A note on transcripts
We will make a new post here for each transcript, with a summary and a link to the full text on the other blog.
Triennial blog team
Sunday, 19 August 2007
Saturday, 18 August 2007
Friday, 17 August 2007
In my group we did a very interesting exercise. We were invited to make two concentric circles and face a partner in the other circle. The faciliator gave us the question "From where do you receive meaning and power in your life?". I had to listen first for one minute while my partner answered the question. Then the outside circle took one step to the right so I faced a new partner and got to listen to another Friend share their one minute testimony on the same question. So it continued until I had heard 6 Friends stories.
Next it was my turn to listen. I had to answer the same question, again one minute each with 6 Friends in turn. I really liked being able to hear the various answers people gave, the language they used and the honesty with which they talked to me. I also appreciated the chance to consider my own answer 6 times! I hope my answer got clearer and more focused as I continued to think of it through the exercise.
I hope this gives you a flavour of the priviledged position we are in to be able to be hear and discuss with people from all over the world their journeys with and experiences of God. I won't forget the people I have been in this small group with, each one of them with great stories to tell that challenge us, touch our hearts but also bring us joy and laughter.
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
At the Triennial we have met in 6 working groups on various themes of concern to Friends. I have been attending the Working Group talking about environmental concerns.
There are many different problems and happily many different solutions and ways forward here. We have heard from Friends in Kenya and Congo about their tree planting programmes to improve their local environment, re-foresting large areas and providing food and fuel. Friends in New Zealand have set up a fund to enable people to use renewable energy sources, e.g. loans to buy solar powered water heaters for their house, which would be too expensive otherwise.
There was no doubt among the group that the problems are urgent, we as Quakers need to get out there in the world and do something now. Many Friends talked about their Yearly Meetings considering writing an Environmental Testimony but I think this is a side issue. The time to act is now, in fact it's yesterday! Let's think about Testimonies separately.
The group continues and we hope to bring a statement to the whole Triennial to try to bring all Friends together around this concern.
Lizz Roe has inspired us in her message this morning that we can do much with God's tender hand guiding us to reduce our impact on the world's resources. But with only 400,000 Quakers this is not enough, we also must seek to change others. Our theme of finding the prophetic voice for our time seems relevant here, could this be Friends prophetic message to the world today? Should we go out to the world and say "this has to stop!"? God calls his people to act to be good stewards of the world and the plants, animals and other human beings in it. Let's take this message to the world! A message that can enrich people's lives and give hope for the future.
Las actividades comenzaron con una bienvenida folklórica y, después, las reuniones de adoración y negocios, en los cuales tuvimos que vencer constantemente el sueño, provocado por las 7 horas de diferencia en el tiempo.
En general, hemos estado muy entusiasmados con la presencia de tantas personas de diversas culturas, tradiciones e idiomas.
Sabemos que esta experiencia es muy enriquecedora para el trabajo que hacemos en nuestras actividades diarias, y estamos contribuyendo a enriquecer a todos los Amigos con quienes estamos conviviendo. Esperamos ansiosamente participar también en las próximas reuniones.
Édgar Amílcar Madrid
Junta Anual “Amigos” de Santidad
Chiquimula, Guatemala, C. A.
Hopefully the fruits of the workshop will be coming to a web browser near you very soon!
Monday, 13 August 2007
Good morning, friends. Welcome back. We are still continuing with worship and exploring around the theme. I would like to introduce to you a friend of a friend, Marion McNaughton, a grandmother of two and another one to come! She has been a tutor at Woodbrooke, but now she is doing much more important work, having retired she is now a volunteer gardener at Woodbrooke! Talk about caring for the earth. We are going to worship and when Marion is ready she will rise to the podium and will give us her message. May we then Friends go into worship.
MARION McNAUGHTON ADDRESSED THE TRIENNIAL AS FOLLOWS
Please read the full text here
Sunday, 12 August 2007
The morning worship session included a gently-spoken but very rich introduction to the theme of prophecy from Doreen O'Dowd of Ireland YM. Doreen looked at many examples of Biblical prophets, summarising some of the main qualities the prophets shared, and encouraged us to feel that we too can fulfill a prophetic role.
