Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Minutes of November meeting for business


WITNEY LOCAL QUAKER MEETING.
 Meeting for Worship for Business held on Sunday 4th September at 11.30am in the Bethany Room in the Wesley Centre, Witney.
Four Friends were present.  Quaker faith and Practice 12.27 was read in our opening worship.
16.38  Matters arising:
a)   Update on Syrian Refugees in Witney.  A short report by Mahalla Mason has been circulated and will be attached to these minutes.
b) The cheque for the red poppy wreath for Remembrance Sunday has been sent to Mark Garwood the Local Royal British Legion Representative and the wreath collected.  Don Mason has added the white poppies and attached the legion ready for November 13th.
We thank Ruth Slade for agreeing to lay the wreath this year but as Peter Couchman will not be in Witney on that date she will find another Friend to assist her. 

 c) An email has been sent to Jason Boyd Chairman of Churches Together in Witney offering to host an afternoon session during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2017.  We have booked the Bethany Room for Monday 23rd January from 12 md - 4pm.  The one hour semi programmed Meeting for Worship will be on the theme of ‘Peace and Reconciliation’ inviting friends from 1.45 - 3.45 pm and ending with tea/coffee and cake and an opportunity to talk together.

d)  The new Rota for Opening, Setting Up and Welcoming each Sunday is now in operation.  We now have four keys, one each  held by Ruth, Mahalla, Mark and Sue.

e)  Advance notice of special monthly collections suggestions for 2017 was given and copies of the list were available for the Friends present.  To be confirmed at the October Business meeting.

f)  The Testimony to the grace of God in the life of Ed Morris has been circulated.  It will be read to the Meeting the next time that Lesley Morris is present and then sent to our Area Meeting’s Clerk, Sandra Figges.


New items on the AGENDA:
16.39  Finance Group:  the half yearly financial report was presented and will be circulated by email by our Treasurer.
a)  Update on 2016 figures: we have £6k at the Bank, though donations are still to be agreed.  Contributions are likely to be on target, though this is in part thanks to the gift of £500 from Sue Bowers’ estate, with no stipulations.  The meeting as a whole might consider whether there are any special projects that this gift could be used for, though the Finance group’s Recommendation is that it should be kept within our annual budget.
b)  Ruth Slade our Treasurer reminded Friends that we will need to determine final recommendations for donations for 2016 in November.
c)  Giving in 2017: Ruth will redraft the letter about intentions to give and ask for responses in time for the October meeting for business.  Wishes to see any changes in the budget heads for 2017 should be indicated then.
d)  The level of reserves (£2600) will be reviewed towards the end of 2017.
e) Ruth has written to the Methodist Church with our quarterly donation, inviting them to contact her if they wish to review the level of the donation.  She will check why we make a donation in lieu of rent rather than paying rent.
We thank Ruth and the Finance Group for their time and hard work spent on our behalf.

16.40  Representatives to Area Meeting to be held at Headington on Wednesday 7th September 7 - 9.30 pm at The Coach House, 46 Quarry Road, Headington OX3 8NU.  Jennifer Barraclough has agreed to be our representative and there will be space in her car for another Friend if transport is needed.

16.41  Transfer in of Ann White from Banbury and Evesham Area Quaker Meeting to Oxford and Swindon Area Meeting.  Ann will be worshipping with Witney Local Quaker Friends and we very warmly welcome her.

16.42  Oxford and Swindon Area Meeting’s mailing list for Quaker Teachers involved in education for mutual support has been welcomed by Judith White, Roshan Somani and Adam Noble.  We have informed Sandra Figges, our Area Meeting’s clerk.

16.43  A request has been received from our Area Meeting’s Quaker Life representatives that a report for the last year should be sent to them.  Mahalla has written a report on the life of Witney Quaker meeting consulting with the Clerk’s team.  A copy has been sent to the Area Meeting’s Quaker Life representatives and will be attached to these minutes.

16.44  The next Spiritual and Pastoral Care  Gathering is Wednesday September 14th at 7.30 pm at 5 Larch Lane.  All friends very welcome.

