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Difficult questions in a time of change

Shrubs in flower

A beautiful image from our Quaker Meeting House garden.

During a pandemic with no end in sight, and as the effects of climate change continue, it’s not an easy time in our lives.

Yet even as we ’stay at home’ or ’stay alert’, there’s important work we can do.

We, as a Meeting, have already decided to confront the challenge of climate change.

We seek clean energy, clean air, clean water, in a safe habitat for humans and wildlife alike.

Far-reaching changes in energy generation, green space, transportation, housing, food distribution, even jobs, education, and health care will be necessary to achieve the goal.

 

Quaker Advices and Queries 34:

‘Remember your responsibilities as a citizen for the conduct of local, national, and international affairs.

Do not shrink from the time and effort your involvement may demand.’

Do we, as a Meeting and as individuals, have the resolve, and the caring, to work among ourselves and with officials and residents of Hemel Hempstead and Dacorum Borough to rise to meet the challenge of climate change together?

During our recent online meeting for worship,  we shared feelings about climate change and our responses to this question.

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News from the Garden

Spring has sprung. Enjoy these lovely photos taken by Roger.

 

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Coronavirus and Meeting for Worship: Update

We have decided to suspend Meeting for Worship for the foreseeable future in the light of the government’s advice about avoiding all non-essential contact, especially for those in vulnerable groups, which includes all aged over 70.

This evening we have received a message from Friends House that this is their advice too.  Here is part of what they said:

We advise meetings not to gather in person while the current social distancing guidance is in force.  Current guidance is that everyone should avoid all large gatherings and any gatherings in smaller places (such as cinemas, restaurants, pubs).  Government statements have made clear that religious gatherings are included in this category.  Many faiths and denominations have announced they will cease public acts of worship.”

They note that meetings will need to think about how they maintain their community when they are not meeting face to face, and how important it is to stay in touch by other means, e.g. over the phone.  We will certainly be trying to maintain contact with everyone by phone and email.

We will also be looking at possibilities for using IT to create “virtual” meetings for those who would like to try this.  Friends House has some information on this and is actively working on how they can support meetings.  Some Friends might like to set aside time for silent reflection at home, especially on a Sunday morning, knowing that some other Friends will be doing the same and will be with them in spirit.

How long it will be before we can restart Meeting for Worship, we don’t know.  But even if we are not able to meet on a Sunday, let us continue to support each other in spirit and in practical ways until the situation improves.

Wishing you all good health,

In Friendship,

Kathy

Kathy Lazenbatt

Clerk, Hemel Hempstead Local Quaker Meeting

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Clerks Notices for March 2020


March Notices for Hemel quakers
Click image above to view larger

Watch a video about the work done by our charity of the month,  Hope for  Children, founded by our member Dr Bob Parsons

 

and Freedom from Torture

 

 

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by | 2nd March 2020 · 7:04 pm

19 April : Join on Zoom: Responding to the Climate Emergency: what is our part in this great work? 

 

Quaker Meeting for Learning:   Inspiration, guidance and examples for practical involvement. 

 

19 April at St Albans Meeting House 

Rebecca Woo or Libby Hanks (both newly appointed) from QPSW will lead the session and provide a major input. Colin Hall, David Maxwell, Heather Mitchell and Rob Paton are involved in the organisation of this event. 

The draft programme is as follows:

1-2 pm bring and share lunch – contributions to the lunch to be low carbon / environmentally friendly. 

2 pm Introductory main session. Re-acquainting ourselves with the climate emergency: 4 x workshops (choice of)

  1. What skills and gifts can I bring as a Quaker?
  2. Economic solutions – fee dividend
  3. Creative low carbon living
  4. Join Extinction Rebellion or not? 

Plenary Session – visioning our Meetings

All Friends (including young people) are encouraged to attend this important Meeting.  

This event will now be  a virtual meeting by Zoom

Please support this exciting experiment. 

To book your placeplease click on the link below (or copy it into your web browser) and fill in the form: 

 https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScwrxQfNZ-8Hy_TDln-JH2O4rvF6-RAGjHKRuxUR6VmzgOr5w/viewform

New to Zoom?  Many Friends are now using Zoom, and we hope that help can be provided within Local Meetings.  There will be a short dry run to try out Zoom on Friday 17 April at 11.30 a.m.

Don’t have a computer or smart phone?  It will be possible to join the meeting by telephone, but please only if it is really necessary. 

