To clarify the position of Friends arising from an interview with a government minister on the radio on 24th October 2018. No agreed statement has been issued from The Religious Society of Friends in Ireland regarding the removal of the word blasphemy from the constitution.
Join us in Eustace Street Meeting House for interesting talks, displays and lots more anytime between 5-10pm … or just to have a chat and a cup of tea. It will be an opportunity to find out about the Quaker tradition, the history of the Quakers in Ireland and to meet with members of the community. Find out more here.
There will also be the opportunity to visit the Quaker burial ground at Temple Hill, Blackrock, between 5-9pm. Tours will take place at 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Find out more here.
Three hundred and fifty years ago, on an April day in 1668, a baby boy named Robert was born on a farm at Ballymorenbeg near Wicklow town. His father, Ambrose Judd, had emigrated from England and in 1667 married Ann Eves. He was ‘was convinced of the blessed truth’ in 1672. Their farm remained in Quaker ownership for many generations.
Its buildings were acquired in 1994 for a family home by two Dublin architects, Philip Geoghegan and his wife Delphine. They carefully restored the exterior, re-developed the rooms for 21st century life and, at the same time, became immersed in its Quaker past.
That led them many years ago to visit the Friends Historical Library in Dublin and enter a happy relationship with a succession of archivists. In 2017 Philip suggested to the Library folk that the great anniversary might be celebrated by holding a Meeting for Worship in the homestead.
Sunday 2nd September 2018 was a sunny day and 32 Friends and Attenders exchanged their regular meeting places for a memorable visit to Ballymurrin Quaker Farmstead. It began with Meeting for Worship in the largest room – with an overflow into the garden behind it. Several neighbours joined us for their first experience of a Quaker Meeting and a variety of birds supplemented the vocal ministries.
After the Meeting, Philip gave an outline of the history of the farm and we set off on the short walk to Ballymurrin Quaker Burial Ground, which the first owners had set aside for the purpose in the 17th century.
The little plot is surrounded by trees on three sides, with a stone wall and an arched entrance for the fourth. Most of the 240 interments listed in the records are unmarked – they had been made prior to the 1860s when Friends decided that stone memorials did not, after all, conflict with Christian belief. Four graves in one corner do have headstones which, surprisingly, don’t conform with the permitted simplicity standard of uniform size and minimal inscription. They were erected between 1870 and 1895 and all commemorate members of the Pim family.
Amongst the visitors on 2nd September was Jonathan Pim of Rathfarnham Meeting. Twenty years ago Jono and his late brother Brian had found the burial ground to be an impenetrable jungle of brambles. They arranged to have these cleared and for the ground to be maintained by regular mowing, an initiative that transformed it to its present state of a shaded park. Trees they planted have grown well – in spite of living in competition with invading sycamores. A seed sown on the occasion was the possibility of having stone tablets, with the names and dates of all those buried, carved and attached to the wall.
After inspecting the Burial Ground, we returned to the farmstead for a sumptuous lunch, a walk around the buildings and garden and a look at the beautifully illustrated leaflets on the background that Philip has written and printed. They include a paper on William Bates, who had lived at Ballymurrin for 10 years up to 1681. Like many other contemporary Quakers, he emigrated to America, settling in Newton, New Jersey.
Visitors are welcome to Ballymurrin throughout the summer but booking in advance is essential. Go to the website Ballymurrin Quaker Farmstead to make arrangements.
‘Quaker Women and Social Justice: Learning from their Experience’ is the title of a six-week online course that will take place from 5th November to 16th December 2018.
Julianna Minihan and Martin Layton will be co-tutoring the course, which will look at social and economic concerns of some British and American Quaker women activists in the 1800s and early 1900s.
Follow the link for details >> https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/item/quaker-women-and-social-justice-learning-from-their-experience/
We received many requests to make the script of the talk available on the website.
Many thanks to Seán for sending the script to us. You can read it here >>
‘Living Our Faith Daily: the practice of testimony’ was the title of the public lecture delivered by Ben Pink Dandelion of Birmingham University and Woodbrooke at Ireland Yearly Meeting in Limerick Institute of Technology on 20th June.
His talk took a Quaker perspective on what it is to try and be a ‘mystic in the midst’ – to try and lead an authentic spiritual life amongst our daily concerns and attachments.
Testimony in the Quaker tradition refers to the way our faith is expressed in everyday life and so living our faith daily is about the practice of that expression.
The Quaker testimonies include Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Equality. Some would add the testimony to Sustainability too.
