Over 1,500 Quakers will descend on Canterbury on Saturday for their annual meeting to discern the way ahead for Quakers in Britain. The eight-day programme for all ages, called Yearly Meeting Gathering, is set to be an inspiring mix of worship, learning, celebration, business, spiritual growth and fun – including a ceilidh and making patchwork quilts.
The theme for Quakersâ€™ Yearly Meeting Gathering at the University of Kent, from Saturday 30/07/2011 to Saturday 06/08/2011, is â€œGrowing in the Spirit: changing the way we live to sustain the world we live inâ€.
In the keynote Swarthmore Lecture on Monday evening, Pam Lunn will address those gathered on the subject of â€œCosting not less than everything: sustainability and spirituality in challenging timesâ€. The Lecture, which is open to the public is the 102nd since the first lecture in 1908. The main business sessions will focus on economic justice and sustainable living issues.
More than 270 under 19 year olds will enjoy a parallel programme, exploring the same theme, with 107 taking part in Junior Yearly Meeting for 15 â€“ 18 year olds and 165 in the children and young peopleâ€™s programme.
Britain Yearly Meetingâ€™s recording clerk, Paul Parker said: â€œYearly Meeting Gathering is a high point of the Quaker year, a time when the Yearly Meeting becomes much more than the sum of its parts, the Spirit moves among us, and we have a chance to discern together what God requires of us in the world.â€
Nayler.org will be producing daily podcasts for those attending the Yearly Meeting Gathering and they will include interviews with Geoffrey Durham, author of Being a Quaker: a guide for newcomers and Harriet Hart, one of the editors of the Spirit Rising world Quaker youth ministry book project.
There are four evening lectures open to the public:
Sunday 31/07/2011, 7.30pm, The George Gorman Lecture, given by Simon Best, â€œSustainable, radical Quakerism: a faith for the twenty-first centuryâ€.
Monday 01/08/2011, 7.30pm, The Swarthmore Lecture, given by Pam Lunn, leader for the Good Lives Programme at Woodbrooke QuakerÂ Study Centre, â€œCosting not less than everything: sustainability and spirituality in challenging timesâ€. The Swarthmore Lecture, established in 1907, is under the care of Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre trustees.
Tuesday 02/08/2011, 7.30pm, the Salter Lecture, given by Tony Benn, who retired from the House of Commons in 2001 after more than fifty years in parliament. This lecture is under the auspices of the Quaker Socialist Society.
Wednesday 03/08/2011, 7.30pm, The Retreat Lecture, â€œFriendship, community and mental healthâ€, given by Chris Holman, director of The Retreat, the mental health unit in York.