Recently in Travels Category

Traveling Ministry

| Comments

Traveling Ministry

History.  From their earliest beginnings in 17th century, Quakers have valued and supported travel by individual Friends "under a religious concern".  In most cases such Friends have traveled among settled (i.e. already established) Friends Meetings either in their immediate vicinity or at a great distance.  At times, however, Friends have felt led to travel among non-Friends with a particular leading.  A striking example is when Mary Fisher felt led in 1658 to travel to Istanbul to meet with Sultan  Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire.  All early Quaker leaders, especially those identified informally as the "Valiant Sixty", carried out such travels in the gospel ministry.  Later Quaker journals are filled with accounts of such  religious travel.

Shared discernment and support from the faith community.  Friends developed very early a process for group testing, usually by one's local congregation, of such leadings.  This process is now usually referred to as a "clearness committee" for one-time calls to travel and a "support committee" for the nurture and holding accountable of those led to carry out such work on a more ongoing basis.  This provcess is one important example of what Friends refer to as "eldership" or eldering.  The process of shared discernment of God's call and holding an individual accountable for carrying out that call faithfully is the same whether or not it is carried out by persons formally recognized as elders or by others not so designated. 

It is considered important that Friends undertaking such work obtain a written minute of religious concern often referred to as a "traveling minute" that describes the faith community's official endorsement of the individual's calling to a particular or more ongoing religious work among Friends or in the wider world.  In cases of distant travel among Friends, these minutes are also often endorsed by the Friend's yearly meeting (regional association).

It is considered critical that Friends undertaking this type of work travel with a spiritual companion or "elder".  The elder both provides prayerful support to the "minister" (both during any programs the minister is leading and before and after) and also to hold the minister accountable for faithful exercise of her or his call.

There is separate webpage with more information on Eldering

Biblical underpinnings. Early Friends saw themselves as continuing a pattern of religious work described in Bible, especially the New Testament.  The importance of traveling with an elder ties in with the fact that Jesus sent out his followers in pairs.  See Mark 9-13.  The resurrected Jesus gave similar briefer instructions in Matthew 28-18-20.  Many examples can also be found in the Book of Acts and Paul's letters.  You can read many reports of the process of discerning in prayer with others what particular travel or religious task Paul and others were called to carry out.

Engaging with a Monthly Meeting about Ministry describes one Friend's request to her meeting for a minute of travel and how the meeting responded.

For a description of some of the types of work that Anne Patterson & I (Peter Blood) have done see Our Travel under Concern.

Middletown Minute on Teaching Ministry

| Comments
 Middletown Monthly Meeting of Friends

435 Middletown Road

Lima, Pennsylvania

 

Dear Friends,

This letter is written in support of our dear Friend, Peter Blood-Patterson who has worked for years bringing God's glory to many people, not only in our Yearly Meeting but in other parts of the world as well. He has done this most notably as a music maker and song leader, preparing hearts to rejoice in the spirit, in sessions led with his wife Annie. But Peter also brings God's word to others through his gifts as a teacher. For over 20 years Peter has exercised these gifts as retreat leader, workshop leader, and teacher of Quakerism 101 and 201.

Our Meeting knows that Peter has a special love for teaching. It seems to mean more to him than his singing, touching a place in his heart that is a reservoir of strength and peace.  We understand him when he says he feels used by God in these situations, happy to be sharing with his students in the class or workshop as a small but important part of God's journey with our people here on earth.

In his classes he allows participants to explore their own material, apprehending that meaning that suits them. But he also challenges that individual awareness with his own insights grounded in a thorough knowledge of Quaker theology and history, many times bringing a new clarity to the student's experience. In his teaching involving Meeting life Peter strives to bring participants to a deeper awareness of the spiritual quality of their shared Meeting for Worship and Meeting for Business, drawing upon the nourishment provided by Middletown's worshiping community.

Peter has been a caring presence in our Meeting for over ten years. We have heard God's voice through him in our Meeting for Worship and we have felt his strength and concern in our Meeting for Business. He and his family, Annie, Nate, and Ian, continue to play important roles in our Meeting community. We are pleased to support him in this ministry of teaching, knowing that God's presence guides him in loving faithfulness.