Following Doreen's introduction, Martine Kuipers of Netherlands YM ministered about the power of starting with small things, such as Quaker work with prisoners in Northern Ireland, which began with something as simple as a up of tea, and grew into a powerful ministry to the community.
Marion Mcnaughton of Britain YM then took up the theme, taking a long look back at the roots of prophecy, stretching back to Hebrew times. She said "to understand prophecy, we must understand where we come from".
Marion offered many insights on prophecy, including a wonderfully compact definition "a spontaneous human response to a transforming encounter with God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit".
Marion also spoke strongly in favour of inspirational, encouraging prophecy, giving the example of Jeremiah who prophesied unsuccessfully for 23 years. She feels that prophecy should energise, inspire and encourage.
A thought from Marion which really struck home with me was her quote from Jean LeClerc, who advised that "we must love the age we live in. God has given it to us, and we must give it back to him".
I feel that this thought flies in the face of the stereotype of prophecy as 'doomsaying'. For an optimist like me, that's a very helpful thought!
After Marion's introduction, we had a half hour full of deep ministry on prophecy. I don't know if it's because of the stage we're at in the gathering, but there seems to be soul food coming out left right and centre.
Saturday, 11 August 2007
This is a brief post from a cafe across the road from the school, as we aren't fully set up with their network yet. Hopefully in an hour or to, we'll be connected and reporting more frequently, but for now, be reassured that the Triennial is off and running!
Thursday, 9 August 2007
Finding the Prophetic Voice for our Time
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift—1 Corinthians 14:1, NRSV
It is love, then, that you should strive for. Set your hearts on spiritual—1 Corinthians 14:1TEV-Good News for Modern Man
gifts, especially the gift of proclaiming God’s message.
Wednesday, 8 August 2007
Roy Blair, chair of Quaker Service Belfast said: ‘Quakers have worked for peace and conflict resolution in many parts of the world, including in Northern Ireland. We are delighted to welcome our international visitors and to share our experiences together.’
Based at the Moyallon Centre, near Portadown, from 7-11 August, the Friends from Europe, North America, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Africa are seeing reconciliation projects, meeting politicians at Stormont and representatives of the Newry and Mourne Community Relations Forum as well as visiting local Quaker initiatives.
On 9 August, the group will plant a tree at the Moyallon Centre to remember Nagasaki Day, all the more poignant as there will be a Japanese Friend among them.
The final day will take the visitors along the picturesque Antrim coast and on to the Corrymeela Community at Ballycastle to see what long term cross community peace building has been able to achieve.
Monday, 23 July 2007
It's hard to believe our gathering is so soon. After five years of planning and meetings, we were getting down to the nitty gritty with just three weeks to go...
On our agenda were lots of last minute decisions, plus a run-through of the week to see what we had forgotten. From informing kitchen staff exact numbers of meals to coordinating meeting flights at the airport and getting everyone safely to KH, thinking about how we organise 314 Friends each onto the right bus for Wednesday's excursions to providing towels and padlocks for everyone, there was lots to check. My mind was spinning, but I don't know if that was the mind-boggling scale of the task or too much coffee after my stupidly early start to get to Dublin for the meeting!
It was good to see King's Hospital again and visualise where everything will be - from registration on the first day, to where all our workers will be, the book shop, the craft display, section meetings and worship sharing groups... We toured the school again to help us get our bearings - from the swimming pool to the classrooms. Looking at the empty school auditorium with its tiered aquamarine seats, I imagined that soon it will be full of Friends from all over the world (hopefully with all the right sound, translation and audio visual equipment in place) - it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
My specific job is part of the team co-ordinating the information office, along with plenty of willing volunteers from among the Triennial participants. It's a bit of guessing game trying to imagine everyone's questions and needs and how we can best answer them.
We were delighted to hear good news about the visa applications, after much toil, persuasion and prayer on behalf of local Friends and World Office staff and volunteers. Some more queries to be checked and dealt with, but things were looking positive on the whole.
It's now less than three weeks to go, and I think we all left the meeting with lengthy final checklists to make sure everything is in place in time. I am looking forward to meeting you all on 11 August! I'll probably be around for registration along with Janet, Charles, Felicity and others. Praying for smooth and safe journeys for everyone.
Saturday, 14 July 2007
by referring to 1 Corinithians 14?
