The Quaker blog

Is the Social Justic Committee going to consider aswering some of the questions raised by the Work and Pension Inquiry: Intergeneratioonl Fairness?

The closing date for written submissions is Friday 19th February 2016

January 13, 2016 - 13:17
Social Justice group
Christopher Green
March 20, 2015 - 16:07
Social Justice group
Meirion Tanner

Wool Against Weapons is co-ordinating the knitting of a pink peace scarf to run between Womens Peace Camp at Aldermaston and the nuclear weapons establishment at Burghfield in August, as a protest against the UK's ongoing involvement with nuclear weapons. The scarf will be rolled out from Aldermaston to Burghfield in August. Margaret Lever of Eccles Quaker Meeting is well known for her knitting. She knits goods for sale for local charity Mustard Tree food bank, which she also supports by volunteering. She has knitted almost 80 feet of pink scarf for Wool Against Weapons. This picture shows Eccles Quakers holding up the scarf before it is rolled up to be sent off to help make up the 7 miles of pink scarf. After the event in August, the scarf will be made into blankets for local hospices and for war zones and emergency areas abroad, so nothing will be wasted.

Contact Margaret Lever 0161 790 4657 or Elizabeth Coleman 07969 385080

July 22, 2014 - 14:59
Peace group
Kate Conway
Meet at entrance to multi cinemas on Kingsway at East Didsbury at 1100.
The walk around Fletcher Moss Park, Parsonage Gardens and Stenner woods will be leisurely and led by Ann Peart. The route will be guided by the state of the paths as the grounds have suffered from the rain!
Bring a packed lunch and something to drink, Wear walking boots or stout shoes and waterproofs.
Ann has kindly invited us to tea afterwards at her home in Old Broadway by Fog Lane Park.
Please invite anyone who you think may be interested to join us.
Christopher J Green
14 Egerton Road North
Heaton Chapel
Telephone 0161 432 1142
Mobile 07587177183 (Chris) 07587177184 (Stella)
January 9, 2014 - 22:22
Walking cheerfully
Christopher Green

Following Stella's email on May 30th this walk, which will be led by Stella Green, involves some climbing which will be taken slowly. Starting at Disley Station we walk past the parish church along to the park entrance past some dog kennels. The first gradual climb is up to the Cage. Then we walk towards the big house but skirt it and climb to Bow Stones and the ridge round the park. How much further we go depends on the weather and how we feel. Bring a packed lunch and plenty of water tto drink.

Phone 0161 432 1142 before 0900 if you think the weather is too bad and the walk should be cancelled.

The walk is built aroung the Buxton train which departs from Manchester Picadilly at 0952 for Disley. Stella and Chris will join at Heaton Chapel.

The trains back are hourly.

June 28, 2013 - 16:04
Walking cheerfully
Christopher Green

I came across this, which seems worth drawing to the Childrens' Committee's attention:-

The 24 Dispositions

            Children’s learning in this syllabus of religious education (developed by Birmingham’s Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) is guided by encouraging 24 dispositions, which all the major faiths saw as particularly important. Taken together, the dispositions constitute a person’s spiritual and moral character and help to depict a human ideal. The emphasis is firstly on ‘learning from faith’ because religious practices, sacred scriptures, ethics, institutions, art, music etc. were all originally devised to serve the human ideal. To benefit fully from the religious resource. Secondly, requires in-depth ‘learning about religious traditions’, which assists in the formation of pupils' judgement.


 Being Imaginative and Explorative

This disposition requires lateral thinking, the capacity to see things differently, together with the capacity to see the promise and potential of the world about us in order to act well.

Religiously, it means giving due regard to, or seeking out, what is sacred and to explore, for example, what it may mean to be made in the image of the Creator or to investigate the idea of a promised land.

Appreciating Beauty

This disposition requires a deep sensitivity for the world about us, an awareness of the nature of human responses, and the capacity to make qualitative distinctions in one's actions.

Religiously, it is an awareness that in the world there is a qualitative dimension (which is thought to be given and which is indicative of transcendence i.e. it is not wholly subjective). This dimension normally evokes the human response of respect and reverence. The recognition of an aesthetic dimension in the world is made manifest by human beings through their own works of aesthetic creativity.

 Expressing Joy


This disposition requires an awareness of human affective responses, in particular, that of happiness, and mastering certain expressive capacities, for example, in music, in language, in body language to share these affections with others.

 Religiously, it is an acknowledgement of, and a response of life itself to, transcendence in which human beings find their fulfilment, employing music etc.

