Quakers put the protest back in Protestantism at Greenbelt

By agency reporter
August 22, 2018

Take one stand-up comedian and mediator, an actor, activist and biblical scholar, a team of peace activists, and a handful of turbulent priests. Each one exploring the connection between spirituality and activism. Add to that, Quaker worship in stillness that settles, calms and opens hearts. This week, Quakers are offering this mix to thousands enjoying Greenbelt Festival.

The festival runs from 24–27 August at Boughton House, Northamptonshire. Tickets for Acts of the Imagination are still available.

Threading through the weekend will be conversations about the call of protest as a form of witness and how God-words can get in the way when sharing experiences of the divine. Several dozen supposedly 'silent' Quakers will be on hand to talk about their faith journey, as well as tricky topics like death and finding hope when society feels broken. Workshops and worship will stimulate witness and sharpen skills for activities like peace education.

The invitation in the programme says this: "Meet the Quakers. From civil wars to civil unions, Quakerism has always meddled in British history. This is an opportunity to talk to a Quaker and find out what's happening in the ResisTent this weekend. Whether it's sabotaging the arms industry or unpacking end-of-life issues, join us to explore what your faith calls you to do in these turbulent times."

Sam Walton of Quakers in Britain and Methodist minister Dan Woodhouse tried to disarm war planes. They were caught, arrested, tried and acquitted. Sam asks what happens when society's values run counter to God's purposes. His session is Putting the protest back in Protestant. In his blog he writes : "As a person of faith, my first loyalty must be to God's purposes, to act on conscience even when it is not easy. But I'm not a Quaker because it is easy. I'm a Quaker because I know experientially there is that of God in everyone and that means God asks me to work for justice and peace for all."

This year, Quakers in Britain are an associate of Greenbelt.

* More about Putting the protest back in Protestant here

* Greenbelt: Acts of the Imagination here

* Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

*Quakers in Britain http://www.quaker.org.uk/


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