Category Archives: News and Events

IYM Forms 2017

book-your-placeIreland Yearly Meeting 2017 to be held Thursday 20th April to Sunday 23rd April at The High School, Zion Road, Dublin 6.

Click on the links below to download your forms


Please return your forms NO LATER THAN 24th MARCH 2017

As always, volunteers are required to ensure the smooth running of IYM. We encourage you, where possible, to offer your help.

The theme this year is:
Live simply, so that others may simply live – Mahatma Gandhi

We look forward to seeing you there.

‘Wear a Bonnet – Living Art Installation’ – 3rd March

Wear a Bonnet – Living Art Installation’

Christina Henri’s successful Living Art Installation,

part of ‘Roses from the Heart’

comes from Tasmania to Ireland at Grangegorman, DIT. (An Croi)

                                 on  FRIDAY, 3rd MARCH 2017, 10.30am

All are welcome and are invited to wear a Roses from the Heart’ cloth bonnet that will be provided on loan.

This bonnet will symbolise the life of one of the 3,216 Irish women and their 506 children held at the Grangegorman Female Depot (1840-1852) prior to transportaton to Tasmania. (http://

The installation will also pay tribute to Quaker social reformer, Elizabeth Fry, first woman to campaign for better prison conditions. Grangegorman Female Depot (now the Grangegorman Development Authority) opened in 1836. It was the first female penitentiary in the then Britsh Isles that was built according to Quaker prison reformer, Elizabeth Fry’s precepts. She was also instrumental in the placement of Mrs Marian Rawlins as matron.

an-croi-grangegormanTime: Arrive at An Croi prior to 10.30am in readiness for receiving loaned bonnet to be ready for aerial photograph. RTE Nationwide has committed to a second documentary on the ‘Roses from the Heart’ journey and will film the 3 March event at Grangegorman.

Artist Dr Christna Henri will attend, as will the Mayor of Dublin and the Australian Ambassador to Ireland along with other dignatories.

Students from all local Dublin schools are invited to attend the event,  as are pupils from the Quaker Schools, Newtown, Waterford, Rathgar Junior School, Dublin, and Friends’ School Lisburn.

Christina’s Irish visit will include a visit to Waterford from 13th-19th March. She will give two public lectures, in Waterford and Dungarvan, some workshops to Waterford women’s groups and at both Newtown School and Newtown Junior School.

 For further information email Joan Johnson (Waterford Quaker Meeting) at



FWCC, WO & EMES Job Opportunity

Friends may be interested in the following position of Organisational Assistant.

Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC)
World Office (WO) and Europe and Middle East Section (EMES)April 2017 through December 31, 2019

FWCC is seeking a Friend to serve as an Organisational Assistant to work fulltime to support both the World Office and EMES. We are looking for a friendly, capable organizer who can work within a European and world context of Friends, to manage communications (websites, social media, newsletters, annual reports), manage events, and to support fundraising and database supervision.Some travel required. Working knowledge of technology essential. Fluency in a second language is essential and knowledge of other languages is desirable. The person can work out of the London office in Friends House but other locations may be considered.

For further details, click on the link below.

FWCC Job Advertisement

New Year, new beginnings – ‘The Transforming Power of Holy Obedience’

Most New Year resolutions focus on getting fit, losing weight etc. – goals to improve our physical and mental well-being. This is all very laudable but there’s no reason why some of our New Year resolutions shouldn’t have the purpose of improving our spiritual lives too.

From the very earliest days in Quaker history Friends have spoken clearly of how the reality of the presence of the living inward Christ gives us hope and purpose and a sense of the peace that passes all understanding.

Do we have a strong sense of the presence of the living inward Christ? Or are there steps we can take to help us feel a greater sense of the hope and purpose of Jesus Christ?

Simon C Lamb, Clerk of FWCC

Simon Lamb, Clerk of the Friends World Committee for Consultation and a Member of Richill Meeting, gave a talk on the theme, The Transforming Power of Holy Obedience, in La Paz, Bolivia, in 2014. The talk makes ideal reading at the start of 2017 as we seek to prioritise and plan ahead for the coming year.

Simon says that, when George Fox challenged us to ‘Let our lives preach’, he was challenging us to live lives of wholeness, where our actions and the principles we believe in are the same. “And if our day to day existence becomes a living expression of integrity, then our neighbours and our friends, that we come in contact with, will see that the God we love is real, not because we tell them so, but because they see the transformation that our relationship with God has created in us. Our God is a God of changed lives,” he says.

