A simple stone meeting house

Triennial report 2012

Ettington Local Quaker Meeting submitted the following Triennial Report for 2009-2011 to the Banbury and Evesham Area Quaker Meeting:

The Area Meeting Annual Tabular Statements show discrete numbers of Friends and Attenders. However, at Ettington, we regard all those who worship with us as members of the Meeting and ‘hold them in the Light’ together with those who are unable to be present due to infirmity or distance. Friends from a wide geographical area spanning more than 40 miles form our Quaker community as few live locally. We are strengthened by members of long standing who faithfully contribute to our Quaker witness. New Friends are welcomed and greatly add to our sense of purpose and growth. Our special Meeting is growing and there is a closeness which we all appreciate.

Our historic Meeting House, with its peaceful garden, assists in providing a quiet place where it is possible to seek spiritual guidance and refreshment. We note with pleasure the progress of the seasons, from the snowdrops in February, followed by primroses and daffodils before the new leaves on the trees and the summer flowers form a little oasis enjoyed by villagers and Friends alike. The autumn colours bring a spectacular glow to our small corner of Warwickshire.

In June, July and August of 2009 and 2010, the Meeting House was open to visitors on Sunday afternoons, with afternoon tea and friendship provided! In 2011, we hosted a session of ’Quaker Quest’ and some members were involved in activities at other venues. Perhaps this caused some of us to explore deeply what it means to be a Quaker! We have treasured visits from children from the village primary school, and also the Scouts from Shipston on Stour On each occasion, the young people experienced a short Meeting for Worship followed by questions both penetrating and enlightening! We also welcomed many people who were taking part in the Historic Churches Cycle Rides starting from the Meeting House. Volunteers from the Meeting joined Shipston Scouts in clearing the garden at the back of the town library (the former Friends’ Meeting House). It was a most enjoyable evening and will probably be a regular activity in the future. Some Friends have joined with others in worship outside RAF Croughton on a regular basis.

In 1682, Samuel Lucas donated land at Ettington for the Meeting House and burial ground. In 2011 Martin Lucas, Samuel’s 9th generation grandson, paid us a visit with his wife Anna Mari. Later that afternoon, Friends visited the old Armscote Meeting House (where George Fox had preached to the local people), which is now owned by Deborah Williams, and had a tour of her garden at the Manor House opposite. On New Year’s Day 2012, a talk on the history of Quakers in the village of Ettington and a walk followed by a shared lunch with Warwick Friends made a day to remember! Margaret Burt from Shipston has donated a copy of her own family history recounting life at Ettington Hall with her parents during the 1939/45 war. The Hall was the home of several Quaker families at times in earlier days.

We have members with many talents which are shared in a number of ways. On fifth Sundays, we have special gatherings to consider selected subjects ranging from ‘Faith in Action’, ‘Steps to get us the Right Way Up’, ‘Encounters with Silence’, ‘Conflict Situations and , most recently, ‘Forgiveness’. A Friend sells fine jams and jellies for Quaker work. Recently we raised funds for Ramallah, made even more relevant following a member’s visit to Israel and Palestine with Quaker Voluntary Action.

For the fourth year, we will host an annual lecture when Area Meeting (for learning) is held at Ettington in July. We have valued talks from Janet Scott, Alex Wildwood, and Beth Allen. Photographs of these events are available. In July this year, we hope to be addressed by Geoffrey Durham on ‘The Place of Small Meetings in the Society). It is Eleanor Wharton’s particular concern that we should hear from experienced speakers the Quaker perspective on areas of concern.

An in depth survey has been made of the Meeting House Garden and its trees. Money has been spent on improving the drainage and rewiring and improvement to the heating facilities. One silver birch tree was taken down as it impinged on a neighbouring house. We submitted an Art Aspect to the Quaker Garden Project.

We record with sadness the death of Rita Lamb in 2011. In her younger days, she gave so much to the life of Friends.

In 1684, Friends were asked ’How does Truth prosper in your Meeting?’ We try to continue the witness for Truth in Quaker Testimonies and the overwhelming need for Social Justice.

Silently we sit in Meeting. God loves us all in this wonderful world. We pray for peace.

ETTINGTON LOCAL MEETING

Ettington Meeting House is a simple single-storey stone building with a slate roof Afternoon tea in the garden at EttingtonYoung people being creative in Ettington Meeting HouseArmscote Meeting House is a simple single-storey stone building with a covered pavement along the front