by Jez Smith
Gerald Hewitson, a Quaker based in Wales, is set to deliver the 2013 Swarthmore Lecture, A Journey to the Heart of the Quaker Experience. The lecture will be given during Britain Yearly Meeting at Friends House on 25/05/2013. Although the lecture will be delivered then, the Swarthmore Lecture is in the care of the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre.
A former clerk of Quaker Life, Gerald will use the lecture to explore his personal journey as a Quaker as well as the spiritual experiences of his life. In 04/2012 Gerald addressed the Quaker Life Representative Council in ministry about his own experience of deepening his spiritual life through prayerful practice and finding his way to the gathered centre: “everything else is just words,” he said. You can hear Gerald’s ministry on the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre website.
Gerald is a former headmaster and one of the founders of Holyhead Quaker Meeting in Anglesey. In 2012 he and his wife Gwyneth served as Pendle Hill College in Pennsylvania in 2011-12. They have also lived in Turkey.
Gerald is a practitioner of Experiment in Light, a meditation practice based on early Friends’ discoveries.
We can expect a visionary lecture. In 2011, while at Pendle Hill Gerald wrote on his blog about Quakers: “Our role is to model a different way of being, in which conflict is not ignored, but neither is it settled by war; in which difference is not met by exclusion, but by welcome; in which ways of life are sustainable and healthy, not consuming and greedy. Our role is to show what the beatitudes look like in the twentieth century, and offer a vision of the Kingdom of Heaven not as an abstract reality, but as a concrete, material, alert, dynamic living community here on earth. The Quaker way of defining oneself in history is to create that Kingdom here, now; and history will be complete when ‘justice rolls down like water and righteousness like an ever flowing stream’.”
From 5 to 7/07/2013 Gerald and Simon Best will deliver a course at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. Journey to the Heartland of the Quaker Experience: a practical follow-up to the 2013 Swarthmore Lecture will explore the profound sense of calling Friends have known and examine early Friends’ experience of transformation. The core focus will be practical spirituality – considering what we can do to prepare for and be open to the possibility of transformation.
Gerald has practised the discipline of journalling for many years. In his ministry at the Quaker Life Representative Council in 2012 he said “I write about what is deepest in my heart.”
The Swarthmore lecture will be delivered on Saturday 25/05/2013 at 7pm. The lecture is open to the public and will be delivered at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ.