Category Archives: News and Events

Ireland Yearly Meeting 2021

It was wonderful to see so many faces from near and far for Ireland Yearly Meeting, which took place online from 8 – 11 April 2021.

The theme was ‘A Time to Act Together in Faith and Hope‘ and many different topics were explored, including faith, peace, social justice, migration and sustainability.

It was encouraging to hear how Meetings across Ireland have adapted during the pandemic to online meetings for worship, business meetings, coffee mornings and socials. Friends of all ages have conquered technical challenges and discovered that spiritual comfort, fellowship and community can take place online or via platforms like WhatsApp. It takes more than a pandemic to stop the Spirit at work!

It was also heartening to hear how Sunday Schools, youth clubs and other get-togethers for younger Friends have all adapted to the world of Covid-19 .

We heard updates from Quaker Service and Irish Quaker Faith In Action (IQFA) and from two campaigns that reflect our Peace Testimony – Stop Fuelling War and the Campaign To Stop Killer Robots.

We agreed to sign an inter-faith statement that urges UN member states and all people of goodwill to commit to preserving meaningful human control over the use of force, and to enact a pre-emptive ban on fully autonomous weapons.

To quote from the IYM Epistle agreed on the last day: “Our gathering is testament to the way we have adapted to changed circumstances since the cancellation of 2020 IYM last April and demonstrates the many positives we have been able to draw from adversity. While we agree that online meeting cannot replace the fellowship of meeting in person, it has allowed many more to join us at Yearly Meeting and has saved many hundreds of carbon miles of travel!”

You can read the Epistle here.

The Public Lecture, which was delivered by Eoin Stephenson of Limerick Quaker Meeting, was on the topic ‘Resurrection and Personality’. You can read the script and watch a recording of the lecture at this link.

‘Resurrection and Personality’ – IYM Public Lecture

Thank you to everyone who attended the online Public Lecture ‘Resurrection and Personality’ delivered by Eoin Stephenson of Limerick Meeting on 9 April 2021.

In the lecture, Eoin explored the intriguing question, ‘Can we cope with Resurrection?’

You can read the full script of his lecture here.

A recording of Eoin’s webinar is available here.

This is a snippet from his talk to whet your appetite:

“Our lives are a brilliant sparkle set in the vastness of distant stars and the aeons of time. We have come into existence and will go out of existence. The promise of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is that the love that brought us into existence will hold us in death so that we share in this new life. Living as fully as we can helps us become aware of this promise of new life.”

Eoin comes from a Roman Catholic home where thinking and reflection on religion were as normal as regular attendance at Mass.

He studied Philosophy at NUIG, and later studied Theology at Trinity College Dublin. Between the degrees he spent 11 years as a monk in the Trappist community of Mount Melleray Abbey. He worked for a period on social projects and in adult religious education in inner city Dublin.

He is married with three adult children, and a brand new beautiful granddaughter. He came to Quakers in Limerick in 1992 and has served on Inter Church and Interfaith Committees for Irish Quakers.

He has just returned to Limerick following six years in England where he was a sojourner member of Surrey and Hampshire Border Area Meeting.

He serves as an Elder with Limerick Quaker Meeting.

Victor Bewley’s Memoirs 2nd edition published

A second edition of Victor Bewley’s Memoirs has been published by Veritas. The memoirs, which Victor recounted to his granddaughter Fiona Murdoch, several years before his death in 1999, give a fascinating insight into his life.

Victor became director of Bewley’s Cafés at the age of 20 and, the following year, managing director – a position held by his father and grandfather before him. He never felt he was a natural businessman but, as the eldest son, he knew from a young age that he was expected to take over the running of the popular Dublin cafés. He was thrust into this role following his father Ernest’s untimely death in 1932.  

There was far more to Victor’s life, however, than the successful running of the cafés for 45 years. Although a shy and sensitive man, he had a quiet determination to improve people’s lives in any way that he could.

His memoirs reveal why in 1972 he and his brothers, Alfred and Joe, handed over Bewley’s cafés to the staff and what drove him to dedicate great time and energy to improving the lives of many, especially Travellers. Also, how he initiated cross-border reconciliation talks, including with loyalists and republicans, and how, on one occasion, he ended up carrying secret messages from the IRA to the British government.

One section of the book, which is dedicated to his faith and spirituality, gives an insight into his firm belief of ‘that of God in everyone’ and the Quaker values that underpinned the way he led his life – equality, honesty, fairness, integrity, peace and community. He certainly put his Quaker faith into action and always sought to understand people and why they behaved the way they did.

The book is available from Veritas at this link >> https://bit.ly/3f0P1Vb

All welcome to the launch, which will take place on Zoom on Monday 29 March at 6.30pm. To get the link, email events@veritas.ie (for those who receive the weekly IYM notices, the Zoom link is in the notices issued on 19 March 2021).

New Website for Irish Quaker Faith in Action – www.iqfa.net

The Irish Quaker Faith in Action (IQFA) Committee has set up a new website, in order to be able to directly update and renew information about projects supported by IQFA and ways to donate to IQFA.

The purpose of IQFA is to give practical and spiritual help and support to the Christian concerns of Irish Friends desiring to be guided to do God’s work in helping build His kingdom on Earth. The IQFA Committee includes representatives from each of the Quarterly Meetings, as well as a representative from Yearly Meeting Committee and the Ireland Yearly Meeting Clerk, Ex-Officio. When funds are restricted, IQFA will generally focus on funding relatively small projects that might have difficulty finding funding elsewhere, and that have a direct Quaker connection. How much support IQFA can provide depends on how much income is received from donations, fundraising events, etc.

