Category Archives: News

The Quaker Blog

We have added a link to the Quaker Blog to our Menu and to our Useful Links page.

The Blog is written by a variety of Ffriends on an incredible range of subjects – it is worth subscribing to the Blog to get the new posts delivered directly to your inbox. Recent blog posts have covered the INF treaty collapse, Sanctuary Meetings and, of course Brexit.

Of particular interest following Peter Hussey’s reports on two conferences he attended is this post about Diversity and Inclusion.

https://www.quaker.org.uk/blog/4-things-quakers-are-learning-about-inclusion-and-diversity

Report on “United we Stand” Conference

Peter Hussey attended the “United we Stand” Conference in Cardiff – this is his report.

The 21st March 1960 became the reference point for the world’s assessment of the apartheid government in South Africa , it being the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre  which occurred in 1960 after a day of demonstrations against pass laws.   Six years later, the UN declared 21st March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Human Rights Day.  To mark that day, and, terribly, just six days after 50 Muslim men, women and children, the youngest just three years old, were shot dead by a supremacist terrorist in Christchurch, New Zealand, I attended a one day conference exploring unity and solidarity amongst diverse communities in Wales in the context of Brexit and the hostile environment.

The well attended conference was presented by EYST, the Swansea based charity supporting BAME (Black and Ethnic Minority) people across Wales, and Race Alliance Wales. A very varied programme of speakers included Deputy First Minister and Government Chief Whip Jane Hutt.  Ms Hutt brought greetings and expressions of solidarity from First Minister Mark Drakeford.  The Welsh Government is committed to diversity as a principle.  The Minister also announced some amounts of money that would now be available for work in the areas of concern of the organisations represented there. While these amounts were welcomed there was some concern expressed during the conference that they would have to be competed for by charities working in this field.

There are many ways in which life for BAME families is improving in Wales but, particularly since the calling of the Brexit referendum instances of hate crime and abuse have increased in Wales, as in other Western countries.

The appalling massacre in New Zealand is a dreadful example of this horrific trend but here also anti-Muslim hate crimes reported across Britain increased by 593% in the week after, an independent monitoring group, the charity Tell Mama, said almost all of the increase comprised incidents linked to the Christchurch attacks.

There was little doubt among the attendees at the conference that the Brexit process, along with the hostile environment created by the Home Office, initially when Mrs May was Home Secretary, are both contributory causes to attacks on immigrants generally, but these attacks also specifically demonstrate hatred of  Muslims and, through ignorant association Sikhs and Hindus.

The point was made that fear of immigrants is not being demonstrated by the “left behind” citizens but rather by those with moderate income.

Wales needs to build a data base of evidence of racial hate acts to provide credibility and veracity.

Some small BAME charities showed presentations of surveys which, in my opinion, were based on samples that were too small and unrepresentative but where surveys are well conducted they can provide illumination.  For example: of 15 and 17 year olds going into apprenticeships: 0.6% identify as black, 0.7% as mixed race, 1.1% as Indian, 1.5% as disabled and 97.3% as white; and a further clear statistic: the wealth gap.  The average assets of white people £221,000, black Caribbean:£76,000, Bangladeshi: £21,000 and Black African:£15,000.

The Conference was designed to bring together all the charities and agencies working with BAME Welsh peoples to help in creating a united standpoint and to some extent the day celebrated that unity. However any celebration was overshadowed by the horror of the Christchurch attacks and the long history of inequality and exploitation of BAME peoples.

Peter Hussey. Llandrindod LM.

Young Friends Events – Junior Gathering 2019 – Senior Conference 2019

From Charlotte Lake, Area Meeting Children and Young People’s Advocate.

