2021 Virtual Meeting Archive

The reading for this week: 2nd January

From: George and Anne Thomson

Matthew 11:25-30

21st Century King James Version

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.

27 “All things are delivered unto Me by My Father, and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.

28 “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

The reading for this week: 10th January

From: George and Anne Thomson

Matthew 7: 1-6

 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 

 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 

 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 

 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 

 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

The reading for this week: 17th January

From:

Mary Hartshorne

QFP 23.32

I have never lost the enjoyment of sitting in silence at the beginning of meeting, knowing that everything can happen, knowing the joy of utmost surprise; feeling that nothing is pre-ordained, nothing is set, all is open. The light can come from all sides. The joy of experiencing the Light in a completely different way than one has thought it would come is one of the greatest gifts that Friends’ meeting for worship has brought me.

I believe that meeting for worship has brought the same awareness to all who have seen and understood the message that everyone is equal in the sight of God, that everybody has the capacity to be the vessel of God’s word. There is nothing that age, experience and status can do to prejudge where and how the Light will appear. This awareness – the religious equality of each and every one – is central to Friends. Early Friends understood this and at the same time they fully accepted the inseparable unity of life, and spoke against the setting apart of the secular and the sacred. It was thus inevitable that religious equality would be translated into the equality of everyday social behaviour. Friends’ testimony to plain speech and plain dress was both a testimony of religious equality and a testimony of the unacceptability of all other forms of inequality.

Ursula Franklin, 1979

The reading for this week: 17th January

From:

Lindsey Townhill

Quaker Faith & Practice- first paragraph

In silence which is active, the Inner Light begins to glow – a tiny spark.  

For the flame to be kindled and to grow, subtle argument and the clamour of our emotions must be stilled.

It is by an attention full of love that we enable the Inner Light to blaze and illuminate our dwelling and to make of our whole being

a source from which this Light may shine out.

Pierre Lacout, 1969

The reading for this week: 31st January 2021

From: Lindsey Townhill

[The early Friends] made the discovery that silence is one of the best preparations for communion [with God] and for the reception of inspiration and guidance. Silence itself, of course, has no magic. It may be just sheer emptiness, absence of words or noise or music. It may be an occasion for slumber, or it may be a dead form. But it may be an intensified pause, a vitalised hush, a creative quiet, an actual moment of mutual and reciprocal correspondence with God. Rufus Jones, 1937

The reading for this week: 7th February

From: Lindsey Townhill

Quaker Faith & Practice 2.21

I read that I was supposed to make ‘a place for inward retirement and waiting upon God’ in my daily life, as the Queries in those days expressed it… At last I began to realise, first that I needed some kind of inner peace, or inward retirement, or whatever name it might be called by; and then that these apparently stuffy old Friends were really talking sense.

If I studied what they were trying to tell me, I might possibly find that the ‘place of inward retirement’ was not a place I had to go to, it was there all the time.

I could know the ‘place of inward retirement’ wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, and find the spiritual refreshment for which, knowingly or unknowingly, I was longing, and hear the voice of God in my heart.

Thus I began to realise that prayer was not a formality, or an obligation, it was a place which was there all the time and always available.

 

Elfrida Vipont Foulds, 1983

The reading for this week: 14th February

From: Anne Wood:

From “With a Tender Hand”  (page 109)

Worship as it permeates the Quaker way observes few boundaries of when and where it can take place.  It does not require a particular building to house it or certain qualified people to run it.  Where there is a need, we might hold a meeting in our own home, a hospital or a hospice, a school or in the open air.

The reading for this week: 21th February

From: Anne Wood:

From “With a Tender Hand”  (page 125)

Spiritual Friendship

 

There is a long Quaker history of friendship between two people becoming a significant part of how they each find support and nurture on their spiritual journey. This might come about by noticing it is happening in a particular friendship and both agreeing to make this part of our friendship more intentional or we might seek out a “companion” who is willing to accompany us on our spiritual journey-  and we on theirs.

The reading for this week: 6th March

From: Anne Wood:

From “This We Can Say”  The Australian book of Quaker Faith and Practice

Opening   “You will say, Christ saith this, and the apostles say this ;but what can you say?

Art thou a child of Light, and hast thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest is it inwardly from God?  

