. I trudged (literally!) back and was very pushed to grab a sandwich and get back in time for my meeting with my co-facilitator and then for the next session.

Committed partnerships, connecting communities

This was originally a ticket only workshop, but for some reason (rightly) it was opened up, but unfortunately they only had a small room, so there was overspill into the corridor. It was in the form of small groups discussing scenarios which might affect Local or area Meetings. It was interesting and brought out som useful comments.

I have, naturally, been considering this subject very carefully. I am aware that most of the Friends who are taking part in this discussion are fairly clear what should happen and mostly they are of similar mind to me. Some clearly feel though that we should not risk losing our right to hold weddings by challenging the rules on same sex unions. What I am not hearing is much in the way of total opposition to same sex partnerships. Part of me is elated about that; delighted that the Society has moved so far, but part of me thinks that this is because they do not want to discuss it. In making this an argument based on equality we have made it difficult for those who oppose us to even discuss it, however right we are to do so. From a personal point I am inclined to think that those who oppose equality between same sex and opposite sex unions are necessarily homophobic, but I might be mistaken and yet I feel that I won’t know until those people are able to tell us. They will certainly not attend workshops organised by QGLF.

After a shared supper, back at the house when I discovered that my int4ernet link did not work, I walked back to use the internet café, bumped into a few friends and then went for for epilogue. Afterwards I met up with a forum friend and watched ‘The Age of Stupid’ which I both enjoyed and found very useful.

Yet another late night!

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