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Life of Keighley Meeting 2017


Published on: Published on: Monday 26 Feb 2018

Contributed by/From: Contributed by / From: Prepared by Evelyn Shire and Anna Young

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A quiet year of consolidation is probably an apt description of 2017. At the still centre, of course, is the inspiration we derive from meeting for worship which drew regularly some12 to16 of us weekly through the year. All activities arise from this, and this year, particularly, saw the development of a peace concern taken forward by two Friends and supported by others, to witness against the arms trade.

Following a preliminary meeting during summer 2016 a meeting was convened in March by elders to discuss arms trade as a concern. A statement was agreed proposing that Keighley Quaker support members protesting against the arms trade, the Area Meeting was asked to agree with this support, and to draw this to the attention of Friends House. Keighley Quakers agreed to set up a group to explore “justice, peace and development” and to appoint a convenor for the first meeting.

Meanwhile, as a result of a Quakers in Yorkshire day on “militarisation” held at Huddersfield FMH in 2016, a West Yorkshire Campaign Against the Arms Trade has been formed. Keighley Friends have joined in many of their activities. Three Keighley Friends and others from the Area Meeting, and indeed more widely from BYM, took part in the Arms Fair protest in London in September. This served to significantly slow down the process of setting up and showcasing. The peace presence was important. Locally, two Keighley Friends together with two Huddersfield Friends picketed armed forces day event in Keighley holding banner, proclaiming that “war is not a family friendly event”. The annual Hiroshima Day vigil was well attended, including, as is now usual, by the town mayor.

As a relatively small meeting we have proportionately a large number of Friends involved in wider Quaker and other activities. One Friend is a Yearly Meeting Trustee, one has been a member of the Barrow Cadbury Trust for several years, another on Quaker Committee for Christian and Interfaith Relations (for the second time) , and our very active Quaker Life Rep Council Representative is from our meeting. At least three Friends are school governors, one of a Quaker school, and two of local state schools. Local interfaith activities are well-supported.

Several Friends attended Yearly Meeting Gathering in Warwick. Two Friends attended European Friends Borders Meeting in Belgium in September.

The wide range of issues about which there is concern is reflected in our collections. The Christmas one for Keighley Food Bank or similar anti-poverty group, is always the largest. The next most subscribed was for Quaker Service projects in Northern Ireland, followed by Scholarships for Street Kids (Myanmar). Interestingly these same issues - poverty and social service/ health cutbacks, Northern Ireland peace in relation to Brexit, and the plight of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar were reflected in questions raised with our new MP , John Grogan, when he visited us towards the end of the year. Individuals had already found a sympathetic ear when raising peace and arms trade issues with him on a separate occasion.

The publicity group has kept the Keighley News in touch with our events – open garden, Quaker week. Earlier in the year the British Quaker statement that” Quakers stand alongside the victims of racist policies” was sent to and published by the Keighley News. Our Facebook page KQM@KQ was begun.

Our annual open garden event in July was enjoyable as ever and gives an opportunity to appreciate its beauty and the work done by faithful Friends. 26 visitors came, a mix of people including those with past connections to the meeting, and, as usual, we welcomed some members of the local Muslim community one of whom, a keen gardener, was very interested in what we were growing. Tea and cakes in the garden were enjoyed by all.

Quaker Week in October saw displays of Quaker material (including to take away) in Keighley and Bingley libraries Two events at the meeting house – showing of film “Hidden Figures” – which explores equality issues of racism and sexism and a a special short meeting for worship especially to attract interested newcomers. We also had displayed in the meeting house paintings, mostly of local scenes, the vivid art work of one of our number. As it turned out, our events were more “inreach” (getting to know each other) than outreach. But one can never know who is reached by the local publicity generated during that week.

We continue the reading of Advices and Queries once a month during Meeting for Worship. Everyone is invited to take a turn at selecting and reading.

Discussion Groups now called Wednesday Meeting continued its study of Quaker Faith and Practice including Chapters 20 “living faithfully today” and then Chapter 1 “advices and queries. “ Our method is to move slowly, meditatively with plenty of time for reflection and discussion. This study was interspersed with occasional worship sharing events and one-off evenings. Our Quaker Life Representative challenged us to think how we” help seekers to find Quakerism - and to ensure that Quakerism is worth finding!” Another evening two Friends introduced us to the diversity in belief and methods of worship among Friends across the world, together with the commonalities holding us together.

We now hold meetings for Learning on a quarterly basis after worship and a shared lunch. Subjects have ranged across Quaker Leadings, Quaker Discernment, History of Advices and Queries and in August we responded to Elders & Overseers on our reflections on how to invigorate Area Meetings

Our youngest attender is Albi (Albert) who comes with mother from time to time and often leaves us his art works. He's now two years old. We continue with our short Christmas Day meeting for worship which can provide opportunities to welcome those infrequently back in this area, and Friends from other meetings who are in the vicinity.





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