Holocaust Memorial Day – A Reflection
Posted on 28th January 2019
We have been marking Holocaust Memorial Day, so it seems appropriate to share this education about tolerance and bravery.
The Society of Friends (Quakers) are well known for their work on pacifism. As a group they won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947, for post Second World War relief work. They were heavily involved in ‘Kindertransport’, which our upper junior Grasmere children have been learning about. Both Amnesty International and Oxfam have their roots in Quakerism.
They are still very active in seeking co-operation and peace between peoples and nations. Last week our younger children went to the Meeting House at Colthouse, and learnt about the motivation behind this work.
“Don’t offer neat creeds or doctrine. Instead, we try to help each other work out how we should live.
Quakerism grew out of Christianity and today we also find meaning and value in other faiths and traditions.
We recognise that there’s something transcendent and precious in every person.
Quakers don’t use traditional religious structures or paid ministers. We share responsibility for what we do because everyone has a valuable contribution to make.
The children went to visit several different Christian places of worship in Hawkshead. They learnt that when the Society of Friends (Quaker) Meeting House in Hawkshead was built in 1688, it was illegal for Quakers to meet in a building. So they had a long seat outside in the graveyard. A year later the ‘act of tolerance’ was passed, and they started meeting inside. Being a Christian has been dangerous for many down the ages.
The Colthouse Meeting is a very simple building, and the children were welcomed by Arthur Kincaid, who talked to them kindly and simply about ‘Quaker’ faith, and how it is lived.
Quaker meetings for worship can be held anywhere, at any time. Every meeting begins in silence. “We use it to open ourselves to the wisdom that comes out of stillness. It enriches us and shapes us, individually and collectively. This is what we mean by ‘worship’.”
Some of the children loved the silence, whilst others found it disconcerting. But they all agreed with the need for peace between people.
Thank you so much, Arthur, for spending such valuable time with the children.