Monday, 12 June 2017

Quaker UK notices June 2017

Review of Quaker appeals process

Quaker faith & practice gives Friends the right to appeal to Meeting for Sufferings about decisions of an area meeting which affect them personally (section 4.25). Meeting for Sufferings is currently reviewing the process for this and has appointed a small group. That group has come up with a number of questions to help it consider if the current process works well or how it could be changed. If you would like to assist the group, then please get in touch with me. The group will need responses by the end of June.
Michael Booth,, 020 7663 1023

Our faith in action: Quaker work in 2016

Our faith in action gives a brief taste of the range of work carried out by Britain Yearly Meeting on behalf of Quakers in Britain last year. We hope that all Friends will get a chance to read it and that they will feel proud of what has been achieved in their name
Our faith in action and the 2016 financial statements are available online at For paper copies please email or phone 020 7663 1015.

Yearly Meeting Gathering places still available

29 July–5 August 2017, Warwick University
Come to Yearly Meeting Gathering (YMG) and enjoy the packed programme. There will be a variety of talks and workshops from George Lakey, Steve Whiting, Bridget Walker, Mairi Campbell-Jack, Ann Morgan and more.
Further details available at and a full timetable will be online from 1 June.
Online bookings will open again on 1 June for remaining places. Spaces and bursaries still available.
For bookings enquiries contact University of Warwick directly email
For other YMG enquiries, please contact or phone 020 7663 1040.

Getting ready for Quaker Week 2017 In turbulent times: be a Quaker

29    September–8 October
Quaker Week is coming! Well, not yet but it’s never too early to think about planning!
This Getting ready for Quaker Week letter (PDF) contains a full list of resources, support and contacts to help you plan and advertise your Quaker Week events.
It includes information about the new poster, ideas pack and postcard pack that will be sent to meetings over the summer and details resources to buy/download including our new Quaker hoodies. It also outlines our speaker offer where we can send you a speaker to talk on a range of topics such as Quakerism today, our peace work and the history of the Society.
We encourage Friends to add ‘#QuakerWeek’ on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts to promote their events and join the conversation!

Refugee Week

19–25 June, Friends House and across Britain
Quaker events to support Refugee Week include a Library open day at Friends House (Monday 19 June) and author events in the
Quaker Centre bookshop at 6.30pm on 19–22 June alongside all-age meetings for worship, theatre performances and discussion events in local meetings across Britain.
There is a Journeys in the Spirit resource for children’s meeting. For full listings visit or
If you are organising a Refugee Week event and would like to list it on the website, email

Membership Weeekend – finding out about Quakers

10–12 November 2017, Charney Manor, Charney Bassett, Oxfordshire
This weekend is for people who have been around Quakers for a while and want to explore further. What does Quakerism mean to you? Do you need to know more? Is there any difference between being an attender at Quaker meetings and becoming a member?



Monday, 8 May 2017

Quaker UK notices May 2017

Books of the month link to PDF

Upcoming courses at Woodbrooke link to PDF

General election 2017
A general election will be held on 8 June. It is a short lead-in period but gives us an opportunity to engage in the political process and raise questions on Quaker concerns with parliamentary candidates. Guidance on holding hustings is available to download on the Quaker Vote website at and the blog will be updated on a regular basis over the next few weeks.
You can also follow information on Twitter via @QuakerVote. If you would like to get in touch about any of the upcoming elections please email us on

Bursaries still available for Yearly Meeting Gathering
If you are prevented from attending Yearly Meeting Gathering this year because of financial need we have bursaries available to help with part or all of the costs. Application is via a short form, which will also need to be signed by a local overseer. If you would like to know more please talk to your local overseers or contact:
Gary Mitchell, 020 7663 1006,

What have you learned from the process of reading Quaker faith & practice?
If you have been following the ‘Reading Quaker faith & practice calendar’, then you will have just finished the whole book. Congratulations! We would like to find out what you have learnt from the process. Your comments will inform the process of discernment about whether it is time to revise our book of discipline, which Yearly Meeting will probably consider in 2018.
Please complete the form at: Michael Booth, Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ.

