Forty-Three: May 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. The issue is packed with poems, prayers and reflections on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak; we trust that Friends will find solace, comfort and joy in the many writings and images that have been contributed.

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 June issue. Please send articles, poems etc. in Word format, and images in .jpg or .png format by Friday 15th May to newsletter@oxfordquakers.org.

Zoom into Friday with Friends and Enquirers’ Meetings

Two of our popular regular events are moving online while the coronavirus lockdown is in force. The Zoom URLs and codes are the same as for Sunday morning Meetings for Worship. If you don’t already have the codes, please email office@oxfordquakers.org

Friday with Friends

Friday 17th April at 7pm
Spirituality & Mathematics: Participants will be invited to engage in some tasks through which they might get a taste of “imminent transcendence.” Exercises will be different in substance from our previous session. No previous mathematical success required!

Enquirers’ Meetings

Wednesday 22nd April at 7:30pm
Quakers & Purpose: where do we find purpose for doing things, as Quakers? Is there a purpose for our lives? For human life?

Wednesday 20th May at 7:30pm
Quakers and Suffering: What is the Meeting for Sufferings, why was its purpose, and what does it do now? How Quakers try to ameliorate suffering.

Online Quaker resources to explore during the lockdown

Neopithecops zalmora, also known as Quaker. Dr Raju Kasambe CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Friends will have recently received a forwarded email from Tabitha Driver and David Irwin, Librarians at Friends’ House. The message provides links to a treasure-house of Quaker – and non-Quaker – resources for us to explore while meeting houses and their libraries are closed.

The list is extensive, even daunting, and many sites are definitely for specialists and researchers. However, I have dabbled in some of them, and suggest the following if you are looking for informative and/or inspirational Quaker texts:

Some of these sites have a slightly out-of-date look and feel, and some of their links to resources are broken, but it’s worth persevering – you are sure to find a nugget here and there.

I also enjoyed browsing the photos of Quaker Meeting Houses taken by John Hall. They’re on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/qmh. Click ‘Albums’ for a county-by-county journey through our architecture past and present.

And just for fun, I typed “Quaker” into Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/), another site in the “Images online” section. The first page of results included an illustration of a 19th-century American nursery song, “Quaker courtship” (no connection with Friends!) and the above photo of a rather delicate butterfly from SE Asia, which has the common name “Quaker.” I thought it an aptly colourful illustration for this post.

Forty-Three: April 2020 issue now online + copy date for May

The coronavirus outbreak means that April’s issue of 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 May issue. Please send articles, poems etc. in Word format, and images in .jpg or .png format by 17th April to newsletter@oxfordquakers.org.

Worshipping at home, including via Zoom

On 18th March Elders sent the following message to Oxford Friends:

“Although all Meetings for Worship at Oxford Meeting House are currently suspended, Elders still intend to sit, at home, in worshipful silence at the usual times of our regular Meetings for Worship. We would like to encourage Friends to join us at the same time in worship from their own homes. This can be a time to hold ourselves and each other in the Light, and to offer spiritual support and reflection for the challenging times ahead.”

Oxford Friends are now able to share in our regular Meetings for Worship and social gatherings online, using Zoom. General instructions for using Zoom are in the March issue of Forty-Three. The Zoom codes that you will need to attend specific Meetings and gatherings are being sent by email to Friends and Attenders who are on our mailing list. If you aren’t on the mailing list and would like to join in, please send an email to office@oxfordquakers.org

Woodbrooke College organises online Meetings for Worship for 30 minutes on Wednesdays and Fridays. For further information, visit  https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/about/online-mfw/ (link opens in a new tab).

Coronavirus: Meetings for Worship suspended

Chris White, Co-Clerk to Elders of Oxford Friends’ Meeting, has sent the following email to Friends. We reproduce it here for general information:

In the light of the advice from the Government on Monday 16th March, Elders have come to the conclusion that we need to immediately suspend having all further Meetings for Worship in our Meeting House.

Elders will be considering finding other ways for Oxford Friends to worship in unity together over the next few days.

Oxford Friends Meeting House: Coronavirus

As coronavirus is hitting the headlines, we wanted to reassure you, our visitors and customers, that we take measures to protect you and your group members and delegates. Our cleaning team follows strict procedures and always aims to ensure that we achieve high levels of hygiene and cleanliness in our meeting rooms, kitchen, toilets and public areas. We would like to kindly remind you that we cannot curtail the spread of coronavirus without your help.

Before your meeting or event:
If you know or are aware that some of your delegates may be coming back from high-risk areas, ask them to call 111 and follow their instructions. If a delegate lets you know they may have coronavirus (symptoms include coughing, high temperature, shortness of breath), they should call 111. You can find more information on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

During your meeting and event: 
In the toilets, we have put signs to remind people about the best way to protect themselves and others from the virus:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use a sanitizer gel, regularly throughout the day.
  • Catch your cough or sneeze in a tissue, bin it, and wash your hands with soap.
  • Some groups and individuals are finding other ways of greeting each other without shaking hands.

2020! Wishing you a peaceful year ahead.

If you are looking to start something new, do consider coming along to a Quaker Meeting or broswing our Groups page and see if there is something happening at the Meeting House which may appeal. We also have a notice board in the foyer at 43 St Giles with information about local groups.