Quakers sing it loud and proud

By staff writers
September 16, 2007

Quakers, often known for the quietness and stillness of their meetings as well as their commitment to justice and peacemaking, are being urged to 'drop their traditional modesty' for the first ever National Quaker Week.

It will be accompanied by a national and regional advertising campaign, with the slogan "Quakers sing a different song".

Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed is amongst those adding an inspirational dimension to the Week which kicks off next Saturday.

Martin Creed says the Quaker way of life has influenced his work. Raised in a Quaker family, he comments, "It's something to do with the way that everything is important and meaningful. Silence is not negative...an empty room is not empty."

Creed has created a design exclusively for the Week with simple diagonal lines, neither horizontal nor vertical, 'more or less half dark and half light.' The design will appear on T-shirts, which can be won during the Week, by visitors to a brand new microsite which is also being launched for National Quaker Week.

Entrants are asked to sum up the essence of the Quaker faith in ten words or less. Anyone who visits the site can download the design and print their own T-shirt.

On the microsite, readers can also follow the diaries of three Quakers during the Week, download wallpapers for their computers, ask questions about the Quaker way and find a local meeting.

Tom Harris, Outreach Officer points out that the real gift of Quaker Week is not material or digital. Instead it is the opportunity to discover more about the Quaker way.

Harris says: "National Quaker Week is a great opportunity to share that the Quaker way of life is simple, contemporary and radical. Quakers worship in stillness, seek out the light of God within us all and work for peace, social justice and the environment."

Around the country Quakers are rising to the challenge of sharing their faith, staging initiatives from a 'human library' to a vigil in Manchester entitled "Let's cut the carbon for peace".

Approximately 25,000 people attend Quaker Meetings for Worship in the UK, and there are 500 Meeting Houses.

Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends, and refer to one another informally as Friends.

National Quaker Week runs from 22 September to 30 September 2007.

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