On Friday the 13th of July I decided to follow up my feeling of discomfort and read the whole of Cor. 14. Lo and behold, verses 34 and 35 read as
follows - at least in the old King James version that I like..
34. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: ..
35. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
I am all for prophecy but not necessarily happy about having Paul as a role-model!
On the other hand I found the Study Booklet contributions from Julia Ryberg ("on fire") and from Elizabeth Duke (repent, reconcile, renew) not only inspiring but also very useful in respect of giving a possible direction to my thoughts regarding how to deal with the question of "What can I, a Quaker from Wales, possibly say, prophetic or otherwise, to all those people in Eastern Europe who were either Oppressors or Oppressed for half a century but who now have to live together?"
Having myself lived and worked in Germany for 25 years, I know some of the difficulties involved, particularly in the realms of sorrow and repentance regarding both the Nazi as well as the Communist regimes.
International Meeting Friend
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
I found it very inspiring to spend some time thinking about prophecy. What is prophecy? What might I be called to prophesy about? What could Quakers prophetic message to the world be in 2007.
The first point I came to in our discussion was that prophecy is from God, it is a message that God needs to give to a person or a group of people. It is only through our keen ear for the Holy Spirit and our obedience to God that this message gets out there. This puts an emphasis on us as people of God to be ready to hear and respond to the call. It is helpful for me to remember that a prophetic message is from God and not from me and I pray for humility in delivering the message.
Another thing I sensed through the study booklet is that prophecy takes on many forms. It is not only the preaching of a word of prophecy at a particular time. It can be about how we live our lives, how we are called to react to a situation. It can be a message to a large group of people that turns their world upside down (George Fox) or it can be a desire to bring up our children to know the Lord. (Bridget Butt)
Prophecy can be a scary thing, it can, and probably should, take us outside our ‘comfort zone’ but we are commanded to set our hearts on this gift in I Corinthians 14. This leads me back to my personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I need to know God better, to spend more time in worship, prayer and reading. The more time I spend with God the more I will know where, when and who to prophecy to. It is through the knowledge of my relationship with Christ that I can ‘step out of the boat’ and be obedient to the call.
It is my prayer that the Religious Society of Friends can live out this verse from I Corinthians 14, to set our hearts on spiritual gifts. To desire to know what God has to say to us in 2007 and to act upon it. If we desire these things, even the unpopular messages that call people to account for their sin but offer them redemption through grace then we can truly be a people of God.
Saturday, 23 June 2007
This week, our Bible study group looked at the study booklet for the FWCC Triennial, and considered the theme: 'Finding the Prophetic Voice for our time; (1 Corinthians 14:1).
We each looked at a couple of articles in the study booklet. It was really interesting to find such a range of responses to the theme. The Bible passage in 1 Corinthians 14 was interesting, too; it has quite a few caveats about how the church should respond to prophecy.
I looked in particular at articles from Bainito Wamalwa and Charlie Lamb, partly because I know them both well. I liked what Bainito had to say about how much the Bible has for us in terms of guidance about prophecy. I also agreed with Bainito on how important it is to nurture ministers and prophets in our community.
Charlie made some strong points, arguing that we may have lost some of our commitment to prophecy in our desire to be loving and welcoming to all. I feel Charlie is right to point out that many Quakers find 'sin' a very difficult word, and that this could be problematic for our ability to proclaim God's truth.
In our group discussion, we spent quite a while thinking about how we could identify a genuinely prophetic message. We had a strong sense that a prophetic message might well come as a 'voice in the wilderness', at odds with accepted thinking and traditional culture. But we agreed that simply going against the grain of accepted culture was not in itself a guarantee of prophecy.
While a prophet might shake a church to its foundations, there must also be a way for a prophetic message to be heard and tested- balancing openness with the need for discernment (some useful words in 1 Corinthians 14:33).
We also considered prophecy at a personal level- in essence, speaking out against sin, as Charlie described in his passage. In the modern culture of choice, this can feel very uncomfortable. We hoped that when called to challenge sin, we would have the reassurance that we were being faithful to the Spirit in speaking out.
While the event is running, participants at the Triennial will be sharing their experiences and reflections. This will allow Friends and others to join in the Triennial experience.
In the meantime, participants can start the Triennial process before they get to Dublin, by joining in the dialogue on the study booklet (PDF, 212kb)