Ulster Quarterly Meeting
16th February 2013
The annual report to UQM of Friends School Lisburn (2011-2012) was in the main extremely encouraging. Academic Achievement had been exceptional within the school and relative to Northern Ireland averages. But the amazing variety of ‘Community Relations’ projects, events and challenges was impressive and their value for pupils and the community should not be underestimated. Serious concern with the recent effects of budget cuts and the possible new state involvement in governance was expressed by Meeting. The Archives Committee report was brief but with the expected tidbits that make it one of my favourites. The hours of work put in by its members on certain projects was emphasised.
The afternoon session ‘Enough is Plenty’ was organised by the Testimonies and Witness Committee. The speaker was Anne B Ryan, author of the book of that title. She began by asking ‘what is enough’ and enlarged by suggesting that this involved not simply practical needs but ideas of resilience/sustainability, ecosystems, morality, spirituality, peace of mind, aesthetics and more. She then introduced the economic concept of ‘Universal Basic Income’ which was new to many. Discussion groups were formed to be guided by three questions: What is your immediate response; What is your deeper response; What are the challenges/opportunities ie personal, family, community, society? When we reassembled, brief summaries were read. Thoughts of the Idealists and the Realists among us were represented. Basic human greed emerged as A or The stumbling block. The afternoon session was thought-provoking and fuel for further discussion.