Memorial for Alf Hollick: Sunday 7 November

12.00 pm

All welcome.

Silent meeting led by Audrey Pitchforth in which Friends are invited to share thoughts of Alf.

Scattering of ashes in the Quaker burial ground garden.

13.00 pm

Refreshments.

A tribute to Alf, who died on 28 March 2020.

 

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Interfaith at the Meeting House : Monday 8th November

Happy Diwali to our friends celebrating their New Year.

The Friends Meeting House is hosting the Dacorum Interfaith Network (DIN) on Monday 8th November at 7:30pm

This will be a Social Get Together with Bring & Share Food and Drink, celebrating Interfaith Week.

If you are able to attend please bring some food to share:

Sweet or Savoury, with an Interfaith theme requested to celebrate diversity, many cultures.

The cultures might include a few traditional “English” items and you might bring items not necessarily representing your own culture, for example Italian or Far Eastern Asia. There are facilities to microwave or oven heat but where possible bring pre-cooked or fresh items. Such Bring & Share events generally produce more than enough quantity and variety of food without needing advance planning. Remember that many of our friends are vegetarian, foods containing meat or fish are welcome but please label them clearly.  Also if you have special dietary limitations (e.g. gluten free) please label. Fruit juices or cordials welcome.

If you would like to attend please email Norman Spink NormanSpink@hotmail.com

Local Interfaith Events for Interfaith Week

Saturday 13th and Saturday 20th November – Tree Planting at Little Hadham

North Herts Interfaith Forum has been working with the owner of a field in Little Hadham to start an interfaith peace forest.  We now have dates for the first planting of 150 saplings:  2021, . Meet in the car park at Little Hadham Village Hall, SG11 2BP.  Trees don’t just combat climate change – they are symbolic in many faith traditions of growth, harmony and reaching upwards.   Bring your friends! Bring the family!  There will be children from the local school helping too.  Bring your own refreshments. The saplings are small so the work shouldn’t be too hard. 10 am – 12 noon

Any other queries, contact me. Chris Kell chriskell37@gmail.com

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Sunday 21st November: Annual Watford Inter Faith Pilgrimage

Synagogue, Sunni mosque, Shi’a Mosque, Parish Church,  Catholic Church, finish at Gurdwara.

1.00pm-5.00pm.

17 th November: Annual Interfaith Week organised by the St Albans Anglican Diocese.

St Stephen’s Church Hall, Watling Street, St Albans AL1 2PT. The event includes stories and practical examples of living well together as good neighbours. Guests from other faiths have also been invited.

7pm – 9.30 pm

https://www.stalbans.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/Diocesan-Inter-Faith-Week-Event-2021.pdf 

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Monday 29 November:  Herts Samaritans Community Engagement Online Event

Annual Community Engagement On-Line Event

The meeting will include a number of short presentations to be made from a selection of Volunteers to tell you a little more about the very varied work (from Outreach to Fundraising) which the Branch undertakes. The aim is not only to inform but also to learn more about the needs of our community as we emerge from the very challenging times we have all experienced over the last two years.

7pm – 9.00 pm online

Please reply to this email by Monday 22 November (and by Friday 26 November at the latest) to receive a Zoom invitation. If you are unable to attend but know of another who would like to receive an invitation, please do let us know.
Jenny community@swhertssamaritans.org.uk

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We have no time but this present time

In its last session, Yearly Meeting agreed a general epistle to be sent to Friends  everywhere. It is published here. By convention the epistle is read in local  meetings on the Sunday following the Yearly Meeting.

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We send loving greetings to Friends everywhere 

We have no time but this present time 

Friends in Britain have gathered online at this time of great upheaval, amid the pandemic,  climate and environmental breakdown, and increasing social inequality and division. We  are grateful for technology, and the hard work of Britain Yearly Meeting staff, Agenda and  Arrangements Committees, the Woodbrooke team, and others in bringing us together. 

