Triennial report

Broad Campden Local Quaker Meeting submitted the following Triennial Report for 2015-2017 to the Banbury and Evesham Area Quaker Meeting

Members & Attenders

We record the deaths of five members: Sue Cook, June 1st 2015, Margaret Derrett, Jan 22nd 2016, Rachel Stewart-Turner, April 2016, Dylis Hancock, November 30th 2016 and John Spencer, Feb 13th 2017. In April 2015 we bade ‘farewell’ to Anthea Porter, a longstanding member who moved to Essex to be near family. We welcomed Margaret Craske into membership and the transfer of membership from Nottingham Meeting of Lynne Richardson in 2015, Daniel Lakey into membership and the transfer of membership from Northampton Meeting of Derrick & Ruth Whitehouse in 2017. Overall membership remains at 20.We have also welcomed new attenders and lost a few. Sunday attendance remains on average at 10-12 people.

Clerking

We now have a team of six taking it in turns to be clerk each month, which has been working well for over 3 years, thanks to the internet for ease of communication.

Regular Events

Each year we support ‘Women’s World Day of Prayer’ at an interdenominational service held in different places of worship in the area. In March 2015 we hosted it at Broad Campden, which was very well attended. The theme, from the Women of the Bahamas, was ‘Do you know what I have done for you?’ and we incorporated additional silent worship into the written service.

Shells, flowers and other symbols of the Bahamas on a tableEach year we support Women’s World Day of Prayer at an interdenominational service held in different places of worship in the area. In March 2015 we hosted it at Broad Campden, which was very well attended. The theme, from the Women of the Bahamas, was Do you know what I have done for you? and we incorporated additional silent worship into the written service.

The Meeting House continues to be open for tea and cakes on Sunday afternoons from the end of May till the end of July. Most of the visitors are walkers passing by, and there have been many interesting encounters and discussions with people from different countries, as well as locals.

Each year we have a New Year social gathering for a shared lunch, hosted in someone’s home, followed by a variety of entertainment. This is always a time for learning more about one another as well as discovering different skills and talents amongst us. A further three times a year we have a shared lunch at the MH, following our fourth Sunday discussions.

About twice a year we also have a working party in the garden and/or in the MH, according to what needs doing. Since early 2017 we have employed a cleaner to come on a regular basis which has made an obvious difference to the general state of the interior.

Our fourth Sunday discussions following Meeting for Worship have covered a variety of topics. In 2015 we considered Britain Yearly Meeting’s long term framework and sent our response to Friends’ House. Later that year we started working through the six themes from Meeting for Sufferings leaflet Our faith in the future, sometimes needing more than one session, and led each time by a different member with an attender. This has been a stimulating and successful way of developing further friendship between individuals. We have also used With a Tender Heart by Zelie Gross, and Quaker Faith & Practice as resources, and have explored the roles of Elders and Overseers. In April 2017 we considered our initial response to Paul Mobbs’ (Property Group convener and Area Meeting Trustee) thought provoking strategy documents for the right use of buildings in the Area Meeting. Later we used Yearly Meeting Gathering’s suggested titles of Working with Others and The Light that pushes me as preparation for the Gathering at Warwick University at the end of July. The topic in September was Shape Shifting – new models for Quaker Meeting and Community, prior to the Quaker Life conference, and in October the elders led a reflection on ways of Deepening our Meeting for Worship, looking in particular at vocal ministry.

Over the three years one of our elders has led small groups of attenders through a course of Becoming Friends with a weekly c1½ hour meeting at her house over about six weeks, which has been valued as an enriching experience by those partaking.

Amnesty’s letter writing campaign is supported once a month by local Quakers and others, in the Chipping Campden house of one of our members and its annual greetings card campaign Write for Rights in the Christmas season.

A Catholic priest presides over a simulated serviceFor the last few years BBC TV has hired the Meeting House for a day or two during summer months to film what seems to have become an annual series of ‘Father Brown’ films, very popular overseas we understand! They pay good money which has helped us with reroofing in 2014 and since then with other projects. In a small way this is a form of outreach, with interest in Quakers shown by those involved.

Quaker Week Activities

  1. 2015: On the Sunday we arranged a thirty minute Meeting for Worship as an introduction to Quaker worship for visitors, followed by questions, discussion and refreshments.
  2. 2016: At the Old Police Station in Chipping Campden we put on the moving film This is Exile showing the experiences of exiled Syrian children over a year.
  3. 2017: Also at the Old Police Station, Lynn and Dave Morris performed their play The Bundle, the harrowing and eye-opening experience of a Chechnyan refugee fleeing with her three children from violence and discrimination at home to be greeted by the cold bureaucracy of the Home Office here. This was a virtual sell-out, raising over £850 to be shared between Gloucestershire Action for Asylum Seekers & Refugees (GARAS) and two refugee charities supported by Lynn and Dave.

