Personal vignettes - the "I" within the "we".

Newcastle Quaker Meeting is a community, but made up of individual people. Elsewhere in this website it is "we", but this section tries to reflect the "I"s, giving self-descriptions by a sample of the members. Visitors to our Meeting become conscious of the community as a whole, but also meet individuals in ones and twos.

A. writes: "I was brought up going to an Anglican country church, and came to Quakers when our son went to Bootham Friends School in York over thirty years ago. I have been an overseer and a member of the Catering Committee. Now in my seventies, I am not as active as I was, but visit friends and Friends when I can."

C. writes: "I was brought up in an active Church of England family and was introduced to Quakerism on marrying into a Quaker family. My husband and I felt the need to choose a single allegiance in order to give our children a foundation on which to lead their own lives. I started attending Meeting for Worship and became a member in 1984. I enjoy the freedom from ritual and the absence of any appointed church leader. I have discovered that sharing beliefs and seeking spiritual values brings a wider understanding of people's diverse views and a feeling of belonging to an accepting community. Quaker values and the Peace and Social Testimonies are an important part of my faith and I try to lead my life guided by them." G. says that; he was made redundant twenty years ago when the college where he had been a Senior Lecturer closed. He then trained, and now practises, as a psychotherapist. He has also taken part in the training of counsellors, and teaches meditation. He has a married son and daughter and three granddaughters. He enjoys a variety of friendships (both within and outside the Quaker 'family'), a variety of music, a variety of food, and the variety of the natural world.

F. writes: "I became interested in Quakerism when my wife joined and I have now been an attender for several years. It is the friendliness of the Newcastle Meeting as much as the Quakerism that I find reassuring. I am in my 50s and work full time as a civil engineer. My wife also works and both children have flown the nest. I have found myself drawn in to the life of the meeting and now serve on a committee that looks after the premises. However I still find time for walking and cycling, and for my interests in local history, wildlife and photography. Any time left over is taken up with reading, theatre and concerts."

V. writes: "I was born and bred in a traditional Christian faith, he went through a spiritual change at university. He was originally attracted to Quakers by the power of silent worship but was further convinced by the power of Quakers as a community. He says: "the community is vibrant and thought-provoking and a warmth is sensed when you are dealing with each other whether spiritually or practically."

M. writes; "A one-time Methodist, I knew something about Quakers from my teens when I learnt (through a visit to a Friends' school) that they were generally pacifists and much concerned with social issues. It was these things that for many years I admired and were important in my seeking out the Society of Friends. About seven years ago I finally visited Newcastle Meeting. Like many others I was moved by the impact of the wonderful arrival of silence in my first meeting and soon felt that I was with like-minded seekers. I value the absence of doctrine and hierarchies and the acceptance of freedom to explore and share without pressure. I especially value the fellowship of Early Morning Meeting, a Listening Group, Neighbourhood Groups. I am a widow, a retired lecturer in my late sixties, with three children and seven grandchildren. I am involved with several organisations in Newcastle concerned with cultural and social activities, and enjoy a variety of interests, especially all sorts of music, reading and writing, walking, talking, cooking and entertaining friends. I have served on the Catering Committee and the Religious Study and Education Committee, and as Friends' representative on Churches Together in Jesmond."

J. writes; "I came to Quakers about 40 years ago, having had very little connection with any other church. I met my husband there and we were married in the Meeting House. It took me a long time to settle into the way of worship but I found other Quakers friendly and supportive and I was particularly pleased that our family grew up in the Quaker tradition. I was unclear about my beliefs for a long time and I was grateful that I was allowed to search and explore without any pressure being put on me. My belief is now stronger (although I still have times of doubt) and I feel at home with the silent worship which allow us to reach out to our God, together in a community, but each in our own way."

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