With thankfulness for God's grace,

 

Rich Ailes , Clerk

Middletown Monthly Meeting

Lima, PA

 

11th Month, 21, 2004

Firbank Fell Challenge

| Comments

Firbank Fell's Challenge
to 21st Century Quakerism

On Sunday, June 13th, 1652, about a thousand people gathered on an isolated hillside in rural northern England to listen to a little-known but charismatic young man named George Fox preach. The sermon lasted three hours. It is always risky to look for a particular date on which a religious movement is born, but many choose this as the time Quakerism was born.

349 years later, my family was staying in Briggflatts Meetinghouse, located just a few miles from Firbank Fell. The meetinghouse is only a stone's throw up the lane from Borrats, a stately old home owned by a Separatist justice of the peace in 1652 and one of the first places Fox visited in the area. Each June Friends in the region honor this important event in our collective history by holding a "Fox's Pulpit Meeting". Fox's Pulpit is the name given to the rock, now marked with a plaque, on which Fox stood during his sermon. Usually this meeting for worship is held in the sheep pasture where the original sermon was delivered. Because of the foot and mouth epidemic last summer, the meeting had to be moved indoors to Briggflatts Meeting. Friends were busily planning with other religious groups in the area a special commemoration the 350th anniversary, which occurred this summer.

We went looking for Fox's pulpit the day after we arrived. On our way back from Sedbergh (where Fox had preached just outside the parish church during a large hiring fair), we turned up the wrong narrow country lane. Later back at the Meetinghouse, I found a map on the wall and was able to figure out our error. While my wife Annie was putting our seven year old to bed, I asked our 14 year old, Nate, to join me on a walk. The moon was full and the air was warm. When I told him I'd figured out where we had gotten lost earlier in the day, Nate exclaimed: "Let's go now!"

I pondered a few minutes, full of adult concerns. We had only intended to walk down to the end of the little lane where the meetinghouse is located. I was pretty sure I could find my way to Fox's Pulpit this time but had no idea really how long it would take. Would Annie worry if we were out a long time? I took the leap: how can you turn down a wide-eyed teenager full of enthusiasm to hike by moonlight to the birthplace of his faith community!

It was a long hike and I got pretty winded keeping up with my athletic teenager as we pressed up the long climb to the fell. But this time we didn't get lost. We gazed ruefully over the stonewall to the boulder with its marker and decided, reluctantly, to honor the health department rules. The fragrance of the fell filled our lungs. Only a few farmhouse lights pierced the darkness now that the moon had hidden in the clouds. Only the wind and an occasional bleat disturbed the silence. (The area may well be less populated today than it was 350 years ago.) We held our own brief two-person worship celebrating that great day at the edge of the lane before beginning our return hike to Briggflatts, taking great leaps on the lane's steep drop off the fell.

It is impossible to overestimate the importance of Fox's 1652 visit to Westmoreland to who we are and who we could be as Friends. There are three key things that we can say about that event. All speak powerfully to key spiritual challenges facing our Quaker movement today.

REACHING OUT. First and foremost, the decision to go to Westmoreland and preach at Firbank involved the choice by Fox and his tiny group of followers to reach out beyond their boundaries.

Deborah Haines, clerk of FGC's Advancement & Outreach Committee, has written about Firbank that it is good to remember that Quakerism was born in outreach. Surely this is one of the great outreach events of all time! In the space of a few months, the Quaker movement not only grew from a handful of believers to several thousand but recruited a large share of the incredible cadre of leaders at the center of its first generation.

Fox's ministry did not begin in Westmoreland that summer. He already had important followers working with him such as Elizabeth Hooten and Richard Farnsworth. He had spent a year in jail in Derby for his heretical preaching. But his group was tiny up to that point.

The loosely-organized separatist community of Westmoreland Seekers was largely incorporated en masse into the new Quaker Movement following the summer months Fox spent in the area. Several of the key leaders on the new movement including John Audland and Francis Howgill trace their convincement to the Firbank sermon. The convincement of Edward Burroughs in Kendal and Margaret Fell in Ulverston followed within a few weeks. All things being said, it is fair to conclude that it is unlikely that our Quaker Movement would have been born without Fox's ready response to his vision on Pendle Hill of a "great people to be gathered" in the North.

I confess to some lack of enthusiasm for the word "outreach" itself. Liberal Friends give at least lip service to the need for outreach but are generally deeply opposed to evangelism. The idea of reaching out beyond our own community is great, of course, but the word outreach seems to connote an outwardly-motivated obligation to try and recruit new members into an organization. In contrast, the word evangelism denotes an inwardly-generated compulsion to share the good news of one's own experience with others.

