‘Living in Spirit’ Conversations in 2021

“Conversation Piece” cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Oliver Dixon – geograph.org.uk/p/6333928

Nothing to do on Tuesdays? Then join in ‘Living in Spirit,’ our refreshing spiritual conversations on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month throughout 2021.

The conversations are held at two times on each day, so you can choose which one suits you better (or attend both!): 4-5pm and 7-8pm.

Zoom links for the meetings:

Enquiry Meetings Winter 2020-21

Oxford Quaker Meeting is running a fortnightly programme of Enquiry Meetings on Thursday evenings from December to April. These will be online and start at 7.30 with the Zoom room opening at 7 p.m (see below for codes). All are welcome.

Although the meetings are aimed primarily at those who have been attending Quaker meeting for a short period of time ( anything from a few weeks to a few years), they will also be of interest to anyone who wants to think more about what it means to be a Quaker and a member of the Society of Friends.

Sessions will last up to an hour and a quarter and will usually consist of an introduction by a Friend, followed by reflection, discussion and questions. It would be a good idea to have Quaker Faith and Practice available during sessions. If you don’t have a printed copy you can find it online at https://qfp.quaker.org.uk/.

DateTopicIntroduced by…
Dec 3rdQuaker Worship and MinistryUrsula Howard
Dec 17thThe Inner LightJill Green
Jan 7thSocial Action & QuakersRuth Mason
Jan 21stBelief and UncertaintyLis Burch
Feb 4thCare in the Quaker CommunityCarol Saker
Feb 18thQuaker TestimoniesElisabeth Salisbury
March 4thHistory and World QuakersMatthew Gee
March 18thStructures and membershipTas Cooper
April 1stPanel 

The Zoom codes are:

Suspension of Meetings for Worship at 43 St Giles from 3rd January 2021

Dear Ffriends,

Following a review of the current regulations  by our Covid Group it has been decided to suspend in-house Meetings for Worship at 43 St Giles until the end of January at the earliest.

Although places of worship are allowed to remain open under current Tier 4 restrictions, we are concerned that, since the new variant strain of the coronavirus is much more transmissible, we should not be placing anyone at risk by continuing in-person meetings. 

All our meetings will continue on Zoom as before and the links will remain the same: see Meetings for Worship During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Covid Group will review the evolving situation during coming weeks, subject to the rate of cases locally. Meanwhile, we encourage all Ffriends to take care and stay safe.

Forty-Three: January issue now online

Once again, Forty-Three has been published in digital format only. Friends who normally receive their issue by email will have done so; a copy is also available on the Forty-Three Newsletter page.

We are aware that some Friends don’t have internet access, so if you know someone who would appreciate receiving a paper copy, please email the office and we will ensure that one is posted to them.

Contributions are welcomed for the February issue. Please send articles, poems etc. in Word format, and images in .jpg or .png format as soon as possible to newsletter@oxfordquakers.org.

Arrangements from 7th December 2020

Chris White, Clerk to Elders, writes:

Elders are pleased to report that our Friends Meeting House has now re-opened for in-person Meetings for Worship, combining with our current Meetings for Worship already occurring on Zoom.

For our two Meetings on a Sunday, the Friends in the Meeting House will continue to greet those worshipping at 9.30 and 11.00 via Zoom, but then will close the internet link so that the Meetings can continue separately for their period of silent worship.

For our Meetings that occur midweek (Young Adult Friends, Tuesday and Thursday Breakfast Meetings, and Wednesday Lunchtime Meetings) we expect them to continue in their usual blended manner, (although discretion can be used by convenors as to whether to blend for each meeting).

We are also planning to hold a Meeting for Worship on Christmas Day at 10.30 via Zoom and in the Meeting House following the same new format – an opening greeting before separate group worship in the Meeting House in parallel with Friends worshipping via Zoom.

For further information, including how to book for an in-person Meeting, please see Meetings for Worship During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Prayers for the homeless 16th-20th November

In pre-COVID times, every November saw the annual service when members of the homeless community and their friends and supporters came together to remember those living on the street who had died in the past year. In a moving celebration Mary Gurr, chaplain to the homeless community, read out their names and a candle was lit for each named person, usually by a friend or someone who had worked with them or known them well. After the service we shared tea and cake and reminiscences. It was always an occasion of great pathos as well as shame that in a wealthy city like Oxford some of our most vulnerable citizens could be left to die on our streets.

This year we are unable to meet, commemorate, and drink tea afterwards, sharing memories of our friends. Instead, from 10:00 to 18:00 from Monday 16 to Friday 20 November, the city church of St Michael at the North Gate in Cornmarket Street will be open (and COVID-secure) for anyone to call in and light a candle and remember all those whose lives have ended in this way in 2020. It will be good if some members of our community take this opportunity to remember members of the homeless community in our midst.

Image by Motacilla, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Quaker contribution to Oxford’s Remembrance Day commemoration 2020

Local faith groups have prepared videos for Oxford’s Remembrance Day service on Sunday 8th November. The videos include one produced by our own Meeting, featuring one of the children talking about Quakers and war.

We understand from the Oxford City Council civic office that the videos will be broadcast at 11am on the City Council website.

The various video components will also be broadcast separately on the City Council’s Facebook and Twitter pages. 

New additions to the Library

Friends may be interested to learn of some new acquisitions by the Meeting House library, a number of which are particularly timely in Black History Month. The full list is:

  • Christianity:
    • Bayfield, Tony: Deep calls to deep: transforming conversations between Jews and Christians
  • Quaker History:
    • Pares, Susan: Displaced by war: Gertrude Powicke
    • Pearce, Cyril: Communities of resistance: conscience and dissent
    • Pearce, Cyril: Comrades in conscience: an English community
  • Pastoral Care:
    • Wootton, Sarah & Riley, Lloyd: Last rights: the case for assisted dying
  • Social Issues:
    • Eddo-Lodge, Reni: Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race
    • Eisenstein, Charles: Sacred economics: money, gift and society
    • Hirsch, Afua: Brit(ish): on race, identity and belonging
    • Lammy, David: Tribes: how our need to belong can break society
    • Saad, Layla F & DiAngelo, Robin: Me and white supremacy: how to recognise your privilege

The Library is open for borrowing: for guidance on how to request a book, please visit Using our Library.

Introducing ‘blended’ Meetings for Worship

Friends will be pleased to learn that, as a place of worship, the Meeting House is exempt from the Government’s new ‘rule of six.’ Our recently reinstated in-house meetings can therefore continue.

Also on the ‘good news’ theme, we now have technology installed in the Meeting House to enable Friends attending in person to worship together with those taking part via Zoom. The Garden Room and/or Library will be available for unconnected quiet worship for those who prefer.

For further information, please visit Meetings for Worship During the Coronavirus Pandemic.