Sunday 21st January: Anna Edelston and Ann James
Sunday 28th January: Dave Rawcliffe and John Sheldon
Next business meeting
Sunday 4th February, papers to the clerks by 25th January
Next Area Meeting
Saturday 27th January 14:00 – 17:00 Bull St FMH
Dates for the diary
Sunday 21st January, 12:30 after soup and a roll.

Sunita Evans

Will be talking to us about her experiences in Bo Sierra Leone.

‘The Curse of the Peace Testimony’

Of course the Peace Testimony itself, dating from the 1660s, is not a curse. But when it is used as a
weapon it is possible for it to quickly become one. It can be used to deny dissent and bury its existence – because we are a peace movement and feel that we must not be seen to have disagreements, or be angry, especially with each other.
There are, sadly, many Quaker Meetings which have festering dissent under their carpets. ‘Oh’, Friends cry, or whisper,’ we can’t discuss that, it will divide the Meeting’.
In the book ‘A Different Drum’ (by Scott Peck) the author suggests that all human communities go through
They begin with the ‘polite stage’.
In our Meetings this might be what the visitor or enquirer encounters. They may find this very attractive and continue through into membership. But at some point the new member may very well discover to their amazement that we are not all as lovely as we seemed.
Perhaps the new member is appointed to a committee and will quickly discover the next stage which Peck characterised as ‘chaos’.
Not (though it could be) organisational chaos but the sort of chaos in which we experience people behaving unexpectedly, irrationally or even destructively. For no apparent reason one of the committee stalls or covertly sabotages a plan set up and agreed by the whole committee. What matters most is what happens next.
The group can retreat back into the ‘polite’ stage, maybe pretending that none of them really wanted to proceed with the plan anyway. It will do this if it fears conflict. But they can move into the openness and vulnerability stage.
Here, two things happen. The group refuses to return to the polite stage or abandon the source of conflict.
Instead it does what the Peace Testimony really requires. This is to acknowledge that there is conflict and, by being open to one another, (and thus risking hurt), works its way through to a fully acceptable conclusion; however long that takes.
This needs to be done with the support of the Spirit – and in a spirit of worship, possibly over a protracted time and a series of meetings of various kinds. It carries the risk that some will be hurt, but if the Peace Testimony is at work that hurt will not have adestructive outcome.

At the end of the process the group/Meeting will have moved through openness and vulnerability into true community.

Edward Creasy – abbreviated from October’s Friendly Link.

Café News: Can You Help A Hungry Person?

From January our cafe will be working with the Warwick food bank, so that people collecting food
parcels will be offered a voucher to have a free meal and hot drink in our cafe. Universal credit is
being introduced in this area then, which on past experience will be a time of great need. If you can
help to finance this we would be very grateful. I can accept cash or cheques on a Sunday, money
can be handed in to the cafe, or you could transfer money into the cafe CAF bank account, sort
code 40 52 40, account number 00021668. Please reference it vouchers. Thank you.

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