Although the faith of Fox and other early Friends was very different than that of modern evangelical Protestants, it is undeniable that First Generation Friends were evangelical to a degree that would appall most liberal Friends today. These early leaders of our movement felt under a deep spiritual necessity to share their religious convictions with others who did not (as yet) share their faith. This was in part because they felt unabashedly convinced of the truth of their own beliefs. It was also presumably due to their strong concern for the spiritual state of those believing and practicing differently.

I would not claim to understand what makes Friends today (myself included) so reluctant to share our beliefs and experience with non-Friends. It may be in part that we are reluctant to stand out as being too peculiar. We seem willing enough, however, to be out of the mainstream on secular issues like not flying flags from our car antennas!
I suspect that the biggest block in me to sharing my spiritual life with others is my anxiety to avoid coming off as anything like a Jehovah's Witness. I am so afraid of being considered (by whom: myself? other Friends? by God?) as pushy and self-righteous that too often I hold back from sharing my deepest beliefs and experiences at all with non-Friends. Many Friends also fear that by sharing we will somehow take away other's freedom to believe what is right for them.

And yet there are certainly as many people out there longing for the Quaker message today as there were in Fox's time. The invitation to the Fell sermon was not limited to card-carrying Westmoreland Seekers. Fox and the Valiant Sixty were led to communicate their message to those outside their circle of followers in homes, marketplaces, taverns, courtrooms, military barracks, palaces and the worship services of other Christian groups. They did so to people of every class and even those like Native Americans or the Sultan that most people at the time would have considered highly unlikely to grasp their message. They were utterly unafraid of being ignored, rejected, ridiculed, or persecuted for trying to explain what they found to be Truth.

Deborah Haines has said that outreach is about welcoming the stranger among us - the one we least expect to respond to our Quaker message. The stranger is waiting outside our Meetinghouse walls.
What will it take for this to change? What will it take for us to care so deeply about the host of seekers longing for Truth that surround us in the world today - until the barriers fall away to reaching out with all the passion that filled Fox and his companions' hearts 350 years ago?

SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY. The second key characteristic of Firbank is that it involved response to spiritual authority.
Why did so many Seekers and other Northern Separatists enter the Quaker movement during that summer in 1652? When a listener was chastising Fox for preaching outdoors in the Sedbergh churchyard, Francis Howgill silenced him by declaring that "This man [Fox] speaks with authority, and not as the scribes." William Sewel concludes his account of the Firbank sermon Firbank with: "Thus preached G. Fox, and his ministry was at that time accompanied with such a convincing power, and so reached the hearts of the people, that many, and even all the teachers of that congregation, who were many, were convinced of that Truth which was declared to them."

The Westmoreland Seekers rejected as false the spiritual authority of the Church of England and of the independent sects of the day. They were waiting for true spiritual authority. When they encountered it in the person and preaching of George Fox, they responded whole-heartedly. His message that he had encountered Christ in an immediate experiential way, available to teach and lead them Himself, struck a deep resonant chord within them. They responded by joining the nascent Quaker movement.

As Friends we hold dear the access that each of us has to this Inward Christ (or Light or Spirit). This radical egalitarianism can serve us ill, however, if it leads us to crush spiritual authority when it arises among us. Past generations of Friends recognized the need to recognize and nurture spiritual gifts in our midst, gifts that vary greatly from member to member. A universal ministry can all too easily deteriorate into a ministry of none.

The term "weighty Friend" was often used pejoratively when I first heard it in the 1960's, implying a stodgy older (probably birthright?) Friend resistant to fresh ideas and change. The term originally had a very different meaning. It referred to the ability of a clerk in a business meeting to recognize and respond to spiritual authority (or "weight") when it appears there. Failure to recognize, respond to and nurture spiritual authority leads to the impoverishment of our meetings for worship and business - and the likelihood that those with gifts of spiritual leadership will be discouraged and sidetracked from exercising those gifts, that we need so desperately, among us.

If our movement is to flourish and grow, the pendulum needs to swing back toward recognition and celebration of spiritual authority when it arises in our midst. We do not need to abandon our commitment to the universal ministry in order to do so. We do need to recover our ability as a faith community to discern God breaking in through the words and lives of others among us.

