Author Archives: Mermie Karger

13 January 2018 Hat Party and Talent Show

Plenty of food was brought by many, so first we ate.

Still seated, each table worked together on two assignments. First we nominated a fantasy set of responsible Quakers to fill the duties of caring for the Meeting. Harry Potter characters were popular. So was the Cheshire Cat, but he kept disappearing, so we settled for others – especially for Treasurer.

The second assignment was to answer questions set forth in a historic quiz with a question for each 100 years since the Meetinghouse was built in 1718, as well as a prediction for 2118. An optimistic response is pictured. Several other answers speculated on whether or not we will have decided by then what to do about a wall at the back of the garden.













Left: Jean played some delightful short works by Schubert. Right: Dame Clarice expounded on her successes in improving the NHS by installing treatment facilities in Tesco, paid for directly at the till.



















Left: Sonia sang Barbara Allan to Roy’s guitar accompaniment. Right: Bob and friend entertained us with ukulele tunes and favourite jokes (groaners!) of  Tommy Cooper.

This year, Alice, our very own dance instructor, taught the basics of the Minuet, appropriate in this year of our 300th anniversary.



Left: Young Bea, showed us how she’s following her mother with her own talented leaps and bounds. Centre: Unable to decide which hat, Roy brought, and wore, four, and told a very tall tale of the resulting adventures. Right: Jean carefully assembled these brooches onto her Quaker hat.



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‘I Am Me’


People Not Borders – I Am Me

at Our Meeting House.

Anne welcomes Sue Hampton, of Berkhamstead Meeting,

dynamic Trustee of People Not Borders.

Alison and Marjorie admire the textile images by Paula Watkins.

Tony contemplates the moving display of digital photographic art

by Greek-based Syrian teenager Abdulazez Dukhan.

The plates were painted by local supporters during Refugee Week

and raised nearly £600 in auction.

Their website describes fully all of the projects supported by People Not Borders.

You can donate ££ or clothing and supplies,

And, adults and school students are invited to join 

I Am Me: The Competition

Explore creatively what it means to be a refugee

 – in poetry, a short story or artwork.

Deadline 10th December.

Find out more on the website.

Buy the book, I Am Me, written by Sue Hampton, at


We are hosting an exhibition of work by refugees, poets and artists

on November 4th and 5th 2017

2:30 to 4:30 each day

at the Friends Meeting House, 1 The Alleys,  Old Town Hemel Hempstead.

The theme of the mixed media art exhibition is ‘I am Me’

It seeks to help people understand and empathise with the experiences of refugees from Syria and other places.

Highlights of the show are textile images by Paul Watkins, a children’s book by local author Sue Hampton,

and a display of digital photographic art by Greek-based Syrian teenager  Abdulazez Dukhan.

The exhibition is curated by Berkhamsted humanitarian group People Not Borders.

Hours of opening on Saturday and Sunday are 2.30 to 4.30.

Entrance is free and there will be tea and cake available.

Quaker interfaith representative,  Suzanne Watts says,

“We are delighted to host this show, which is moving and inspires hope in humanity”

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Apple Day 2017

Quakers had lots of fun pressing two varieties of apples from the trees in the garden.


Using a scratter to mush the apples the crushed pulp was pressed in the wooden rotary press

and the juice squeezed out through muslin.


The taste it was agreed, was ‘like ambrosia’ – incredibly sweet.

The redness of the apple skin gave the juice a dark colour.

Around 8 litres were generated from a couple of boxes.  There was enough for a a couple of plastic bottles to take home for families – all of which was drunk almost immediately.

A dress rehearsal for our tercentenary celebration next year.

What would we do different? Have it on a sunny day.

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Jay Lakhani – Dacorum Interfaith Network

We were delighted to host a event organised by the Dacorum Interfaith Network in September – a talk by Jay Lakhani (standing centre), a spiritual humanist, Hindu and theoretical physicist.  Dr Lakhani explored questions of physical and spiritual identity in the light of recent scientific discoveries.  Being open to the light wherever it comes!

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Farewell, Chris. 30 April 2017

Farewell, Chris.