Ben spoke from his knowledge of Quaker tradition as well as his own experience in reflecting on how we can best inhabit our spiritual aspirations.
You can read the full text of Ben’s talk here >> ‘Living Our Faith Daily: the practice of testimony’
The theme was ‘Discerning and Living Our Testimonies Together’.
A report of Yearly Meeting 2018 may be viewed here >> YM Report 2018
Religious Society of Friends in Ireland statement, 21 July 2018:
Quakers in Ireland agree to same sex marriages in their meetings for worship
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Ireland has agreed to the holding of same-sex marriages in Quaker meetings for worship, currently legal in the Republic of Ireland.
If any Quaker Meetings, solemnisers or members do not wish to participate in meetings for worship for same sex-marriages as a matter of conscience, there is no obligation to do so. This is to facilitate the range of views held within the Society.
The decision was reached at the Society’s Yearly Meeting – its annual conference – which took place in Limerick Institute of Technology from 18-22 July 2018.
Quakers have a diversity of views on marriage between people of the same sex taking place in a meeting for worship because of the range of their theological, spiritual and biblical approaches but we are united through love for one another.
Notes for editors:
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is a Christian denomination founded by George Fox in England in 1652. Quakerism was introduced to Ireland by William Edmundson in 1654 and there are approximately 1,500 Quakers today in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Quakers hold testimonies on Simplicity, Truth, Equality, Peace and Community that all members are encouraged to live out in their daily lives. There are no clergy and meetings for worship are based on silence with everyone present welcome to make a vocal contribution if they feel moved to do so by the Holy Spirit.
Quaker Office, Religious Society of Friends in Ireland, Stocking Lane, Dublin 16.
Tel: 01 4998003
Eurosatory, the biennale of the biggest arms trade fair in the world, took place in Paris from 11-15 June 2018. This year the organisers, Stop Fuelling War, managed to be part of an event in central Paris which gathered people from all over Europe in a peaceful and fun-filled event in the days leading up to the start of the arms trade fair. Unfortunately, this Quaker was not looking where she was going and took a nasty fall the day beforehand which meant a period of recuperation during this musical and fun-filled event which had opportunities for interaction and reflection, where folk were invited to vote on military budgets. The efforts to raise awareness in the French public, of the enormous economy generated by an industry whose end product is death, was well received. Many people in France are completely unaware of the size of their military budget each year.
Our hosts, Jenny Haughton and Brian Maguire, were, as always, generous in their hospitality and Jenny joined Helen Fanning from Churchtown Meeting, myself and my grandson, Callum Wrixon from Limerick, in attending the peaceful Quaker vigil against the arms trade. Jenny managed to go inside the Eurosatory buildings where she had some interesting conversations with standholders who were working for the companies represented at the arms trade fair. She brought out a catalogue, which one Young Friend, on seeing it at IYM in Limerick, described as being “bigger than an Argos catalogue”. I was delighted to see old and new faces at the vigil, and indeed some Irish “non-Friends” who had been inspired to travel to witness for peace having heard about it for the first time during a talk in Limerick last year.
On the first day, we were joined by another activist group, who unfortunately were more aggressive in their approach, which swiftly drew security and police personnel. Holly Spencer from the Stop Fuelling War group, skilfully negotiated a time-sharing compromise and we were able to attend separately each day. In fact, many of the thousands attending stopped to talk and tell us of how the more aggressive approach tended to “close down any chance of dialogue” and that our quiet, yet persistent, presence and our willingness to listen, created a space where conversations were able to take place. It felt affirming to hear this kind of feedback and also to even hear friendly suggestions from those who were engaged in the arms trade. One man suggested that more information about alternatives in of peacebuilding should be included in the literature and it certainly set me thinking that so many wonderful projects, supporting peace, remain unseen and unknown, a bit like the arms trade itself.
Joining in worship, with all those who had travelled, at Maison Quaker settled our souls for the days ahead and a workshop on The Arms Trade and The Alternatives was held, which was a practical preparation and information-filled event.
I recommend a visit to the Stop Fuelling War website and Facebook page to see some lists of peace-building projects there. QCEA have published a wonderful book in February 2018, which they hope to send to our Irish politicians, called Building Peace Together: a practical resource. it can be ordered from QCEA in Brussels >> qcea.org
Friends at Eurosatory vigil, Paris, June 2018 – Helen Fanning Dublin; Julia Ryberg, Stockholm; Karen King, Brussels; and an unnamed Friend from Britain Yearly Meeting.
Wishing you all peace in your days.
– Pauline Goggin, Limerick. Western Region Monthly Meeting