The person appointed as the most senior member of staff among Britain's Quakers has criticised the government's cuts and said they will increase poverty. Paul Parker made the comments as his appointment was announced yesterday (4 December).
Parker will be the new Recording Clerk of Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM), the formal organisation of Quakers in England, Scotland and Wales. Quakers are also known as the Religious Society of Friends.
The position of Recording Clerk, roughly comparable to a chief executive, fell vacant in the summer due to the sudden resignation of Gillian Ashmore.
Parker, currently an assistant headteacher, will take up the post in May 2011.
“I would like Quakers to be known as people who take their faith out into the world and live it,” said Parker yesterday, “We need to have the courage and conviction to support Quakers to do that”.
He continued, “We are entering tough times nationally. The impact of government spending cuts means there will be people in real poverty and so we need to be ready to speak about equality.”
Parker also said that, “We need a strong voice to speak out on the issues around the global impact of climate change and sustainability and how that ties in with conflict”.
In a statement, BYM said that Parker sees his new role as “leading the staff in interpreting the will of Yearly Meeting, where all Quakers who are members can discern the way ahead”.
Parker said the most important question was, “Ultimately, what does God want Quakers to do?”
Paul Parker lives with his wife in Essex. He is currently assistant headteacher of Barnwell School in Stevenage where he teaches languages.