That of God in everyone

M&O April 23 Update

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April is a busy month around the Meeting - as indeed March was! Amy and David’s Meeting for Worship at which they will marry is a particularly delightful event to which we have all looked forward. And many of us will be attending parts of or indeed the whole of Ireland Yearly Meeting in the middle of April, either in Tallaght or online.

We are also delighted as a larger Meeting to be supporting Friends in Hillsborough Meeting, which has now established itself as a Worship Group. Many South Belfast Friends have been, and will continue to be, closely involved with Hillsborough and the next stage on its journey.

Reaching out is also an important focus of the M&O team, seeing how we support all Friends and Attenders at South Belfast, helping - along with the new Clerking team of Kate Fletcher, James Nelson and Lorna Burke - to keep everyone connected and feeling at their spiritual home.

Connection too is important in reaching out to those for whom our community can be a support. So we are for example seeing how we can encourage more Friends and Attenders to set out their “My thoughts” on our website, to increase our dialogue and let others understand how we seek to live out our Quakerism. If you have something you would like to share, please do talk to us.

And in the Meeting House, where so many people visit during the week, we are planning some simple posters, to explain what we are about.

And we feel that we need as a community to have a Quaker banner, to use when we enter the public space, at larger meetings and events. These are not frequent, but we do need to stand up and speak out at times, so we need to be prepared.

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

Quaker "Garden Party"

Last Sunday after Meeting for Worship, a number of us remained behind for a little Spring tidy up of the meeting house garden followed by a shared lunch. Many hands make light work as they say.


Quizz Fundraiser

A great evening of delicious food and fun in aid of Quaker Service on Friday the 31st of March. Over £240 was raised. Thanks to all who organised and hosted the quiz (which was taken more seriously at some tables than others!) and to all who brought really yummy food.


M&O March 23 Update

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In addition to our regular work, making sure for example that our many duty lists are up to date, we are supporting other Quaker groups in our Monthly Meeting, our nominations processes are working and we are regularly reviewing our anti-COVID measures, M&O has been considering how we might take on some of the suggestions arising from the recent “After Meeting Conversation” about “Communication“.

So do not be surprised if someone approaches you to see if you might like to produce a short piece on your thoughts for our website, in text or on video. Or if you see us carrying a Quaker banner at some future demonstration! Or if you see us putting up more Quaker posters in the foyer, encouraging the many people who use dour premises to join us on Sunday.

We also realise that in 2024 the worldwide family of Friends will be celebrating George Fox’s 400 birthday, as well as having the World Plenary Meeting of Quakers, meeting in person for a small number in South Africa but with many more of us joining via Zoom, possibly in hubs. That will give us a great base on which to plan to celebrate together, include perhaps running a Quaker Quest for those interested in hearing more.

We are also thinking about our work with Quaker Service and Friends at Frederick Street about support in the prisons, and our openness to students at the local universities.

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

Quaker Jargon Explained


Sometimes the language of Quaker practices can seem a little baffling. Many years ago we produced what we called the Quaker Jargon Buster, which aimed to demystify the terminology often used within our business practices and interaction as a community. Following on from our recent "After Meeting Conversations" on the subject of Quaker Jargon and Practices, we thought it was timely to update this resource and so Kerry and Michael did this.

You will find the updated resource on our
AOB page (beside the files on the right hand side).

M&O Jan 23 Update

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With another year started, and with the rapid approach of our Annual Meeting in February when we draw together our information on all that happened in 2022 and look forward to 2023, in the M&O team we have been looking at our pastoral and spiritual care work and seeking to plan ahead.

One theme is how we can make the work of this team as transparent as possible, so the entire SBQM community has a good understanding of what is going on, and can join in as fully as possible. Caring for each other involves all of us, and while M&O is asked to undertake certain duties, everyone in the Meeting has an important role to play. So we are planning an After Meeting Conversation on this later in the spring, on “M&O’s Role and Responsibilities”. This interestingly links to the longer term work across Ireland Yearly Meeting, because Irish Friends are setting out on the revision of our “Book of Organisation and Christian Discipline”, to see that the way we organise ourselves really links well with our faith. This revision work will take several years, but provides a really good opportunity for us all to reflect and contribute.

A second theme, which we hope to explore in an After Meeting Conversation in February will be how we communicate as a Meeting to newcomers, and those who may be interested in Quakerism. Some Friends have raised this as an issue they would really like to discuss further, and we are keen to hear everyone’s thoughts. Our tradition has always sought a careful balance, eager to let people know about what Quakerism means to us, but avoiding anything that could be felt to belittle other faiths. Getting that right is important - but it must not be impossible! We really look forward to your thoughts.

