Tag Archives: quaker

Exploring parkrun and the Quaker way

A great passion of mine over the past 13 years has been discovering the Quaker way and living with Quaker faith. And in the past year or so another great interest has come along – parkrun. I’ve not thought before about combining them but my great friend Marisa Johnson has!

I didn’t even know that Marisa was a parkrunner until I read her frontpiece in the latest edition of Among Friends, the newsletter for the Friends World Committee for Consultation Europe and Middle East Section (FWCC-EMES). If you’re new to Quakers right now it’s useful to know that we Quakers don’t have a hierarchy of faith as such around the world. Instead, FWCC brings Quaker meetings from around the world together to talk and listen with each other. EMES is our region and Marisa is our secretary.

If you’re new to parkrun, it’s a free timed event in parks mostly in the UK and around the world. Set over 5km, it takes place every Saturday morning.

In her article Marisa draws on the percentage score each runner receives after their timed run, comparing their run to the world record but managing factors such as age. She also writes about the transformation that we find possible in faith and whether she’ll be able to live up to her potential. It’s a great short article and well worth a read for any Quaker who does parkrun! Or any Quaker. Maybe even any parkrunner too. You can access the newsletter download from http://www.fwccemes.org/news/among-friends-issue-128 and Marisa’s article is on the front page.

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Lent Day #16

Day #16 (40acts): Organise a swap. They mean DVDs, books, household items, whatever and you meet up with some people and have an exchange. I spent part of Sunday clearing out items but rather than create my own swap I’m donating the goods I don’t need to charity shops. Mostly I was getting rid of clothes but I also sorted through a cupboard and a shelf with the result that we now have a spare cupboard. There was a lot of tat that had to go straight to the bin or into the paper recycling. Then I came to work this morning and my only meeting of the day was postponed. So I spent 2 hours working through my paperwork and now I have a tidier desk, filing tray, storage units and shelving. Awesome!

Day #16 (action): I spent Saturday at the London Quakers annual general meeting. There were some really good worship-sharing sessions on why we came to Quakers and why we keep going to Quaker meetings. Quite deep and open despite many of not having met each other before. In the afternoon we explored creating community and I spent some time in a small group with Friends from Romford and Kingston, in a well facilitated workshop (not by me).

I was meant to be helping with the workshop but during the lunchbreak I couldn’t meet with the main facilitator because I helped an old man across the road. And then carried his shopping bags as he went home and then up to his flat and then joined him for a wee chat before rushing back to London Quakers. I was grateful to God for putting me in the right place at the right time to help him and was quite amused about how my plans for that hour were torn up and I used my time differently.

Today, I dropped off a card to the guy to let him know that I’m around to help if he needs it. I know from my own experience that sometimes it is really hard to ask for help, so I’ve decided to try and offer it and see if that helps.

Lent Day #10

Day #10 (40acts): Have a screen break. This one is all about taking a break from watching television. There’s a blog post that accompanies each suggestion and in this one the person who writes says what a difference it made to them to stop watching television about 18 months ago. They also suggest that their children have longer attention spans and more creative imaginations because they don’t watch television.

I remember buying video recorder about seven years ago for my parents. I got it in Tesco and when I was at the checkout they refused to let me have it until I gave them my address to pass onto the licensing authorities. Since I didn’t own a television and was giving the recorder as a gift, I thought that this was a stupid thing. The cashier was resolute and eventually she called her manager who said the same thing: ‘why would you buy a video recorder if you didn’t have a television?’ Because it is a gift, I said, to hardened minds.

A while later I was visited by a man from the TV licensing people From the doorstep he took a brief look in and said he didn’t think we had a television. I was surprised by this because wouldn’t it have been easy for us to have it upstairs? Anyway, we didn’t have one and we still don’t.

I still watch TV programmes, just on 4od or iplayer. I’m enjoying Pointless, a good fun game show with gentle humour and general knowledge. But I don’t think that I need to change that habit. Of course, if I’m going to post a blogpost every day I do need some screen time…

Perhaps I overuse my smartphone and I could do with using that less, so that might be a challenge to try. I’ve also thought in the past about reducing my computer use at work. I’ve even considered switching off the computer for a day a week to see how I go and whether it really is possible. Usually when I arrive at work the first thing I do is switch on my computer, even before I’ve changed out of my sweaty cycling clothes. And the last thing I do in the evening is switch off the computer and monitor. A lot of my colleagues don’t even manage to switch their monitors off. I’ve given up pestering them about it but I do believe that if they can change their habits on that, then other things will change too. And we Quakers do need to find new habits if we’re to succeed at becoming low-carbon sustainable Quaker communities.

Day #10 (action): Today I saw a lot of statues on a walk around London with some friends. And that got me thinking of the Alfred Salter statue in Bermondsey that was stolen presumably to be sold for scrap metal. So I signed the e-petition on Cashless Scrap Metal Trade – Amendment to Scrap Metal Merchants Act 1964. It currently has over 55,000 signatures but needs another 45,000 or so to go anywhere in government. I do wish that a solution could be found to the illegal trade in metals, particularly as it is stolen from railways and rooftops as well as statues, manhole covers and other items.

In January home secretary Theresa May made an announcement introducing urgent legislation to combat the epidemic of metal theft in the UK. Measures, including the banning of cash payments for scrap metal, would be tabled as amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, currently in the House of Lords.It is intended that these new laws will improve the traceability of scrap metal transactions and reduce the ability of anonymous sellers to handle stolen metal.