AdventWords 2022: Teach

Teach
Teach
Photo: Tim Mossholder

Quakers believe that we are all equal before G-D, and that the spirit of G-D is at work within each of, making us both teachers and students throughout our lives. 

How does this work practically? 

Well, as a facilitator or a teacher you aren’t just providing or pouring in information, but instead inspiring the student to work with their own gifts and talents. You are respecting them where they are and allowing them to develop and improve their knowledge. You may have to put your own opinions aside and allow individuals or groups to ‘live experimentally’. 

This foundation doesn’t work well with the more formal educational systems that have learning deadlines, timetables, assessments and inspections. When I ‘taught’ at Woodbrooke the language used was very carefully facilitator rather than a teacher. 

Focusing on nurturing individual needs and growth, I took my ‘Life Artistry’ course online to enable those who couldn’t travel to Woodbrooke to be included. When I was home educating both offspring we worked on the inspiration and strewing methods. We shared our passions, and our work and then strewed things we thought might be interesting around our home.

I work the same way now with my mentoring and training clients – meeting them where they are, sharing my passions, my ways of working and then offering a wide range of resources so they’re able to explore, experience and develop their own gifts and talents.

Finally...

This desire to share my passions, experiences and ways of working is why:

 I started the MBS blog.

Through MBS we provide free resources, and technical advice and seek to serve others.

 I still love to teach and learn.

Wendrie Heywood

Wendrie Heywood

Founder

A Living Wage Must Pay Enough To Live On

Living Wage.indd

The Living Wage Campaign

Lancaster Quaker Meeting are tasked to take the lead nationally within the Society of Friends to promote awareness about the payment of The Living Wage.

As part of their work they have produced an information pack, which can be downloaded from their website, which includes the poster above and others.

Pay Compare is an independent, not-for-profit organisation funded entirely by donations, founded by Stuart Hill, a member of Quakers in Business, who works for Pay Compare on a voluntary basis.

This is what Stuart says about it:

‘We invite business leaders and owners to lead the way towards a fairer, better economy by publishing their organisation’s pay ratios at the website www.paycompare.org.uk for everyone to see and compare. In doing so you receive the Pay Compare Mark which can be proudly displayed to show your commitment to pay transparency – a consideration promoted in Q&B’s Good Business Ethics at Work book. Be in the vanguard of organisations who are empowering citizens and investors in this way, including Triodos, TSB, Charity and Unity Trust Banks, numerous social enterprises and charities, and a growing number of local councils and private companies. Those not active in business can take action as Ratio Requesters by simply visiting www.paycompare.org.uk to tweet, email or write to any employer to ask them to publish their pay ratios at Pay Compare. Together, we can help pay ratio reporting become common practice in the UK so that we can all favour those who pay fair.’

  • Does your business, employer or supplier publish its pay ratios?
  • Find out, and if not suggest they do!

Pay Compare is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England as No. 8974596

 

Stone Cleaning – before and after

2003_0199 Banner at FH Trish Carn watermarked
copyright Trish Carn, used with permission.

Stone Cleaning at Friends House

While looking for photos of the banners at Friends House, I was struck by the difference between the 2003 photo (above) and the 2015 photo (below).

Hard to believe they are of the same building.

2015-08-18 banners at FH Trish Carn 2 watermarked
copyright Trish Carn, used with permission.

Isn’t it nice to realise that the money we spent on cleaning the stone work at Friends House made such a difference?

You can just see the gilding done in the carving as well in the bottom photo.

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 logo

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 to the 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.

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:

https://www.fraudadvisorypanel.org/…/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.

Reading through Quaker Faith & Practice – an introduction

2015 04 12 Qf&P stones 2From October 1st 2015 until April 2017, alongside many others, I will be taking part in a group reading through of Quaker Faith & Practice (Qf&P). I’m taking part in both on-line groups and discussions – plus a physical discussion group in my local meeting. I’ll share some of my thoughts and discoveries here too and welcome comments.

This project was suggested by the The Book of Discipline Revision Preparation Group who have worked with Quaker Life and Woodbrooke to prepare discussion material and a calendar of suggested readings.

I will be using some of the techniques I’ve developed for Life Artistry and those at the link above to explore Qf&P with my local group. In addition I’m looking forward to all of the discussions feeding into my own spiritual journey and seeing how this changes my usage of Quaker Faith & Practice.

2015-09-29 16.06.34Like most Quaker children I was given a copy of the current book of discipline at age 16.

Back then it was two volumes, ‘Church Government’ and ‘Christian Faith & Practice in the experience of the Society of Friends’.

Although I don’t usually write in other books, my copies tend to be annotated with comments and symbols, using bookmarks or tags for important passages – or ones I was planning to refer to when giving a talk.

