A group of six volunteers gathered this last week for a gardening retreat. Organised by Quaker Voluntary Action (QVA), they came from as far away as Glasgow and stayed from Wednesday to Sunday. Some slept in the Meeting House others stayed with local Friends.
They worked extremely hard each morning and most afternoons. They pruned overgrown shrubs and cleared nettles, ivy and other persistent weeds. A new herb bed was planted, a new wildflower area created, a leaf-storage area constructed and a spiral meditation walk created out of cobbles. Perhaps the most demanding job was lifting the gravestones and re-laying them over fabric to suppress the weeds.
Among the new plants were cotoneaster, which will provide ground cover, and Hebe to replace one that has died in the drought last year. They also put in the herb area some lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage.
The volunteers shared in Sunday morning Meeting for Worship before returning home. Our heartfelt thanks for their hard work, which has transformed the garden.
The Leighton-Linslade Churches Together Service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be held at the Friends Meeting House on Sunday 20th January 2019 at 3.30pm.
This is an annual opportunity for Christians to meet together and express their commitment to seek unity. This year the material for the service comes from Christians in Indonesia. The theme is ‘Justice and only justice you shall pursue’. Indonesia is a very diverse country and unity is valued, but there are huge gaps between rich and poor, and some antagonism between different groups.
One of the reflections for individual use during the eight days of Prayer is …
If I am to speak truth to power, whose truth do I speak?
Whose justice do I seek in the space between my right-ness and that of the ‘other’?
If I say ‘yes’ to justice, does that make it all mine?
What of the grey between the emphatics?
Let me declare boldly, sure-footedly that my yes is a “yes-yes”, and my no is “no”.’ Says Jesus. ‘Let me draw clarity in the sand that defines and refines knowledge, truth and tales in such a way that all are sure. ‘Let me dwell deep in the place within
where, regardless of the outward form you know beyond doubt’s shadow,
that truth and justice, peace and righteousness lie.
‘And let me, in my boldness turn widdershins the hypocrisy of
those who confuse integrity with fake-ness,
who obscure truth with falsehood and call it news.
‘Let me boldly be good news.’
Amongst the huge crowd at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony in Leighton Buzzard on 11.11.18 were a small group of Quakers who had come to witness for peace and to lay a wreath of red and white poppies.
Though there was long list of those who were to lay wreaths, The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) was not mentioned. But the wreath was laid anyway.
The ceremony was dominated by a militaristic parade, with standard bearers of all ages, from war veterans to Brownies. There were a few in the crowd wearing white poppies, or both white and red poppies.
Here are some of the photographs taken on the day.
We were delighted to welcome seventeen riders travelling from Swarthmore Hall, in the Northwest of England, to Downing Street, London. They were witnessing to the terrible consequences of cuts to funding for the vulnerable and disabled. Their declaration can be seen by clicking on this link. Declaration for Equality and the Common Good.
They were inspired by their own experiences and by the historic ride by Margaret Fell, the “Mother of Quakerism” from her home, Swarthmore Hall, to present a petition to Charles II, pleading for an end to the persecution of Quakers, who, she declared are a “peaceable people”.
The riders included people with disabilities and carers with first hand experience of the tragic effects of the introduction of the universal credit system. Their message is “We can afford to care”. See this quick snap shot.
They started their journey on Sunday 22nd July and aim to present their petition to number 10 Downing Street at 3pm on Friday 3rd August.
We welcomed them on Tuesday 31st July after they had ridden from Northampton via Milton Keynes. We enjoyed a meal together and shared stories and concerns. Some slept on the Meeting House floor, others in the garden under the stars and the rest in Friends Homes. They left after breakfast and a short Meeting for Worship on Wednesday morning, having dealt with a broken spoke and a puncture!
It is possible to follow their progress and learn more about their witness by following this link.
A special meeting will be held to discern the way forward for the Meeting. It will be after Meeting for Worship on Sunday 18th March. Such a Meeting is often called a ‘Threshing Meeting’ as ideas are collected and examined. This is a positive looking ahead to ensure succession planning of officers, the possibilities for growth and developments.