Some families have mentioned interest in attending more nationally organised events.  If anyone would like to go and has any questions or troubles registering, feel free to email me and I’ll do what I can. charlotte.lake at smquakers.org.uk

Junior Gathering 2019

  • Ages 11-14
  • Date: 17-24th August 2019
  • Theme: Modern Equality
  • Venue: Leighton Park School
  • More info & Application

Senior Conference 2019

  • Ages 15-18
  • Date: 17-24th August 2019
  • Theme: Quakers in the 21st century – What will our chapter be?
  • Venue: Sibford School
  • More info & Application

WAR SCHOOL – 30th April, 7.30pm at Hereford meeting house

WAR SCHOOL. To be screened 30th April, 7.30pm at Hereford meeting
house, 21 King Street, HR4 9BX

This is a new production mainly about the increasing military presence
in schools and other places frequented by young people. Alone in
Europe the UK still recruits at 16. There is a growing movement to
encourage children to be interested in making a career in the
military. But this film is not just for parents. Many other associated
areas are examined. I have watched it myself and found it to contain
excellent choices of source materials. This is not someone lecturing.
The evidence from life is on the screen. Whatever anyone’s point of
view, I am convinced all could learn more about what is going on, from
this film. The point is made that Britain has been making war
continuously, and the probable future is not what most of us would
want it to be.

There are inputs from Veterans for Peace, Movement for the Abolition
of War, and Forces Watch, as well as from QPSW and Quakers.

Questions or offers of help to john.meaford@smquakers.org.uk
01981-570390

A poster for this event can be downloaded – please click here.

News from the Area Meeting – February 2019

Meeting of Friends in Wales – 23rd February 2019. The focus of the Meeting will be the revision of Quaker Faith and Practice.

Area Meeting in Brecon – 9th March 2019 at the Subud Hall, Brecon – a map with directions can be downloaded – please click here.

The Pales Spring Newsletter 2019 is now available – please click here.

Friends might like to know about a talk being given by Alastair McIntosh (Scotland), described by BBC TV as “one of the world’s leading environmental campaigners.”  His talk, Colonisation and Decolonisation of the Soul,  will take place at The Malvern Cube, Albert Road North, Malvern WR14 2YF at 2.15pm on Sunday 3rd March 2109. More information can be seen here – Malvern Festival of Ideas 2109

Yearly Meeting 2019 – 24–27 May at Friends House, London. Ffriends attending BYM might like to know that there is a Youth Hostel opposite St Pancras Station, quite close to Friends House. There are 6 bed dormitories, male and female at very reasonable prices.

At Yearly Meeting 2019 we will examine our privilege (and assumptions of privilege). Privilege – whether we recognise it or not – fundamentally impacts our ability to act on our urgent Quaker concerns regarding climate justice and sustainability, and inclusion and diversity.

 

Climate Care

From Marches Christian Environmental Network

Nine ways to live gently

Green Christian have a really helpful leaflet called ‘Nine ways to live gently’. It’s an excellent way of sharing a range of positive tips on how to reduce our contribution to climate change. Here is a summary of these lifestyle tips. How many are you following?

1. Stand up for the planet:

Get to know your MP, write letters, sign an online petition, go on a protest.

2. Get connected:

Seek out like-minded people in your local area or online, to encourage one another.

3. Practise gratitude and generosity:

Simplify your life; be liberated by needing less.

4. Be creative:

Re-invent second hand goods from charity shops, improvise, make things, swap clothes!

5. Reconnect with the natural world:

Dig the earth, grow herbs on your window sill, save and cherish water, take an interest in wildflowers, bees, butterflies, fish, birds and rocks, include the Earth in all Church liturgies, plant trees for special occasions such as baptisms or weddings.

6. Use your LOAF!

Use Locally produced, Organically grown, Animal friendly and Fairly traded British fruit and veg in season. Support local shops and grow some of your own food. Eat less meat and dairy foods.

7. Travel light:

Walk, cycle, take the bus, tram or train, if possible, and use local shops, notice the beauty on your doorstep, organise lift shares. If you must fly, offset.

8. Explore this island:

Get in touch with the seasons, seek out local adventures, enjoy the journey and limit your driving.

9. Go fossil free and reduce use:

Change your electricity provider or campaign for your university, council or church to disinvest, insulate your home, wear an extra layer, turn the thermostat down, if buying new appliances go for AAA rated, if possible generate your own electricity.