At this Yearly Meeting Gathering Friends have considered the theme ‘For our comfort  and discomfort: living equality and truth in a time of crisis’. We have been wrestling with  what it will mean to be truly committed to anti-racism and faith-based action for climate  justice. We have thought about how to better affirm gender diversity in our meetings. We  have discovered the challenges of attempting to make statements as a unified ‘we’ in a  way that acknowledges the different experiences among us

We have greatly missed the opportunities of being together as an all-age community that  we would have had in a face-to-face Gathering. We held a worship session during which  the children and young people shared their exploration of community, climate, equality  and truth. Junior Yearly Meeting asked how we could centre justice and equity in our anti racism and climate justice work. Only when all are listened to equally, may all be treated  equally. 

As in the days of early Friends, we sense this is a time of prophecy and want to uphold  the prophets in our midst and in the wider world. We must heed the Spirit’s call to urgent  action. Prophets are visionaries, calling out those in power, and reconcilers stand in the  middle of conflict: in this both run great risk.

A Friend of Colour spoke in ministry: 

All I have ever wanted for the longest time is to feel equal, 

and again, here in this room, I don’t. 

I hear people talk all week about George Floyd but we are here now, in the UK, in your meetings, feeling like outsiders every day. 

This is not the experience I was promised. 

Racism is systemic. To most white people – including white Quakers – it is largely invisible, like the air they breathe. As long as it stays unrecognised, systems and  institutions that perpetuate white power are left unchallenged. Racism and oppression  are often daily realities for those without the advantages conferred by white skin. 

As a Yearly Meeting in session we have declared our commitment to becoming an  actively anti-racist faith community. 

Our theologians and historians are helping us to root our action in our faith, reminding us  of the examples of Friends of the past who have listened to the voice of the Spirit and  followed the inward Light. They challenge the complacency of some white Friends’  perception of themselves as ‘good’ people. 

We have heard trans and non-binary Friends and their loved ones talk about their gender  journeys and of being in Quaker community. Acknowledging trans or non-binary identity  can be compounded by unfamiliarity, ignorance and prejudice. Providing support can  lead to greater self-acceptance, enabling Friends to flourish and contribute. Belonging is  being accepted as one’s true self. Who are we to resist what God has created and  continues to create in all their glory? 

As a Yearly Meeting in session we lovingly acknowledged and affirmed the trans, non binary and gender non-conforming Friends in our communities. 

It is ten years since Britain Yearly Meeting in session committed to becoming a low  carbon, sustainable faith community. Friends across the world have long held a concern  for us to live in right relationship with creation. We grieve for the planet we love – our  home – but we have no time to despair. We must act with urgency and imagination – the  consequences of inaction are upon us. 

For those experiencing injustice, the need for transformation is urgent. We know those  who have contributed least to climate and ecological breakdown are the most affected:  the poor, the global majority, and vulnerable communities everywhere. We recognise and  abhor the legion of violent, deadly impacts of economic and exploitative systems on both  the people, other species and lifeforms, and the body of our Earth. The climate crisis is  fuelled by a system based on growth, consumption and systemic inequalities. If life on  earth is to survive we must push for a more democratic, compassionate and equitable  world. 

Britain Yearly Meeting has asked its central committees to emphasise the urgency of  work on climate and ecological justice and to cooperate with others across the world in  this task. 

Our individual tasks are our Quaker spiritual discipline: loving our neighbour – on our  street and across oceans; and caring, cherishing and protecting our natural world. Let’s  not be self-conscious about speaking of the Quaker faith that underpins our action.

Epistle from Britain Yearly Meeting | August 2021 Quakers in Britain 

Friends have talked about the need to let go of stories we tell ourselves about our shared  near-400-year history and hold fast to the essence of the Quaker way. Is it time to look  afresh at systems, structures, processes and procedures – and possessions like meeting  houses that might hold us back? We’re already starting to address this by agreeing to  change some committee responsibilities next year, and through our Simpler Meetings  project. 