 Being Thankful


This disposition requires an awareness in one's actions of relationships of dependence and of not being wholly self-sufficient and in control of our own well-being. It requires a willingness and expressive capacity to acknowledge that relationship of dependence and the good that flows from it.


Religiously, it is the awareness of being dependent on the transcendent and it is the response to the sense that, in the light of this relationship, all will be well no matter how things go.

Caring for Others, Animals and the Environment


This disposition requires an awareness of the needs of others (and other things), a feeling that these needs matter, and the will to do something about them.


Religiously, it is the sense that this is not a matter of self-interest but a divine duty laid upon human beings.


Sharing and Being Generous

This disposition arises out of an awareness that others may be dependent on us, the sense of wholeness that may come from our relationships with others, and the will to please others.

 Religiously, it is the unity of creation in which the needs and joy of others are the needs and joy of the self. It is because the transcendent gives liberally that humans are impelled to do likewise.


Being Regardful of Suffering

This disposition arises out of the affective capacity for pity, as well as out of an attention to the situation and condition of the other and the will to help or to maintain one's solidarity with the other.

 Religiously, the sense of the unity of all things leads to an attention to pain and suffering so that what is endured by another is felt by the self. This unity is such that the pain and suffering touches the very core of the transcendent.


Being Merciful and Forgiving

This disposition presupposes the recognition that the unity and solidarity that exist between all people and all things are readily broken through aesthetic and moral offence. It also presupposes an acknowledgement of offence once committed and a desire for the re-establishment of unity, together with the will to bring it about despite the cost it may entail.

 Religiously, there is the possibility of spiritual offence that goes beyond aesthetic and moral offence. The desire for re-union is often accompanied by an awareness of the powerlessness to bring it about. Restitution of the social and universal solidarity therefore rests on an initiating Divine mercy and a responsive human mercy and forgiveness.


Being Fair and Just

This disposition depends on a recognition of the claims of equity and of consistent reasoning, together with the will always to restore and to maintain the state of equity.

 Religiously, equity is the beginning and end of a harmonious creation. Human beings are, therefore, bound to maintain and restore this original equity.


Living by Rules

This disposition presupposes that the world behaves in law-like ways and that the society on which we depend requires rules for its very functioning. Whilst it is acknowledged that the rules of nature are given (heteronomy), it is supposed that 1.the rules of society are collectively agreed and therefore binding, and 2. the rules of personal behaviour are self-imposed (autonomy). A law-abiding disposition depends on the will to live the ordered life.

 Religiously, the rules that truly matter are neither heteronomous nor autonomous. They are the order and sense of our own nature and that of our world, being in effect 'God-given'.


Being Accountable and Living with Integrity

This disposition is the capacity and willingness to be answerable for one's actions, formally and informally, to others and to oneself. Integrity presupposes that one would always act in such a responsible way even if one could, or would, not be held publicly to account.

 Religiously, the answerability of human beings is given a more radical turn since from the perspective of transcendence everything is transparent and no motives are hidden. The answerability to God is, therefore, deeper and more profound.

Being Temperate, Exercising Self-Discipline and Cultivating Serene Contentment

This disposition requires a good deal of self-knowledge and a mastery of the affections to ensure these affections in response to our world and the actions of others are proportionate and subject to reason.

 Religiously, the unity of creation demands a deep sympathy for others and for other things, but before God, a selflessness permits an acceptance of all things no matter how things go.


Being Modest and Listening to Others

This disposition presupposes self-knowledge and an understanding of others, together with a capacity to evaluate what each one can contribute to cultural (i.e. the world created by human beings) life. As such, it avoids false modesty on the one hand, and boastfulness on the other.

 Religiously, by developing the skill of attentiveness and by de-centring from the self, it is possible to relate to the divine and to enter into a proper relationship with others.


Cultivating Inclusion, Identity and Belonging

This disposition recognises that human beings are never isolated selves but exist, and can thrive, only in relation to others, i.e. in community. This ranges from the intimate relation of two people to the relationships that constitute families, groups, civic communities, nations and world. Deliberate exclusion of another prevents the other (and, indeed, the self) from developing relationships through which they can thrive.

 Religiously, a relationship to the transcendent prevents the creation of barriers since God is the God of all. Instead it promotes an 'ecological' vision of the interrelationship and interdependence of all people and all things.


Creating Unity and Harmony

This disposition recognises that different people/creatures have different interests, needs and capacities, and as such they can also frustrate one another and cause aesthetic, moral and religious offence. The disposition requires the desire and skill to restore relationships.

 Religiously, the restoration is achieved through taking thought, and through processes of repentance, forgiveness and redemption.


Participating and Willing to Lead

This disposition presupposes a self-knowledge and an appreciation of what one can, and must, contribute to collective life, together with a willingness to be proactive in this.

