About Wendrie Heywood

A life long Quaker, I've been involved in Wardening and building management for all of my professional life. I am a seasoned office manager and executor of projects, working with Trustees or a committee to clarify goals and ensure that these goals come to fruition. I run workshops, provide consultancy services and currently manage the room hiring businesses for several meeting house remotely.

Fire Drills During Meeting for Worship

2013 07 15 fire truck 2Fire!

Fire Alarms and the necessary Fire equipment and signage are all an important part of any building’s safety plan – and we always hope they won’t be needed. However, if the worst happened – would your meeting know how to respond?

Mount Street, Manchester recently held a fire drill during Meeting for Worship. Although there were several mishaps, and originally many people were upset, by the end they had learnt so much it was decided this should be done again.

Have your Premises and Elders sat down to work out an evacuation plan? Appointed marshals to ensure the building is empty, count everyone out and to ring the Fire Brigade?

Consideration of where to meet – and when to reunite children and parents are two important issues.

Are there any people who need special consideration?

  • Is anyone hard of hearing who wouldn’t hear the alarm for example?
  • Is there anyone who would need help in getting out of the building for any reason?
  • Does your Children’s Meeting meet in a different part of the building? If so do the helpers know where to go and have enough people to ensure everyone can leave safely?

We’re not alone in needing to do this – Ship of Fools has a thread about other churches who have done drills during services. One suggestion was to hold the drill at the end of the services so everyone was still there but the evacuation practice was done. Another was to do it at different times of the month to cover any changes to routine.

Reminding us that this risk is real one post commented that there was a priest who started each Sunday service with information about fire exits as their previous church had burned down.

  • Have you ever held a fire drill during Meeting for Worship?
  • Would you consider it? If not – why not?

Managing Meeting Houses Conference 2016

2011 01 Front of building

Managing Meeting Houses

Managing meeting houses can be a lonely job – it is easy to feel that you are alone in dealing with matters. It is equally important to ensure that you don’t spend time re-inventing the wheel.

This annual conference organised jointly by Quaker Life and Woodbrooke is a great chance for new wardens, trustees and premises committee members to learn about their new role. But there is always enough sharing of good practice, tips and tricks for a more experienced person to take away too.

Sessions ranged from those essential nuts and bolts of Employment and Health & Safety to more inspirational – what is special about your Meeting House? We considered them as a place of worship, as part of the local community and as a venue for customers.

Employment Matters

Pensions – especially for smaller meetings with only one worker, or many part time workers were discussed. Friends House recommends The People’s Pension which several participants said had worked well, but we were also encouraged to apply earlier rather than later. There is a worry that these suppliers will fill their quotas of small charities and some meetings may miss out.

Employment – especially ways to decide if someone is actually employed or truly self-employed was a perennial favourite. I’ve discussed this before here – and my favourite definition is from another of these conferences in regards to wardens.

“If your meeting could arrive Sunday morning to find the building locked up tight with a note pinned to the door saying, “I’ve gone to Peru.” And deal with this without any real hassle – then your warden is a volunteer…

If your meeting couldn’t cope then it is more likely that your warden should be an employee.”

The importance of all meeting houses being properly organised – with back up for wardens and resident friends was mentioned several times. Ensuring there are contingency plans in case of sickness and to cover regular days off were both stressed as necessary to prevent burn out and stress.

Laughter greeted the suggestion that members of Premises and Trustees should do any job they were asking someone else to do – to have a more complete idea of the specification they should give as well as some idea of how long the job should take. Several attendees gave examples of how doing this changed their time expectations, and their appreciation for how quickly (and well) a professional can do a job!

Employers’ resources and support

The transfer and rewrite of the new Employers’ & Wardens resources and support pages from the old quaker.org site to the new has been completed. There are newly updated template documents and of course more guidance can be found both here and in chapter 13 of Quaker Faith & Practice.

As always it was a pleasure to stay at Woodbrooke. I made sure to get outside into the gardens, to walk the labyrinth and enjoy catching up with old friends, as well as meeting new people.

If you’ve not been before – or haven’t been for some time do look out for the next in January 2017.

Reading Quaker faith &Practice Chapter 2: Approaches to God – Worship & Prayer

Qf&P stones Chapter 2 Approaches to God - Worship & PrayerReading Quaker Faith & Practice Chapter 2: Approaches to God – Worship & Prayer

This chapter is one that most Quakers I’ve spoken to have dipped into.

Not surprisingly ‘Quakers and God’ is a continually popular Quaker Quest session.

There are four sections

  • Experience and nature of worship
  • Silent Waiting
  • Prayer
  • Meeting for Worship

and ninety-two passages, quite a lot to read in 31 days, but fourteen which contain the word “LIGHT” so they are in my current Qf&p journal. I reread through my journalling, and worked through the four remaining.

My word for 2016 is BELIEVE – I was interested to see that although BELIEVE appears ten times in Chapter 2, there are only three (2.24, 2.57 & 2.58) that also included LIGHT.

I’m looking forward to pondering and journalling on the remaining seven in this year’s journal.

  • Are you taking part in this reading project?
  • Is your meeting arranging a monthly discussion group?

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.

‘Reading Quaker faith & practice’ conference at Woodbrooke

Woodbrooke Conference & Quaker Study centre

All area meetings in Britain have been invited to nominate a Friend to participate in the ‘Reading Quaker faith & practice‘ conference at Woodbrooke, 22nd to 24th April 2016.

The conference will provide an opportunity to:

  • Learn from one another’s experience of participating in the Reading Quaker faith & practice programme so far.
  • Gain ideas and resources for setting up and inspiring groups in meetings.
  • Share reflections and insights emerging from existing groups.
  • Understand more about the origins, purposes and development of the current book.