Young Friends General Meeting, May gathering
26–29 May, Sheffield Meeting House
Young Friends General Meeting will be having a three day gathering over the second May bank holiday. All young adults (18–30ish) with an interest in Quakerism are most welcome to attend. We will pay travel expenses for first-time attenders. The event promises to be interesting and stimulating, featuring a conference call with young Friends in Philadelphia, and a talk from Veterans for Peace. If your meeting does not yet have a representative to YFGM, please consider appointing a young adult and covering their costs to attend.
For further information and to register please visit YFGM’s website: If you have any queries, contact the YFGM coordinator, Rachel Evans on / 020 7663 1050

QPSW / QCEA Joint Conference ‘Sanctuary Everywhere’
1–3 December, Chant d’Oisseau, Brussels
Europe is facing significant challenges relating to peace and human rights, including an increase in nationalism and a fragmentation of the mechanism for dialogue and cooperation that has developed in the last 60 years. As Friends we oppose war, and call for peacebuilding efforts long before war is on the agenda. The question facing European Friends is what should we be doing to swim against the current tide? Come along to be informed and inspired by Quaker ideas, Quaker agencies and examples of ongoing work.
For more information and to register visit

Refugee Week
19–25 June
Refugee Week is an open platform for organisations to organise events amplifying the voices of people seeking sanctuary.
Many meetings will be organising events for this, from talks to all-age semi-programmed meetings for worship. If your meeting is organising an event in Refugee Week please let Tim Gee know so we can help promote it. To see all of the events organised so far, visit

Quaker Week 2017 speaker offer
30 September 8 October
The theme for Quaker Week 2017 is ‘In turbulent times: be a Quaker’. Quaker Week is our annual outreach event. We encourage meetings to use this week as an opportunity to hold events that will attract people from the local community; resources will be available in the coming months. If you would like to book a speaker please email us with suggested dates and a theme or topic you would like covered.

May events in Lampeter: Belief and Action

TSD - Trinity St David's

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Art of Hiding the Truth - PSEEG

    Showing the film 'Merchants of Doubt' started the evening at Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group's (PSEEG) March meeting.  This explained clearly how the art of denying facts has been honed since the 1950/60s.

In 1958 the tobacco industry knew that heavy smoking contributed to lung cancer and by 1960s it also knew that nicotine was addictive.  This did not stop their representatives claiming in 1984 that they did not know that it caused lung cancer or in 1994 telling Congress that it is not addictive.

Their 'Playbook Strategy' included cast doubt, question the science, create controversy, find friendly scientists, attack the messenger, shift the blame and delay regulation.  This has been followed in many areas – oil, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, flame retardants – and of most concern to PSEEG Climate Change.

Back in 1988 James Hansen worked for the NASA Goddard Institute.  He warned of the problems of climate change and – being a scientist – thought the evidence would be enough to convince politicians to act to reduce CO2 emissions.  He had no idea of the influence of the forces ranged against him – funded by fossil fuel vested interests.  In 2002 Naomi Oreskes looked at all peer reviewed published articles on global warming and climate change and found that 97% of scientists agreed.

The vested interests – too many to mention - invested huge amounts of money in following the 'Playbook Strategy' in order to deny the problem existed and that burning fossil fuels caused the problem.

Over the last eight years America has made strides to reduce its carbon footprint and now the head of the Environmental Protection Agency is one Scott Pruitt who only a couple of week ago said 'He did not believe that the release of CO2 was pushing global temperatures upwards'.

Fortunately over 195 counties are signed up to the latest Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change as they clearly see the current results of increasing temperatures.

Janet Roberts followed up with a very short presentation.  The first section was about 'dark money' which is how millions of dollars are poured into misinformation machines - such as think tanks, bloggers and fake citizen groups.  Second section was about the 'dark internet' where Tim Berners-Lee fears that the global open web which he created is now under threat saying 'We've lost control of our personal data' and 'Its too easy to spread misinformation on the web' and 'Political advertising online needs transparency and understanding'.  Both the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner's Office are looking into any affect on election outcomes.  Finally we had a short word about 'Bots'.  These are automatically generated e-mails or Facebook or Twitter posts which are used to alter or harden peoples views.

Finishing the evening with tea/coffee and biscuits we discussed the film and its implications. 

organised by a member of Narberth Quaker Meeting


Monday, 13 March 2017

A Brief History of Quakers in Narberth

The Quakers first came to Pembrokeshire in the 1650s.  We know that in 1657

George Fox visited Tenby, Pembroke and Haverfordwest.  We do not know is whether he visited Narberth, but we know that the Quakers were holding regular meetings at Narberth from these very early days.