The Annual Area Meeting’s Elders and Overseers (Spiritual and Pastoral Care) morning gathering will be Saturday October 15th at Burford FMH at 9.45 am.  The theme is ‘The Joys and Challenges of Shared Eldership and Oversight in our Meetings’.
All are welcome .

AOB.  
        
16.45  Area Meeting’s Nominations Clerk, Elspeth Wollen has sent round a request for Friends interested in the following appointments:
a)  Custodian of Records for Area meeting.
b)  Regional Meeting’s Support group.
c)  Quaker SACRE Representative.  (Standing Advisory Committee for Religious Education).
Please contact the Clerks team if interested.

There being no further business the Meeting ended with a short period of silence at 12.20 pm.

MM.






Meetings for worship over the holiday period 2016-17

Christmas Day, Sunday 25 December: we will meet at 10.30 in the Bethany Room, Methodist Church, for a slightly shorter period of worship, till 11.15. All are very welcome, and we'll have coffee and refreshments afterwards as usual.
New Year's Day, Sunday 1 January 2017: Meeting for Worship will begin at 10 am, for one hour - this is our usual practice on the first Sunday of every month. Bethany Room, Methodist Church, High Street, Witney.

Our hope, as ever, is for peace in our hearts and in our world; our trust is in the Spirit which guides all things.

Christmas shared lunch 11 December 2016

 The table set for lunch
 Sheila Cuss with Keith Harris, who came to accompany our singing - thank you!
The pleasures of eating and singing together

Witney Friends


WITNEY LOCAL QUAKER MEETING.
 Meeting for Worship for Business held on Sunday 4th September at 11.30am in the Bethany Room in the Wesley Centre, Witney.
Four Friends were present.  Quaker faith and Practice 12.27 was read in our opening worship.
16.38  Matters arising:
a)   Update on Syrian Refugees in Witney.  A short report by Mahalla Mason has been circulated and will be attached to these minutes.
b) The cheque for the red poppy wreath for Remembrance Sunday has been sent to Mark Garwood the Local Royal British Legion Representative and the wreath collected.  Don Mason has added the white poppies and attached the legion ready for November 13th.
We thank Ruth Slade for agreeing to lay the wreath this year but as Peter Couchman will not be in Witney on that date she will find another Friend to assist her. 

 c) An email has been sent to Jason Boyd Chairman of Churches Together in Witney offering to host an afternoon session during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2017.  We have booked the Bethany Room for Monday 23rd January from 12 md - 4pm.  The one hour semi programmed Meeting for Worship will be on the theme of ‘Peace and Reconciliation’ inviting friends from 1.45 - 3.45 pm and ending with tea/coffee and cake and an opportunity to talk together.

d)  The new Rota for Opening, Setting Up and Welcoming each Sunday is now in operation.  We now have four keys, one each  held by Ruth, Mahalla, Mark and Sue.

e)  Advance notice of special monthly collections suggestions for 2017 was given and copies of the list were available for the Friends present.  To be confirmed at the October Business meeting.

f)  The Testimony to the grace of God in the life of Ed Morris has been circulated.  It will be read to the Meeting the next time that Lesley Morris is present and then sent to our Area Meeting’s Clerk, Sandra Figges.


New items on the AGENDA:
16.39  Finance Group:  the half yearly financial report was presented and will be circulated by email by our Treasurer.
a)  Update on 2016 figures: we have £6k at the Bank, though donations are still to be agreed.  Contributions are likely to be on target, though this is in part thanks to the gift of £500 from Sue Bowers’ estate, with no stipulations.  The meeting as a whole might consider whether there are any special projects that this gift could be used for, though the Finance group’s Recommendation is that it should be kept within our annual budget.
b)  Ruth Slade our Treasurer reminded Friends that we will need to determine final recommendations for donations for 2016 in November.
c)  Giving in 2017: Ruth will redraft the letter about intentions to give and ask for responses in time for the October meeting for business.  Wishes to see any changes in the budget heads for 2017 should be indicated then.
d)  The level of reserves (£2600) will be reviewed towards the end of 2017.
e) Ruth has written to the Methodist Church with our quarterly donation, inviting them to contact her if they wish to review the level of the donation.  She will check why we make a donation in lieu of rent rather than paying rent.
We thank Ruth and the Finance Group for their time and hard work spent on our behalf.

