That of God in everyone

SBQM Update

Quaker Jargon Buster - NI Edition


Some time ago, for the old SBQM website we produced a Northern Ireland version of the Quaker Jargon Buster. We thought it would be helpful to re-post it to the new site as many may not have seen it. You can download it

Finding hope in today’s world

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Finding hope in today’s world
Megan Corrigan, South Belfast Meeting

Following recent ministry in Meeting, and conversations with my teenage daughter, I have been thinking a lot about hope. In the current climate it can be very difficult to feel hopeful, the problems in our societies and across the world can feel overwhelming. However, if we have no hope and feel that the future is bleak, how do we engage with our children and young people about their future? If they feel there is no hope in the future then we are in a dangerous place.

Over the summer I happened to take on holiday a book that has been on my reading pile for a long time – a book by Rabbi Lionel Blue on everyday Jewish spirituality (1). Despite all the horrors and failings in Jewish history (from accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures right up to the current day) Rabbi Blue feels that what keeps Judaism going is ‘its essential hopefulness about time’ (pg91). Hope is written into the liturgy of Jewish worship and prayer.

This made me start to think about what Quakers say about hope so I looked up the word in the index of both Quaker and Faith and Practice (BYM) and Quaker Life and Practice (IYM) and it is not there (maybe it should be). I turned to the internet and on the Quakers in Britain website came across an interesting blog by
Clare Bonetree (2). It ends by saying ‘Yes, these are very troubled times. This also means they are the time to come together, and step into our collective courage to 'do' hope, over and over again’. She points to a book Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone (3).

Central to the book is the idea that ‘active hope’ is something we can do: it’s about knowing what we hope for and then playing an active part in working towards it. The authors contrast ‘pa
ssive hope’, the ‘waiting for external agencies to bring about what we desire’, with this ‘active hope’, which ‘is about becoming active participants in bringing about what we hope for.’ They describe the three key steps involved in practising ‘active hope’, the guiding impetus of which is intention rather than optimism. As such ‘we can apply it even in areas where we feel hopeless’.

Active hope is a challenge, a way to do hope in today’s world.
It is something that is probably already taking place at grass root levels but we need to talk more about it. We need to minister hope and find ways to inspire our young people about the world they are growing up in. However hard this may seem, it is our responsibility. Maybe ‘hope’ is partly what faith is and doing something about it is faith in action.

(1) Rabbi Lionel Blue (1975) ‘To heaven with Scribes and Pharisees,’ London: Darton, Longman and Todd.

(2) Clare Bonetree (2019)

(3) Joanne Macy & Chris Johnstone (2012) ‘Active Hope’, California: New World Library.

War School Screening @ The Meeting House

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War School is a film about the battle for the hearts and minds of Britain’s children. 
Set against the backdrop of Remembrance the controversial and challenging documentary reveals how, faced with unprecedented opposition to its wars, the British government is using a series of new and targeted strategies to promote support for the military. Armed Forces Day, Uniform to Work Day, Camo Day, National Heroes Day - in the streets, on television, on the web, at sports events, in schools, advertising and fashion – the military presence in civilian life is on the march. The public and ever younger children are being groomed to collude in the increasing militarisation of UK society.  
Interweaving the powerful and moving testimonies of veterans of Britain’s unbroken century of wars with expert commentary, archive and a redolent score, War School’s mosaic of sound and imagery evokes the story of the child soldier who becomes a peace campaigner, challenging the myth of Britain's benign role in world affairs and asking if perpetual war is really what we want for future generations?

Tea and Coffee served from 7:00pm Movie starts at 7:30pm

Burial Ground Bees


As a Meeting we try to exist as sustainably as we can. We belong to the Eco-Congregational group of churches within Ireland and one of our endeavours is to use our burial ground as a home for bees. We have two avid beekeepers in our ranks, Karen and Sylvia, who along with Billy (also included in the pictures) tend to the bees. To see more photos from today's buzzing activities go to our photo page here

NI Marriage Equality

2015 - march for marriage equality 1

In light of today's significant step by Westminister towards marriage in Northern Ireland, we are adding photos taken back in June 2015 when members and attenders from both Belfast Quaker Meetings joined to march for Marriage Equality here in Northern Ireland. Of course as with all Quaker events it started with a bring and share lunch at Frederick Street Meeting and several cups of tea!

See the small number of photos at our photos page

Young People's Overnight Gathering


The young people (and a few adults for practical reasons), held an overnight get together this weekend passed. Reports are that there wasn't a whole lot of sleep involved but certainly the young people had lots of fun and spoke in Meeting for Worship the following day about the bonding affect the evening had had on their small group. A few more photos of the event can be found on the photos page

SBQM at Refugee Week Picnic 2019


This year we set up a free cake stand at the Great Refugee Week Picnic which took place in Ormeau Park on Sunday the 23rd of June. Lots of Quakers took part in the baking and handing out of cake and sweet foods, but sadly we only managed to capture a few on camera. For all the photos head to the
Photos Page.

All Age Meeting - March 2019


For the All Age Meeting this year the young people had been learning about gardening, and how being in a garden can be a way of making us feel good, creating hope, offering a chance to be peaceful, a space to think about our spirituality and be close to God. In the bible gardens were important to Jesus – they were places he went to walk, be silent and pray. Our own gardens can be places to relax and enjoy nature. In our communities disused urban land has been turned into gardens, and hospital and prisons gardens are used to bring people together and to make them feel better both about themselves and each other.

The young people shared their thoughts and asked everyone to consider the question “How can being in a garden or working with plants and flowers make us feel good?” Thoughts were noted down on the paper decorations available on each seat.

Everyone was invited to come up and decorate the tree with their thoughts about gardens as a source of comfort during the playing of a piece of music, by one of our young people, called “Rain”.