Oct 072013
 
Outreach on Facebook

Last week was Quaker Week, when British Quakers make an extra effort to do some outreach and talk to the world about who Quakers are and what we do. I was on holiday, so I thought that perhaps my contribution could be to ask people on Facebook if they wanted to ask any questions about Quakerism. The resulting thread was so much fun (to write and read) that I decided to repost a screenshot here, so that it disappears from view a little more slowly than on Facebook, where it has already been pushed down the timeline by much less interesting forms of noise.

Dec 062012
 

Quakers are not known for going around shouting about their work, but I think we should do more of it. Quaker Social Action is a charity operating in the East End of London. Their Down to Earth project has just won a Guardian Charity Award (link takes you to a short video), recognising the support it provides to low-income families who have been bereaved. Many of us who have been bereaved feel an emotional duty to give a loved one a good send-off. Even if you are wealthy, you don’t get a lot of practice at planning funerals; anyone who has been bereaved knows the numbness and sense of being on autopilot. Funerals Read full post >>

Apr 042012
 
Decluttering, part 2

When I first sat down to write this post, I immediately left the window open, got up, and started tidying. I tend to tidy when I have other things I want to do, even if they are important. One way to think about this is as procrastination. Another way is to think of it as clearing the space necessary to focus on one thing, other distractions having been removed. It’s a way of focusing, or simplifying. Sometimes I feel guilty for not getting on with the main task, but at other times I just go with it, knowing that once I have mentally readied myself, I will get to the Read full post >>

Nov 172011
 
Remembrance

I happened to be in Trafalgar Square on Sunday. Among the usual crowds were a large number of people in uniform who had come from the Remembrance Sunday service at Westminster Abbey. Many people were wearing uniforms of one sort or another, from Pearly Kings and Queens (I’m not sure if they had been at the Abbey, mind!) to policemen, to current and former soldiers with regimental blazers or dress uniform, many with medals pinned to their chests. It was striking, too, how many from the crowds were wearing poppies. I always used to wear a poppy, but in the last few years I seem to have stopped, though I Read full post >>

Nov 132011
 

Tim Newell is a retired prison governor (and Quaker) who ran one Category B prison (HMP Grendon) along unique, and very different, lines to the rest of the prison estate. It still differs from the rest of the system, some years after his retirement. He has since set up a charity, called Escaping Victimhood, that does therapeutic work with families that have been bereaved by homicide. He’s a deep and subtle thinker on social and criminal justice, and someone for whom I have a great deal of respect. Tim delivered a lecture in 2000 which aimed to systematise a Quaker response to the problem of crime, and I think it’s Read full post >>