16.40  Representatives to Area Meeting to be held at Headington on Wednesday 7th September 7 - 9.30 pm at The Coach House, 46 Quarry Road, Headington OX3 8NU.  Jennifer Barraclough has agreed to be our representative and there will be space in her car for another Friend if transport is needed.

16.41  Transfer in of Ann White from Banbury and Evesham Area Quaker Meeting to Oxford and Swindon Area Meeting.  Ann will be worshipping with Witney Local Quaker Friends and we very warmly welcome her.

16.42  Oxford and Swindon Area Meeting’s mailing list for Quaker Teachers involved in education for mutual support has been welcomed by Judith White, Roshan Somani and Adam Noble.  We have informed Sandra Figges, our Area Meeting’s clerk.

16.43  A request has been received from our Area Meeting’s Quaker Life representatives that a report for the last year should be sent to them.  Mahalla has written a report on the life of Witney Quaker meeting consulting with the Clerk’s team.  A copy has been sent to the Area Meeting’s Quaker Life representatives and will be attached to these minutes.

16.44  The next Spiritual and Pastoral Care  Gathering is Wednesday September 14th at 7.30 pm at 5 Larch Lane.  All friends very welcome.

The Annual Area Meeting’s Elders and Overseers (Spiritual and Pastoral Care) morning gathering will be Saturday October 15th at Burford FMH at 9.45 am.  The theme is ‘The Joys and Challenges of Shared Eldership and Oversight in our Meetings’.
All are welcome .

AOB.  
        
16.45  Area Meeting’s Nominations Clerk, Elspeth Wollen has sent round a request for Friends interested in the following appointments:
a)  Custodian of Records for Area meeting.
b)  Regional Meeting’s Support group.
c)  Quaker SACRE Representative.  (Standing Advisory Committee for Religious Education).
Please contact the Clerks team if interested.

There being no further business the Meeting ended with a short period of silence at 12.20 pm.

MM.






Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Minutes of meeting for worship for business 3 July 2016



WITNEY LOCAL QUAKER MEETING.
 Minutes of a Meeting for Worship for Business on Sunday 3rd July at 11.35 am in the Bethany Room of the Wesley Centre, Witney.
6 Friends present were present.  Paragraph 29.01of Quaker Faith and Practice was read in our opening worship.
16.31  Matters arising: 
a)  Refugee support in Witney.   Four Syrian Refugee  families have now arrived in Witney and a family of two adults and three children has been allocated to Witney Quaker Meeting to befriend,  together with a volunteer from the Catholic church (at weekends).  Another family is due to arrive on the 11th July after their previous flight was cancelled.  The sixth family will arrive in September.
Church and community groups are befriending the other  families.  Guidance is given by West Oxfordshire District Council and Asylum Welcome and Amel Alariqi the interpreter is staying with the Masons .  Transport provided by Witney Friends is much appreciated and more will be needed as the families settle in.  Hospitality and outings are being planned by Friends, together with English language teaching organised by West Oxfordshire District Council.
 b) A Report on Sue Bowers’  Memorial meeting was given by Jennifer Barraclough.
There were over 80 people present and a mixture of music and worship allowed us to remember our Friend in the most positive way.  At Sue’s request a cheque for £500 has been sent to Witney Local Quaker Meeting  and Jennifer has replied sending the thanks of the whole Local Meeting.
 A thank you letter and cheque  have been  sent by Sue’s daughter Jenny Johns to  High Street Methodist Church. As Rev. Melanie is away the Church Representatives have acknowledged the receipt of the cheque and sent warm appreciation to Jenny.
We have also sent thank you letters to Mary Burton who arranged the flowers and to Richard Carey the Senior Steward who organised the PA system and to Keith and Anne Crawford who are standing in as contacts while Rev. Melanie is away.

