Friends might like to read this from Friends Journal:
(Friends Journal, the major publication of Friends Publishing Corporation, is the consolidation of two previous Quaker publications and corporations, Friends Intelligencer (Hicksite) and The Friend (Orthodox), at the time of reunification of the two yearly meetings in Philadelphia.)
Tomorrow is World Quaker Day and there is an opportunity to join Friends in meeting for worship around the world. (For example at 13.00 BST tomorrow 4/10/20)
The theme for this year’s World Quaker Day is: What does it mean to be a Quaker today? Living a Faithful Life in a Changing World.
For details, see the Europe and Middle East Section (EMES) of the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) webpage for World Quaker Day: https://www.fwccemes.org/calendar/world-quaker-day-2020
Friends might also like to read Rhiannon Grant’s post today on ‘Being a World Quaker: https://brigidfoxandbuddha.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/being-a-world-quaker/
Finally, if you can write up your experiences of World Quaker day by Monday, please send them to Piers for the newsletter!:
Piers Maddox is compiling a new NFN newsletter for October and sent this request for the website:
Do you have anything to share with the group? Thoughts? A book review? After a period of newsletter inactivity Piers has committed to produce a few. Please send contributions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. 400 words maximum please. Deadline for next issue is Monday 5 October. Thanks!
That’s 13 days to go. I’m sure Piers will welcome any items of general interest to Quakers and perhaps how you have been faring with your meetings during the present pandemic. Please turn your thoughts to this this coming weekend and I wonder if there are any reflections on ‘Nontheism and Spiritual practice in the time of the coronavirus’? I have just completed a rather lengthy survey by the University of Coimbra on my feelings and experiences during this awful time.
Some Friends seem to have quite enjoyed the ‘lockdown’ but that is clearly not true for most people and I lost one very good friend to the virus in May. Your thoughts, reviews of books read during this period or any other reflections on Quakerism, NFN or these times will be most welcome.
The Steering Group is actively considering what to do next; will convene an SG meeting by Zoom shortly I believe and we will be discussing whether and how to hold a conference and AGM at least partly by video link (probably Zoom) at that meeting, so your thoughts on that possibility too will be welcome.
Piers awaits your contributions with bated breath.
Our NFN Clerk, Gisela, wrote to The Friend in response to a letter by Martyn Poole in April 2020, entitled”Faith and Practice”. Her letter was published in the 19 June issue but I thought it worth reproducing here. It read (edited by The Friend) as follows:
Stirrings of the heart
Why be so concerned and negative about Quakers with diverse conceptions of ‘God’ airing their views? Where does the idea come from that nontheists (granted it is a bit of an unfortunate name) wish for the Society of Friends to change their practice?
Personally, as a nontheistic Quaker, I respect our Christian roots and the history of Quakerism and the insights that has given us. Like most Quakers, I too feel challenged to look deeply into my heart for the promptings of love and truth, for compassion, wonder, thankfulness and, most of all, honesty to live usefully and responsibly in this wonderful world together with all people and creatures.
For me, this is a wholly human experience to do with my feelings, where God language, used by others, is often like beautiful poetry to describe the stirrings of the heart.
It’s a little late in the day but with five and a half hours to go, here’s a link to today’s Swarthmore Lecture by Tom Shakespeare on ‘Hope’ from Woodbrooke (at 19.30 hours BST):
Friends who are not familiar with the academic online journal ‘The Conversation’ may like to read this article.
The fifth activity cited is Religious or spiritual activity.
Reflecting on Loulou Williams’ comment on our Nontheism page today, I thought it might be worth repeating the following extract from Paul Bates talk of 2013:
Nontheists tend to agree with the liberal understanding of Jesus of Nazareth as a teacher from antiquity who taught a very human sort of religion based on love, tolerance, forgiveness and peace. The doctrines of incarnation, resurrection and ascension are seen as attempts by the early church to raise the human Jesus to the level of a mythical God.
The nontheist sees the work of the Holy Spirit in the human heart more in terms of the spontaneous, natural inner working of the human psyche in which we meditate upon and respond to life as we presently experience it. The nontheist sees God in terms of ‘an inner light’ that is found in every human being. It is ‘that of God in everyone’.
The nontheist sees this life as the only life we will ever experience and is focussed on the living ofthis life to the full, now, and in accordance with those human principles that make for happiness and dignity for all.
For an experimental period (pending feedback or comments) we will make the homepage direct to News (posts) (here!)
Our April 2020 newsletter which David Parlett sent out to NFN members on 15 April is now on the website with messages from our clerk Gisela, new membership secretary Roger, Marcus Aurelius (apparently, although it might be Andrew Copson of Humanists UK or even David Boulton), myself as designated webperson, David Parlett and Helen Johnson of Croydon Local Meeting about all sorts of interesting issues. (and so far I haven’t mentioned coronavirus).
(PS not providing a link to the newsletter is a deliberate ploy to assist you in exploring the website – lots of interesting stuff including newsletters from 2013 to the present – now, where could it be? Tip – try the drop-down menus above or the menu on the mobile version of the website).
A minute from our clerk (9 April 2020):
The NFN Steering group sends heartfelt, loving greetings to all its members and friends during these difficult times.
As you know we have postponed our annual conference and the AGM until better days , and we hope that those of you who were going to attend will have the opportunity at a future date to join with us. The Steering Group will continue unchanged for the time being, except that Roger Warren Evans will take over responsibility for membership from David Parlett.
To simplify administration, membership will be rolled over until the future AGM and free membership will be offered to any new applicants meanwhile.
We wanted to reassure you that the Steering Group is in good spirits. During these uncertain times we will do our best to stay in touch mainly through our website, by telephone and email. We welcome all your thoughts, reflections, suggestions and questions and are looking forward to a lively exchange of thoughts and experience. Trevor Bending invites us all warmly to contribute to the website.
With your moral support we will keep the network ticking over for now.
Stay safe and well,
Gisela Creed, clerk
The Steering group: Gisela Creed (clerk), Piers Maddox,( treasurer), Trevor Bending, (website), David Parlett, (newsletter), Roger Warren Evans, (membership), David Boulton, Sarah Siddle, Keith Ryecroft, Tim Regan