COMMUNITY. The third key to Firbank is that it entailed the choice of religious community over an individual spiritual path.

Although Fox may have remained through out his life "first among equals" among Friends, the rich diversity of women and men making up the Valiant Sixty guaranteed that Quakerism was a true movement and not simply a one-man show. Even if Fox's robust body had not enabled him to live through the brutal beatings and imprisonment that cost the lives of many other early Quaker leaders, it seems likely that the movement would have lived on and flourished after the 1652 influx of leadership.

In incorporating the Westmoreland Seeker movement into his group of followers, Fox made a decisive choice to build a coherent movement rather than remain a lonely voice decrying the dismal state of religious groups existing at the time. The Seeker movement also made a clear decision in 1652 to move from informal association of like-minded people to a clearly-defined community knit together by the effort to be corporately accountable to God.

Although we do not know a great deal about the Westmoreland Seekers, it seems that they shared with Quakerism the rejection of outward rites and rigid creeds. If they had not been brought into a more coherent movement, it seems unlikely that they would be remembered or have survived any more than a host of other small Separatist sects at the time. In joining the Quaker movement, the Seekers became Finders - they had found a Truth in Fox's ministry that rang true to them. They were choosing to be part of a community with leadership, with coherent theology, and with clear standards of lifestyle.

But their choice was not simply one of community, but of community under the direct leadership of the living Inward Christ. The unique discovery of this new movement was that they could discern God's voice as a community - in their worship and eventually in their gatherings to make decisions together. Although the formal structure of "gospel order" with its several levels of meetings to discern God's voice was still years away, it is apparent that Friends began practicing corporate discernment in more informal ways from the earliest days of their movement. And Friends basically became a movement rather than a collection of individual followers in 1652.

In contrast, there is a powerful bias towards spiritual individualism in our Quaker movement today. There are both internal and external reasons for this. Many Friends in the early 20th century reacted strongly against what they saw as the excessive corporate discipline of meeting life, with its elders and recorded ministers too concerned in the theological purity of meeting members and organs hidden in their attics. In addition, we live in a society that holds personal freedom in high regard. It is important to recognize the impact that this cultural bias has on our attitudes as Friends today towards corporate accountability.

As a result of both these influences, it is unclear whether there is anything a Friend can do today to elicit the explicit concern of other members in their meeting. Many meetings also feel it is beyond their right to establish any clear boundaries that would exclude potential meeting recruits. Most Friends today prefer to remain "seekers" and reject the corporate spiritual life that evolved in the Quaker movement born at Firbank.

Will Friends today be open to God leading us back into community with each other in vital fresh ways, so that we become once again a movement led by the inward voice of Christ? Will our 350th birthday be an opportunity for rediscovering the spiritual power of Fox and his companions or just a chance to honor and remember them? Can I capture in my heart the boundless energy with which Nate led me in search of Fox's pulpit and redirect it into carrying Truth to others who are waiting today to hear the Quaker message communicated with passion and authority? With God's help, anything is possible!

© 2002 Peter Blood. First published in the August 2002 issue of Friends Journal.

NZYM Report

| Comments

New Zealand/Aotearoa Yearly Meeting Report

On the Blood-Patterson's Trip

 

Here's a report about a family

who left the airport with a van full of music

who squeezed themselves into a modest  car

and sent boxes and instruments around the country.

Everything arrived on time - faith was rewarded.

Here's a report about a family that travelled with children

where no family has ever ventured before nor asked what this family asked -

a family  that understands about the community that must share

the responsibility

Everyone learned along the way - faith was rewarded.

Here's a report about a family who took song

wherever they went - reaching out to Friends and those beyond

with music that springs from deep roots

Many  heard, many were moved - faith was rewarded.

Here's a report about how music took root  where

music has only rested tentatively before

in a worshipful space where Friends can shine

Music  with Friends roots - Faith was rewarded

Here's a report about the tour of Annie Patterson and Peter Blood, Nate and Ian.


Details:

Names: Annie and Peter Blood-Patterson  plus Nate (13) and Ian (6)

Members of Middletown Monthly Meeting (Philadelphia YM)

Purpose: Share a musical ministry with Friends in NZ.