Religiously, being a single individual before God, that is to say, being responsible to the Creator of all, implies a relationship and responsibility for the well-being of all.


Remembering Roots

This disposition recognises how the past, through its realities and promise, can shape the present and the future. It notes what the possibilities of human life have been, and hence what defines human life in the present and for the future, i.e. they define human duties, obligations and opportunities.

 Religiously, from the perspective of eternity, all human beings become contemporaries and belong together to a single community.





Being Loyal and Steadfast

This disposition presupposes an understanding of the needs of others and a willingness to offer them support in the face of opposition and destructive powers.

 Religiously, a confidence in the transcendent implies a resistance to the wickedness that subverts the unity of community and the world.


Being Hopeful and Visionary

This disposition might reasonably be linked to being imaginative and explorative. The attitudes of expectation and anticipation are fundamental to all major forms of religious life and contrast sharply with the mood of despair. The disposition of being hopeful should be distinguished from being fatalistic, in which everything is already determined, on the one hand, and be distinguished from a reliance on 'luck', in which people depend on chance, on the other hand.

Religiously, hope is based on the promise offered by transcendence and the power of providence to transform realities.


Being Courageous and Confident

This disposition should be contrasted with foolhardiness, on the one hand, and with cowardice, on the other. It requires a clear understanding of situations, coupled with selflessness and a commitment to the good and well-being of others.

Religiously, it is a confidence in the transcendent in which the good person understands that s/he can come to no harm no matter what happens to her/him.




Being Curious and Valuing Knowledge

This disposition arises out of a fundamental human interest, in which knowledge is valued for its own sake. Affectively, it involves a love for others and other things, just as they are, and in all their complexity. This should be linked to a determined will to discover this strange complexity.

 Religiously, to love and come to understand creation is to love and understand the Creator. These are ends in themselves.


Being Open, Honest and Truthful

This disposition presupposes an understanding of others as ends in themselves and, therefore, not to be manipulated or used without their agreement. An affection for the truth and the well-being of others underwrites the desire for a clarity of meaning in any communication.

 Religiously, one can relate to the transcendent only on the basis of being utterly truthful and transparent. Just as deception hides the truth from others, so deception obscures any sense of the transcendent.


 Being Reflective and Self-Critical

This disposition presupposes a consciousness of the confusions of motives and the attractions and comforts of many fictions. It requires a will to eschew such comforts as false consolations and a determination to be clear about what is the case and to evaluate rightly.


Religiously, to exist before God is to anticipate the purity of understanding and the transparency of motives.



Being Silent and Attentive to, and Cultivating a Sense for, the Sacred and Transcendence

This disposition understands that through language and concepts human beings impose their own structures on the realities that confront them. This imposition secularises the realities and renders them amenable to human domination.

Attentive silence is enabling the realities to 'speak' for themselves.

 Religiously, silence is a traditional method of allowing the transcendent and sacred to present itself.ity This material is copyright of Birmingham City














March 15, 2013 - 16:30
Children's worship
Christopher Green

We wish Gareth well as he recovers in Manchester Royal Infirmary.

November 14, 2012 - 23:13
Elders and overseers
Christopher Green

This is a copy of an article that we submitted to The Friend about our vigil on the steps of Central Manchester Meeting House to raise awareness of the issue of economic inequality.

The people demonstrating on the steps are Quakers. They say that everyone suffers when we have millionaires on the one hand and homeless have-nots on the other. For the richer countries, what counts is not just how rich you are, but how you share it out. More equal countries have better health, less stress, less violence, more contentment’.

This is the opening of the flyer we handed out on the steps of Central Manchester Meeting House earlier this year. The Social Justice Group of Manchester and Warrington Area Meeting are concerned about inequality in Britain. Progress during the last century towards a fairer society was halted in the late 1970s, and the income gap between rich and poor continues to widen. This poses a threat to our national life, as well as to attempts to move towards sustainable living. Our politicians seem unaware of these dangers.

Earlier this year, we started a campaign to alert Quakers to the issue. We have produced a set of posters on the theme of inequality, and these are now displayed in several Meeting Houses. But we were also keen to reach out to a wider public. We decided to hold an Equality Vigil.

We stood in silence, holding banners and posters which summarised the points made in ‘The Spirit Level’ by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, and in ‘Injustice’ by Danny Dorling. Others of us stood on the pavement, and offered the flyer (with the title ‘An Equal Britain would be a happier Britain’) to passers-by, sometimes engaging in conversation. This outlined our concern about inequality, the Quaker commitment to equality and what we would like politicians to do. We were heartened by the number of people whose interest was immediately engaged by continuing to read the flyer as they walked away. We felt that this was a useful first step towards alerting the public to what is happening in our society and what Quakers are suggesting to address issues of inequality.