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

M&O Dec 22 Update

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Update from the September meeting of the Ministry & Oversight Team:

The last couple of weeks have been gloriously busy around the Meeting House, with the building be very much used by many groups. It is wonderful that both the Worship Sharing Group and the Quaker Book Group are now meeting in person each month, and that the monthly After Meeting Conversations are seeing great engagement. Likewise, it was a joy to have the annual Christmas Fair for Quaker Service at the Meeting House, with our Friends from Frederick Street and indeed other Meetings, enabling not just fundraising but a lovely sense of networking.

In the M&O team, we are now planning for After Meeting Conversations for 2023, looking at many different aspects of our faith and practice. These will take place on the third Sunday of each month, although in July and August we will plan for Meeting picnics, as we did this year.

To help explain some of our "practice", and demystify some of the peculiar jargon we Quakers use around our Meetings, we are also about to publish on our website a "jargon-busting" guide. We hope that it is helpful, but do use it to raise with us any questions you have. Some of the ways we do things can seem strange to newcomers, but there is generally a good, challenging and positive reason underlying our actions - or so we dearly hope!

Related to that is the whole issue of how we communicate to those who might be interested in Quakerism. We are wary of proselytising, with the danger that we appear to be denigrating other approaches. Against that we find Quakerism a rich and important way in which to live and are very keen to make it accessible to those who are seeking. Getting the balance right in communication is therefore very important to us, and a theme that we think about a good deal in M&O.

We also continue to gently remind you about our Funeral forms, setting out your wishes. We have had a number of the new forms returned, and we would be keen to see more, since it helps everyone. We also may be gently checking your age - not for any malign reason but because we want to ensure that older Members get access to some financial support to which they are entitled!

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

M&O Sept 22 Update

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Update from the September meeting of the Ministry & Oversight Team:

• As we continue to adapt to living alongside Covid, we reviewed the current situation at the Meeting House and have agreed that we will continue to keep the chairs spaced apart. Sanitising spray and paper rolls will also continue to be available in the foyer.

• After Meeting Conversations will start again on the third Sunday of the month. The next Conversation on Sunday 16th October at 12noon will continue the conversation about ‘Quaker Conventions’ and ‘unwritten rules’. On 20th November we hope to explore the Peace testimony and then on 15th January we hope to explore the IYM public lecture and revisit our sustainability plan.

• We also are planning to continue the discussions around Quaker thinking which we started in the spring with QuakerQuest. We are going to experiment with a discussion group looking at modern Quaker writers. The first one will be “The Guided Life” by Craig Barnett, one of the excellent Quaker Quicks series of short books, and we will be announcing dates soon and asking if you want us to get you a copy before the first meeting.

• On 2nd October South Belfast Meeting is one of the Meetings hosting World Quaker Day. World Quaker Day is an annual event where we celebrate the diversity of Quakerism around the world and build connections to make our community stronger. This year, every Friends Church and Quaker Meeting is encouraged to send or receive visitors to or from another Quaker group, to bring greetings, build relationships and share ideas.

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

M&O June 22 Update

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As we slowly make the transition to living alongside covid, the Ministry & Oversight team reviewed the current restrictions in place at the Meeting House and have agreed that masks can be optional in the Meeting House from now on, but we will continue to keep the chairs spaced apart. Also, those who want to shake hands at the end of meeting can now do this but please be aware that not everyone may feel ready to shake hands with others yet. We will continue to keep disinfectant spray at the front entrance.

We are exploring ways to have some sort of a Quaker presence at Queens University Belfast and are in the process of assembling a group to take this forward. We are starting with small beginnings and hope to have some sort of presence at Freshers Fair in the Autumn.

We have been looking at our unwritten Quaker conventions and practices as well as Quaker Jargon. We hope to produce a leaflet with explanations as to how they came about or why they are practiced.

We are also starting work on planning a series of ‘After Meeting Conversations’ for the autumn using the feedback from the survey carried out last year to provide our themes.

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

M&O May 22 Update

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Last week, 40 Friends from the Europe and Middle East Section Annual Meeting 2022 meet in Paris while 40 other Friends joined online. It was first annual meeting together in person since the start of the pandemic and also our first blended annual meeting. The blending seemed to work very well, while for those in Paris it was a great joy to be physically together for eating, walking and talking after two long years of restrictions. As the meeting noted “cultivating joyful relationships enables us to do our work. If we are to sow and nurture the seeds of peace, we need fertile soil. We became a gathered community.” We now look forward to Ireland Yearly Meeting at Stranmillis, from 11-14 August, and the gathering that will bring among Friends, including the Meeting for Worship at South Belfast after which the Yearly Meeting concludes.

