WAR, violence, a climate crisis. Cruelty, deceit, self-interest, division and corruption. There is a great deal of darkness in our world. There is much to make us despairing and cynical.

It is easy to lose a grip on hope, to cease to believe that there may be goodness and justice; that politicians, even if they seem incapable of governing well, might occasionally do something unconnected with their own advancement. In short, that humankind really is stuffed.

Well, on Saturday something showed me that this is not true. The occasion was a Memorial Meeting to remember and celebrate the life of a much loved Friend. Nic died in December from an illness which developed with shocking speed. We had gathered, Quakers, non-Quakers and a lifetime’s collection of workmates, to remember him ‘after the manner of Friends’.

The Meeting Room was packed to its legal capacity. It was moving to have so many there who had connected with the family through work and worship over many years and had travelled from far and wide to be with us.

Nic lived with integrity, love and warmth. He had an eccentric streak and could be challenging. But he was equally ready to be challenged and was never defensive or pompous. It was my great privilege to work with him on a media committee for several years. There was always laughter and enlightenment. No one could be complacent around Nic for long, but nor could they have ever felt unvalued or unloved.

He was utterly dependable. What was promised, was delivered. He was unfailingly conscientious in all he did, bringing unshowy expertise from computer problems to statistical analysis, via management of the Meeting’s accounts and of a recorder ensemble.

In retirement, Nic worked as an advisor at the local Citizens Advice. He loathed injustice and inequality and these virtues, combined with a natural empathy for distress, were transformative in the lives of many who had not known where to turn.

Some people invest in stocks and shares. Nic invested in the hearts of his family, his F/friends and the communities where he lived. He was not simply a man with good attributes, his whole personality was one of goodness.

In sharing our memories in the uniting stillness, we were able to make a restorative space among the growing dis-ease of our society. Because integrity and love do not make headlines, provoke outrage on social media or make large sums of money for the greedy and unscrupulous, let us never forget that the memory of people like Nic will always be a blessing. And blessings endure.


© Jill Segger (England) is a freelance writer who contributes to the Church Times, The Catholic Herald, Tribune, The Friend and Reform, among other publications. Her acclaimed book Words Out of Silence was published by Ekklesia in 2019. She is an active member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Jill became an honorary associate director in 2010 and is now Ekklesia’s Contributing Editor. She is also a musician and has been a composer. Her recent columns are available here and her pre-2021 articles can be found here. You can follow Jill on Twitter: @quakerpen