Building a Fairer World

2015-08-18 banners at FH Trish Carn 2 watermarked

Copyright Trish Carn, used with permission

After all the long term struggles to get banners on Friends House with Camden council, I have so enjoyed seeing them go up – temporarily and now permanently. Such a good form of outreach and of brightening up the neighbourhood. Lovely to see them as I exit Euston station.

23.13 Seeking to live at all times in a divine order of life, Quakers have always counted social service part of Christianity. In fidelity to the genius of their inward experience, they have set themselves the task of developing their own spiritual sensitiveness to the light of truth; and have then resolutely confronted the unawakened conscience of the world with the demands of the new light, and have borne witness to it with undaunted patience.

This has resulted in progressive enlightenment for themselves, and in the slow but sure triumph of many of the causes of which they have become champions. The reform of the criminal law, the improvement of prisons, the suppression of the slave-trade and of the institution of slavery, the abolition of the opium traffic, the protection of native races, the repeal of the state regulation of vice, the emancipation of women, have all been powerfully helped to victory – however incomplete – by Quaker action on these lines, side by side with that of other noble-hearted reformers.

Other great ills, patent or latent in our civilisation, have yet to be overcome, perhaps have yet to be perceived; the old philanthropy has to deepen into something more vital if the full demands made by the teaching of Christ are to be obeyed; but the faithful following of the Light that illumines the alert conscience still seems to many of us the truest way for securing this deeper experience and for recognising and combating the evils that menace social and international life.

William Charles Braithwaite, 1919

During the discussions one of my groups has been having regarding reading Qf&p, the comment was made that short passages can spark inspiration, more than slogging through some of the longer passages.

I see where that is coming from – and some of my favourites are quite short. However, there is also a power in the slow unfolding of a message and the explanations of attitudes and theories.

This passage featured in several conversations around here over the last week. That last thought that ‘other great ills, patent or latent in our civilisation… have yet to be perceived….’ is one that stops me and haunts my thoughts.

What great ills are we not aware of, or have not yet started to struggle to overcome? Climate change? Housing inequality?

The ‘yet’ brings me hope for both the perceiving and the overcoming.

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.

Everything can happen….

2015 09 26 everything is possible23.32 is one of my favourite passages – Ursula Franklin talks about the her enjoyment of sitting in silence at the beginning of meeting knowing that everything can happen.

It always makes me think of an encounter with a homeless ex-catholic priest while volunteering at the Quaker Centre at Friends House. A large part of the role is to meet the public and discuss aspects of Quaker beliefs and history with them.

Suddenly, in the middle of a personal history monologue, my visitor leant forward and putting an arm on the desk said earnestly,

“I have been meaning to ask you…. do you go to Meeting?”,

after I confirmed that I went most Sundays, he continued.

“So…. do you have miracles every Sunday?”

I don’t remember exactly what I said, something along the lines of ‘not every Sunday’. But ever since, that question has been mulled over on a regular basis. Remembering the idea of all days being created equal, I’ve felt the question could have easily been: “Do I have miracles happen every day?”

Maintaining that expectant waiting that I go into Meeting for Worship throughout the week would be tricky but I think returning to it regularly would also be worthwhile. Something to consider the next time the days start to blur together through work or family stresses.

So – what miracles have happened in your life?

Do you look for them?

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.

Qf&p Chapter 23: Social Responsibility

2015 04 12 Qf&P stones Chapter 23

This chapter is the first in the calendar to read through.

It contains the following sections:

  • Faith in Action
  • Corporate Responsibility
  • Social Responsibility – poverty and house; slavery; torture; discrimination and disadvantage
  • The Individual and the Community – work and economic affairs; education
  • Friends and state authority – conscription; crime and punishment

Fifteen passages have the word ‘Light’ in and therefore are part of my current Qf&P journal.

I had already journalled several earlier in the year, but will be contemplating the remaining nine throughout this month. Exploring the chapter through discussion with my groups and reading through some of the other Quaker blog posts as well.

I’m looking forward to the reading, as this isn’t a chapter that is as heavily thumbed as some others – but with 103 passages, plus an afterword this is a full month of reading.


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.

ACAT Annual Conference 2015

ACAT wp3fc874a7_06This was my first visit to the ACAT annual conference and AGM, but it won’t be my last. Although it felt slightly odd to be in Bloomsbury and not in Friends House, the Institute of Education was a comfortable venue for the day.

