Ship of Fools: Friends Meeting House, Ipswich, England


imageShip of Fools: Friends Meeting House, Ipswich, England

A nice place to visit, but lack of content was limiting

Read the full Mystery Worshipper report here


Comments

  • Glad you enjoyed the Quakers too. I am told they remember their testimonies (Equality, Simplicity, Truth, Peace) by the acronym PEST.
  • Box PewBox Pew Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    I too enjoy the blissful communion of collective and thoughtful silence at a Quaker meeting now and again. You cant beat it. And Quakers seem to be such nice people.

    But it would not suit me as a regular thing - I do hanker for a theological common ground - precisely the thing the Society of Friends seem to avoid.
  • Box Pew wrote: »
    1 And Quakers seem to be such nice people.

    2. precisely the thing the Society of Friends seem to avoid.

    1. Until you cross them (disagree with them) that is. Then you passive aggression taken to a whole new level
    2. Their way is the right one ….. see 1. above

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    Isn't there an old Quaker proverb: "All the world is queer save thee and me . . . and sometimes even thee seem a trifle queer."
  • Heh! I always heard it “All are queer but thee and me, and I’m not sure of thee.”
  • Box Pew wrote: »
    1 And Quakers seem to be such nice people.

    2. precisely the thing the Society of Friends seem to avoid.

    1. Until you cross them (disagree with them) that is. Then you passive aggression taken to a whole new level
    2. Their way is the right one ….. see 1. above

    I'm trying to work out how to respond as non-passive aggressively as possible.

    There certainly are "difficult" Friends around and I'm sure at times we irk each other more than we irk outsiders. And whilst we don't have creeds, we have a strong prophetic tradition that might irritate some. The phrase "Speaking Truth to Power" was apparently coined by Bayard Rustin as late as the 1950's, but for many Friends it epitomises what we have been called to do for nearly four centuries. However, we don't see it as our particular vocation. We should always be aware of, seek out and be inspired by that of God in all those around us.

    Anyway, it would be interesting and educative to learn, in the broadest of terms, of your experience of "Crossing" Quakers.

  • Box Pew wrote: »
    1 And Quakers seem to be such nice people.

    2. precisely the thing the Society of Friends seem to avoid.

    1. Until you cross them (disagree with them) that is. Then you passive aggression taken to a whole new level
    2. Their way is the right one ….. see 1. above

    I'm trying to work out how to respond as non-passive aggressively as possible.

    There certainly are "difficult" Friends around and I'm sure at times we irk each other more than we irk outsiders. And whilst we don't have creeds, we have a strong prophetic tradition that might irritate some. The phrase "Speaking Truth to Power" was apparently coined by Bayard Rustin as late as the 1950's, but for many Friends it epitomises what we have been called to do for nearly four centuries. However, we don't see it as our particular vocation. We should always be aware of, seek out and be inspired by that of God in all those around us.

    Anyway, it would be interesting and educative to learn, in the broadest of terms, of your experience of "Crossing" Quakers.
    I've sent a PM as to share examples here would be inappropriate for various reasons give the people and places involved.

    One thing I will say publicly is this: in one town I was in the Quakers rewrote the common ground for Churches Together and wouldn't join until it was changed. They wouldn't accept the nationally agreed basis. You then had a fairly large town (20+ churches) with a working document that didn't affirm the divinity of Christ.

  • Box Pew wrote: »
    1 And Quakers seem to be such nice people.

    2. precisely the thing the Society of Friends seem to avoid.

    1. Until you cross them (disagree with them) that is. Then you passive aggression taken to a whole new level
    2. Their way is the right one ….. see 1. above

    I'm trying to work out how to respond as non-passive aggressively as possible.

    There certainly are "difficult" Friends around and I'm sure at times we irk each other more than we irk outsiders. And whilst we don't have creeds, we have a strong prophetic tradition that might irritate some. The phrase "Speaking Truth to Power" was apparently coined by Bayard Rustin as late as the 1950's, but for many Friends it epitomises what we have been called to do for nearly four centuries. However, we don't see it as our particular vocation. We should always be aware of, seek out and be inspired by that of God in all those around us.

    Anyway, it would be interesting and educative to learn, in the broadest of terms, of your experience of "Crossing" Quakers.
    I've sent a PM as to share examples here would be inappropriate for various reasons give the people and places involved.

    One thing I will say publicly is this: in one town I was in the Quakers rewrote the common ground for Churches Together and wouldn't join until it was changed. They wouldn't accept the nationally agreed basis. You then had a fairly large town (20+ churches) with a working document that didn't affirm the divinity of Christ.

    Sorry, I should have responded to this and your PM ages ago. To be honest I have my doubts about whether we should participate in Churches Together either nationally or locally. However, with regard to the agreed Basis of Faith statement, on a national level there is the following, slightly contradictory opt out clause:

    All CTE Member Churches accept this Basis though an exception is made for 'any Church or Association of Churches which on principle has no credal statements in its tradition and therefore cannot formally subscribe to the statement of faith in the Basis provided it satisfies 75% in number of those full members which subscribe to the Basis that it manifests faith in Christ as witnessed to in the Scriptures and it is committed to the aims and purposes of Churches Together in England and that it will work in the spirit of the Basis'. The Religious Society of Friends is a member of CTE under this clause.)

