As the Coronavirus spreads across the world, the Quaker community is responding with love, prayer and action.
Quakers quickly followed government directions and suspended face to face meetings for worship. Instead they are #SafeAtHome.
Many are sharing stillness in online worship.
One Quaker reflected online, “In the quiet space of isolation there is paradoxically a greater sense of unity and connection with other people and with the planet."
Another said, “The Light within me is always together with the Light in you so we are never alone and always together with one another."
Local meetings are ringing round with a word of encouragement in these uncertain times.
The Light within me is always together with the Light in you so we are never alone and always together with one another.
Quakers across Britain are creating a virtual church supported by Woodbrooke and BYM staff. Training sessions are enabling local meetings to set up online worship. Daily sessions draw in surprising numbers. Woodbrooke worship is run in partnership with FWCC- EMES (the umbrella body for Quakers across Europe and the Middle East).
Friends House in London, Swarthmoor Hall in Cumbria and Woodbrooke in Birmingham, are closed at present. However, the message is “business as usual", working with allies and supporting organisations speaking up for the most vulnerable at this critical time.
While Meeting for Sufferings was not held, BYM trustees planned to meet online.
Many staff are working from home and they have stepped up their support for meetings, producing advice and guidance.
There is new advice too for running online children's meetings. Organisers are encouraged to share time and link only with the people who would ordinarily come to children's meeting so all know who is on screen. This week, seven children took part in Central Edinburgh's first online children's meeting. Each in their own homes, they listened to stories about searching. Then set off on scavenger hunts before rejoining the adults' meeting.
This week the virtual Quaker church is joining organisations speaking up for the most vulnerable:
- With the Network of Christian Peace Organisations calling for a global ceasefire;
- With Inquest and Women in Prison calling for urgent life-saving steps for people in detention