That of God in everyone

UN COP26 in Glasgow


The Conference of the Parties, (COP) is the world's most important international climate conference, and was hosted this year by the UK in Glasgow. People from across the world travelled to be there.

I expected large crowds for marches; what I didn’t expect was just how large, well organised, and good natured these events would prove to be.

There were in fact two major marches. The march on Friday 5 November was organised by Fridays for Future, the youth movement inspired by Greta Thunberg, and she herself was there to address the rally in George Square. It was wonderful to see thousands of young people, many marching in their school uniforms, displaying banners and posters (usually handmade) to highlight their concerns about saving the planet. There were many family groups, parents with babies and young children - the future generations whose lives will be seriously affected if countries and large corporations do not agree to make significant changes to reduce carbon emissions urgently. The bigger demonstration - and it was enormous - was on Saturday 6th. The marchers flowed through the streets of Glasgow like a great, never ending river. It took four hours for the march to pass any particular point. As has become the norm, there were humorous banners and slogans which kept the spirits up, but there was no doubting the seriousness of purpose and the passion of those who had come to make their voices heard. There were also banners carried by many organisations and other campaign groups concerned with the impacts of the climate crisis.

(Photo taken by Marie during the march)

Perhaps the speakers who made the greatest impact were those from the Indigenous peoples from across the world, particularly those from the South American continent. They came in their brightly coloured traditional costumes and spoke, often through translators, of the destruction of their lands and forests, and told of how many activists were murdered while trying to defend their lands and customs.

There were representatives from many other organisations and groups, including the Greenham Common women, those veteran anti-nuclear protestors from the 1980s. I was very pleased to find the Quakers from Glasgow Meeting whose members on the march were accompanied by Quakers from other parts of the UK and beyond. On the Sunday, many of those visitors attended Meeting for Worship at the Meeting House. Even though the final outcomes from the COP26 negotiations fell short of what many had hoped for, there was optimism that some things were achieved that can be built on. The next COP will be held in 2022.

Glasgow Meeting House 38 Elmbank Crescent, Glasgow G2 4PS, (near Glasgow Central Station).

If you would like to see more images from the event, there is a link to the Guardian website below.

Marie Abbott

M&O December Update

Screenshot 2021-05-04 at 09.55.44


As we face the end of 2021, preparing for Christmas and festivities under the shadow of Omicron, we realise the continuing importance of flexibility. After nearly two years of the pandemic, learning to adjust, to be resilient and to look out for each other have been lessons that have been repeatedly reinforced. But we equally know how important to plan for the future, and having faith that the disrupted life of our Meeting will in due course come to an end.

So in M&0 we are starting to prepare for "Conversations" after Meeting, whenever that proves safe, enabling us to deepen our understanding of key social and spiritual issues we need to address.

On social issues we want to explore further the issues behind the prisoner befriending service run by Quaker Service, in which a number of our Members are involved. Also the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers and how they can be assisted are important issues we feel we need to explore. We are keen to hear from some of the excellent organisations working in this field. Recently, at Monthly Meeting ,many of us were very moved when we heard from Friends in Frederick Street and Bishop Street about how over many years they had supported an asylum seeker from Zimbabwe, helping him eventually, after a long struggle, find a new, settled life here.

At the same time, we know from our survey in the early summer that some Friends would like "Conversations" about Quakerism, its key themes and how such an open, lived faith fits together. It is quite a challenge to work out how we do that, but we are starting to work on this, looking at our experience of Quaker Quest some time ago, and our Quaker History course that we ran some years ago. In this we want to see if any of our neighbouring Meetings would like to join in with us, something which we have always have found really enriching. And Zoom links from the Meeting House will always enable us, in a very practical way, to reach out to new seekers.

If you have any thoughts on this, do talk to Will Haire or Ian Mitchell. We would love to hear from you.

The Ministry and Oversight team - Felicity, Jonathan, Kerry, Marie, Michael, Sylvia and Will

M&O Belated November Update

Screenshot 2021-05-04 at 09.55.44
(Apologies to Will for the late posting of this blog entry)


In South Belfast, while a few of us were brought up in Quaker families, most started to attend Meeting later in life. So we remember well that slightly strange experience of our first time at Meeting. Since sitting in silence, in company, was not a norm of my childhood , it certainly had a strong impact for me - a combination of worrying about my wandering mind, the impact of the some short, pointed ministry, the lovely plainness of the surroundings and the friendliness of Friends.

Over the years, this has become a part of my way of living. An hour's silence - or mainly silence - has become a norm, and an important space. It is a key marker in the week, a time to reflect, to rebuild.

Of course not all has been rich. My wind still wanders! As I get older, I fear I "rest with my eyes shut" more than I mean to! At times it has been barren, and only the friendliness of Friends has helped.

It therefore was interesting to read a piece about spiritual relaxation in The Guardian recently, by Emma Beddington, who commented

"I have no faith, and finding what gives me those feelings seems a longer-term undertaking. Instead, I turn to the only spiritual thing I know well: a Quaker silent meeting. I was educated by the Quakers, a faith group whose conception of God is simultaneously so expansive and so minimalist (they believe there is “that of God in everyone”), it’s hard to feel uncomfortable about it. Silent meeting – an hour of silence, interrupted occasionally by anyone who feels moved to speak – is the only kind of meditation I can manage. I turn up, get a warm, no-fuss welcome, sit down, and enjoy the silence. Sometimes I examine my thoughts; sometimes I look at people’s jumpers. I can see the blue sky out of a window; mainly I look at that. It’s the deepest peace I feel all week."

But it is the attached note, found by our Friend, Felicity Boyd, that I think most helpfully sets out good guidance for first Meetings. Let us support all newcomers, and approach them very much in this spirit. And if you are that new comer, we are indeed delighted to see and welcome you.

Screenshot 2021-12-13 at 08.34.35

The Ministry and Oversight team - Felicity, Jonathan, Kerry, Marie, Michael, Sylvia and Will