Further information from the organisers:

heather.mitchell @ phonecoop.coop

hall.colin @ gmail.com

davidmaxwell @ phonecoop.coop

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LONDON KLEZMER QUARTET: SUNDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER 2019

2.30 pm:

HEMEL FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE, 1 THE ALLEYS, HP2 5ZB.

London Klezmer Quartet

The London Klezmer Quartet is a dynamic group of performers whose deep understanding of klezmer, the celebratory and soulful music of Eastern European Jews, is reflected in exuberant, passionate and accomplished performances that captivate audiences of all ages and backgrounds. The group plays old and new traditional material guaranteed to move audiences from toe-tapping to tears and back again in moments. Following last year’s highly successful celebratory concert in October, to celebrate the tercentenary of the Hemel Friends Meeting House, LKQ are returning in September this year.

Tickets are selling fast to those who attended and enjoyed last year’s remarkable performance so you should contact me as soon as possible to book a ticket(s). Tickets in advance only.

Cost of tickets £13.  To reserve a ticket:

Please email me : roger.ramsden@ntlworld.com  or

Text me: 07770971218

I will then be in touch to confirm ticket availability and advise on methods of payment.

Thank you.   Roger Ramsden.       [05/08/19]

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Digging and building our New Wall

page 1 - Wall pictures

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page 9 - Wall pictures

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Apple Day play brings our history to life

The Spirit of the Old Town’s Kimberly Black as Elizabeth Stirredge

 

Quakers and friends from other community groups got together on 29th September to celebrate the last weekend of a long hot summer in a garden ‘Apple Day’. The event was to mark the occasion of three hundred years of the establishment of the Quaker Meeting House in Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town. 

The event attracted dozens and drew in members of the Friends of Jellicoe Water Gardens who made the meeting house garden the final destination on their heritage walk along the Gade.  People of all ages basked in the Indian Summer sun, and enjoyed freshly pressed juice from the two trees in the garden, which was established as a walled burial ground for the Quakers in 1718.   

The highlight of the afternoon was an outdoor performance by Spirit of the Old Town of a short three-act play specially commissioned for the event. Called ‘300 Years in Hemel’ it explored the rich lives of three historical figures who lived and worked in Hemel Hempstead. Kimberly Black, founder of Spirit of the Old Town Productions, wrote and directed the play and performed the role of Elizabeth Stirredge, a Quaker prophetess who came to Hemel Hempstead in 1688. Her stirring monologue recounted her encounter with King Charles where she blamed him for the persecution of Quakers and other non-conformists around that time.  She leaves behind a published memoir, and is buried in the old Quaker burial ground in Wood End, which is now the site of a planned new housing development.

Joseph Cranstone Junior (1793 – 1878) and his son,  Lefevre Cranstone (1822 – 1893), were two Victorian Quakers whose lives made an impact on their local community and the wider world.

“Man of Iron”, Joseph, played with passion by Mark Crane, told the audience of his work setting up the iron foundry in the Old Town and his contributions to the local civic life and urban landscape. Lefevre, played by Tom Watkins, was an artist who left the town and the Quaker meeting to marry a non-Quaker and seek his fortune by travelling to the  US and Australia. His social documentary paintings of scenes of daily life are now on display in galleries and the US White House. ‘Lefevre’ told the poignant story of leaving his wife Lillia and children behind in Hemel Hempstead where she established a school in the town. Lefevre died in Australia.

Joseph Cranstone Junior was buried in the garden in an unmarked grave. The afternoon took on a greater resonance when  his final resting place was revealed to be the exact spot where Mark Crane was due to deliver Mr Cranstone’s final monologue. Mark said afterwards, “I felt the hairs at the back of my neck go up. It was an emotional moment!”

Around 20 kilos of apples were pressed and squeezed through the course of the afternoon and every drop was drunk.  After the show, Clerk of the Meeting, Audrey Pitchforth thanked the Spirit of the Old Town saying, “We have read the history but seeing the actors made the names come to life. It made us all realise that they were real people and it was very moving.”

The Apple Day was part of a series of events organised by the local Quakers in their tercentenary year. They have included a pilgrimage to the original burial site beyond the town boundaries in Wood End, a special Meeting for Worship and musical events. The final event will take place on 28 October at 7pm – a performance by the London Klezmer Quartet. The complete history of the Quakers to the present day in Hemel Hempstead is recorded in an anthology of writings called “We Go Deep” which is on sale at £5.00 from the Quaker Meeting House, St Mary’s Road.

Mark Crane and Tom Watkins played Joseph and Lefevre Cranstone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Join us to Celebrate Apple Day

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