A PERSONAL VIEW FROM A MEMBER
My name is Tracy and I started attending Newbury Quakers in 2013. I’d looked around many churches in the Newbury area and had never quite found the right match. I was attracted by the notion of silence initially, as I’d learned to appreciate meditation previously. However, what struck me on my first visit was the feeling of the silence; the peace, energy, love and focus. What made me came back was that sense of freedom. I’d never come across any Church where your own experiences of what you consider ‘God’ or ‘Spirituality’ to be was valid, even when it was different to the person you sat next to.
When I was a teenager, my experience of religion or God felt different to how it was taught or preached within the Christian Church. I had a sense that God wasn’t ‘out there’, but was something within me. It always felt that way, but I never spoke that aloud. I started to drift from traditional religion at the time, as I disregarded that feeling which helped me feel connected to my own sense of self, as well as God.
To hear that Quakers were seekers of ‘that of God’ in everyone was a relief and felt like home. I felt lifted by the lack of barriers to inequality, people of other religion and sexuality. I found the Quaker way of reviewing their attitudes and beliefs towards important social changes – very modern and refreshing (when in fact they’d been doing this for years)
The people at Newbury made me feel very welcome. I felt part of a community of everyday people, who are just trying to be good in a complex world – while considering and looking after others, and our environment. There is certainly time for action – but we could make mistakes, we could question, we could just do nothing for a while.
What is most important for me is that the focus is on who we are, and for the many gifts and experiences that we could bring, rather than what we believe.
At Newbury Quakers I convene small meetings of Friends, who are interested in leading forward the development of the Meeting House, with plans for renovation and a possible extension. We do this by listening to the views of everyone within the Project Management Group, and those who attend Newbury Quakers. We aim to provide a united view on the way forward, with simplicity and sustainability at the heart of our project. I also started the Newbury Quakers Facebook page, which I update periodically.
My little girl loves coming to the Quakers and enjoys being part of the community too. She learns to share in the silence for 10 minutes at the end of Meeting for Worship.