 

George Fox 1652

The reading for this week: 14th March

From: Anne Bennett

Matthew 22: 36-40

‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’  He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The reading for this week: 21st March

From Anne Bennett

Quaker Faith and Practice 26.40 

I do not know the course I am to run, all is hid in mystery, but I try to do right in everything …. Look up to true religion as the very first of blessings, cherish it, nourish and let it flourish and bloom in my heart;

it wants taking care of, it is difficult to obtain.

I must not despair or grow sceptical if I do not always feel religious.

I felt God it were, and I must seek to find Him again.

Elizabeth Fry 1798

The reading for this week: 28th March

From Anne Bennett

Quaker Faith and Practice 26.56

The resurrection, however literally or otherwise we interpret it, demonstrates the power of God, to bring life out of brokenness; not just to take the hurt out of brokenness but to add something in the world.

It helps us to sense the usefulness, the possible meaning in our suffering, and to turn it into a gift.

The resurrection affirms me with my pain and my anger at what has happened. It does not take away my pain; it still hurts.

 

But I sense that I am being transfigured. I am being enabled to begin again to love confidently and to remake the spirit of my world.

S Jocelyn Burnell 1989

The reading for this week: 04th April

From David Taylor

Advices and Queries 31

We are called to live ‘in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars’.

Do you faithfully maintain our testimony that war and the preparation for war are inconsistent with the spirit of Christ?

Search out whatever in your own way of life may contain the seeds of war.

Stand firm in our testimony, even when others commit or prepare to commit acts of violence, yet always remember that they too are children of God.

The reading for this week: 11th April

From David Taylor

Quaker Faith & Practice 24.31

Through the organisation of international work camps and social projects, Friends have sought to combine their ministry of relief with their ministry of reconciliation:

 

There are no barriers of race, national feeling, custom, climate or culture which cannot be broken down by the method of Woolman and St Francis – the method of self-identification with the need of the poorest, even in distant lands, by means of hard manual work done at his side for his benefit. It remains to apply this method, and this idealism, to the international situation in Europe today… The influence of such work will no doubt be entirely negligible as regards the international situation, as the influence of Woolman seemed to be in his own lifetime… But failure does not matter. All that matters is that the right way should be tried; and if the Christian religion means anything at all, the right way is the way of self-identification with the poorest, the way of appeal to the friendliness in others by means of active and practical friendliness in ourselves, the way of unostentatious service… The original international fellowship of Christianity was founded in this way, as barriers of every kind – language, nationality, race, sex, class – were broken down through the literal following of the command for this august sacrament of menial service, as instituted by Christ at his last supper with his disciples.

 

John S Hoyland, 1936

The reading for this week: 18th April

From Lindsey Townhill

Quaker Faith & Practice 26.40

 

I do not know the course I am to run, all is hid in mystery, but I try to do right in everything… Look up to true religion as the very first of blessings, cherish it, nourish and let it flourish and bloom in my heart; it wants taking care of, it is difficult to obtain. I must not despair or grow sceptical if I do not always feel religious. I felt God as it were, and I must seek to find Him again.

 

Elizabeth Fry, 1798

The reading for this week: 25th April

From Lindsey Townhill

Quaker Faith & Practice 26.61

There is a principle which is pure, placed in the human mind, which in different places and ages hath different names; it is, however, pure and proceeds from God. It is deep and inward, confined to no forms of religion nor excluded from any where the heart stands in perfect sincerity. In whomsoever this takes root and grows, of what nation soever, they become brethren.

 

John Woolman, 1762

The reading for this week: 2nd May 2021

From Lindsey Townhill

Quaker Faith & Practice 28.07

‘Have you anything to declare?’ is a vital challenge to which every one of us is personally called to respond and is also a challenge that every meeting should consider of primary importance.

It should lead us to define, with such clarity as we can reach, precisely what it is that Friends of this generation have to say that is not, as we believe, being said effectively by others.

 

Edgar G Dunstan, 1956

The reading for this week: 8th May 2021

From Lindsey Townhill

Quaker Faith & Practice 29.19

Therefore, dear Friends, wait in the Light,

that the Word of the Lord may dwell plentifully in you.

 

William Dewsbury, 1675