Added on 01/05/2012
Mr Philip McKinley represented the Church of Ireland at the Annual Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in The Quaker House, Stocking Lane, Dublin 16 in April 2012.
The following is his report
Report from The Religious Society of Friends in Ireland
Yearly Meeting 2012
held at Quaker House, Stocking Lane, Dublin 16
by Philip McKinley
The theme of the 2012 Irish Yearly Meeting was ‘Building Community’ and verse 7, Chapter 4 from ‘The First Epistle from John’, ‘Dear Friends let us love one another, for love comes from God’.
The Meeting launched the new edition of ‘Quaker Life and Practice’, a substantial and
significant book of the Christian experience of the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland.
The Meeting also heard about the pioneering work of Friends in the area of Mental Health. Quaker House is situated beside Bloomfield Care Centre a Quaker Foundation which is celebrating 200 years (though now on a new site) and is recognised as a centre of excellence for the care of older people. Sadly today there is still stigma attached to mental illness but the Meeting explored how Quaker values around human dignity and the treatment of others could be brought to bear on issues of mental health.
In the afternoon of each day, there were themed workshops. I attended one such workshop on the theme ‘Liberal Quakers’. The facilitator presented nine slightly exaggerated categories of Quaker in Ireland to provoke discussion, all the way from Mystic Quaker to Agnostic Quaker. The Religious Society of Friends are somewhat unique in being an all–island church with approximately half its members in either political jurisdiction. With growing number of Roman Catholic–born Friends, particularly in the Republic, it was evident that there are fascinating conversations taking place within Quakerism around their understanding of identity.
Irish Quaker Faith in Action highlighted the work of the ‘Quaker Bolivian Education Fund, Jubilee House in Nicaragua and the Hlekweni Friend’s Rural Training Centre in Zimbabwe. Ireland Yearly Meeting agreed to formally endorse Christian Aid Tax Justice Campaign which seeks to address the root causes of poverty.
The Public Lecture “Guided by the Spirit: the heart of Paul’s challenge for today” given by Timothy Peat Ashworth from Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Birmingham gave a heartfelt and scholarly view of Paul’s writings alerting us to small differences in translation from the Greek, small differences but with big meaning. We may have faith ‘in Jesus’ but in our lives should we mirror the faith ‘of Jesus’. He spoke of Spirit and Community the spirit being invisible like moving air or breath. The breath of God animates the community.
The Meeting received a report on Civil Partnership from a group set up by Yearly Meeting in response to a concern from Junior Yearly Meeting in 2010. It was recognised that there are considerable differences among Friends on the issue of holding a special meeting to celebrate a Civil Partnership.
The Meeting was also notable for the role of Young Friends, who held both parallel and joint activities with the Yearly Meeting. They have also appointed a full–time Youth Coordinator, Carolyn McMullan. There was a special Céilí organised by Young Friends on Friday evening for all the members of the Yearly Meeting.
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|The Commission for Christian Unity & Dialogue|
Church of Ireland House
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