Our Quaker forebears were wild about their faith. And they challenged the establishment.  Suggesting that anyone could have a direct, unmediated relationship with the Divine, and  that our relationship with God should not be confined to the steeple house, was  revolutionary and upended the status quo. Is it time to rewild our Quakerism? 

We will often get things wrong. But we have been comforted by the reminder that Jesus’  disciples often did not understand, they argued with him about who he was and what he  should do. When Jesus said, ‘Feed these five thousand’, they said, ‘you must be joking?!’  When it got to the really difficult stuff, they ran away. 

Faithfulness is not about always getting it right, it is about committing ourselves to  carefully seeing and listening. We need to walk together in the Light, so we can see what  we are meant to do and find the strength to do it. 

We have been heartened to hear through their epistles that other Yearly Meetings and faith bodies are grappling with the same issues. It is vital we work alongside and be led  by Friends and others across the world. We do not have to do things on our own and have learned the value of sharing our skills, resources and insights with each other. We  have enjoyed welcoming international and ecumenical visitors, exploring with them  common areas of concern. One of the things we have gained through the pandemic is  new ways to meet with one another, so that we are no longer limited by geography. 

We can meet one another on kinder ground, in our personal relationships, meetings,  wider communities, and on social media. We can help create listening spaces using our  skills and resources. We can help create a climate where the pursuit of truth is not about becoming dug into our rigid positions. 

We need to quietly listen, and tenderly explore difference, disagreement and areas of  discomfort, and thereby avoid a false peace. A commitment to truth requires us to be  open to new experiences with a readiness to learn, while weighing up what we hear and  see through the light of our faith. 

There is so much to do but we have been inspired by the prophetic voices we have heard  throughout our Gathering. We have pledged ourselves to continue to be a ‘gentle, angry’  people who dare to live for truth and justice in such a time of crisis. 

Our Salter Lecturer told us ‘I didn’t choose politics, politics chose me’. She asked us:  what work is choosing us at this time? 

Friends, we have no time but this present time. We should now do what love requires of  us. 

Signed in and on behalf of Britain Yearly Meeting 

Clare Scott Booth, Clerk

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Woodlands for all update

Our Woodlands for All project is continuing to grow.  At a steering meeting the week after our public event, which took place on 22 April on Zoom our agreed actions were .

  1. Organise group knowledge sharing and research around understanding the Dacorum Local Strategic Plan
  2. Work on mapping Hemel Hempstead’s existing woodland and tree cover 
  3. Decide on specifics of approach and key points to raise with Dacorum Council when our next meeting is arranged

We have made significant progress on point two and are about to launch a new website, called Woodland Towns  designed by group member Sherief Hassan, and Hemel Quakers clerk, Mermie Karger

We are contacting everyone who was involved up til now to get involved in a project to map woodlands, and the development areas immediately being targeted by Property Developers around Dacorum and the that of the local plan which aims to build 30,000 plus houses around Hemel alone.

There will be a series of meetings on Zoom on Thursday nights at 8.00 pm to prepare the website for a launch during big Green Week . This is a massive feat of organisation if it can be done. If you would like to help us and get involved in  the mapping project email : woodlandsforall @woodlandtowns.org.uk

This is a fun project and volunteers can spend as much or as little time as they like on mapping, but beware, as Mermie says “Its addictive”!

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Our Woodlands Project Starts to Branch Out

Woodlands for all infographic

The story of our Hope for the Future event, 22 April 2021. Infographic by Rebecca Roberts, Enviro- visuals

Our Zoom event of 22 April 2021,   ‘Woodlands for All: Is it time for Hemel Hempstead to branch out’  can now be viewed online: 

Speakers

Attendees

  • Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning,
  • Representatives of the Hertfordshire County,  Dacorum Borough Councils
  • 40+ concerned local residents.

