28 February 2016 CHAPTER 5: OTHER QUAKER GROUPINGS ; CHAPTER 6: YEARLY MEETINGS.
Although Chapters 5 and 6 are two of driest chapters in Faith & Practice, we were moved by contributions, surprised by discoveries and comforted and supported by current evidence of our Society’s workings:
Concerning Yearly Meeting where Friends in England traditionally gather: It was said of Mary Hughes (1860–1941): Anyone who lived with her during April and May knew how intensely Friends’ Yearly Meeting was on her mind. It was as important to her as ‘going to Jerusalem’. For weeks beforehand it came into her prayers in the morning, at meal times and with her friends. She wished that God’s power would be in the meetings, that people would go forth from them with a new vision of God’s work for them, a new sensitiveness towards their fellows, especially the distressed.
A Friend stated that her experience of going to Yearly Meeting (Chapter 6) had given her a sense of belonging to something that was far more than just one Local Meeting. The experience of a silent, non-confrontational business meeting had been profound for her.
Six Weeks Meetings (5.09), set up in 1671, is the body that owns the Meeting Houses in the London area. A Friend commented that it had played an important role in the survival of the Society into the present day. Six Weeks Meeting, as owners of Hammersmith Meeting House, are currently supporting our new meeting house planning and financing.
Local Area Meetings: Ours is London West Area Meeting, which includes Hammersmith and five other meeetings. Hammersmith Meeting is facing the move to a new meeting house. A Friend described appreciation of how counsel had been taken from other Meetings that had made this move. This process had revealed the key importance of maintaining the spiritual life of a Meeting during such a time. Appreciation was expressed at the degree of advice and support that the Meeting had experience from the Society, locally and nationally.
Meeting for Sufferings: The name derives from the fact that during the Society’s early years, many of its members were imprisoned by the authorities. Currently, Meeting for Sufferings seeks to have an understanding of the spirit that is present in Meetings nationally. And processes ideas that are submitted to it by Area Meetings
A Friend expressed an appreciation of the importance of the administrative work in the Society of Friends, citing the example of Margaret Fell, early supporter and eventually wife of George Fox, customarily credited as the founder of Quakers.
Friends and Other Faiths (27.1-11) and Friends and The Christian Church (27.12-20) were addressed.