Quaker Activities in Local Meetings in SE Scotland in 2017
Quakers, founded in 1647 by George Fox, are committed to working for equality, peace & social responsibility. Our faith is a search for truth, not an arrival. We don't offer neat creeds or doctrine. Instead, we help each other work out how we should live. All people are welcome and accepted at a Quaker meeting.
Quakerism is the common name for the Religious Society of Friends. It grew out of Christianity and today we also find meaning and value in other faiths and traditions.
We recognise that there's something precious / the light in every person.
Different Quakers use different words to describe this, but we all believe we can be in contact with that spirit and encounter something beyond our individual selves.
Quakers don't use traditional religious structures or paid ministers. We share responsibility for what we do because everyone has a valuable contribution to make.
Our Meetings begin in silence. We use that silence to open ourselves to the wisdom that comes out of stillness. It enriches us individually and collectively.
In South East Scotland we have 10 Local Meetings with around 600 members and attenders. We have had many fruitful conversations over the past year – led by a wee short-life task group appropriately nick-named STIR – about how best to build our Quaker community and share our vision of the world we seek.
Since then our Area Meetings have drawn in all ages and enabled more to learn about how they can benefit from the activities in Area Meeting.
This annual review offers you a peek at some of these activities.
East Lothian Local Quaker Meeting
East Lothian Local Quaker Meeting serves the eastern end of the county: Haddington, North Berwick, Dunbar and nearby rural areas. We previously met in Haddington and East Linton and we’ve grown since moving to Dunbar in 2014.
We range from 3 to 99 years with one child. This past year we ran a Becoming Friends group for those wanting to know more about Quakers as well as an evening study group. We meet four times a year for business and once there was a small agenda so we enjoyed a Bring and Share meal together instead.
We linked up with local Episcopalian and Methodist churches on Hiroshima Day 6th August round the Peace Pole in Dunbar and we ran a stall on Dunbar High Street at the start and end of Quaker Week in October.
Despite the wild weather, we distributed many White Poppies and had many interesting conversations. At least folk now know there are Quakers in Dunbar!
Some of our members are involved in Sustaining Dunbar and keep us in touch with their activities. Check our Facebook page www.facebook.com/eastlothianquakers/.
Central Fife Local Quaker MeetingCentral Fife Local Meeting covers the southern part of Fife. We have fifteen members and attendees; and whilst we haven’t had many children, we include them and recently welcomed a member with her young baby to Meeting for Worship.
We are thankful that both children and members of our meeting have taken opportunities available to participate in Area, General and Yearly Meetings.
For three years we have offered a monthly evening group for lively and reflective discussion on topics including reading of Quaker Faith and Practice, how we live the Testimonies, Quaker traditions and even the role of social media in Quakerism!
These have taken place in the cosy surroundings of The Barn at the Loch by Kinghorn – with a wood burning stove, comfy couches and lovely cakes.
We enjoy close relationships and invigorating spiritual discussions after Meeting for Worship, some of which arise from discussion in ‘After Words’. Attendance is growing and we regularly welcome new faces who soon become familiar friends. We support new attenders and use the monthly discussion group to encourage this.
Portobello & Musselburgh Quaker Local MeetingPortobello & Musselburgh Quaker Local Meeting held all-age worship in early December, to make greetings cards for people supported by Amnesty International. We learnt about people whose rights are violated, and released creative juices of our members.
We welcomed a new baby to the meeting – Ellen was born on 25 November, the day we hosted South East Scotland Area Meeting. Earlier in the year, we were saddened by the death of a much-loved member, Mic Webster, wife of Ruth Anderson-Quigley, Mama of Amelie & Francis.
We have worked at building the sense of community within our group, with a visit from Mark Russ, a Woodbrooke tutor in February, leading a very valuable session. We meet occasionally in each others’ houses for soup or cake after meeting. Meetings for Learning included ‘Interplay’ sessions with Mairi Campbell – a voice, movement and community-building practice.
Polmont Local Quaker MeetingPolmont Local Quaker Meeting is a small but thriving Meeting of a dozen with varying numbers of children. Most live in around Falkirk tho some travel from as far as Stirling and Fife. We welcomed several visitors and three new attenders in 2017.