You can read the full text of Simon’s talk here >> The Transforming Power of Holy Obedience


Friendship lunches ~ South Belfast, 1st Tues of every month

friendship-lunchesAll Friends and attenders from across the island are welcome to join South Belfast Friends at their Friendship lunches, which take place on the first Tuesday of each month.

The monthly get-togethers start with a 30-minute Meeting for Worship at 12:15, followed by lunch, which includes a choice of homemade soup; bread, cheese and paté; tea, coffee, biscuits or cake.  They finish up around 1.45pm.

Lunch is free, due to the financial support from the James & Elizabeth Muriel Young Home for the Elderly Trust Fund.  All are welcome; not just older members!

If in Belfast, why not join South Belfast Friends at their meeting house, which is located at 22 Marlborough Park North, Belfast BT9 6JH? Take the 9A or 9B Metro from Belfast, Donegall Square East and get off at ‘Marlborough Park’ stop. Buses are every 8-10 minutes and the journey takes about 10 minutes from the city centre.

Hope to see you there 🙂

‘Experiment with Light’ – Friends share their experiences

sunlight‘Experiment with Light’ is a method for actively engaging with the silent worship practised in Quaker Meetings, inspired by early Friends’ experiences, as illustrated by their writings. It was originally devised by the British Quaker Rex Ambler, and has since been continued and developed in various Quaker study centres and Quaker Meetings.

An ‘Experiment with Light’ workshop was held at Ennismore Retreat Centre and Cork Meeting House from 11th – 13th November 2016. The workshop provided an introduction to this practice, as interpreted by the two facilitators – John Spencer of Rochester Meeting in West Kent and Medhina of Lewes Meeting in Sussex. A number of Cork Friends organised and supported the workshop, which had 18 participants from 7 Meetings and Worship Groups within IYM. Below are impressions from 5 of these participants.
On arriving at Richard and Denise’s house on Friday evening, we were greeted by a lovely group of people. We had a wonderful meal, and this was a great opportunity to meet everyone. That evening, at our first session in the retreat centre, we had a good introduction into the practice.

On Saturday, we moved into the second session, “Experiment with Light based on the individual”. After preparing us for the session, Medhina guided us through a meditation, taking time between each step for us to sit in silence. The meditation was aimed at helping us to focus on the concerns in our lives, and it was wonderful to feel the warm energy moving between us. A strong bond formed between us – people seemed to rejoice in each other’s company. I liked the part when we moved into small groups and put on paper by writing and drawing what was happening inside ourselves. This opened up some deep discussions between us.

In the Session 3, we moved into group concerns. This felt quite different – in the individual session, we all seemed to be deeply involved with our own issues, whilst still being totally there for each other – the energy was very alive and full of colour. In the group session, it felt like we were on a different level, as if we were connected in a stronger way. The individual session was truly “Experiment with Light”, but in the group session, it felt as if we were now “dwelling in the Light” – there was a peace among us, a “presence of the Spirit”. Several people talked afterwards about how relaxed and at ease they felt, so much so that one or two felt sleepy; “resting in the safety of the Spirit” was how it felt to me.
John dressed up like George Fox in Session 4. This was so well done, and people reacted in a very natural way – our problems of today being so relevant to the solutions of George Fox. Some good “rants” developed.

On Sunday we had our closing sessions, ending with some great yoga exercises with Lu. A high point of Sunday was the course participants getting together with Cork Quakers for Meeting for Worship at 11.00. After lunch (lovely soup), we drove home to Glengariff.

I am now looking forward to the fruits of our course – hopefully some “Light Groups” will be established soon.
— Patrick Goyvaerts (Bantry Worship Group)
I was very happy to attend the “Experiment with Light” weekend in Cork. It began with a well organized and tasty meal, prepared by Richard at his and Denise’s house. This was a lovely way for us all to meet and get to know each other. We then traveled to the Retreat Centre for a short introductory session.

On Sunday, we wound up the workshop at the Cork Meeting House and joined Cork Friends for Meeting for Worship.

The weekend was well organized, the tutors were clear, honest and warm-hearted, and Denise as Elder was a steadying and reassuring presence.