Hosted by Emma Stevens,  Hope for the Future 

We have committed to work together in our joint enterprise.  Our next actions were agreed at a steering meeting the week after the event

  1. Organise group knowledge sharing and research around understanding the Dacorum Local Strategic Plan
  2. Work on mapping Hemel Hempstead’s existing woodland and tree cover 
  3. Decide on specifics of approach and key points to raise with Dacorum Council when our next meeting is arranged

We are grateful for the support and expertise of the team of talented and dedicated young people at the Hope for the Future charity.

This movement was inspired by Colin Cartwright , minister at the Carey Baptist eco – Church, who approached us to partner with him, following our Climate Justice seminar for local people in September 2020.

2021 marks 10 years of Quakers’ Canterbury Commitment to take action to become a low carbon, sustainable community.

Woodlands for All logoKeep our town a healthy and desirable place to live and work

 

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Rebelling for Climate Justice

Sue Hampton, Quaker climate change protester from Berkhamsted,  caused some ‘good trouble’ in Harpenden this  weekend.  This is what happened when she did a sit down protest. Read her story on her blog.

Author Sue’s book about her experiences as a Quaker in the Extinction Rebellion movement is her best-seller. You can order Rebelling for Life off her website: 

Quakers are committed to become a low carbon community. Because of this, we are taking action for climate justice and the economic transformation needed to achieve it.

Find out what that means on the British Quakers website.

 

 

 

 

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Supporting the International Work of Quakers

Friends Word Committee logo

The Quaker World Relations Committee (QWRC)  works to make connections between British Quakers and those in other parts of the world.

The Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) group helps bridge Quaker understanding and unity by bringing cultures and Quaker traditions together.  During the pandemic FWCC’s events and information sharing have enabled many British Quakers to connect and worship with Friends across the world.

While QWRC works to expand the experience of Friends by bringing people together from other countries and exposing Friends to Quaker practice in Britain, FWCC does the same for Friends across the world. FWCC presents the face of Friends at the global level through the World Council of Churches, Christian World Communions, the Quaker United Nations Offices, and other faith-based engagement.

FWCC and QWRC worked together to start the FWCC Sustainability Program which has grown to bring our awareness of climate issues in different parts of the world.  Recent Young Adult Friends’ webinars have helped gather their voice to motivate us all to respect all of God’s creation, articulating how we can each be involved in creating climate justice.

We anticipate the next World Plenary Meeting in Southern Africa Yearly Meeting in 2024, preceded by a World Gathering of Young Friends.  During this remarkable opportunity to gather together for worship and fellowship and learning, we will hear about Friends’ experience of apartheid and inequality, gathering an appreciation of this deeply divisive time, re-imagining a new way of being in the world.  Bringing issues of sustainability and equality to the global conversation is very important to British Friends, as we expand our awareness of what it is like for our Quaker brothers and sisters.

FWCC and its small staff depends on Quaker contributions for organizational stability.  During the coronavirus, it is more important than ever that Friends continue to support FWCC’s vital function of strengthening the Religious Society of Friends.  FWCC is grateful for Friends’ ongoing support, which includes a generous annual grant from Britain Yearly Meeting.

Quakers meet in Kenya

FWRC meet in Kenya, 2012. Photo by Trish Carn

You can give directly to the FWCC Co-op Account: 650 10116 00; Sort Code 089061

You can give through the World Office web site: http://fwcc.world/about-fwcc/donate

You can set up a regular amount through your bank.

Gift aid accepted if we have your address.  UK Registered Charity 211647

Thank you for making a financial contribution to the growth and sustainability of FWCC and the Religious Society of Friends.  On behalf of the Quaker World Relations Committee and FWCC, we thank you.

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East Meets West – Music Making in the Meeting House

The wonderful acoustic qualities of our 18 Century  Meeting House hall were put to good use by a local duo, Clare O’Connell and Eleanor Turner. They set up a music studio to record their latest album. It sounds amazing.

