the friend online
12 May 2006

Reflection

Sufferings: adieu or au revoir? - preview

Chas Raws of Wirral & Chester MM, reflects on Trust and the support needed by our representatives

As members of Tony Blair's cabinet were getting to grips with their new portfolios, members of Meeting for Sufferings reached the end of their triennial term last week
  • Of those for whom this was the last time we would address our agenda papers, I cannot have been the only one who did so with some sense of relief
  • If called again in the future, some of us must have been thinking, would we let our names go forward? Would the obligation to serve overcome memories of long afternoons immured in the Small Meeting House, of lengthy reports and financial forecasts, disputed minutes and late homecomings?

    Chas Raws

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    Comments:

    Dave Feickert, 11 May
    We should not get too upset that the question of trust is raised in discussions about how 'leading' groups relate to other organisations in the Society. After all we are only human, even if we think that our business activities are also part of the spiritual realm. The issues we have been discussing are discussed in every democratic organisation and will be well in the future. Trust also requires simple, clear rules that operate effectively, otherwise conflicts arise. Any organisation undergoing change from one set of rules to another needs not only trust but clarity as it moves forward. We have seen many other democratic organisations get this debate wrong, sometimes with severe consequences. I believe we will succeed, with patience, discussion, clear rules and trust.

    As a new member of Sufferings I welcome the information provided and feel a duty to reflect it back to MM. One document I found particularly useful was the Tabular Statement - the supplement to 'Quaker work in 2005'. Thanks to the staff who prepared it. Looking at the BYM Membership stats from 1935 to 2005 a few thought s occur to me:

    1. Membership peaked in 1974 and has been declining steadily since, year on year - a drop of 19%. I see this as following the the ageing rhythm as (birthright?) Friends die.

    2.However, attending started rising in 1981, reached a peak in 1991 and has declined slightly to 2005. I see this as refelcting the peak of the Cold War,with the nuclear clock only minutes to midnight in 1981 and the end of the Cold War in 1990/1 - fall of the Berlin Wall, collapse of the Soviet Union.

    3.The combined total peaked in 1991 and has declined by 13% since then.

    Quite a few attenders have not become Members. We are trying to discover why this is so but it is not surprising that for a world peace-oriented organisation a relatively small decline has taken place. Even if the world at the local, regional levels has often become less peaceful. But do we have answers for that, which people can easily understand? These thoughts only really scratch the surface which Quaker Quest is also trying to discern.



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    This week's .pdf
    In this week's online edition... rss edition
    William and Lucy Johnson: Quaker martyrs in Madagascar
    Edward Dommen
    Trusting the Business Method
    Sarah M Richards, Northumbria MM
    Latvia, a new star on the Quaker Horizon
    Gerald Drewett
    Cover

    Alora and the shining lemon trees
    Harvey Gillman
    The fruits of friendship
    Maud Grainger, Coggeshall & Colchester MM
    Meeting for Sufferings round-up
    news@thefriend.org
    News Round-up
    news@thefriend.org
    Comment
    Judy Kirby & Mary Cook
    Letters
    editorial@thefriend.org
    Lost and found
    by Ruth Camm, Settle Monthly Meeting
    Sufferings: adieu or au revoir?
    Chas Raws
    q-eye
    eye@thefriend.org

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