The theme of the Paris meeting was “From Crisis to Connection: working creatively to heal our fractured world”. It was of course very conscious of the long shadow of the war in Ukraine which has fallen over Europe and the rest of the world, yet recognising the on-going suffering in other parts of the world which could be forgotten at this time. On Sunday morning it joined in a very moving Meeting for Worship with Quakers in Kiev, and it heard first hand accounts of the fantastic work being done by Friends across Europe to support those affected by the war, notably in Georgia, Estonia, Czechia and Poland. (If you would like to financially support them, you can by going to!/DonationDetails

This discussion parallels one that we have been having informally at South Belfast, and in M&O, as we all try to work out what our Peace testimony means at this time of war. It is an issue that we will need to return to over the coming months, perhaps in after Meeting Conversations.

It is an issue where Friends across Europe and the Middle East are seeking discernment. This is very difficult and challenging, and one where we, sitting far from the immediate conflict on the Atlantic rim, have to realise the privilege of our comparative security.

As was said in Paris, “Our prayers are with all those involved. We uphold the Quaker organisations who are working both through social activism and methods of quiet diplomacy to help end conflict and support those affected. We were inspired and challenged by our speakers to create peace on earth, to dare to dream of turning weapons into spades, and to challenge the mistaken notion that the military option is the only option.”

(For Epistle of EMES meeting go to
EMES Annual Meeting 2022 Epistle | FWCC-EMES

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

M&O April 22 Update

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A theme that has been in our minds as we carefully emerge from the long "winter" of the pandemic, is how do we approach explaining what Quakerism is about, and to whom.

Because we believe that everyone is open to God - or however we seek to encapsulate that deep ideal - and that everyone will have their own path to that truth, we have been very careful about how we tell other people about Quakerism. Without a creed, and because we believe in a lived faith, it also is somewhat hard to give a brief yet full answer to the question of "what is Quakerism about?"

Those of us who find Quaker ways really helpful are happy to try to share that with others, but we certainly do not believe it is the exclusive way. We are deeply enriched by our ecumenical and inter-faith relations and are deeply conscious of the strength of other traditions.

But a paradox for us as a small community is that many of us come from different traditions, not having been brought up in Quaker families. We have made a journey into Quakerism. And we want that opportunity to be open, and as easy as is possible, for others who might be interested.

Hence, our use of Quaker Quest, where we hope some relatively new enquirers, as well as many of us who have been here for some time, may explore issues together. So too an idea we are mulling over is whether we should seek some outreach to students at Queen's, in the role of occasional meetings on campus, a chaplaincy or other approaches. Our Friends at Frederick Street are likewise thinking about how they relate to the Ulster University. It is only to open up a dialogue, to be present, to see if we can be helpful.

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

Quaker Quest


Are you interested in further exploring the Quaker way? Whether you are new to Quakerism, interested in Quakerism, or have been involved for many years, Quaker Quest, a relaxed but structured approach, developed by Britain Yearly Meeting, has proved to be a rich and rewarding experience. 

We feel this is a good time to use this method, as we emerge form the strictures of recent years into the current global climate, and are offering a series of four evening discussions - from 7pm to 9.15pm- at South Belfast Quaker Meeting. You can also join via Zoom  ( Kerry please put link for all sessions here) Please feel free to come to as many of the sessions as you want.

Together we will look at how we Quakers experience key issues,, and how we try to live out our faith. 
 Our themes will be:-
24 April - God/ Faith 
4 May - Worship 
11 May - Integrity 
18 May - Equality/ Diversity  
Each evening three speakers will briefly outline how they see things, before we all explore our thoughts and feelings and worship together.

If you would like to know more contact Will Haire at or Iam Mitchell at

M&O March 22 Update

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Over the last number of months, as we are all edging back to what we hope will be a bit more like "normality", in the M&O team we have been working on several initiatives to strengthen our faith in action. Our sudden awareness of the tragedy in the Ukraine brings yet another level of challenge. Like every organisation we are trying to understand what it means, and what we must do as a faith community. The following are a number of actions that are currently underway at South Belfast.

The Loving Earth Project

In the coming weeks, our Meeting House is hosting the "Loving Earth Project", enabling us to look at the wonderful creativity in textiles as Quakers and others, across the world, reflected in what they loved in nature and how each of us can change our lives to protect the earth. Thanks so much to all those Friends who have organised this, and all who are greeting visitors to our Meeting House, before the exhibition goes on to Portadown, Derry/ Londonderry and Cork.