16.32 Representatives to attend  Area Meeting  Burford FMH. on Saturday 9th July, 10.30 am and 2 pm are Jennifer Barraclough and Suzette Hubbert. 
16.33  A Poppy Wreath has been  ordered by Don Mason from the Royal British Legion at the cost of £20 to the Meeting.   He will mix white peace poppies in with the red.    We considered the names of two Friends to lay the wreath this year on November 13th Remembrance Day.  We ask Ruth Slade to undertake this together with Peter Couchman, whom failing,  another Friend will be sought by Ruth.
16.34  There has been a request from Revd. Dr. Jason Boyd re: hosting an afternoon or evening session during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity , which is  Wednesday January 18th-Wednesday 25th 2017. It will be the 500th year of the beginning of the Reformation and the theme is ‘Reconciliation - the love of Christ compels us’ (2 Corinthians 5, 14-20).  The Bethany Room is free from 12 noon until 4pm daily and Monday 23rd January 2017 1.45pm - 3.45pm suits most Witney Friends.  A one hour Meeting for Worship, partly programmed on the Peace and Reconciliation Theme was decided.  This will be followed by tea/coffee,  cake and Friendly conversation.   Booking has started this month for next year and Mahalla Mason will book with Bridie Little (the new Centre manager) a s soon as possible.
16.35   The next S&PC Gathering is September 14th at 7.30pm at 5 Larch Lane. 
The annual Area Meeting’s Elders and Overseers morning gathering will be October 15th at Burford FMH at 9.45am for 10.15am start..  Suzette Hubbert and Mahalla Mason  represent Witney Friends in the Trios planning Group together with Burford and Charlbury Friends . 
16.36  An invitation to Witney Friends to open up and prepare the Bethany Room for Meeting for Worship on the rota once a month has been circulated.  We are glad to see that the rota has been covered.  A key to the Wesley Centre will be given to each of the Friends responsible for opening up.  Three new keys will be cut in all, together with one belonging to the Methodist Church.
We agreed to ask Keith Crawford if we could use the empty corner cupboard in the kitchen for storage of the three boxes that we use each week.  This would be both safer and quicker. Our upstairs cupboard will be used for storage.
16.37  After consideration we have removed the photos of some friends  from our photo gallery. They are those who have moved away or no longer worship with us.  The photos will be put in our Album for a record of their time with us.
We have not removed photographs of our Friends who have died recently as we do not feel ready to do this at the moment.   
There being no further  business our Meeting closed with worship at 12.12pm.  
 MM.                                                                                                                                                                               




Statement in response to the referendum

The following statement has been issued on behalf of Quakers in Britain:

The outcome of the EU referendum and the campaigning that led up to it have shown up and sometimes exacerbated divisions within and between our communities. There is now a great need for bridge-building, for reaching out to one another in love, trusting that below the political differences lie a shared humanity and a wish for flourishing communities.
Inequalities run deep in society and some are exposed by the vote. Quakers in England, Scotland and Wales are committed to working together and with others - including Quakers across Europe - for a peaceful and just world. In the coming year our Quaker Yearly Meeting will focus on building movements with others locally and globally. We refuse to prejudge who is or is not an ally.
Turbulent times can be frightening, but the Spirit is a source of strength for all, guiding us in who we are and what we do. We take heart from the knowledge that with change comes opportunity. We will look for creative ways to find common cause, to listen, to influence and to persuade. As the status quo is shaken we and our neighbours must look to one another for support, wisdom and above all ways of healing divisions.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Sunshine and shared lunch

We enjoyed our summer shared lunch outdoors in the courtyard garden of the Methodist church on Sunday 22 May!


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Minutes of May meeting for business

WITNEY LOCAL QUAKER MEETING

Minutes of a meeting for worship for business held on 1.5.16

9 Friends were present. §24.38 from Quaker Faith and Practice  was read during our opening worship (an entry written by Sue Bowers).

16.16   Sue Bowers: we record with sadness the death of our Friend Sue Bowers on 27 April. Her body has been left to medical research. It is expected that a memorial meeting will be held in Witney on Saturday 11 June (now confirmed for 3pm at the Methodist Church).

