The November 43 Newsletter

Universities of the Meeting

Attending Epilogue one evening in the Cadbury Room at Woodbrooke, a flipchart that had no doubt been left behind after one of the day’s courses caught my eye. Someone had written “When an old person dies, it’s as if a whole library goes up in flames.” That resonated with me, probably because I am an old person, and the next day I shared the sentiment with my honorary grand-daughter. If I was expecting a sympathetic response, I was to be disappointed. “That might have once been true, but with today’s almost unlimited data storage, it no longer really applies, does it?” That stung. When I died, it wouldn’t really matter because she could find everything I’d ever known in the Cloud. (No, not in the clouds, in the Cloud. That’s a geeky term that translates approximately as ‘somewhere on the Internet’.) Oh well, I have very low self-esteem anyway, so I didn’t argue. And that’s how things rested until today, when there was ministry in meeting about Peggy Heeks, who died recently, and it was mentioned that she had probably been our meeting’s greatest theological resource. That made me think again because I knew there was much I should have asked her, and I also knew I wouldn’t find the answers in the Cloud. I realised 2 that the message on the Woodbrooke flipchart was wrong. When an old person dies, it’s not like a library burning, it’s like a university closing down! Libraries are wonderful, but they’re passive repositories of knowledge. People are like universities – full of knowledge, yes, but also dynamic, capable of interaction, and a continual source of new ideas and insights. In fact, we’re all universities. We’re all constantly carrying out research just by living. Our knowledge, insights, and opinions are unique. And, just like universities, we have a duty to share them for the benefit of others. Maybe in fact, that’s why I’m writing this article for Forty-Three, so many years after my last contribution. I’d like to think that in meeting we’re all open to sharing our gifts and insights – but there’s a problem. How do we work out what to share with whom? I would gladly share my knowledge of 1960s European radio-valve numbering systems, for example, but I imagine there would be few takers! I suppose the solution is that we should all get to know one another a little better, and perhaps not be quite so reticent about our abilities and talents. I know it’s not seen as Quakerly to talk about your achievements, but maybe just a few hints wouldn’t do any harm. After all, if I’d only realised in time, I might have benefitted from a short course at the University of Peggy before that opportunity disappeared forever! Keith Wilson

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The online version of the November 2019 edition is now available.

Update on the London Arms Fair Blockage Event

Meeting for Worship at the Arms Fair Protest 2019

This  2 minute video gives you a bit of the atmosphere and inspiration of the DSEI Arms Fair blockading event.

The Fair begins next Tuesday, and we were part of a rolling programme of groups blocking the setting  of the Fair: this evening at our debriefing meeting we learned that Sadiq Khan  condemns the Arms Fair, and intends to prevent it happening in London again. But we don’t know if he has that power.

Alan was arrested at 3 30, because he was so incensed by one of the police trying to break up the second Meeting for Worship half way through. Arresting people at  worship is evidently illegal. He was kept standing outside the police station in Plumstead for 4 hours , as there was such a queue of arrestees, but then got a seat during the booking process. Four hours later he phoned me to say where he was, and he was given a cell, loo, mattress and his book back. By midnight he got back to the hotel, after useful legal assistance.  The  sergeant heard his statement, and then switched off his tape recorder, and expressed his agreement that the government’s actions are illegal.

It’s been a moving and exhausting week

Virginia(Member of the Oxford Meeting)

Hope you can watch this great video of yesterday’s action!

Sacramental Living for Sustainability

Forthcoming talk Friday 13th Sept. 7pm. 43 St Giles Oxford: Mey Hasbrook, of Kalamazoo Friends Meeting USA, will be joining us for our next Friday with Friends on 13th September. Her Meeting has given her a travelling minute and she will engage with us in considering ‘How to Nourish Right Relationships Through Spiritual Roots, Bridging Care of the Earth with that of Human Communities. Mey’s websites are, and Facebook