Saturday, 5 May 2007

sausage factory: part 2

The second part of the chat over lunch at the Sausage Factory (14-18 year old Quakers at BYM).

Sally: Where did you come from in America?

Wess: LA. I'm a Quaker. I'm from a programmed meeting.

Katy: Explain, why do it, how is it Quakery?

Wess: Back in 1850 there were 2 groups, Gurneys and Wilbur, they were trying to incorporate envangelistic style into the meeting to get people in as they died out. There were great revivals so they adopted some of those methods. Quaker, believed in inward light, simplistic etc. They brought some bible stuff and programmed stuff in.

Tavi: Do you sing hymns?

Wess: Yes, we sing, we had 10 minutes silence too. You have a pastor who would give a sermon.

Jez: how long is the sermon?

Wess: 25 minutes, maybe. Also we do business the same way that other Quakers do. We have the testimonies. Just the service is different.

Katy: What do you prefer?

Wess: I like both. Friends come together; we have liturgy or celtic prayer. Half hour silence, and someone reads a query, we might have a short discussion, and pray together.

Stefan: Are the sermons about Advice and Queries or are they bible sermons? Wess: It comes from the bible, could be old or new testaments.

Sally: Is it evangelical?

Wess: From right wing evangelical to left wing non-evangelical, is a broad spectrum. Group of Quakers, then there is the emerging church, meet in clubs and pubs, drama video dj music, poetry, new movement of church doing that - what does it mean to meet together, so when i say that i like to put it together that is where I'm coming from.

Sally: do you find it difficult, to think as Quakerism?

Kate: It is defined by silence, moved by spirit…

Tavi: find it hard to see otherwise…

Wess: God does not just move us in the silence… he moves us when we are encountering people online, in facebook wherever, god can give me something to share. Monday or Tuesday, god could present a poem to share later on, not just for that moment, god working throughout time all time

Tavi: I don't know if i even believe in god, are people being directed by their pastor, i like when people read because they're moved by something deep inside, i don't think that i can experience it otherwise, how do you relate to something? I don't know if i agree with the bible,

Wess: I think it works best when all those things happen within a dialogue, if you came to something i was leading, i don't say this is what it says ‘now believe’, but, this is what i think it is and what do you think? Another part is asking the questions we all have. In a guided discussion, what is god doing in the world, if anything? Lets have those questions,

Katy: I get it better now you've explained it

Wess: Take a book of common prayer or old hymns or poetry, things already done, say a prayer, god gave someone that prayer, 1000 years, 100 years a week ago, its still alive, it can still minister, has vitality in the community of faith, sit down, the whole church for 1000 years has been reading together, is something special. Age-tested prayer.

Stefan: Telling a story beginning ‘once upon a time’ is spontaneous.

Sally: Is the pastor a leader in your meeting?

Wess: Not the sole leader. He or she does not have the final say in things. The Meeting is still run by regular Quaker business, pastor only has as much as the pastor says.

Mary: why don't you do the Quaker Youth Pilgrimage, where 15 young Friends from Europe and 15 from the Americas get together. It is organised by FWCC (Friends World Committee for Consultation). I went in 2000. It is every 2 years in England or Europe or America. Mike: Is there an upper age limit?

Mary: 16-18.

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