Dates: 21 Dec 1999 - 31 January 2000

Funded by: New Zealand Yearly Meeting (domestic travel)

            Their own fundraising/support (international travel)

The invitation:

Minute 34 1998 New Zealand Yearly Meeting:

 ' Singing Quakers visit? - Peter Blood/Annie Patterson'

Sue Stover has introduced us to the music and witness of Peter Blood and Annie Patterson of Middletown MM Philadelphia YM who have expressed their desire to be here and make music with Friends in NZ next December - January. The organisers of the next Summer Gathering have expressed strong support for this visit and would like to have them at Teapot Valley.

We invite Annie Patterson and Peter Blood  to visit us at the suggested time. We encourage MMs to welcome these Friends and experience their many gifts. Sue Stover has agreed to co-ordinate Annie and Peter's arrangements in NZ. We ask the clerk to find two other people to work with Sue on this.

We agree to contribute up to $1200 towards their travel costs in NZ, and to underwrite their other costs up to another $1800 in the expectation that meetings will use Annie and Peter's performances to raise this extra money.

WHAT HAPPENED:

Auckland     21-26 December;   28-31 January

Auckland served as home port for the Blood - Pattersons - they arrived here, spent most of a week recovering from an exhausting trip (and an exhausting year) at Friends House Waiheke, and joined us on Christmas Eve. They  marvelled at the flowers that are bundled for the prisoners. That evening we sang and they sang informally in the children's room while we made decorations and later as part of the candlelight gathering they sang (and we tried, but it was much harder because they knew the songs and we didn't!). On Boxing Day  they reappeared from the Island and worshipped with us - Peter offering ministry on the year of jubilee as we looked forward towards the new millennium. The family disappeared off down the lefthand side of the southern motorway - headed for points south. So far so good.

Five weeks later they reappeared again in need of rest. Peter shared food at a potluck meal and afterwards lead us on a guided tour of the new Quaker hymnal. There were about 15 people who stayed for the singing, including Duncan (aged 2) whose attempt at building the tower of Pisa out of cushions was particularly memorable. For the next two days Annie and Peter were wrapped up in the enthusiastic energy of the Auckland Folk Festival where they were warmly received and deeply appreciated. Although the folkies there may not have known that Annie and Peter were Quakers, they must have sensed the Quaker messages that permeated their songs: there were messages in words and music that spelt out  peace, concern,  struggle, commitment, and a deep abiding faith.

- Sue Stover

 Wanganui     27 December - 2 January

Peter and Annie, Nate and Ian stayed for the whole Meeting for construction at the Quaker Settlement.  Everyday Peter and Annie enthusiastically led singing sessions, planned and spontaneous.  These included singing daily under a tree with the kids (little and big ones), and adult singing, especially from their book Rise Up Singing and the new Quaker Hymnal. They were generous in their sharing of their awesome repertoire, andmade it very easy for anyone to participate.

They took part in other activities, added music to some Meetings for Worship, wrote some thoughts for the Building Bugle and created some great designs to add to their screen printed T shirts.  We hope, that even though it was a busy week, they found time to settle into their trip and recover from the travel from the States and to Wanganui.  Their presence at the Meeting for Construction was most appreciated.

- Mandy and Nigel Brooke

Summer Gathering, Teapot Valley     5-14 January

I found Peter Blood a spiritual and deeply thoughtful man who contributed to the SG both with his music and with his ministry contributions to Meeting for Worship and the spiritual life of the gathering.

He is a very good musician, with skills shown as guitarist, arranger and fiddle player. He had an ability to organise a disparate group in terms of age and musicality. He fronted various sessions to do with singing or with music in the life of a Meeting. He blessed us all with his skills in the field of group singing.

Similarly for Annie. Her special skills were on guitar and banjo, and as a gifted and versatile singer/performer. In the tradition of American folk, country, bluegrass and also in jazz and blues, she showed a deep grounding. Her  version on frailing banjo of a gospel song "Now Is the Cool of the Day" by Jean Ritchie was a spine-chilling, knee-weakening experience and the highlight of the visit for me. She, too, showed great skills as a music leader.

I hope that their challenge to New Zealand Friends to celebrate and worship with music will be taken up with full voice. Their visit was Spirit-blessed.

In love and the Spirit,

- Brian McNamara

Dunedin   16-18 January

Peter and Annie arrived in Dunedin on Saturday the 15th of Jan. and stayed with the duFresnes. On Sunday the 14th  Peter and Annie after Meeting for Worship led  some of us in group singing. After which we shared a  potluck lunch. That evening  Annie and Peter went to the New Edinburgh Folk Club at Tull's coffee house where they sang with around 60 folk  club supporters. Everyone enjoyed themselves and there was enthusiastic participation from the audience.

