News about Quakers in Devon and Cornwall, and national or international news relevant to local Quaker concerns.
"Gay church 'marriages' set to get the go-ahead"(BBC News headline on 13 February 2011). Michael Bartlet was the first witness, for Quakers, on the Moral Maze about marriage, BBC Radio 4, 19 Feb 2011. Listen here
In February General Meeting discussed Civil Liberties – a report is on the GM page.Friends did not attempt to discern what is right or wrong with our laws and policing, but agreed to take the subject back to their local Meetings for further discussion.One aspect is that laws for dealing with terrorists and serious criminals are sometimes used for other purposes, the best known instance being when 82-yr old Walter Wolfgang was thrown out of the Labour conference for heckling Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. On 11 April the papers reported that Poole Borough Council had used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to find out whether a family were lying about living in a school catchment area. This involved covert physical surveillance of the family for about three weeks. Alan Ray-Jones, April 2008
Devon Area Meeting changes banks
Meeting at Bideford yesterday (Saturday 12 July), Devon Area Meeting decided to transfer its accounts from Lloyds TSB to the Co-op bank. This is AM's reaction to the decision of Lloyds TSB along with other major banks (Barclays, RBS and HSBC), to comply with the US blockade of Cuba despite the condemnation of it in the UN earlier this year, as reported in the Guardian on 23 June 2008. Alan Ray-Jones.
"Quaker cobbler puts soul into sole"
Clarks shoes of Street in Somerset, now a global business, are a West Country firm. In case you missed the full page article about Lancelot Clark's work for Aids orphans in South Africa, in The Guardian of Saturday June 7 2008, that's just about excuse enough for me to provide a link to it here. The charity, Soul of Africa, is financed partly by the sale of shoes hand-stitched by previously unemployed and untrained women. Alan Ray-Jones
Bridge-building to the Kurds in Northern Iraq
Under the heading 'CHRISTIAN PLANS MISSION TO INVESTIGATE PLIGHT OF KURDS' the Plymouth Herald website today (4 June) sets out the appeal by Hayley Kemp of Plymouth Meeting to secure enough money (£1,500) to enable her to travel to Northern Iraq as an observer with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) from July 31 to August 14. The objective is to to promote understanding of the region and hear "first-hand stories of a people subjected to decades of violence and oppression". She will give presentations on her trip to interested groups on her return. See Appeals and Petitions at the foot of this page.
Fund-raising with music in Tavistock
Do other places in Devon or Cornwall have an Acoustic Cafe? I experienced it last November, when Tavistock Meeting did some serious fund-raising on behalf of Quaker (QPSW) work in Uganda, helping the children and other victims of the fighting there. [more..]