Quaker Quest

In Wednesday 27 April and 4, 11 and 18 June, in the evening, we will also be having Quaker Quest" sessions in the evening in the Meeting House to explore how we as Quakers think about issues of Faith, Worship, Integrity and Equality. We are very keen that as many Friends/ friends, from South Belfast, other Meetings and indeed elsewhere, interested in the Quaker way, join these very open and informal discussions as we explore what our faith means in our lives. There will be more detail in the coming weeks but do please put these dates in your diary now.

Quaker jargon and process

As we live our Quaker faith, we often speak of the importance of plain speech. But we realise that how we actually worship, and indeed how many of the processes of our Meeting operate, while clear to those to the long-standing Friends, must be rather mysterious to newcomers and far from plain! So we are looking at a simple document to explain what we are about - and also are planning a discussion after Meeting later in the summer.


We are also planning an after Meeting Conversation about the City of Sanctuary in Belfast, and how people are working to support refugees. This links to the concern about how we support Ukrainian refugees as we go forward. Already many Friends are active in finding resources and finance to help people fleeing the war, but we are also investigating what other ways we might work to provide long term support. This is really challenging, seeing how best we help in this complex area, and we are seeking to research what best to do. One very practical action, to raise funds, but also to draw us together, is to organise breakfasts together before Meeting on Sunday, and further details will be circulated when are plans are developed.

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

Loving Earth Project


The Exhibition of 57 textile panels including some made by our own members will be of interest to  those interested in creative arts and environmental issues.
The Loving Earth Project is an international community textile art project, initiated by Quakers in Britain.  
The panels show how people are engaging with the issues of climate change and what they personally are trying to do in a most creative way. 
 Groups of panels have been exhibited in many venues, including in and around Glasgow for COP 26, where it was voted  “ one of the best cultural events at Cop26” 
The Belfast exhibition, will be part of the Imagine Festival
We are hosting 4  workshops on how to start to make your own panel and an online civic conversation about what "loving earth" means to me.
In Belfast - participants can register here
In Londonderry at The Playhouse
We hope everyone will get the opportunity to visit one of the 4 exhibitions and encourage others to come.
The exhibitions will be at
South Belfast Quaker Meeting House, 22 Marlborough Park North, Belfast BT9 6HJ.

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M&O December Update

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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

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(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.

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

M&O September Update

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We do not know what George Fox looked like. But I do like Robert Spence's portrayal of George, showing him well dressed against the cold and wet he so often encountered.

Well, we will need to remember George's thick clothing in the coming months. To protect us all, our Meeting House must be well ventilated, with as many open windows and doors open. So please remember to come to Meeting not just with heart and mind prepared, but well wrapped up!


And while we about protecting everyone, it has been agreed that our young people will not come in to Meeting for the last 15 minutes, so we do not mix indoors, keeping in separate bubbles. In that way more of us will be safe if anyone one test positive for the virus.

Looking forward, we will be bringing to Preparative Meeting the results of the survey many of you completed earlier in the summer, seeing how we can best go forward together as a Meeting. We want as many as possible to stay for this discussion, to hear your further thoughts and see what practical actions we can take. One of the ideas suggested we are very keen to take forward is a short series of discussions on the topic of “Pathways for Attenders: Quaker Basics" and we will be developing these in the coming months.

We have also been discussing how we raise awareness about our Meeting's interfaith involvement, such as the City of Sanctuary, the Interfaith Forum and South Belfast Inter-Church Group. We will be seeing how we can get regular reports on these activities, and also have an "after meeting conversation" when we can safely organise these to begin again. Likewise we want to ensure that Meeting is kept up to date with the work of our very active EcoQuaker group.

Finally, on 3rd October we have WORLD QUAKER DAY. We are seeing if we can mark this with a short Meeting for Worship in a nearby public park. We will keep you updated with our plans.

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

M&O June Update

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In the M&O team, we are very conscious that summer is rapidly approaching. So our thoughts have been turning to how we can all enjoy what we hope will be good weather - and also how we prepare for the autumn.

In former days we would have seen our Meeting numbers drop as Friends left for the sun. This year, with vaccinations doing their work, but maybe a greater focus on the Staycation, perhaps our numbers in Marlborough Park will even go up. And of course now, wherever we are, we can Zoom in to Meeting.

And with summer, we do feel this is the time for a picnic. Our young people are having theirs on 27 June, but we are hoping that all of us can have a picnic - with everyone bringing their own, for safety - in our lovely garden, on 25 July. So fingers crossed for a sunny day!

