Putting aside all the media coverage Quakers have received over same-sex marriage, the recent revelation about the nation’s favourite churches and every article that can’t help mentioning which banks were formed by Quakers, Quakers continue to pull in media coverage nationally and locally and often in passing.
For example, there was a long feature in the Financial Times recently about Kuman Bhattacharyya. He’s a Labour life peer after a successful career in industry and academia.
Kumar started his career at Lucas Industries, run by the Lucas family, who were Quakers. The article states: “They didn’t need modern-day management bibles or highly paid consultants to get them to treat their workers well, Bhattacharyya says. ‘It was in their DNA… it was part of their culture, they looked after people.’”
Meanwhile, Richard Wyn Jones, writing in the New Statesman last month said that the left had nothing to fear from the rise of Englishness. “From the Levellers to Orwell, from the Quaker tradition of philanthropy to Tawney, radicals can gain sustenance and inspiration from a hugely impressive tradition of English social radicalism.”
In the Canadian journal The Province on 30 July, one of the anniversaries noted was the death of Quaker William Penn in 1718.
Every Quaker knows of William Penn but who are the famous Quakers today? Joan Baez is often mentioned. But an article in The Australian reveals that her grandparents were radical clerics and her parents became Quakers. And it was through the Quakers “while still in her teens that she encountered her mentor, Gandhian pacifist Ira Sandperl (who died in April at 90), and her first “living idol”, Martin Luther King Jr.” There’s no mention of Joan being a Quaker.
Meanwhile, on a local level Scilly Today has a feature on Quakers as the first regular Quaker meeting on St Mary’s has started. Meeting every Sunday evening at 5pm, the worship group includes Maureen Carter, who “says she became interested in Quakerism when a visiting WI member spoke about their different approach to Christianity. She says the movement is very much about treating people in the way you’d like to be treated yourself, with respect and friendship.”
Quaker Linda Owens who lives on the island has reassured her fellow islanders that they’re not out trying to convert people. There’s no aim of how many people will come, “they’ll just welcome anyone who would like to come along to their meetings,” the article concludes.
Finally, in Berkhamsted, a book is about to be published revealing the story of John Tawell, a Quaker who murdered his mistress because they were in financial difficulty. He was hanged in 1845. The book, The peculiar case of the electric constable by Carol Baxter, notes that John Tawell was the first person to be arrested after a telegraph alert. These Quakers, not keeping up with modern technology, eh?