At  9 a.m. Monday morning we met at Hills a.m. radio station where I interviewed them about folk singing,  Rise Up Singing, and about  performers

such as Pete Seeger. At 11.45 a.m. we went to the octagon or town square where Peter and Annie performed to a varied  lunch time audience  of between twenty  and sixty people. Quite a number of people spent a good

part of their lunch hour listening to  songs that they would not ordinarily hear.  At both singing functions people showed an interest in the song books and CDs.

I  feel that the Blood - Patterson visit to Dunedin has been very worthwhile!

- Marvin Hubbard in Solidarity

Christchurch    19-21 January

On the 19th January Peter and Annie led a workshop at Christchurch Meeting entitled 'Hearing God's Voice'. This was a discussion and sharing of the issues and complexities of discernment and what Friends call Leadings. About 15 Friends attended, and found this a challenging exploration of key Quaker insights.

The following afternoon/evening was a singalong, also at the Meeting House,beginning with a delightful session for children. After a shared meal we then had a moving demonstration of the participatory music making which Annie and Peter have made their speciality. This included many numbers requested by participating Friends.  By the end of the evening Friends had hoarse throats and warm hearts.

Through the singalong (which attracted a number of outsiders) plus TV and newspaper interviews, Annie and Peter helped with Quaker outreach. 

- Peter Low and Derry Gordon

Wellington    22-24 January

The Blood-Pattersons stayed at the Friends Centre in Wellington on the nights  of January 22nd and 23rd.  Although the Blood-Pattersons would have preferred staying with a Quaker family in their home, this was not possible.  Instead,  Wellington meeting supported Peter, Annie and their family by waiving all fees for the Friend's centre.

The activities of the Blood-Pattersons in Wellington was organised by the  Family's Committee.  On January 22nd a shared meal was arranged to welcome Annie, Peter, Nate and Ian.  The Family's committee brought extra food so that the Blood-Pattersons did not have to worry about making a contribution to the meal.  The meal was followed by a sing-a-long attended by about 20 to 30 Friends.  Ian was cared for by a member of the Family's committee during this concert.  The singalong, which attracted a number of people who are not Friends, lasted about two hours, and was a wonderful informal affair very much enjoyed by those who attended.   Rise-Up-Singing and the new Friends Hymnal were used throughout.  Wellington meeting does not often have opportunities to sing Quaker songs or songs with Quaker values so the event was a real treat for us.

The following day the Blood-Pattersons were unable to attend meeting for worship because of the need to prepare for the day's concerts.  Annie and Peter performed two half-hour concerts at the very well attended, annual Wellington City Council's "Teddy Bear's Picnic" (called the "Cookie Bear Picnic" this year).  The performances were in the dell of the botanic gardens. During the day Ian was cared for by a member of the Family's committee. The Blood-Patterson performance was much less hyped up than those of other performers and were perhaps a breath of fresh air for children and parents attending the concert. Payment for these performances ($1000.00) will go to New Zealand Yearly meeting in support of the Blood-Patterson tour.

We definitely enjoyed the Blood-Patterson's visit.  Their music is of a high quality and is very uplifting.  It is amazing how many songs and how much song folklore Annie and Peter know.  Those of us who were able to also enjoy  performances of the Blood-Pattersons at Summer Gathering were doubly enriched by their visit.

- Judy Brown

Hamilton    26-27 January 2000

On their first day in Hamilton Annie and Peter were interviewed by Community Radio in a twenty-minute live to air broadcast that included the stories of the history of their singing and their journeying throughout New Zealand as part of their Quaker outreach. It was followed by their concert that evening in the Lady Goodfellow Chapel, University of Waikato, which was attended by 70 people of all ages.

"The concert on 26 January when Peter Blood and Annie Patterson performed was a valuable form of outreach. It was enjoyed by a large section of Friends and others. The emphasis on family groups was particularly appreciated, as were the participation songs for small children."

- Waikato/Hauraki Monthly Meeting, 6 February 2000, Minute 10:

The weather was perfect and the venue was a good choice. Annie and Peter were relaxed. They shared their love of music with us and we were all included and responded to the joy of singing together. Both the concert and the radio interview reached out to the wider community.

Annie and Peter had family and recreational time the next day that included a visit to the Waitomo caves.

The evening of 27 January was a relaxing time with people from the Meeting gathering for a shared meal with Annie and Peter and their sons at the home of Patricia and David Waugh, where they were staying. The meal was  followed by more singing, a wonderful way to bring the visit to an end.

- Beryl Jones.

OVERALL

That the tour by Peter and Annie and their family was successful owes much to Peter and Annie themselves. They were adaptable and enthusiastic and thoroughly enjoyed being amongst New Zealand Friends. The success of the tour also owes much to New Zealand Friends themselves who found many ways to be part of the tour - there were last minute offers to shift instruments and boxes, offers to child mind and accommodation. There was also long-term organising that produced concerts, publicity and substance to what started off as merely ideas. Together we made it work for all of us. Thank you Friends.

- Sue Stover, Tour Co-ordinator

P.S. Just before they left, Peter said, 'I have a question. When shall we come back?' It was not a question of IF, it was a question of WHEN. We have much to look forward to, Friends!

Ode to Teapot Valley

| Comments

ODE TO TEAPOT VALLEY

 

O happy vale - you loved us well!

Your doctor welcomed us - smiling warmly

Wearing shorts, extending his hand

"I'm Tony - how can we help you?"

 

Your cafe brought us gourmet chicken salad and steaming cappuccino

(unheard of in our small farming towns)

Rusted machines dot the fields of your "Steam Museum"

Steep hills overlook your sunny valley.

 

Our son longed for a bike

Your bikeshop owner looked in the shed

"Well this just came in and I've

Not had time to fix it up

Take this - No: there'll be no charge

If you bring it back in good shape."

 

Vineyards line your slopes.

Cheerful vintners fill our glasses and

Confess their favorites.

Stones skip across the surface of your river.

We ride screaming down your "flying fox"

Ian conquers your confidence course

(Fashioned for much larger bodies)

A bevy of small Friends try hard to drown me - giggling.

 

Your dining room defeats us, so

A table is set - with flowers

Where we can dine quietly alone

And breathe - and heal.

Young girls bring a chain of flowers

To Annie's sickroom bedside.

 

May you always turn death boats from your shores

May you always lend your cars bravely to near strangers

From across the sea

May you welcome travelers and singers into your homes - and hearts

May you trust - and forgive

May you be a beacon of slower pace and

Easy-going spirit in a

Too busy cluttered world

May you teach the great nations the ways of

 

               PEACE.

 

-   Peter Blood-Patterson, Brightwater, New Zealand (13 January, 2000)

 

Written at the New Zealand/Aotearoa Yearly Meeting summer gathering held at Teapot Valley Christian Camp. We were invited by New Zeland Yearly Meeting to spend about five weeks traveling among Friends doing music ministry from December 1999 through the end of January 2000.  New Zealand had refused to allow U.S. warships with nuclear weapons dock at their ports not long before.

Subscribe

 Subscribe in a reader

Subscribe by Email:

Quote that speaks to me

Death Cannot Kill What Never Dies

| Comments
They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it.  
Death cannot kill what never dies.  
Nor can spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same Divine Principle; the Root and Record of their friendship.
If absence be not death, neither is theirs.  
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still.  
For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent.
In this Divine Glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure.
This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.
 - William Penn, More Fruits of Solitude, 1702.

Note: This passage was quoted by J.K.Rowling as the epigraph of her novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Braithwaite on Outreach

| Comments

Men & Women with a Message of Power

It is as a "religion of life" that Quakerism will be presented in the future and is being presented now.

Its distinguishing note will be its resolve to bring all this human life of ours under the transforming power of spiritual life.  It will stand out against all divisions and compartments that separate the sacred from the secular, the sanctuary from the outward world of nature, the sacrament from the days' common work, the clergy from the laity. 

It will tell of a Christian experience that makes all life sacred and all days holy, all nature a sanctuary, all work a sacrament, and gives to every man and woman in the body fit place and service.  Its concern will be to multiply men and women who will have a message of power because they are themselves the children of light.  It will claim the whole of man's life, and the whole of life, individual, social, national international, for the dominion of the will of God.

William C. Braithwaite and Henry T. Hodgkin, The Message and Mission of Quakerism (Philadelphia, Winston, 1912), 25-26.