One-off events

An outspoken women in plain seventeenth-century dress

  1. 2015
    1. February: The Broad Campden website was launched, under the umbrella of Area Meeting.
    2. March: At Area Meeting for Learning hosted by us, a moving performance of Elizabeth Hooton(who knew George Fox) was given by Lynn Morris, supported by her husband Dave, both Quakers from Stourbridge, which raised funds for Medical Aid for Palestine.
    3. June: By arrangement, we hosted a group of walkers from Badsey for tea & cakes.
  2. 2016
    1. March: We invited David Elliot, who had recently returned from a young people’s placement with Quaker United Nations in Geneva, to give a talk about his experiences in the Old Police Station, Chipping Campden. This was well attended by Quakers and non-Quakers, followed by thought provoking discussion. A member of our Meeting, along with two others, visited GARAS headquarters in Gloucester to learn more about their refugee work there.
    2. Good Friday: The Meeting House was opened to the wider local community for a couple of hours for Silence for Syria, and again on November 11th for Silence for Victims of War.
    3. In September we arranged a rota to receive Ride & Stride participants (in aid of Glos Historic Churches) but no one turned up!
    4. June: Facebook page created: Broad Campden Quaker Meeting.
  3. 2017
    1. July/August: Yearly Meeting Gathering took place not far away at Warwick University which seven members attended, either full or part time.

    Donations

    As well as regular donations to Quaker charities, over the last three years we have made outside collections to the following charities: Medical Aid for Palestine; Handicap International Nepal Earthquake Appeal; Dorothy Peace Centre for an Ebola Orphanage; Ibanda Literacy Scheme; Uganda Childbirth Injuries Fund; Gloucestershire Historic Churches; UNICEF; Quaker Homeless Action; Gloucestershire Action for Refugees & Asylum Seekers; Save the Children; The Retreat, York; Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel; Toilet Twinning; Sibford Local Meeting for work on their MH.

    Friends hold up a giant-sized cheque outside the Meeting House
    1. 2015: In June we ‘officially’ received a generous cheque for £8,000 from Gloucestershire Historic Churches towards the new roof. The actual cheque had been paid the previous year.
    2. 2016: Margaret Derrett, in her will, gave us a framed letter from Elizabeth Fry.
    3. 2017: Early in the year we agreed to pursue the possibility of Toilet Twinning by making a donation, and in August we received a plaque showing that ours was twinned with one in Guatemala.

    Property

    New oak double doors flanked by new shelves
    1. 2015: The hearing loop amplifier was replaced. The children’s room was repainted with preservative.
    2. 2016: A new outside noticeboard, two folding tables and a gazebo (particularly for storing furniture during BBC filming) were purchased. The Quinquennial Survey undertaken by Philip Cooper, surveyor, highlighted in particular a dangerous corner of boundary wall, in the deeds of the adjacent property Maidenwell, which the owner was quick to repair. Two Friends, with occasional help from others, undertook some serious gardening.
    3. 2017: The oak front door was rehung and repaired at the bottom to improve the seal and reduce drafts. New leaflet racks made for us by a local craftsman were finally erected in place on the snowy day in December when two Friends braved the weather on foot for Meeting for Worship.

    Conclusion

    A Friend in snow outside the Meeting HouseThe privilege of living in or close to the beautiful Cotswolds makes us very aware not only of our good fortune, but of the continual need to remind ourselves of the many people whose lives are affected by poverty, violence or other upsetting conditions, both far away and on our doorstep too. We value the warmth and support of our neighbours, including the local publican who gives us leave to park.

    Spiritually we are nourished by Meeting for Worship in gathered silence or with thoughtful ministry. Readings from Advices & Queries or other sources continue on a regular basis. Our varied discussion meetings, working together, social gatherings and opening the MH house to visitors from far and near during summer months and on other occasions when possible, have enriched our lives and deepened our loving awareness of one another’s strengths and shortcomings. We mourned the deaths of five Friends, but give thanks for the memories of their lives and witness.

    And so life goes on. May faith, hope and love lead us to walk cheerfully over this world into the unknown future of ever present uncertainties.

    Photographs and written notes attached to a wall-mounted timelineThis report started with a ‘Wall of Wonder’ in the children’s room, followed later by a long sheet of paper divided into years, on a long table in the Meeting House for people to add contributions of events or particular memories. It was then transferred into a written document for editing.