A PERSONAL VIEW FROM OUR CLERK
I arrived at Newbury Quakers about 16 years ago. I had been a regular Church of England attender for most of my life, but became increasingly saddened by too many instances of intolerance (and sometimes rejection) of those who did not conform to the Church’s theological certainties and moral teachings.
I believe that ‘Truth’ is provisional; it always needs updating in the light of contemporary scientific discoveries, whether cosmological, psychological or physical, and in the light of continually evolving ethics and morality.
I wanted to move away from the ‘My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with facts,’ sort of thing.
I wanted to be with people who were indiscriminate! – who welcomed anyone regardless of belief, religion, colour, culture, gender, sexuality and anything else; people who knew that diversity and difference are exciting and stimulating and that we have much to learn from each other.
I have a sense that God is more mystery than certainty; more unknown than known. Perhaps the only thing I can be sure of is that God is at least the best of our human characteristics – loving without condition, forgiving, non-judging, inclusive, creative and healing.
And so I came to Quakers, where the emphasis in on ‘looking for that of God’ in everyone; giving worth to all those we encounter and living life accordingly.
Over the last 16 years I have been both nurtured and challenged by Quakers, and they have uncovered qualities in me that I never knew I had. So often other people see more in us than we do in ourselves.
A note of caution: Quakers have high ideals but are definitely not saints!! We get things wrong and we sometimes upset and hurt each other. But for me, the open, trusting, nurturing, searching, non-judgemental and sometimes challenging company of Quakers has literally been a ‘God-send’.