I personally only got faint glimmers of illumination, but I am excited about the process. For me, it represents the essence of Quakerism, because it teaches us to discover and respond to the Light within. I feel encouraged by my faint glimmers and will continue to work with it. I am hoping to form a local Light Group.

— Sarah Goyvaerts (Bantry Worship Group)
As a recent addition to the Religious Society of Friends, with over 4 years as an Attender in Monkstown, I delighted in the recent weekend “Experiment with Light” in Cork this November.

I believe instinct to be a main driving force in my understanding of Meeting for . I atteip right from the first day I arrived at MonkstnWorshownded my first Yearly Meeting in Cork in 2013, and upon reading the programme for that weekend, the workshop by Rex Ambler struck me as something of interest. Having attended the workshop then, I knew that I was coming to something that would be helpful in the future. But I knew not what.

In was suggested that my first meeting in Monkstown in June 2012 was a Homecoming. I now can saw with safety that I agree with that notion. The weekend this November on “Experiment with Light” is like an extension of that Homecoming. Another door has been opened on the same ground, but I sense now more on a fertile plain. It appears that the early Quakers found a direct way to God, and I believe that way is available to every Friend in Meeting for Worship. I believe that this can strengthen that link for me. I am finding this almost accidentally and by instinct.

What I know is little, but what I feel is immense! I encourage those who are curious to delve into this process, “Experiment with Light”, to see if it is for them. I sense that it could be a way forward for me, but I need to practice and require more time to pronounce with certainty as to its long term benefits. — Conor Hayes (Monkstown Meeting)

I was delighted for this opportunity to experience the method developed by Rex Ambler from his research on the writings of George Fox and other early Friends. I enjoyed the fellowship and the time spent with Friends from throughout Ireland Yearly Meeting. I hope that we will have further opportunities to practice the method and speak of our experiences in what has proved to be a powerful learning environment. While there was an emphasis on individual experience of settling down and centering, there was also a challenge to reconnect with the energy and passion of early Friends, in relation to our Meetings and to the Society as a whole. I believe that we will all continue to use the method and hopefully we will be able to share our learnings with those interested Friends in our Meetings who could not get to Cork on this occasion.

It was great to see that the invitation extended to the Amblers to bring the experiment with Light to Yearly Meeting in Cork 2013 had resulted in this workshop organised by Denise Gabuzda, making me anticipate what may emerge from Limerick’s experience of hosting YM in 2018.
— Pauline Goggin (Limerick Meeting)
This was for me an amazing week-end! Because I had heard Rex Ambler talk to us at our IYM held in Cork about the early Quaker understanding of “inner light”, I expected great things from this week-end. In fact, it exceeded my expectations.

Also, I felt that each of us participating was caught up in a feeling that something special was in the air. Maybe it could be called a “gathered” week-end? We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Denise Gabuzda and Cork Friends for making it all possible and the two British Friends who facilitated.

As I write this report two weeks later, I can now better put words on the something very special that this week-end was, for me. Up to this I have found myself, much too often, explaining Quakerism to others, in terms of what it doesn’t have, rarely in terms of what it does have! And yet I know that this is crazy! Something very special must have happened to enable George Fox and early Friends, a group of ordinary people with no pretensions to any specialized knowledge of spiritual matters or social issues to, first of all, do the hardest of all human tasks – change their own hearts – and then have the courage to go forth and seek to change the world! This week-end threw light for me on what this something special was and from now on this new understanding will be central to what I say to others about what Quakerism is.

Over our week-end, through various in-puts and exercises, all was clarified through a special understanding of an ordinary word – LIGHT.

When light isn’t just the electric light that I can turn on with a switch but a light deep within me that I, alone, am incapable of turning on but must let God’s inner spirit do the turning on – then, in the very simple but very profound words of Fox, “what can be known of God, is revealed within you”. Incredible! That put an end to all the big tomes of Christian theology and brought us much closer to the simple parables of Jesus.

In this light all personal and global problems can find new understanding. In this light early Quakers had the courage to sally forth and they dared to change the world.

Next time I am asked what is Quakerism, I am going to try to put this new understanding of Light into a simple but wonderfully positive sentence. Can any Friends help me?

— Irene Ni Mhaille (Monkstown Meeting)

This piece was originally published in the January – February 2017 edition of ‘The Friendly Word’.