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Man was made for Joy & Woe 

And when this we rightly know 

Thro the World we safely go 

Joy & Woe are woven fine 

A Clothing for the soul divine 

Under every grief & pine 

Runs a joy with silken twine 

 

William Blake

Ann Banks poem - 'Wild Olympians'

 

And still they come - in impossible inflatables -

The pregnant, the children, men, stubbled

And hollow-eyed with desperation.

Dwarfed by towering tankers, their tiny boats

Pitched and tilted, precipitously, by ferries' careless wakes.

 

And still they come - in orange jackets - 

Retching the wretchedness over the dinghies' sides,

The nauseous swell of uncertainty. foot-felt

Through the boat's shifting floor, the only protection

Between them and the deep.

 

And still they come - in the hope of last-resort,

Braced against another rejection,

Under the pitiless media glare, feeding

The indolent and indignant curiosity of

The comfortable at home.

 

And still they come - The surge of expectation

As the white cliffs loom larger -

The rubble of their war torn homes,

The relentless trek over miles of grief and sorrow

Pales with the last adrenalin rush their exhaustion permits.

 

And still they come - these wild Olympians - 

Risking all, dogged, determined, undeterred.

Who, in a different context would be feted, cheered,

Honoured for their overcoming - instead

Reviled for their audacity in coming over.

 

And now the others come, swaggering in blue uniforms,

Bristling with the weapons of privilege,

The Border Force, taking rightful control

Of pregnant women, children, defeated men,

Righteously repelling the invaders of our ungenerous shores.

 

And more come to fight them off - smugly brandishing

Their hostile environments.  Our borders are CLOSED!

Yes! Even against the brave and adventurous, the skilled

The willing and the eager to play their part.

Corralled in sheds, they wait...

 

And who will take us in, as our Island dinghy

Founders under the burden of its own imagined glory?

 

O hear us when we cry to thee

For those in peril on the sea!

Sunday May 10

'Faith is a bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.'

Robindranath Tagore   

 

We seem to be at a turning point in human history.

 We can choose life or watch the planet become uninhabitable for our species.

 Somehow, I believe that we will pass through this dark night of our planetary soul to a new period of harmony with the God that is to be found within each of us, and that S/he will inspire renewed confidence in people everywhere, empowering us all to co-operate to use our skills, our wisdom, our creativity, our love, our faith – even our doubts and fears – to make peace with the planet. Strengthened by this fragile faith, empowered by the Spirit within, I dare to hope.

 Pat Saunders, 1987   Quaker Faith and Practice 29.03  

 

'Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.'

 St Paul Philippians 4:8 from Quaker Life and Practice (Ireland) 1.88 

August 19

I just came across this quote which I find very inspiring. David W

It doesn't matter who you used to be; what matters is who you decide to be today. You are not your mistakes. You are not your mishaps. You are not your past. You are not your wounds. You can decide differently today and at every moment. Remember that. You are offered a new opportunity with each breath to think, decide, choose and act differently – in a way that supports you in being all that you are capable of being. You are not less than. You are enough.

Some thoughts for Sunday 22 June

 

History despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. 

Maya Angelou

 

It's a privilege to educate yourself about racism, rather than experiencing it.

Poster at the Black Lives Matter march in London

 

    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ 

 Galatians 3:28

Sunday June 14

Racial discrimination arises because fundamentally it is easier to see a man as a stranger rather than a brother if his skin is of a different colour.The stranger ends to be feared rather than loved, and it must be remembered that fears engendered by such differences are not always imaginary. They can be resolved only in as far as relationships between man and man, of whatever race, are conceived in terms of  a constant realisation that the members of one race are the children not of  the members of another race but the children of God. Against this, imperialism, exploitation and even paternalism cannot stand.

 

Race Relations Conference,1954

Christian Faith and Practice 657 

 Sunday June 7th

  ...There is a principle which is pure, placed in the human mind, which in different places and ages hath different names; it is, however, pure and proceeds from God. It is deep and inward, confined to no forms of religion nor excluded from any where the heart stands in perfect sincerity. In whomsoever this takes root and grows, of what nation soever, they become brethren.  

 John Woolman, 1762... QF&P 26.61

 

'The families I was working with were as thirsty for dignity as they were for running water.'

Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World

 

'The light shines in the darkness

 and the darkness can never put it out.'

John 1.5

June 3

Saw this pinned to a noticeboard while our walking.

 

 

So we sang, sang away our sadness. In every house and flat and cottage, we clapped and sang, in every hut and tent, in every palace and hospital and prison. And they heard and we heard our song of gladness echoing all together, in glorious harmony across the universe.  

 

from A song of Gladness by Michael Morpurgo 2020

Monday April 27

Just came across this by Joy Mead from a Way of Knowing (Iona Community)

 

'There is no religious or moral rule to equal the demands of love. What people will remember of us is not what rules we kept, what creeds we believed, what doctrines we followed, but when we were kind, when we opened our hearts and minds to the sorrows, joys and fears of others and revealed something of our own weaknesses; when we rejoiced with the joyful and walked alongside the sorrowing, when we encouraged the fearful and protected the timid, when we gasped with wonder at the sunset, or expressed joy at the beauty of a flower, when we were hospitable, generous and forgiving, when we were open to the gifts of those seeking our own giftedness, when we made people feel included and valued....In other words, how we responded and connected.'

Below are contributions from Newark Friends to share at this difficult time

 
 
Book Reviews

WHAT HAVE THE QUAKERS EVER DONE FOR US? – a short introduction to Quaker achievements

 

 

Written originally as a response to Richard Dawkins’s allegation that “religion has had nothing to do with social improvement” this booklet finds a unique way of presenting Quakerism to both newcomers and experienced Friends alike. It covers achievements in pacifism, peace making, relief work, equality, democracy, human rights, human relationships and reform, education, science and the industrial revolution. The reader is left wanting to know more about the remarkable Friends who had such a powerful influence on the way we live and think today.

 

“A very good piece of outreach. It makes me proud to be a Friend.” John Punshon.

 

Copies can be obtained price £2 plus 50p postage from John Gwatkin c/o Quaker Meeting House,1-3 Meeting House Lane, Brant Broughton, LN5 0SH.

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