Thursday, June 05, 2014

making an impact

I was at the Quaker Yearly Meeting a couple of weeks ago during which we approved a Peace Statement to co-incide with the World War I commemorations that reiterated some of the wording from 1987 Peace Statement.

Much to my delight Peace Movement Aotearoa, who Friends are closely involved with, created a Facebook friendly version of it which is already being shared internationally amongst Friends. This is the sort of thing we should really be doing for ourselves and I'm hoping that as Friends here see for themselves how effective this can be we'll be able to get more of it happening.

Whilst at Yearly Meeting some of us who are involved with Outreach met over a meal to share ideas, and improving our web presence was definitely seen as a priority. In one of the sessions the question of how to get and keep younger people involved with Quakers was raised and again it came down to 'outreach, outreach and outreach'. It is good to see that one of the ideas shared at YM, the Wellington Young Friends' Meeting for Pizza funded initially by elders and overseers, has already been picked up by Mt Eden overseers in Auckland. Anything with food is usually a good draw card for YFs, especially free food! And something like a pizza evening is the sort of thing that is easy to bring an interested friend along to who wants to know more about Quakers but isn't quite sure about Meeting on a Sunday morning yet for whatever reason.

I'm heartened by the way the shift in attitude towards outreach and spending money that got going at last years YM has continued to move in a less conservative direction. I know Quaker process is a slow beast and turning the tide of opinion is an exercise in patience, but it really does feel like we are starting to get somewhere. Someone said in a Facebook discussion today about Nominations (primarily in Britain) "I think that by and large we try and run our meetings and our organisation the way we always have. The world has changed and we haven't." Much the same could be said about things here, but I do think that that is starting to be recognised as the problem it is, and maybe, just maybe, things are starting to move in the right direction...

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