During the thirty years following the death of Cromwell in 1656, no day passed without the presence of a Quaker in the prison at Haverfordwest.  For example in August 1661, we know that Lewis Davies and his wife Susan, James Lewis, Alice Lewis, Evan John and William Thomas, all from Llandewi Velfrey, and presumably from Narberth Meeting, were imprisoned in Haverfordwest Castle for refusing to keep away from Meetings for Worship.

We know from his journal that Richard Davies preached Quakerism in Narberth in 1665 to what was referred to “as a great multitude”.

In 1682 the first Welsh Quaker Yearly Meeting was held at Narberth Meeting House, which was situated on the right beyond Bloomfield, just before the junction of the A40.  This suggests that Narberth Meeting was considered significant.

From 1692 onwards, many Pembrokeshire Quakers emigrated to William Penn’s Pennsylvania in order to escape the severe persecution and confiscations they were suffering at the time.  One of the first to go was the afore-mentioned Lewis Davies of Llandewi Velfrey who bought 3,000 acres of land, later selling most of it to other Friends who came to join him.  Because of this, Narberth Meeting House became disused in the years which followed.

In 1816 occurred the last meeting at the old Narberth Meeting House when Henry Knight married Sarah Lewis.  Even then only half the roof remained.  By 1820 the building was in ruins.  In 1822 the land and what remained of the building was sold to Evan Protheroe for £45.

Now we come into more recent times.  By the 1980s Quakers who were living in the Narberth area had no local meeting.  The only possibility was to travel up to 50 miles each Sunday to the established Meeting House in Milford Haven.

In the 1990s it was clear that there were people living in the Narberth area who would have liked to attend Quaker meetings, but it was not possible for them to get to Milford Haven.  It was decided that a meeting would be held once per month in a Narberth member’s home.  However, this proved not to be a completely satisfactory arrangement.  Then on 25th September 1994, it was decided to try again, this time meeting on the last Sunday of each month in a room upstairs at the Queens Hall in Narberth.  Fifteen people came and that was really the new beginning of Narberth Quaker Meeting as we have it today.  An old Quaker expressed it in the translated words of a Welsh saying, “A fire burns best on an old hearth”; which meant that the new Quaker Meeting should prosper and do good things, and so it has come about.

By 1996 Narberth was a recognised meeting.  Then in 1998 it was requested by local members that we should meet twice per month on the second and last Sundays.  This was agreed to, and meetings continued on that basis for some time.

Then in 2000 an unusual exchange took place. What happened was that the Evangelical Church which had been meeting at Bloomfield Community Centre had increased in numbers so much that there wasn’t a room big enough to accommodate them.  So, they decided that the big hall at Queens Hall would suit them fine and they decided to move there. Their form of worship with singing and clapping did not fit well with Quaker silent worship and so, by amicable arrangement with the Evangelical group, it was decided that the Quakers would move to Bloomfield and the Evangelicals would continue to hold their meetings at the Queens Hall.  So a good swap was done!  Several years later the Quakers agreed to move at Bloomfield into the larger and more pleasant Jackson Room where we continue to meet at the present time.

From February 1st 2008 it was decided by members and attenders that Narberth Quaker Meeting should meet regularly every Sunday at 11-00am.  This meant that Friends who had been going to Milford Haven Meeting then had to make the choice of whether they would join the new Narberth Meeting or would stay as Milford Haven Quakers.  It was not an easy choice.  Some Friends decided they would stay at Milford Haven Meeting.  Others who lived locally were keen to start a new group.  It was a new start of a regular local Quaker Meeting at Narberth.

Today, in 2017, some 22 years after the original meeting at the Queens Hall in Narberth, new members and attenders have joined the group and it is now felt that the meeting has a momentum and life of its own.  It has grown gradually, just like “Topsy”.  A small meeting might consist of ten friends present; but occasionally when there is a children’s meeting and parents are present the meeting could rise to some 20 to 30.

We are a local Quaker group of the Society of Friends within South Wales Area Meeting.  Our meetings are open to everyone.  We meet together in silent worship which many find very comforting, free from the idle chatter of much of the world.  Someone may be moved to speak.  We are an open friendly meeting, accepting that each person is on their own individual spiritual search.  We try to live simply, with integrity, and with a concern for the whole of creation.  In the Quaker tradition we continue in our meetings in the search for truth, and in our efforts to promote peace, equality and justice for all people.
This brief history of Narberth Quakers was written by John Whittaker - our oldest member. We celebrated his 90th birthday in November 2016 with a cake created by the cake queen of Quakers from Milford Haven. Some photos....