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Faith in Action

Bear witness to the humanity of all people, including those who break society's conventions or its laws. Try to discern new growing points in social and economic life. Seek to understand the causes of injustice, social unrest and fear. Are you working to bring about a just and compassionate society which allows everyone to develop their capacities and fosters the desire to serve?

        From Advices and Queries

Our quiet worship shapes and is shaped by our active engagement in the world.  Over the centuries, Quakers have come to recognise, to affirm and to act on principles of simplicity, peace integrity, equality, social justice and reverence for all living things. The way in which we have expressed this, in words and in action, have come to be known as our testimonies.

In Bolton Quaker Meeting, as in others around the country and the world, we work together and we work individually, supported by one another.  The following are just a few snapshots of what some Bolton Quakers have been involved in recently.

Being a Youth Offending Panel Member
Norma Lee

Restorative Justice - putting things right - seems a better way of tackling unacceptable behaviour in young people than mere punishment and this is what Youth Offending Panels aim to do.  They give offenders an opportunity to face their victims and work out ways they can pay-back for the hurt they have caused.
Without true justice there can never be peace and for me being a panel member, enabling young people to face up to the consequences of their actions and giving them the opportunity to turn themselves around, is a step (albeit small) towards a peaceful world.

Being a Volunteer Mediator
Catherine Williams

I am involved as a trained volunteer mediator for Bolton mediation service. The project, named 'Safer Communities'  encourages and facilitates resolutions between individuals, families or neighbours in conflict with each other. Referrals can come from the Police, the Local Authority, other agencies or the individuals themselves.
We visit each individual and allow them the space to explain the problem from their own perspective and hope to encourage the parties to meet in a neutral, safe, environment facilitated by us, and work towards a resolution such as a written agreement. Alternatively we facilitate situations where each party meets separately and is helped by a mediator who, through sharing and communication works  towards an agreement between the parties.
As an attender at Bolton Meeting, I am aware of the testimonies and regularly reflect on how my life and work relates to them.
My work as a mediator encourages me to listen and value each person's experience and perspective, and even when I sense that one party is behaving less considerately than another, endeavour to treat them with equal value and respect. This is done by talking, soul searching and uncovering each person’s thoughts and feelings about their current situation, which enables us to gain insight into the truth so we can find a way out.
The point for me of this work is to try to and help those in disagreement with each other find a way through, via negotiation to a place of peace and acceptance. This will hopefully help relationships develop and sustain in a more positive way.

Peace Work as Bolton Meeting's Peace Correspondent
Barry Mills

As Quakers, we are called to stand firm against violence and to oppose war and the preparation for war (Advice 31). Working for peace is inseparable from striving for justice and protecting the environment.
Bolton Local Meeting has recently contacted local MPs on issues such as opposing Trident replacement and preventing exploitation by gangmasters.
I am involved in peace campaigns with Northern Friends Peace Board and as joint secretary of Bolton CND/Stop the War Group.
I was informed and motivated by Quaker Peace and Social Witness Conferences on Quakers and the State and on Modern Slavery.

candlelit vigil
Candlelit Quaker Peace Vigil

Befriending Refugees And Asylum Seekers - BRASS
Hilary Murrant
BRASS runs a weekly drop-in centre, staffed by volunteers. Numbers of ‘refused’ asylum seekers become destitute because they refuse  to sign a document agreeing to deportation. They are then not eligible for housing or financial support.
 The project provides opportunities to meet friends, share a hot meal and enjoy a game of table tennis or pool. A destitute asylum seeker is provided with a 6 bag of food each week through voluntary donations. As volunteers we ensure that all feel welcome, by providing a listening ear, helping  with language problems and keeping  the tea urn topped up. Many asylum seekers have come to feel the drop in as a kind of extended family and hopefully our friendship goes a little way towards addressing the appalling experiences many have had before reaching the UK.

Community Development & Adult Education
Tony Robinson
I have worked over the years in a number of settings helping the local community to develop projects, facilities and local resources to enable them to improve their lives, with opportunities through education. My Quaker faith has enabled me to accept the uniqueness and inner light of each individual, whatever their background. Sometimes this light has been subdued through living in poverty, surviving on benefits, perhaps having alcohol or drug problems, or a lack of positive opportunities to respond to their lives. I have seen that with time, resources, funding and support, great things can be achieved for the benefit of the individual and their community e.g. children's playschemes, holiday activities, community drama and art, community businesses, food co-ops, housing support etc.

Northern Friends Peace Board
Philip Austin

I am very fortunate to be in paid work, Co-ordinating the activities of this Quaker group.  Members from all over the North of Britain meet and learn about peace, and develop programmes of activity 'to advise and encourage' Friends and others 'in the active promotion of peace in all its height and breadth'.  Peace can feel very overwhelming.  Through my work I hope I can help people become better informed, better supported and better focussed in what they can do for peace.  It is important for me that peace is built on peaceful foundations - violent means tend to leave a legacy of more violence.  Also that we look at some of the underlying conditions that contribute to peace - from social conditions at the local level to climate change at the international level. 

friends in the meeting house