Thinking about the autumn, we have been also thinking how we can ensure everyone is involved in planning for what we will do together. That is why we have asked everyone to complete the survey, electronically or on paper. It will really help us to get your thoughts and ideas.

One issue that is particularly important is what sort of social witness we make as a Meeting, how we partner with other faiths/worshipping communities and how we connect with other Quakers. It will probably be best that we all discuss this in our After Meeting Conversations or in other discussion groups in the autumn. Many Friends are already involved in a great deal of activity, and we have developing links with other groups, but it is really important that we share what is going on, and think about if there are new things we want to do.

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

Thinking About God

Thinking about God – a session exploring God in Junior Meeting for Worship

This morning (Sunday 23rd May) the young people were exploring the language we use to talk about God and how we think about God – I thought I would share one of the activities we did to generate discussion, conversation and reflection.

The activity was based on the question ‘If God was…what would God be?’

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(Adapted from Journey’s in the Spirit – Youth Work edition issue no. 14 2012: Theism and Non-Theism accessed 23/5/2021)

When looking at colours white, silver, transparent and clear were talked about but also the idea of all colours being one. Interestingly for one young person the colour was ginger, as a young child they always thought of God as ginger and this has stayed with them – this generated conversation around our relationship with God being personal and individual.

Silence came out as the main sound and we talked about Silence in worship not being the absence of sound but something else. Rushing of leaves and birds singing were expressed as an important part of hearing God in nature. Listening for the voice of help and guidance, a holy whisper (Thomas Kelly), were also ideas that were explored.

God can be found in many places and for this group one found God in their bedroom as this is where they pray or talk to god, their ‘God pillow’. Nature was important with one drawing an analogy of a hedge maze – we discussed finding God in the complexities of life and sometimes being too small to see over the top of the hedges. One young person shared how people who are very ill and who might die, sometimes experience a feeling of going down a bright tunnel towards a field of grass and later when they recover describe this experience as walking towards God or heaven, so they thought if God was a place maybe it would a field of grass. Another young person used the analogy of God being like Asgard (Viking heaven) as described in the Thor Marvel movie - Asgard is not a place, it’s a people.

Animals are an important part of biblical imagery and if God was an animal they saw God as an Owl, often unseen but wise; a dove, the symbol of peace; a peregrine falcon as it can speed through the air to be with us; and a Tiger instead of a Lion, because it is strong but not tied up with ideas of power and omnipotence. Finally, a vole also came up as it knows the working of the ground underneath us that we cannot see – the analogy being that God knows more than we can see or comprehend.

I’d like to finish with a quote from Martin Lynn’s book Encountering the light: “For early Friends… was the central message of that Quaker Pentecost: that God’s love mediated through the experience of the spirit of Christ, lay within the individual, in the individuals capacity to understand the promptings of God within him or herself” (Lynn, Martin, 2007 p45). The personal relationship we can all have with God means there are many ways we can encounter God, using the full breadth of our language, experience and understanding. Our young people have looked outside the box and seen God in the colour ginger, in a hedge maze, in an owl and peregrine falcon, a holy whisper – the voice of help and guidance.

Megan Corrigan with the Older Group of South Belfast Meeting.

Blended Meeting for Worship


We have now reopened the meeting house each Sunday at 10:45am for Meeting for Worship. This will take a "blended" format enabling you to still attend via the zoom platform online if that is your chosen method or if you are unable to be there physically. The zoom log in details remain the same (Meeting ID: 4613195026 and Pass: 143412). Those attending Meeting for Worship in the meeting house itself will be able to see and hear the online zoom portion of attenders via a screen in the main meeting room.

We are continuing to iron out remaining issues with this blended format and hope you can bear with us whilst we do so. If you have any questions regarding attending Meeting for Worship in either format, please contact us via

Eco Quakers @ The Imagine Festival

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South Belfast Eco Quakers are hosting:
Let’s Imagine a ‘New Normal’! on Tuesday 23rd March at 7pm.
An opportunity to explore and share aspirations for an alternative to ‘getting back to normal’ post-pandemic. What should a ‘new normal’ look like?
It will be in the form of conversation and exploration. There will be some short input from inspirational speakers- but the focus is on meeting and sharing visions of a better future.
Please sign up via the website as soon as possible, so we know it will be viable-
and please share with friends and colleagues who you think will be interested.