Please have a look at this new website, www.iqfa.net, and feel free to send any comments or suggestions about the site to iqfawebmaster@gmail.com.  It is still a work in progress and will be updated and expanded over the coming weeks.

We hope you’ll also consider making a donation to IQFA using the newly installed PayPal buttons!

Quakers and Ethical Investment booklet

Eco Quakers Ireland and the Ireland Yearly Meeting (IYM) Investment Committee has produced a booklet to promote an ethical investment policy for Quaker Meetings in Ireland and for IYM Funds.

The Quakers and Ethical Investment booklet, which arose out of a widespread concern among Friends in Ireland about the investment of funds under Friends’ care, is designed to give broad guidance on investment within the ethical framework which Friends have set.

In a letter accompanying the booklet, the Investment Committee and Eco Quakers Committee urges Friends responsible for the investments of Meetings and Funds to view afresh the strategy that is being pursued.

“Monies are only useful if they are used for a purpose which is well thought out,” the letter states. “If, as a result of a review exercise, you do plan to change some of your investments, do take into account that stock markets can be very volatile as we have seen in early 2020.

“We are investing for the long term and should not be over affected by short term movements. Advice is available, both from within the Society and from outside – do seek it and take it into consideration!”

The letter may be read in full here and the booklet at this link.

The booklet is initially being launched in digital form and hard copies have been made available to all Meetings. A small number of hard copies are still available on request by emailing ecoquakersireland@gmail.com.

Beirut explosion and new challenges for Brummana High School in Lebanon

Quaker International Education Trust

Beirut explosion and new challenges for Brummana High School in Lebanon.

Brummana School Appeal 2020

Continuing and deepening difficulties in Lebanon including the recent explosion in Beirut make life for the staff, the pupils and the whole community of Brummana High School, a real challenge.To donate and find out more, see: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/quiet

South Belfast EcoQuaker Group Conversations via Zoom

The South Belfast Eco-Quaker Group is organising and hosting a series of civic conversations related to the challenges of the ecological and climatic emergencies.   As well as enabling a process of learning together and from a diversity of perspectives, initiatives and stories, the ‘Eco-Quaker Conversations’ are intended to help us look for ways to enact constructive responses for the common good.  Several of the conversational gatherings scheduled for the coming months have a particular focus and involve invited contributors whose role will be to inform us and provoke our thinking together.  From time to time, the intention is to pause for reflection.

The programme until January 2021

Tuesday 17 November (from 7.30pm)Responding Locally to the Climate Emergency
Guest:  Michael Donnelly from Dolmens Climate Action Network (Castlewellan)

Wednesday 9 December (from 7.30pm)Growing a Forest Town
Guest:  Karin Eyben from Garvagh People’s Forest

Thursday 7 January 2021 (from 5.30pm) Reflections and Resolutions

Eventbrite links
Invitation to participate in each session will be via an Eventbrite page. Those who register their intention to participate will then receive a Zoom meeting link shortly before the scheduled date. If you would like to receive these Eventbrite notifications, e-mail Jane Lutton at: janelutton@gmail.com.

Here is a link for the Eco-Quaker Conversation on Wednesday 14th October (19.30-21.00)https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/we-need-to-talk-about-basic-income-tickets-120576516607.

History of Quakers in the Liberties

The Liberties Cultural Association have launched two new video pieces as part of their ongoing exploration of social history and folklore in The Liberties. The films are being made public to coincide with this year’s Dublin Festival of History.

The first film produced under the project looks at Quaker history in The Liberties and features Christopher Moriarty, curator of Friends Historical Library at Stocking Lane.  Friends have a long connection with The Liberties, including the city’s earliest Friends’ Meeting House at Meath Street and the little-known Quaker burial grounds at Cork Street.

Christopher talks about the charitable ethos of The Quaker Community and its work in the area in this short introductory film (6 mins). https://youtu.be/aEu0z3FlefQ

The clip forms part of a larger ongoing collaboration between the Quaker Community and the Liberties Cultural Association, celebrating the links between the Quakers and The Liberties 

More information on this project is available here:

World Quaker Day 4th October 2020

Every year in early October, the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) facilitates the celebration of “World Quaker Day” – providing a framework for Quakers worldwide to connect with each other, become more aware of the wonderful diversity of the World Family of Friends and celebrate all expressions of Quaker Worship. More information can be found at the link http://www.worldquakerday.org/.

This year, World Quaker Day will be celebrated on Sunday 4th October.  The theme for World Quaker Day 2020 chosen by FWCC is  “What does it mean to be a Quaker today? Living a faithful life in a changing world.”  

It won’t be possible to do many of the activities one might normally think of for World Quaker Day – opening our Meeting Houses to the public, giving public talks, holding a candlelit evening Meeting for Worship, holding discussions or doing creative activities based on the theme. At the same time, Clerks may wish to let Friends in their Meetings know about World Quaker Day, and perhaps even organise some kind of discussion or other activity related to the World Quaker Day theme in the near future – either in person with social distancing, or virtually using an online platform.

Enjoy World Quaker Day!

                 Denise Gabuzda, IYM Clerk