As you might expect from an association with Church or religious connections the day balanced stewardship with time for worship and fellowship. With a buffet lunch and breakfast to ensure we had enough caffeine and sugar to make it through tot he end of the very full day.

Business wise there was a brief AGM (15 minutes) with a request for anyone tempted by the idea of becoming a trustee contacting the board as they were always looking for new members.

The remainder were talks or introductory samples of the fuller training sessions ACAT offer around the country.

I particularly enjoyed the ‘Balancing Stewardship with mission – Issues for Treasurers and Trustees’ talk given by Canon Dr Christina Baxter CBE where she explored aspects of G-D an Mission, reminding us that mission is now what you live/breathe, living out our beliefs and living so others can hear/see G-D in those actions.

If we allow ourselves to become such living missionaries, people coming to our buildings, events, services should find a taste of heaven. That is people living out their lives faithfully – listening to that divine spark within. “Mission is in the church as fire is in glowing embers” Martin Luther.

One concept I will be thinking more about was, “What we give to the Lord belongs to the Lord – but we don’t give to the Lord was also provided by G-D and however it is used should also glorify G-D”. Money however it is spent is a spiritual issue and part of the role of the Treasurer is to help members of the community to explore how to use those resources to meet their spiritual goals and needs.

With a final quote (with attribution at the moment): “There are lots of parables about growth in the NT (with seeds being sown and growing), a budget which is not a growth budget is not a kingdom budget.”

Plus hearing from Dr James Corah about how CCLA Investments work with Church leaders and other groups to put forward the issues that are important to their customers and change large secular companies policies. Enabling small groups to join together to tackle large issues.

For example before the 2012 Olympics they approached hotel chains regarding human trafficking, with fact and figures from previous Olympics. Originally they had no interest, but then Whitbread asked more questions, realised it did impact their business and put out training for every hotel and staff member.

With regard to the living wage it was through discussions with Glaxo’s CEO Andrew Witty that overturned the original, ‘that’s too expensive’ knee jerk reaction and instead had Glaxo matching the living wage. Resulting in 600 contractors receiving a living wage and Glaxo sponsoring the living wage.

Other talks covered – What is ACAT doing to support its members, Employing People, Keeping on the right side of the Charity Commission and then we split into small or large church groups to work through some issues relating to size. Enjoyable examples of Gift Aid problems and misconceptions.

The day finished at just after 4pm. I took time out before heading to the tube to tidy up my notes and soak up some of the inspiration there within. There is a list of things to research and learn more about too.

I can see why two of my table mates assured us that they came every year. Definitely looking forward to the next event.

What is the Purpose of Business?

QandB_Logo_Orange WHITE backgroundQBC’15 – What is the Purpose of Business?

Wednesday, 4th November 2015 – Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, London. NW1 2BJ. Programme: (10:30am – 4:30pm)

The 11th Q&B Annual Conference is asking the question ‘What is the purpose of business?’ This question will be addressed by some of the UK’s cutting edge speakers, with opportunities for group exploration in workshops.

The aim of the day is reach out to the communities of business, NGO, business schools and students as well as to Friends so that we can explore how business and organisations can better fit people and planet. Too many of us live lives so fast and hectic trying to meet work deadlines, balance our own finances whilst trying to be the best parents, friend or citizen we can be, and wonder if society has be like this.

The day starts at 9:30am with Meeting for Worship, followed by Coffee and Registration at 10:00am, with a 10:30am Start.

To encourage us to think in different ways, we are very pleased to announce some of our speakers:

  • Professor Colin Mayer – Said Business School Oxford University. Colin is a government advisor on new business models and the author of “Firm Commitment: Why the Corporation is Failing Us and How to Restore Trust in It”
  • Graham Randles who is Managing Director of NEF consulting (New Economics Foundation). NEF calls itself an an independent think-and-do tank whose aim is to improve the quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environmental and social issues.
  • Giles Hutchins is a freethinker and writer. He is the author of ‘The Nature of Business’, which fuses his business background with a range of theories and practices, that include bio-mimicry, cradle-to-cradle & industrial ecology, and applies them to the challenges businesses face today.

We are grateful to Triodos Bank for sponsoring this event.

Register and Pay

The price is £40 for Q&B members, £50 for students and £60 for non Q&B members, including lunch and refreshments. Bursaries are available. Register and pay for your attendance through Paypal at Quakers & Business or at Eventbrite.



Mindful Business Services is a member of the Quakers & Business Group.