Change to Time of Lunchtime MfW

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Friends should be aware that the timing for our monthly, online lunchtime Meeting for Worship and social gathering has changed from the 1st Thursday of the month to the new time of the 2nd Thursday of each month. That means that the February event will take on the 11th of February and again on the 11th of March, with the April event taking place on the 8th. It retains its 12noon start time. Log in details are as above.


Dear F/friends, please note that online Meeting for Worship, via zoom has now shifted its start time from 10am each Sunday to the new time slot of 10:45am, to match the Meeting for Worship in the Meeting House. This is with a view to hosting a "blended" Meeting for Worship for both formats when COVID 19 restrictions permit this to happen. In the meantime technologies are being tested each week to enable this to happen.

Christmas Family Sunday 2020 Video

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Each year we hold 2 all age Meetings for Worship, generally one in Easter and one around Christmas. These are different from our usual Sunday worship in that they are semi-programmed and the young people of the meeting take the lead in ministry. This year we held our Christmas Family Sunday on the 20th of December. The theme for this year was the Nativity Story. As numbers in the meeting house had to be limited due to social distancing requirements, we made the decision to film the full meeting so that family and friends could also take part remotely. The family and children decided it should be shared on the general website also.

You will find the video which has been edited to 18 minutes on our
YouTube channel and also on the video page of this site.

Lunchtime Meeting for Worship

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Lunchtime Monthly Meeting for Worship followed by a short social period. The 1st Thursday of every month at 12 Noon

Takes place via Zoom
Meeting ID: 461 319 5026
Password: 143412

Loving Earth Project


Bronwen Haire shares her experience getting involved in the Loving Earth Project, sharing how South Belfast Meeting used Loving Earth to bring them together in lockdown

Hillsborough Burial Ground Video

A new video has been added to our channel. It focuses on the annual walk into the grounds of Hillsborough Castle which Quakers make once a year. Jonathan Lamb interviews Will Haire. You can view it below. To see our other South Belfast Quaker Meeting videos including our recent "Being Grateful" series, go to our video page here, or subscribe to our Youtube channel.

New SBQM Video Page

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We have created a brand new video page on this site (see the links above) or click
here. We'll host videos made by us and other videos of interest to Quakers on the page. If you have any suggestions for material, let Jonathan know.

Being Grateful Quaker Video Project (3)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, We had an idea to ask South Belfast Quakers what they were grateful for. This is what they told us.

What had been planned as a single video turned into an ongoing project with multiple videos due to the number of submissions from members and attenders of the meeting. This is part 3 in the series and is currently the final video we have planned for this project. Links to the previous 2 at the end of the video.

This time we have submissions from Felicity, Marie, Stan, Will and Richard

Meeting for Worship Returns to the Meeting House


Many will be happy to hear that following amendments to government guidelines we can once again meet for Meeting for Worship face to face, albeit at a safe distance from each other. This will run in tandem with our well attended online Meetings for Worship which will continue to run at 10am each Sunday. Face to Face Meeting for Worship will return to its usual 10:45am time each Sunday at the meeting house.

INFORMATION for the opening of Meeting July 2020

We welcome the opportunity to meet in the Meeting House again after the
Covid 19 pandemic but are mindful that there are still restrictions and risks. M&O have met and made the decision to open again for public worship on 12 July at 10.45. Video meetings on Zoom will continue for the moment to accommodate those who do not wish to come eg. because of health or distance.

The following guidelines are to inform and re-assure those who wish to attend.
They are based on advice from both Ireland Yearly Meeting and the government website. These arrangements are temporary and will be reviewed regularly.

Anyone who is vulnerable or unwell especially those who have any Covid 19 symptoms should remain at home.

The meeting House will be open from 10.30. The car park will be open as usual but be mindful of other drivers and their passengers, ensuring the maintenance of social distancing at all times.

Care should be taken not to stand at the entrance door

Only the main room and toilets will be open. Please enter the other rooms only in emergency. (except for the doorkeepers who will bring water from the kitchen for the table in the meeting room). This is to cut down on cleaning requirements, as the cleaners will need to sanitize all surfaces after each meeting. Doors will be secured open so you will not need to touch surfaces and some windows will be open to allow air to circulate.

• On entering the Meeting House members are asked to use the hand sanitiser provided and to go straight into the main room; regrettably for the time being it will not be possible to stand and chat in the foyer before going into Meeting.

• You are asked to fill the chairs furthest from the door first and to leave chairs near the door for late-comers.

• Pairs of chairs which are beside each other are for those who live in one household. Other chairs will be spaced 1 metre apart.

• No books will be placed on the table, so please bring your own copies if required.

