Triennial report

Broad Campden Local Quaker Meeting submitted the following Triennial Report for 2012-2014 to the Banbury and Evesham Area Quaker Meeting

Broad Campden Meeting continues to flourish as small rural meeting with an average 10 – 12 Friends and attenders at Meeting for Worship on Sundays. We try to be sensitive to the needs of our own meeting and to reach out where we can to the local and wider community. We receive a significant amount of visitors during the year. On occasion we may be as many as 17 for Meeting for Worship and many others come to our Sunday afternoon openings for Teas during June and July.

Children from Sibford school outside the Meeting HouseOn 18th January 2013 we marked the 350th anniversary of our Meeting House with a short Meeting for Worship and a birthday cake made by one of our members, decorated with an image of our historic building. Later in the year, on a sunny September afternoon, Friends from further afield and members of the local community joined us to mark the occasion further and enjoy more tea and cake.

We nourish the life of our meeting through personal contact, joint projects and regular discussion meetings. At the start of each year we meet together in one of our homes for a shared lunch to which we invite friends who have moved away or who cannot be with us for Meeting for Worship on a regular basis. Besides arranging occasions together to spring-clean the Meeting House or to garden, we share one-off projects, as when we made patchwork cushions for the children’s room in 2012.

Our regular 4th-Sunday discussions following Meeting for Worship are stimulating and well supported. We have we been working through Advices & Queries when not discussing a particular subject. In October 2014 we watched an inspirational DVD on the peace initiative in South Africa, ‘Beyond Forgiving’. In August and September 2013, we were challenged to look at the role of oversight in our meeting. This resulted in an increased awareness of the needs of our members and a new appraisal of the ways in which we can best support one another. In 2013 two groups started the Becoming Friends course – one of more recent attenders, the other of longer-term members. One course has been completed and others have followed. Members and attenders have also followed courses at Woodbrooke and Charney Manor.

Cheerful Friends celebrate in the Meeting HouseWe value our coming together to mark special anniversaries. With the now traditional small celebration after meeting we marked the special birthdays of two Friends, one in November 2013, one in August 2014, and, with a significantly larger Meeting for Worship, the silver wedding anniversary of Friends in May 2014. In May 2013 the family of Mary Record scattered her ashes in the garden. Mary Record had been a long term and well-loved member of Broad Campden until she retired to Selly Wood House in Birmingham. In October 2014, in hosting Area meeting, we enjoyed a challenging talk by Clerk to Yearly Meeting Paul Parker on ‘The Challenge of Living as a Quaker’.

The Meeting continues to look outwards. In April 2012 we arranged a Quaker Quest event in the Old Police Station, Chipping Campden. We found this opportunity for outreach also deepened the spiritual life of our own meeting. We continue our sponsorship of an event at the Chipping Campden Literature Festival each May. This has included programmes featuring the Write to Life group from Victims of Torture and, in 2014, South African writers, with Peter Hain among the speakers. A discussion on Sustainability in 2012 led to the public showing of a film on the same theme which drew the interest of about 40 people in Chipping Campden. This led to the formation of Transition Campden, now an active local group in its own right. Members of the Amnesty letter-writing group, which grew out of our meeting, continue to meet monthly in Chipping Campden. We join with other local churches in the Women’s World Day of Prayer each March, hosting the service every five years. By means of donations received during our Summer Teas we have continued to support the work of the Uganda Childbirth Injuries Fund, an organisation to which we have a direct link through one of our members. Besides our support of Quaker charities we have made collections for Shelter, Syria – over several months - Peace Direct and Crisis at Christmas among many others.

A bicycle leant by the arched door to the stone meeting houseAn unexpected event during these three years has been the filming in the Meeting House, on different occasions, of episodes for BBC TV’s Father Brown series.

We have been mindful of the fabric of our historic Meeting House, the oldest in the country. Following initial planning, early in 2014 one of our members started the renovation of our upstairs kitchen, completed a few months later. At the end of 2013 it became clear that the Meeting House roof would need repair if not renewal. At the beginning of 2014, therefore, we started to plan for a complete renewal but were eventually advised this need be repair only. However, when work started in November 2014 the deterioration was much more than anticipated and we faced, now unexpectedly, a renewal. Members and attenders of our small meeting responded generously to an urgent appeal for money to carry out this work and we widened our appeal to charitable foundations. At the close of this report work is underway and a significant amount of the funding needed is in. When this challenge arose we were reminded by a Member that in times of uncertainty and challenge our forefathers continued to go forward in a spirit of trust. It is in this inspiration that we move into the next period of the life of Broad Campden Meeting.