Eight children from 2 - 12 years hold a Children’s Meeting and in December made Christingles during worship and joined the adults for Christmas carols. 35 joined in.Two of us attended Yearly Meeting Gathering at Warwick University in July and several attended courses at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham – valuable connections with the wider Quaker Community. One member completed Equipping for Ministry Course.
We bought a Peace Pole in 2016 but getting the right people in the council to agree to its installation at Helix in Falkirk has been something of a saga. We hope it will be installed in 2018 as a symbol of our witness to building peace in the local area.
We met Angus Macdonald, our local MSP, to register our concern about Fracking. He listened and now the Scottish Government has maintained their ban!
South Edinburgh Local MeetingSouth Edinburgh Local Meeting celebrated 30 years of meeting at the Open Door with a ceremony to recognise Sylvia Massey and Margaret Anderson who’ve given so much energy, thought and time for the children.
Sylvia began caring for the children when our Meeting was first set up and always has young people’s interests foremost in her mind and has contributed hugely with good ideas and kindness.
In March we were encouraged to consider if we might review annual giving to the Society – with an effective reminder in the form of a lovely card produced by Rufus:
We raised a concern about Fracking in Scotland with Area Meeting and responded to the Government’s consultation on this and the wider Energy Strategy.
After many years organising a wonderful weekend away at Wiston Lodge each September we passed that responsibility to Polmont Meeting who made it an even more successful time for all ages!
Militarisation of society troubled us greatly and we continued raising this issue in our regular meetings with elected representatives.
Central Edinburgh Quaker MeetingCentral Edinburgh Quaker Meeting worships in the Area Meeting's centrally-located Edinburgh Quaker Meeting House. We rejoice in our many visitors; in February we welcomed Quakers aged 18-30 from Young Friends General Meeting, who stayed in the Meeting House for a weekend.
To help us know each other we have lunch after meeting for worship every week, a winter ceilidh and a residential weekend. Our pastoral support team ("overseers") work hard to support those in the meeting who are ill and infirm. Family and friends valued the Quaker funeral and "memorial meeting" that - sadly - we have had to arrange in 2017.
A group organises regular "meetings for learning", there was a series of public talks on spirituality, and we took part in the Quaker day of healing. Our children's committee organises a regular programme and we continued to hold All-age meeting for worship every month, with themes such as "Kites not drones".
During August the Meeting House is host to ‘Venue 40’ in the Edinburgh Fringe. Our values of equality, peace, integrity and simplicity influence our theatre programme selection and the way we run the venue. The programme brings a plethora of issues - historical, political, social, personal - portrayed through drama, music, discussion and graphic art. All profits go to registered charities, including South East Scotland Area Meeting.On doors Open Day in September, around Quaker week, we worked with the Meeting House managers to provide information about the historic building and Quakerism to 300 visitors.
In November, we worked with the Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees to provide lunch and activities in the Meeting House for 55 people and 27 children as part of their "Weekend club for refugees" - a very enjoyable day for us all.
We set up a group to discern how a bequest from our late Friend Sylvia Marshall can support our Quaker work and growth, in line with Sylvia's interests.
Quaker Meetings for Worship in South East Scotland – All welcome!
Central Edinburgh: 7 Victoria Ter, Edinburgh EH1 2JL 9.30 + 11am every Sunday
South Edinburgh: 420 Morningside Rd, EH10 5HY 10.30am every Sunday
Polmont: Greenpark Community Centre, Polmont FK2 0PZ 10.45am every Sunday
Kelso: Quaker Meeting House, Abbey Row TD5 7JF 10.30am every Sunday
Mid-Week Meeting: 7 Victoria Ter EH1 2JL 12.30-1pm Wednesdays
Penicuik: 17 High St, Penicuik EH26 8HS 11am 1st Sunday
East Lothian: 9 Bayswell Rd, Dunbar EH42 1AB 11am, 2nd + last Sundays
Portobello & Musselburgh: Fisherrow Centre, EH21 6AT 11am, 2nd + 4th Sundays
+ Bellfield, 16a Bellfield Street, EH15 2BR 7.30pm 1st Sunday
Tweeddale: 10 Cavalry Pk, Peebles EH45 9BU 10.30am, 2nd + 4th Sundays
Central Fife: Hunter Halls, Kirk Wynd, Kirkcaldy KY1 1EH 10.30am 2nd, 4th + 5th Sun
North Edinburgh: Broughton St Mary’s, 12 Bellevue Cres EH3 6NE 7pm 4th Sunday