16.17   Matters arising
          a)       We note that the amount sent to Asylum Welcome was £576 (correction to minute 16.13).
          b)       We have heard a report from Mahalla Mason on the Refugee Support meeting of 12 April. Accommodation for another family in Witney has been found and two more houses have been identified for further families. We expect to contribute to the Adopt a room scheme in due course. We have heard of the various forms of support being offered by Witney residents and the Oxford group to refugees here and in Calais. More donations are sought   by WRAG. There is a strong desire to help and much goodwill throughout the county. The report is filed with these minutes.

16.18   Woodbrooke-on-the-Road: Nine Witney Friends joined with Charlbury and Burford Friends on 23 April for a Woodbrooke-on-the-Road event on Building a Quaker Community, with tutor Mark Russ. This was an enjoyable and uplifting event, which brought us closer together. 

16.19   Area Meeting: Our representatives to AM on 7 May will be Jennifer Barraclough and Mahalla Mason.

16.20  Remembrance Day: We approve the purchase of white poppies for sale and also the purchase of a mixed poppy wreath to be laid on Remembrance Day this year.

16.21   Spiritual and Pastoral Care Gathering: The next Spiritual and Pastoral Care Gathering will be held at 7.30pm on 18 May at 5 Larch Lane, when the topic will be the nature of Quaker concern. We have reminded ourselves of the purpose of these meetings – to share responsibility for and care of all those associated with the meeting - and have also considered whether to change the time at which they are held. We agree to keep the May and September meetings as planned, but offer the subsequent date to be held after meeting for worship on 4 December with the possibility of a sandwich lunch. We ask the clerks to email Friends to invite comment.

16.22 Outreach:  This will not form the focus of a special week for us this year, as we want to be offering it all year round, as guidance from Friends House reminds us. We are presently involved in making Quakers and Quakerism in Witney better known through help with Elim lunches (4 Friends), meals at Newland, the Refugees support group, volunteering with MIND, Fairtrade, Christian Aid,  at Cogges Farm and with the Street Pastors, together with the inclusion of our poppy wreath in the Remembrance Day ceremony, correspondence about Trident, the planting of the oak trees on The Leys, and visits to local schools. We are learning a greater confidence in speaking about our Quakerism.

16.23 Low cost carbon energy investment: We have been sent information about investing in a new local venture in low cost carbon energy. We agree to investigate this further and return to it at a future meeting. We ask Don Mason to speak to Tina Leonard.

16.24 Any other business
          a)       Mahalla Mason and Ruth Slade will arrange a walk to see the Quaker  burial           ground beside the Old Meeting House in Witney.
          b)       We are grateful that Don Mason has written to the other churches in  Witney about Trident, and has received a positive reply from Rev  Melanie Reed.


There being no other business, our meeting closed with worship at 12.25.

Sue Bowers d. 27.4.2016

Sue Bowers

We record with sadness the death of our Friend Sue Bowers on 27 April at the age of 82. Together with her husband John, Sue helped Witney meeting to grow and flourish, and we shall miss her very much. 

Building a Quaker Community: 23 April

Woodbrooke-on-the-Road event: Building a Quaker Community
Nine Friends from Witney joined another twenty or so Friends from Charlbury and Burford meetings to spend a day in the peaceful setting of Charlbury Meeting House on 23 April. With the guidance of Woodbrooke tutor Mark Russ, we explored our understanding of Building a Quaker Community. We discussed the experience of transformation, the different experiences we bring to our Quaker life, the elements which make us a community - including eating and singing together - and contributed a wide variety of suggestions for the essential Quaker library - poetry, music, spiritual writing and being on top of a particular mountain in the Lake District!




Sunday, 6 March 2016

Minutes of March meeting for business



WITNEY LOCAL QUAKER MEETING
Minutes of a meeting for worship for business held 6.3.16 in the Bethany Room,  Methodist Church, Witney.

6 Friends were present. §21.66 of Quaker Faith and Practice was read during our opening worship.

16.06 Matters arising: our accounts for 2015 have been presented for examination and approved. They will now go forward to the AM audit.