Donate & Get a Book

LTW-500I have just finished this book and found it fascinating. I’ve read the previous two books and enjoyed them as well.

Todd asks really good questions and gives examples of the types of situations he’s found – all of which make you think about how you structure your life and work.

For this book I took part in the author led book club which has deepened the experience. I took notes, have quoted pieces to clients and even linked this to the journalling I’ve been doing with my Qf&P reading.

“Work, then, becomes about more than checking off tasks and pushing through projects. Instead, it is a means to carve a place in the world and create value that lasts.”

As a Quaker trying to balance work and spiritual life to ensure both infuse the other I’ve found this book and the process of working through it inspiring and valuable.

So, I’ve recommended it to several friends already – and now to you.


Well, there now is a good reason to buy the book on Thursday, October 15th. Which is this Thursday.

Why then?

Todd Henry will give away his royalties and match them for any copy sold that day.

From the Todd Henry website – click the link to find out more about him and this project.

I’m donating all of my royalties from copies of Louder Than Words sold on October 15 to International Justice Mission, to help give voice to the voiceless around the world.

I’m even matching them (up to 1,000 copies), which means I’ll donate $5 per book sold.

Will you help me?

You can download the first couple of chapters from Todd’s website for free – and if you like it.

Please consider buying a copy on Thursday and sending a copy of the receipt (removing any financial identifiable information of course) or a copy of the email if you’ve bought it on-line to Todd.

I make no profit from this post – but wanted to share the book and the donation details.

There will be posts that use the ideas I’ve enjoyed in the book I’m sure.

Qf&P journal

2015 03 07 Qf&P journal pagesI love delving into Quaker Faith & Practice (Qf&P) – or other books in a meaningful way over a specified period of time.

As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, this year I’ve been working through all of the entries that include the word ‘LIGHT’.

2015 08 18 morning quiet timeThe journal was created using the ARC binding system from Staples, using cardboard for the covers, and cardstock for the pages.

All decorated with pretty papers and other pieces to add interest. To find the passages, I used the on line version of Qf&P.

If you haven’t tried this version – the search process is such a great way to explore Qf&P. Especially for a specific word or topic.

Quotes were printed out on regular printer paper, before being trimmed out individually.

Decided on one quote per page, with a facing handwritten response. I decided to use a physical and hand made journal for several reasons.

  • 2015 09 09 Qf&P journal detailI find handwriting a very different experience to typing.
  • Definitely prefer handwriting on a lap-tray during my morning quiet time, rather than needing to use a computer.
  • I enjoy seeing the other entries as I flick through the album to my place, or peeping through behind other entries and quotes as I write.
  • I like the look of the various sizes and colours of pages or entries.
  • Being able to create pages in sections as I worked, made the planning and production easier for me.

 Research has shown that writing by hand connects to different parts of the brain, and helps to make connections.

2015 10 10 Qf&P journal pages I also like adding in the colours and patterns that have meaning to me or just make me happy. 

The journal also acts as a reminder to me during the process – as it sits on the bookcase in my bedroom, and will continue to do so once it is finished.

I have several of these sorts of creative journals or albums, some created for a specific project or course, and others just for fun.

Each is a good reminder of where I was in my personal and spiritual journey when it was created.

Combining this with the read through has been interesting – I’ve decided to ponder and journal on the remaining nine passages from Chapter 21 this month. Then, to continue doing this for the appropriate chapters, for the remainder of the time I’m using this journal.

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.

Tackling Fraud in the Charity Sector

2013 06 18 Collection box

Are you a Trustee? Or someone who deals with finances for your organisation and is concerned about fraud?

Here is a conference you might be interested in:…/tackling-fraud-in-the…/

Date 30 October 2015
Time 09:00 – 16:30
Location Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, London NW1 4LE
Costs £25 + VAT charity and not-for-profit sector

Qf&P: Chapter Twenty One – Personal Journey

2015 04 12 Qf&P stones Chapter 21This chapter is the first in the calendar to read through.

It contains the following sections:

  • Youth – six passages
  • Knowing & accepting ourselves – fourteen passages
  • Living a full life – six passages
  • Creativity – sixteen passages
  • Getting older – five passages
  • Death – ten passages
  • Suffering and healing – fourteen passages

There are many here that I have annotated, circled or drawn lines beside, ones that have become part of my spiritual journey.

Twelve have the word ‘Light’ in and therefore are part of my current Qf&P journal.

I had already journalled about three earlier in the year, but will be using the remaining nine throughout this month.

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.