The conference welcomes participants from all area meetings, including those which have not yet decided to participate in the Reading Quaker faith & practice project.

Every Area meeting is being asked to nominate a Friend or attender who has one or more of these qualities:

  • is involved in an existing Reading Quaker faith & practice group
  • is willing to promote the programme around the area meeting
  • has a concern for spiritual learning in the area
  • will be able to communicate with others about what they have learned

If you would be interested in attending the conference on behalf of your area meeting, please talk to your AM clerk or nominations committee. For more information about the conference contact: qfp@quaker.org.uk

I have found the process of reading from a specific chapter and then discussing it with others (including members of my local meeting) such a benefit this year. Combined with my Qf&p journal it has been both inspiring and challenging.


Tutorial Creating Albums & Books

2012 09 01 bare textured coverMini Albums and Books Tutorial

This is a type of simple book or album I teach in classes. I’m often asked how I make these, so thought I’d do a brief tutorial.

You can use the same technique and vary the binding – here I’ve used book rings, but ribbons, cable ties or similar will work too.

2012 09 01 hole templateFirst I cut the covers and all of my pages to size and decide where the binding holes should go. This is 6″square.

I’ve used a cardboard food box as a base – the covers are cut from the front and back.

Next cut down the side of the box, there is a crease – which you can bend over the edge to ensure it is all level. Clamp at either end to hold it all securely.

Now make the holes – using a standard hole punch, Crop-o-dile, paper drill, or old fashioned anywhere hole punch and hammer.

If your pages aren’t all square or the same size, or there are too many for your hole making technique than do them in batches.

When I create mini albums for Life Artistry I always include some pocket pages or flaps for hidden journalling.

The template means you can ensure the holes are the same. For security give each page or tag two holes.

I used to keep these templates, but now just remake new each time.

Decorating Details

2012 09 02 cover with rings

  • My covers are embossed grungeboard, misted and inked plus metallic rub ons, backed with distress inked cardboard box pieces.
  • I’ve edged them with washi tape for extra strength and to neaten the edges.
  • I’ve used book rings for easy page removal, but may well change to ribbon binding later.
  • The best binding depends on the width of the finished album of course!

Preparing Foundations

2012 09 02 LO first pages foundationsHere I’ve created a book using 6×6 papers (and cut down 12×12 papers) with a double page spread for each lesson in a class.

I prepare foundation pages to make it easy to create – you can always cover the entire page if it doesn’t suit the photos etc. you want to include.

Looking forward to decorating and adding to each page, as I work through the lessons.

  • Hope you find this useful – if you have any questions leave a comment or email me.

Life Artistry Sample Album

2013 06 LA sample albumStarted doing ‘a day in the life’ type recording when our family started homeschooling in 1995 – always love those glimpses into our life way back when.

Back in 2011 I took part in Ali Edwards‘ Week in the Life, carefully kept all the records,  intending to make a mini album as a sample during my 2012 Life Artistry class taught at Woodbrooke.

I love these little Sizzix albums, they are definitely my most used dies. If only because I’ve used them for this class, and others for the last few years 😉

The pages are just over 4×4, the covers slightly larger and cut from cereal boxes. Skinnier or shorter pages make nice flaps for titles or extra journalling or photos.

IMG_6061I like the look of bits sticking out, figuring it makes you want to pick them up and explore the insides.

Had a list of techniques I needed to include – as they’re in the Life Artistry handouts, and enjoyed working on it during the weekend.

Now, I’ve finished the album, taken photos and written notes of explanations as this year the class is on line. Although I’ve filmed demos for the students to follow.

IMG_6062With all the bits and pieces, the album ends up pleasantly fat – mostly able to stand up on its own.

As well as the title & dedication page, each day has a smaller title page, at least one standard sized page with photos.

Love the look of all the various albums I’ve created together.

Of course this will get worn as it is handled, it isn’t meant to last forever – but that’s o.k. I like the transient nature of it. Reminds me of our ever changing life.

For more about Life Artistry, to join us go to Woodbrooke.

Life Artistry Mini Albums

2013 05 11 sorting pages into order

Creating paper pages

Creative arts and Spirituality – might be an unexpected category to mesh with the Wardening and Business Administration & Management usually found here.

One of the projects I had for this week, was to create pages for the mini albums to go into the Life Artistry project kits. I had fun creating these from scrapbooking paper, using Sizzix album page and cover dies. Fun and colourful bits were added and then all sent off to the participants.

So what is Life Artistry?

Life Artistry, is a set of tools that (hopefully) will inspire you to examine your life, to record aspects of it – a period of time, a relationship, the sacred bits of the everyday.

  • How many days do you get to the end and wonder what happened?

Today may seems a very ordinary day. “I don’t do anything worth recording.” I’m often told… Quakers believe that all days are equally sacred.

  • If all days are sacred, where did you see the sacred today?

What are the results?

Life Artistry is a chance to pause, to take stock of your life right here and now. To gather pieces together, create a tangible record to remind you of the process.

Think about finding a note from a lost loved one – or a much younger child, or yourself – how does that glimpse into an earlier moment in time feel?

Each story recorded, each detail noted and captured has the potential to create feelings. Inspiration, emotional response, motivation – sadness, joy, laughter, happiness.

You’ll end up with a couple of physical projects – reminders of what you learned and experienced. But can reuse the ideas, inspiration and prompts to create more meaningful messes as although the kit may be used up, the ideas continue.

This year I’m running Life Artistry on line through Woodbrooke. If you’d like to join us, you’d be more than welcome! Details can be found here.