We’ll Miss You.

At our All-Age Meeting for Worship,

Alice and Kerry guided us in creating cards

of Quakerly thoughts for Chris.

Our shared lunch

celebrated Chris’s work

in our Meeting.

It was splendid to see so many old Friends

in the Meeting House again.

May you take our love and friendship

with you as you enjoy

the gathered silence, ministry & fellowship

of your new Meeting.

Keep in touch, Chris. Visit often.

Suzanne took the photos in our garden.

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Welcome Dacorum Interfaith Network

L to R: Paul Sandford, Amisha Patel, Nigel Kidd, Reynold Rosenburg and Norman Spink.

Following the closure of the Civic Centre at the end of 2016, the Dacorum Interfaith Network found themselves without a home, so Hemel Quakers have offered a room at our Meeting House.

Quakers have a long tradition of inter-faith activity and understanding of other faiths is a key element in Quakerism which asks us, “Do you work gladly with other religious groups in the pursuit of common goals?”

Because a Quaker meeting house does not have any religious symbols or imagery, its very plain style easily accommodates use by the wider community.

The Dacorum Interfaith Network meets once a month at 8pm on the second Monday in the main hall until further notice. It is hoped that the Network will eventually find a secular home at the new Forum building, but until then they can enjoy the facilities at the 300 year-old meeting house – now including wifi and digital projection.

For more information about the Dacorum Interfaith Network, email or find and join the Facebook group. Hemel Quakers can also talk to our representative, Suzanne Watts.

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Our Annual After Christmas Party Time

Saturday 14th January

It’s almost an institution among Hemel Hempstead Quakers. We gather to eat a buffet lunch and enjoy the entertainment provided by those of us who have rashly volunteered to “do a turn”.

Admission is by hat: everyone must wear some kind of headgear.

This year they ranged from the sporty to the monstrous, and the prize for the best was awarded to Kathy for her initiative in making her own strikingly original hat to a Japanese origami design.

Over our excellent buffet meal we could exercise our brains with a quiz provided by Sherief in which we had to fit photos of art works past and present in Hemel Hempstead to their locations.

Audrey played the lady in charge at a disastrous W.I. meeting, introducing her guest speaker, Professor McD’Ennis, with red hair and Tam O’Shanter bonnet and clad in an unforgettable kilt. (By the way, Audrey says the kilt is now for sale. Worn once, one careful owner.)

Jean read us a poem which might make us all aspire to reach the age of 100. Bob made us laugh with some suitably groan worthy old jokes, giving us the opportunity to supply the punch lines. He then demonstrated his impressive progress on the ukulele.














Alice directed us in an armchair ballet to music from Swan Lake. How beautiful Alice made it look!

Sonia sang a lively yodelling song with actions and persuaded us all to join in.

Roger, Sammy and Suzanne dramatically brought to life the poem Jabberwocky, with Sammy in his realistic suit of armour.

Sammy made a grand job of slaying the monstrous beast, who made a terrifying entrance wearing a very frightening piece of headgear, another origami triumph and Roger’s handiwork.

We owe our thanks to all those who did a turn or contributed an item, to Christabel for organising the lunch, to Sherief for the quiz, to Alison F. for her supply of very welcome hot drinks, and most of all to Suzanne who organised it all.

Notes by Alison E., Photos by Kathy

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Spreading the Word About Trident


 The week prior to the 18 July vote in Parliament on Trident renewal was a busy time for many at Hemel Meeting. We spent hours distributing leaflets asking our local MP to vote No and explaining why. With a Friendly attitude, we talked to people, walked the streets placing them in post slots (sometimes against the wishes of barking dogs), and handed them out in the middle of Hemel. Although Parliament’s vote was Yes, many who took the leaflets preferred No. They appreciated the leaflet, its helpful explanations and its positive attitude about alternatives.

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Garden Cleanup 26 May 2016

Our oasis of calm in the Old Town of Hemel Hempstead.

Our oasis of calm in the Old Town of Hemel Hempstead.


garden-bIt takes a lot of work to keep it green and peaceful.

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