• Unfortunately no tea and coffee will be provided for the time being, as this encourages close encounter! Water and glasses will be available on the table should they be needed.

• The library will also be unavailable initially.

• As usual for the summer, there will be no young people’s programme. Younger members may of course attend Meeting with their families if they wish.

• At the end of Meeting there will be no handshakes and after the notices those who wish to stay seated to chat in the main room should sit in the ‘spaced’, seats. Others should leave quickly taking care not to block doorways, and go straight outside where they may chat, socially distanced, in the car park or on the lawn.

• Announcements will be made as usual at both the Meeting House and at the ‘Zoom’ Meeting.

• To assist Doorkeepers all Members are asked to vacate the premises by 12.15.

There will not be a need for a ‘booking’ system as the room, spaced at 1 metre between chairs in three rows, can accommodate more than the likely numbers.

In Friendship,
M&O and clerks

Loving Earth

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In Late May and early June 2020, we held All age Meetings for Worship on the subject of the loving earth project.

Here are some of our responses to what we love about the earth.
How we might be contributing to climate change.
What we can do to reverse climate change.

(poster above by Freya & Elijah Jordan)


I was inspired to do this piece by thinking about the wild flowers in the garden, and the need to protect bees and insects, and biodiversity. The No Mow May idea had already been part of our unintentional letting go during lockdown, and I had enjoyed observing and painting dandelions and daisies. I got out my mum’s Singer sewing machine, which is between 70 and 80 years old. Along with sorting through her large sewing box for odds and ends, it gave me a strong sense of my mum’s spirit, and an impetus to teach Freya and Esme to use the Singer, and continue the maternal line connection.
Kate Fletcher


I would like to see more being done to create sustainable housing and communities - maybe we could lobby Planning Offices and Government Departments by writing letters and following
up planning applications for large numbers of houses.
Megan Corrigan


My panel represents how we share our local areas with many wild animals. We can make a positive impact by respecting and valuing their right to be there.
Laoise Corrigan


The picture represents "connectedness" between water - trees/plants - and the bird at the centre. That we are all interconnected.
Evelyn Shire

The Being Grateful Quaker Video Project (part 2)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, We had an idea to ask South Belfast Quakers what they were grateful for. This is what they told us.

What had been planned as a single video turned into an ongoing project with multiple videos due to the number of submissions from members and attenders of the meeting. This is part 2 in the series. We plan to have a third video in the next couple of weeks.

The "Quaker Star" Rose


‘Quaker Star’, a rose which was bred at the request of a Friend from Richill Meeting, Alan Pearson, can be found in the garden at South Belfast Quaker Meeting. It is a Hybrid Tea rose which produces full orange flowers with a silver reverse and glossy, mid-green leaves. Repeat blooms through summer and fall. In general, roses are a large group of flowering shrubs, most with showy flowers that are single-petalled to fully double-petalled. Leaves are typically medium to dark green, glossy and ovate, with finely toothed edges. Vary in size from 1/2 inch to 6 inches, five petals to more than 30, and in nearly every colour. Often the flowers are very fragrant. Most varieties grow on long canes that sometimes climb. Unfortunately, this favourite plant is quite susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests, many of which can be controlled with good cultural practices.

Cultivar: Quaker Star
Registered or Introduced: 1991 
Family: Rosaceae  
Size: Height: 1.5 ft. to 5 ft.
Width: 1.42 ft. to 4 ft.  
Plant Category: edibles, shrubs,  
Plant Characteristics: edible flowers, high maintenance,  
Foliage Characteristics: medium leaves, deciduous,  
Flower Characteristics: double, erect, fragrant, showy,  
Flower Color: oranges, pinks,  

New Zoom Meeting for Worship Details

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As of this Sunday onwards both the Weekly Sunday Meetings for Worship and the fortnightly Thursday Friendship Lunch Meetings for Worship will use the same Zoom log-in details as follows:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 461 319 5026
Password: 143412

Sunday Meetings for Worship take place at 10am until 10:45am, with the virtual doors opening at 9:45am

All are welcome

The Being Grateful Quaker Video Project

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kerry had an idea to ask South Belfast Quakers what they were grateful for. This is what they told us.

What had been planned as a single video turned into an ongoing project with multiple videos due to the number of submissions from members and attenders of the meeting. This is part 1 in the series. Others will follow.

Response to the Pandemic

South Belfast Meeting has considered the current pandemic and made a decision to cease all Sunday Morning Meetings for Worship with immediate affect. This has not been an easy decision, but one which keeps us all as safe a possible in the current situation.