16.07 Area Meeting 13 March : we appoint Jennifer Barraclough as our representative to AM in Abingdon.

16.08 Wood Green School: Lesley Morris and Mahalla Mason were able to respond to this invitation to speak to 80 sixth formers about the history of Quakerism and their personal experiences of faith. Don Mason also attended. We are glad to know that this went well, and thank our Friends for undertaking this visit.

16.09 Work under concern: Mahalla Mason has completed the online survey for Meeting for Sufferings about work we are undertaking under concern. We have read parts of Ch. 13 of Quaker Faith and Practice  to help us understand the significance of a Quaker 'concern', and suggest that this is taken up at a future Spiritual and Pastoral Care gathering.

There being no other business, our meeting closed with worship at 11.50.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Minutes of February meeting for business

Witney Local Quaker Meeting

Minutes of a meeting for worship for business held 7.2.16 in the Bethany Room, Methodist Church, Witney.

9 Friends were present. §2.12 of Quaker Faith and Practice  was read during our opening worship.

16.01Matters arising
  Woodbrooke on the Road event: arrangements are well in hand for the shared event with Charlbury and Burford Friends. This will be held at Charlbury FMH on Saturday 23 April from 9.30 am to 4pm and the theme is Building a Quaker Community.  All those associated with Witney meeting are welcome to attend, and costs will be met by Witney LM. Those wishing to attend are asked to let Jenny Franklin have their names by 1 March.

16.02    Asylum Welcome
Mahalla Mason has updated us on work being done to support refugee families from Syria coming to Witney. The need is for accommodation to rent, which is proving hard to find. Storage for donations is difficult. Asylum Welcome has a list of what will be required but at present money is what is being asked for. There is also a need for language teachers for basic English. The adopt-a-room proposal can be activated when accommodation has been secured. There will be a meeting of the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Wider Group on 17 February at 10 am in Oxford Town Hall.

We agree to ask members of the meeting to offer individual donations as a separate project from our agreed giving at this stage, and to review the need for a donation from LM funds later.

16.03 Finances 2015 and 2016
a)       Our treasurer Ruth Slade has spoken to the accounts for 2015, which we approve, subject to final audit. The accounts will now be presented to the Area Meeting for auditing.  We thank our treasurer for her work.

b)       We have considered the detail of our donations to Quaker bodies and to local organisations for 2016. We agree to give to the following Quaker bodies: Young Friends General Meeting (£250) and Glebe House (£250) and to return to possible donations to other Quaker bodies later in the year.

We agree to retain our local giving as for 2015, recognising that support for refugee action might result in a drop in giving to other local causes (£200 to Bridewell Organic Gardens, £200 to Base 33).

We agree that our treasurer should delay making these donations until later in the year, when the bulk of members’ contributions will have been received and we have a clearer picture of our resources.

16.04  Spiritual and Pastoral Care Gathering
          Our next gathering is at 7.30 pm on 24 February at 5 LarchLane, when our         topics will include: appropriate information for those who have been    attending or worshipping with us for about 6 months; understanding    Quakerspeak; and making use of the Quaker games which have been a gift           from Sue and John Bowers.

16.05  Rota for reading Advices and Queries
          Peter Couchman will re-establish this monthly rota.

There being no other business, the meeting closed with worship at 12.15.


CELEBRATING A 100th BIRTHDAY!
We had the great pleasure of celebrating his centenary with our Friend Dennis Compton at his retirement home in Witney on Tuesday 2 February. Many friends, family and local Quakers joined in wishing him well at a party organised by Jill Green of Oxford Meeting and others. Witney Friends provided the cake, and the Queen sent a congratulatory card.


Monday, 25 January 2016

Welcome to 2016



Welcome to 2016! We ended last year with a shared lunch, and enjoyed each other's company.

We continue to meet in the Bethany Room of the Methodist Church in Witney - 10.30 on each Sunday except the first Sunday in the month, when we meet at 10am with a business meeting to follow.

Our first business meeting this year will be on Sunday 7 February.