I have copies of several editions of the current ‘Quaker Faith & Practice’ both physical and most recently as an ebook as well. It is referred to often and for this year (well before Yearly Meeting made the decision to consider if a new edition should be looked at) I’ve been reading through all of the passages that contain the word ‘LIGHT’ as that is the word I’ve been concentrating on and exploring this year. I choose a word every year and have done so for over a decade.

To find the rest of the posts in this series click on this link or on the Qf&P category in the right hand margin.

Quaker A-Z: Z is for Zen

Wallpaper Zen Spirit 1280x800 edition 2006Z is for Zen

No, I’m not suggesting that you become a Buddhist or learn to meditate. Instead I’m suggesting you find a way to bring a bit of Zen acceptance of what is, into your life.

While managing a meeting house you have to accept that there will be days when:

  • Someone thinks that pouring cornstarch and jelly into the toilet is a good idea, and is confused as to why this didn’t work as a disposal mechanism.*
  • Someone decides your garden/doorstep/outside space is a toilet or a rough sleeping area causing disruption and upset to the others using the building.
  • Someone discovers that the downstairs is completely flooded by the storm water coming up through the basement toilets to the level of several inches (and it is still raining hard).
  • Someone takes out their frustration and anger at you for things that are outside your control, and you didn’t even know about.*
  • Someone steals or breaks or loses items that are rather vital to the smooth running of the building – leaving you to deal with the fall out.
  • Someone comes to ask deep questions about Quakerism and their own spiritual journey – while at least one of the above is also happening, leaving you to wonder about your own spiritual journey and nourishment.

It is very easy to become stressed and to feel as if running the building for the meeting is no longer a service offered with joy, but instead is a headache that you wish would go away.

It is at this time you should remember that Quaker Faith & Practice contains wisdom to cling to in difficult times:

A&Q 23: In times of difficulty remind yourself of the value of prayer, of perseverance and of a sense of humour.

Find a way forward that supports you and shares the stress of your trials and tribulations.

  • Join the Wardenship e-list
  • Attend a Wardens’ Talking event organised by Quaker Life
  • Attend a Managing Your Meeting House event at Woodbrooke
  • Set up a chance for all Premises members in your local area to get together to swap stories and best practice.

There is much to be said for the value of a well told story, to a nodding listener who understands the complexities of sharing a beloved building with the public, and that the most difficult users may attend on a Sunday morning…

To browse through all of the posts click on the Quaker A-Z link here or in the side bar.

*Messy play lead to messy toilet unblocking – which wasn’t helped by the glitter they’d included in both.

*My favourite of these is the person who was furious to discover that they’d been thinking it was Thursday all day and turned up for their class…. Which wasn’t on – as it was actually Wednesday, and blamed me for this. “You have ruined my evening!” I listened and said I was sorry for their disappointment.

What is the Purpose of Business?

QandB_Logo_Orange WHITE backgroundQuaker Business Conference ’15

 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.

Led by Q&B members Tim Phillips and Sally Bagenal, confirmed speakers include:

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

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 on Quakers & Business website at the QBC ’15 page.

Hope to see you there!

Quaker A-Z: Y is for D.I.Yourself

Urban Greening red paint jobY is for Do it Yourself

Quakers have a long and worthy history of working together to solve large and small problems. Painting parties, working in the garden – even the Quaker Tapestry was done as a group effort.

As mentioned in V is for Volunteers you may get professional people volunteering and you should always ensure that the people you are asking to do the work have the skills necessary – or are paired with those that do.

Of course there will be times when it is best to bring in outside or at least competent people to do the work. In Six Weeks Meeting’s Handbook

Members of Premises Committees or wardens will often be able to undertake small routine maintenance tasks such as changing light bulbs, checking electrical leads, renewing tap washers and minor attention to decorations. In some cases members may be qualified to undertake more major tasks, but Committees must not entrust work to those who,
however keen, are not sufficiently skilful, experienced or qualified to undertake it.
.
The use of inexperienced or unskilled labour can result in expensive damage even with apparently straightforward tasks such as decorating. Safety is paramount for those undertaking voluntary work and it is also essential that there is adequate insurance cover. Friends must ensure that any work they carry out themselves is in accordance with current regulations…

At a Wardens’ Talking event we were asked to write on post-its the most annoying bit of our jobs. One of those read out was, “I feel the I spend my time putting right the efforts of bumbling amateurs.”

Without hesitation I turned to Vincent (my husband and at the time co-warden) and asked, “Yours?”

“Yep!”

Thankfully that wasn’t a common feeling. After that, we continued in that job for more than a decade.

To browse through all of the posts click on the Quaker A-Z link here or in the side bar.