It is important that we continue to support and uphold each other as a worshipping community during this time.

We will keep you all posted when this changes either through this site, our facebook page or the email group.

We have also decided to cancel the remaining mid-week Meetings for Worship on the first Thursdays of each month. Hopefully we will be able to restart these again in September.


If you are self-isolating or social-distancing, why not join an online 30 minute Meeting for Worship through Woodbrooke:
* Sundays at 10:30 (1 hour long)
* Sundays at 19:30
* Wednesdays at 09:30
* Thursdays at 11:00 (1 hour long)
* Thursdays at 19:30
* Fridays at 13:00
They offer 30-minute worship on Wednesdays and Fridays via Adobe Connect, and use Zoom for their other meetings throughout the week.

Travelling Eco Congregations Candle Visits SBQM


The Eco - Congregations Ireland Candle travels around the 100 or so churches and worshipping groups within Ireland, who participate in the ECI forum. On Sunday the 12th of January it arrived at South Belfast Quaker Meeting. Pictured above are members of the South Belfast Eco Quakers Group with the candle.

The following text was read in Meeting for Worship to mark the event:

Voice 1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, day and night, and there was evening - that was the first day.

Voice 2: By burning coal, oil and natural gas, we have released billions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, locking in warmth in what is known as the greenhouse effect.

Voice 1: Then God separated the waters under and above the dome, God called the dome, sky and there was evening and morning - that was the second day.

Voice 2: When sunlight strikes ice and snow, 80 percent is reflected back into space and 20 per cent is absorbed as heat. The opposite holds true for land and open water, further increasing the rise in temperature.

Voice 1: God summoned the waters under the dome to form the seas and let dry land appear, and the earth put forth vegetation. God saw that it was good. That was the third day.

Voice 2: Melting glaciers will bring floods to some areas, while changing sea temperature will shut down ocean currents and change rainfall patterns, causing droughts.

Voice 1: God made the sun to rule over the day. The moon to rule over night. And God saw that it was good.

Voice 2: Prolonged periods of drought will wreck harvests and destroy lives, human and other species. Communities that depend on fragile agricultural cycles will be devastated.

Voice 1: God created every living thing that moves and swims and flies. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply’. That was the fifth day.

Voice 2: Everything will have to adapt to the effects of climate change, but while rich people and nations can more readily afford to counter rising sea levels, or repair the damage caused by hurricanes, poorer countries cannot.

Voice 1: And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind’ and it was so. And God saw that it was good.

Voice 2: The pressure that increasing floods, famine and drought will put on vulnerable countries will be devastating – for some developing countries, the effects of climate change are already catastrophic.

Voice 1: Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image and let them be carers of all the earth.’ God saw everything and indeed it was very good: that was the sixth day.

Voice 1: On the seventh day God rested.

Voice 2: It is time to change the climate of apathy that prevails in our privileged communities and take action to stop global warming devastating the world’s most vulnerable communities and other species.


Love & Despair: Action & Responses to Climate Breakdown

“Love and Despair: Actions and Responses to Climate Breakdown.” One Day Gathering in Belfast on Saturday 19th October.
Some reflections by Kate Fletcher, South Belfast Meeting
What a fantastic title, and what an amazing Gathering to be part of. As a member of South Belfast Meeting I felt we were privileged to host such an event, but much more, we are reminded of the necessity that we rise and act as individuals and as a community to face the challenges put before us by our speakers and fellow participants.
There is an excellent summary from Fran Brady, and transcripts of talks made by the inspiring and engaging speakers, Lindsey Fielder-Cook, John Barry and Lynn Finnegan. So this does not repeat what is already there, but is a personal reflection………. (to read the full article click


An Evening Of Wintersong

By all accounts, last year's Wintersong event was completely brilliant and not to be missed, so make sure you get to this year's one. Tickets are a suggested donation of £5-£10 at the door, and money raised goes to support both Local and International Refugee charities.

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Christmas Craft Fair 2019

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Yesterday Frederick Street and South Belfast hosted a second annual Christmas Fair in aid of Quaker Service. Photos from the event have been added to the gallery page and can be seen here

Corrymeela Photos Added


A new album of photos taken at our recent gathering at Corrymeela has now been added. The theme of the gathering was "Quaker Essentials" and sessions were held on a range of issues from the testimonies to discernment. You can see the album

Corrymeela Visit Photos

Bronwen and Margrit carried out a pre-gathering visit to the Corrymeela Centre in Ballycastle today in advance of our residential gathering there in November. For those of you planning to go, who hadn't seen the venue, they thought they would take a few photos





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”.