The vigil is one of a number of activities that we are undertaking with the help of Friends House staff as part of Supporting Local Initiatives project. We are fortunate in having a Meeting House in a prime city centre location: for those with similarly well-placed venues, we are happy to share our experiences and offer practical advice.

October 15, 2011 - 22:32
Social Justice group
Emma Kerfoot

Social Justice Group meet on the 4th Thursday of every month at 7.15pm at Central Manchester Meeting House.  All are welcome to join us. 

We are currently working on an Area Meeting and QPSW supported project to raise awareness of the damaging effects that economic inequality has on the whole of society. 

If you would like to support our project, or find out more, please email us at, or simply come and join us at our meeting.

We have posters about the issues which we can send out for you to display in meeting houses, or anywhere you think that people might be interested. 

Watch this space for more updates!


October 15, 2011 - 22:22
Social Justice group
Emma Kerfoot
Due to the weather conditions, a significant number of Friends were prevented from attending.
Half the time was concerned with individual items of business.
  • The new Recording Clerk was introduced to us. We were given some of the background to the process of discernment in appointing him. He is Paul Parker. Some Area Meeting Friends might remember him from his time spent at Central Manchester Meeting in the early 1990s.
  • A report from the BYM Trustees was presented. It was noted that fundraising strategy, encouraging Local and Area Meetings to give more financial support to central work, is bearing fruit. The suggestion of £150 contribution a year is proving helpful.
  • A project board has been set up to oversee the development of the Large Meeting House at Friends House, with responsibility to BYM Trustees.
  • Work continues to make Friends House an exemplary sustainable site. Targets have been set for reducing energy and water consumption and waste production, and also to reduce CO2 emissions by 10% in 2010 and by 30% by 2013.
  • We are asked to note and collect evidence of hardship resulting from the inequity of public expenditure cuts, particularly in the areas of housing, housing benefit and in health related benefits.
  • Experiment with Light – Lancashire Central and North AM Minute. Rex Ambler is giving up training workshops to concentrate on writing. It was felt that adding it to central work is not appropriate, but it was suggested that there might be a core group of interested Friends to support the future of this   valuable work.
  • During the triennial report from Quaker Housing Trust, we were reminded that they can offer environmental assessment grants for the cost of employing specialist consultants to help housing projects assess how they can achieve good practice and high standards.
  • Ongoing business:
§ A further letter concerning the detention of children of those seeking asylum is to be sent, as the UK Borders Agency is not making satisfactory progress. Copies will be sent to meetings for local use.
§ Following the MfS letter to the Home Secretary, Friends have been invited to a meeting with officials at the Ministry of Justice about sentencing and restorative justice. Members of the Crime, Community and Justice Group will take part.
The other half of the time was devoted to the Framework for Action Priority D, Sustainability, in preparation for Yearly Meeting Gathering 2011 – Growing in the spirit: changing the way we live to sustain the world we live in.
Sunniva Taylor, from the QPSW Sustainability and Peace Programme, gave a very challenging and inspiring introduction to a paper ‘Living out our statement on climate change’, which included two of the actions QPSW are taking i.e. the collection of case studies and the production of a ‘Greening Meeting Houses’ toolkit’ in the new year. Copies of her notes are available.
Home groups were then asked to consider how MfS follows up our corporate statement and, in particular, what the priority is for corporate action on sustainability by BYM, and to bring back agreed minutes.
It would seem, from the plenary session that some groups had difficulty in keeping to the task and there was a certain amount of ‘re-inventing the wheel’, even to one group not getting beyond the question of whether worshipping groups should make sustainability a central concern.. However, at the other end, there were a number of heartening ideas and practical suggestions:
§ generally being both individual and corporate patterns in a positive and encouraging spirit
§ more specifically, circulating the series of questions deliberated on in the home groups and the statement ‘A Quaker response to the crisis of climate change’, as a means of preparing hearts and minds for BYM Gathering and for information and education more generally. We are not being asked to send answers to Friends House, but any good suggestions would be well received by the QPSW Sustainability and Peace Programme.
§ encouraging the use of the toolkit
§ encouraging Friends to participate in next year’s BYM Gathering to learn, to share experiences and discern ways forward.
This was Susan Seymour’s last meeting as clerk to MfS. She was thanked for her service.
Elizabeth Bailey 9.12.2010
December 15, 2010 - 13:32
Spirtual Life of Meetings
Ian Cook