 

 

The whole performance will be aired online on 2nd May 2021:

Clare writes,

Join us for a evocative and uplifting mix of of delicate and nuanced Eastern inspired classical music arranged and performed by Eleanor Turner (harp) and Clare O’Connell (cello) at the Quaker Meeting House in Hemel Hempstead.

The programme includes new arrangements of Pagodes by Debussy, Laideronette by Ravel, two Gnossienes by Eric Satie, an improvised Raag by Eleanor Turner and Ravi Shankar’s Sonata for cello and harp.

Book at www.behindthemirror.org

 

Clare selected the Meeting House for its acoustic qualities.  We hope to resume our musical programme soon! If you are an acoustic  musical artist who would like to perform in a very special space, with an appreciative audience please get in touch.

We also welcome enquiries from musicians interested in recording.  Contact our premises and hiring team

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Join our Woodlands for All Lunchtime Lobby in Hemel Hempstead, April 22 2021

Woodlands for All logo

Join an environmental lobby to local politicians on 22 April 2021, 12.30 – 2.15pm

Listen to fantastic speakers and show your support for our demands for investment in woodlands for all. Woodlands must be part of the planned expansion* of our beautiful town.

We are asking Mike Penning to help us change the law to make it a legal requirement for woodlands to be nurtured and protected. Join us and other passionate believers in the power of trees, woods and forests to improve our lives. People,  place and planet working in harmony.

Register on Eventbrite – it is free. 

Woodland for all event poster

 

 

We are working in collaboration with:

Hope for the Future

Carey Baptist Church

Green Alliance

Woodland Trust

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Dennis Furnell

*See Dacorum Local Plan  – 2020 to 2038

For more information, contact us!

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Guest blog: Thirty Years a Polluter

We are delighted to host this guest contribution from Colin Cartwright, partner in our Woodlands for All environmental lobby project.
Colin is a minister at Carey Baptist Church in Hemel Hempstead.

A short, personal reflection for your thoughts and prayers and discussion. 

Thirty years a polluter. Yes, that’s me. Just the other day I realised that it’s 30 years since I learned to drive. Despite being an obsessive cyclist for most of that time and despite the fact that I haven’t needed to commute in a car to work, 30 years of driving round a petrol-driven combustion engine every week, must add up to a lot of polluting. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, as well as carcinogenic particulates. Which is why I want to make the next 30 years look a lot different.

My hope is that 2020 is a ‘turning point’ year. It was a year when I started to undertake a journey of ecological repentance, in order to ‘redeem’ the last 30 years and to live in a more sustainable way for our planet. For starters, I am looking at replacing my existing car with a more environmentally friendly one. But I also want to be responsible for planting and growing one new tree, in a sustainable way that is appropriate for the environment, every year that I am on this planet.

Going beyond my own personal responsibility, I want to encourage those around me to take similar steps. And what would be most desirable would be to encourage Carey collectively to engage with drawing up a positive strategy, perhaps called: ‘renewing our community with God’s creation for the future’. This would help to generate much-needed new leadership in the church, by the church showing leadership about our environment. This might involve, for example, re-configuring our church buildings so that they are more energy efficient and at the very least, carbon neutral. Perhaps Carey might also partner with a local nature reserve or with a wildlife trust. However, the details of this new strategy will require a lot of further thought & discussion.

There are a whole number of things we have learned from this coronavirus crisis. But it has certainly shown us that:

  • 1) Together we can take drastic steps for the global good when needed.
  • 2) Humanity cannot just ‘revert to type’ after the pandemic. That way leads to mass extinction for many other species and ours as well.
  • 3) The natural world which we are part of, continues to astound us and we can learn so much from engaging positively with it.

I pray that our Creator and Saviour God will show us the way of life and lead us to build a new future together. And I look forward, once you have had time to think about all this, to hearing your reflections and to discussing this in depth, as we continue to emerge from this pandemic.

Colin Cartwright,  Carey Baptist Eco-Church 

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