QUG Newsletter January 2019

London Quakers January 12th 2019

This coming Saturday afternoon, Tony Philpott will be speaking at the London Quakers Meeting under the title Why be a Quaker universalist? This will be followed by small group discussion and the afternoon will conclude with a plenary session to draw things together and attempt to come to some conclusions. The meeting will be in the George Fox Room, Friends House, Euston Road, starting at 2.00 p.m. You do not have to book in advance and entry is free. The London Quakers website is http://www.londonquakers.org.uk/

QUG 2019 Annual Conference

FORGIVENESS – Why forgive?

Friday May 10th (6 p.m.) – Sunday May 12th (2 p.m.)

Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, 1046 Bristol Road, Birmingham, B29 6LJ

We have already written about our annual 2019 conference and we encourage you now to apply if you have not already done so. We have filled Woodbrooke in some recent years so please apply as soon as possible. The later you leave it the more chance there is that there may not be a space for you.

We will explore our understanding of forgiveness from a range of religious, moral and psychological perspectives and in a range of situations. It is widely assumed that forgiveness is a ‘good thing’ and that we ‘ought’ to forgive (or at least try to forgive) those that offend against us. We will be examining this assumption in depth in order to deepen our understanding of forgiveness.

Further to our last newsletter, we now have an update on the visiting speakers at the conference:

Dr. Liz Gulliford will speak on forgiveness from a psychological perspective.

Liz obtained degrees in theology and religious studies before moving into psychology. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Positive Psychology at the University of Northampton, with a special interest in human strengths including forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, courage and hope. Her research covers psychology, philosophy and education and has been widely published in journals and books.

Peter Varney will speak on forgiveness from the religious perspectives of Christianity and other religions.

Peter is a retired Anglican priest and anthropologist. He has also worked as a hospital chaplain and counsellor. One aspect of his research on traditional religions in Nigeria and Malaysian Borneo considered how communities gathered to mark events and seek forgiveness, and how Christian missions failed to fully appreciate these beliefs and practices. Peter is a member of Norwich Quaker Meeting.

The Rev Dr Jean Wadsworth.

Jean is a retired vicar living in Sidmouth, Devon.


Tim Newell will speak on forgiveness from a justice perspective.

Tim trained as a teacher and worked with young people and adults within the Prison Service, ending his career as Governor of Grendon prison, a unique prison that provides a therapeutic community for some of the most difficult prisoners, with remarkable results. Since retirement he has worked on several projects to establish the effectiveness of restorative justice for both victims and offenders, and he helped to establish the Quaker initiative Circles of Support and Accountability for high risk, high need sex offenders, now an independent, national charity. He has written about murderers and life sentenced prisoners and about restorative justice in prisons, and he was the Swarthmore lecturer in 2000 on the subject of forgiveness, restorative justice and compassion.

Remembering a QUG Committee member

Sadly, following the deaths of two of our former committee members earlier this year, we have to report that a third member, Bob Booth, has also died. Bob served on the committee for many years, was a regular attender at our conferences and wrote in our journal, Universalist, many times. Bob retired from our committee in May 2017.

Some other events

Tony Philpott is also speaking at the Nontheist Friends Conference in March (29th to 31st) 2019 at Woodbrooke under the title Spiritual awareness is accessible to everyone of any religion or none. Please check their website for more details – https://nontheist-quakers.org.uk/

A Quaker from Bournemouth is organising a conference entitled Quaker Spirit. Quaker Spirit is an initiative with a concern to encourage and promote focus on the spiritual and mystical traditions within Quakerism. The conference will be in Swarthmoor Hall near Ulverston in Cumbria from 20th to 22nd September 2019. For more details visit http://www.quakerspirit.com/default.aspx

Post-truth at Meeting for Sufferings

As we said in out last newsletter, QUG has written to Meeting for Sufferings about restoring truth and integrity in the public sphere, in particular as to whether it should be taken up as a concern by Quakers at a national level. Within Quakers, Meeting for Sufferings is the standing representative body entrusted with the care of the business of Britain Yearly Meeting throughout the year. See https://www.quaker.org.uk/our-organisation/meeting-for-sufferings

Area Meetings were asked to respond to a paper entitled The post-truth world and Quaker response. As a Quaker Recognised Body we decided that we too should respond. In our response we strongly endorsed the need to take up this issue at a national level, citing the work we have already carried out at our 2018 annual conference and subsequent publications (Pamphlets No’s 40 and 41).

It is planned now that all the responses will be discussed at Meeting for Sufferings in February 2019.

Membership of QUG

Renewals for QUG membership were due on 1st January 2019, so to renew your subscription for this year (or to join QUG for the first time) please complete the membership form at the end of this newsletter.

As a member you receive two free issues of our journal Universalist each year plus a free copy of the QUG pamphlet which contains the written papers/articles from the conference.

Whilst most members choose to receive these publications as hard copies, the option is also available to receive them in e-form, at a reduced membership rate. Having the paper copies is £18 per year; having the e-copies is £12 per year.

New members will receive two free pamphlets of their choice.

We encourage members to take out a standing order because this is very helpful in reducing the work for your volunteer committee. You can also pay by cheque (made out to QUG) or by direct transfer.

Full details of membership (including our bank details and a standing order form) are on our website at https://qug.org.uk/membership/

Courses at Woodbrooke

Here are two Woodbrooke courses which might interest QUG members:

22nd – 24th February – Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

8th – 10th March – Inspiration and Practice: The Spiritual Grounding of our Ecumenical and Interfaith work

Full details of them all can be found on the Woodbrooke website: https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/

Contacting us, questions and unsubscribing

If you have any questions or wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter please send an email to tonyp@qug.org.uk.