    As I said on the CTE controversy thread this was designed to let us into the organisation and keep the Unitarians out. It might have been better to stay out in solidarity with the Unitarians
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    Amanda B. Reckondwythe wrote:

    Isn't there an old Quaker proverb: "All the world is queer save thee and me . . . and sometimes even thee seem a trifle queer."

    Nick Tamen wrote:

    Heh! I always heard it “All are queer but thee and me, and I’m not sure of thee.”

    The version I know(which is basically the same as those two, with maybe a slightly different wording) was oft-repeated by my grandmother, who was a Scottish Presbyterian hailing from north of Aberdeen, along the Gulf Of Moray.

    I don't think she ever said anything about it being a Quaker thing, but I vaguely recall it was something she heard from older family members. It definitely had the "thee" in it, not sure if that's ironclad proof of it being a Quakerism.

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    stetson wrote: »
    It definitely had the "thee" in it, not sure if that's ironclad proof of it being a Quakerism.
    As nominative case I would think it would be, although I'm no expert.

    I began my teaching career in a Catholic high school. I had a Quaker boy in one of my classes, whose father sent him to the Catholic school because he thought he'd get a better education there. The boy always used "thee" with me although not with his classmates or with other teachers. I took it as a sign of admiration and respect.
  • I might well be wrong, but I understood that originally the Quakers used "thee" as a friendly relating term with everyone, refusing to call people by their title or "thou".

    Which I think evolved in time into something else, with "thee" becoming a polite version of "you".

    It feels like modern Quakers have abandoned these ideals in some ways. It would be fun to have a sincere sect who refused to participate in the normal unearned titles and deference that is expected by society and the state.
  • Looks like I was a bit wrong on the detail whilst correct on the reasoning.

    See here (click to see the transcript) https://quakerspeak.com/history-quaker-plain-speech/
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    Tangent, but I have to tell a story re the Quaker boy I had in class when I taught in the Catholic high school.

    The cardinal archbishop of the archdiocese had died, and a new archbishop had been enthroned (not yet made a cardinal). The new archbishop paid a pastoral visit to the school. An assembly was called. As the archbishop walked up the aisle of the auditorium, naturally he was cheered by the student body. He didn't realize there was a balcony in the auditorium, which is where my class was sitting. When he heard cheering coming from the balcony as well as downstairs, he turned around in surprise. "Doddering old fool!" my Quaker boy exclaimed under his breath. He wouldn't dare have said that had anyone else been his teacher.
  • My Grandfather always used "thee" or "ye" when speaking to me his only grandchild. He wasn't a Quaker but a Farm Labourer with a very gentle way with him
  • Box Pew wrote: »
    1 And Quakers seem to be such nice people.

    2. precisely the thing the Society of Friends seem to avoid.

    1. Until you cross them (disagree with them) that is. Then you passive aggression taken to a whole new level
    2. Their way is the right one ….. see 1. above

    I'm trying to work out how to respond as non-passive aggressively as possible.

    There certainly are "difficult" Friends around and I'm sure at times we irk each other more than we irk outsiders. And whilst we don't have creeds, we have a strong prophetic tradition that might irritate some. The phrase "Speaking Truth to Power" was apparently coined by Bayard Rustin as late as the 1950's, but for many Friends it epitomises what we have been called to do for nearly four centuries. However, we don't see it as our particular vocation. We should always be aware of, seek out and be inspired by that of God in all those around us.

    Anyway, it would be interesting and educative to learn, in the broadest of terms, of your experience of "Crossing" Quakers.
    I've sent a PM as to share examples here would be inappropriate for various reasons give the people and places involved.

    One thing I will say publicly is this: in one town I was in the Quakers rewrote the common ground for Churches Together and wouldn't join until it was changed. They wouldn't accept the nationally agreed basis. You then had a fairly large town (20+ churches) with a working document that didn't affirm the divinity of Christ.

    Sorry, I should have responded to this and your PM ages ago. To be honest I have my doubts about whether we should participate in Churches Together either nationally or locally. However, with regard to the agreed Basis of Faith statement, on a national level there is the following, slightly contradictory opt out clause:

    All CTE Member Churches accept this Basis though an exception is made for 'any Church or Association of Churches which on principle has no credal statements in its tradition and therefore cannot formally subscribe to the statement of faith in the Basis provided it satisfies 75% in number of those full members which subscribe to the Basis that it manifests faith in Christ as witnessed to in the Scriptures and it is committed to the aims and purposes of Churches Together in England and that it will work in the spirit of the Basis'. The Religious Society of Friends is a member of CTE under this clause.)

    As I said on the CTE controversy thread this was designed to let us into the organisation and keep the Unitarians out. It might have been better to stay out in solidarity with the Unitarians

    Quakers have credal statement in their tradition. They BELIEVE something - hence a creed. The wording CTE use is simply an accommodation.

    In this neck of the woods where there are massive social needs that have been flagged nationally, the Quakers are notably absent. They are concerned - rightly - about Syria and other places but seemingly cannot articulate speaking truth to power in their own back yard. Sad but given past experiences, not unexpected.

  • My experience of Quakers is that they do tend to be involved in local issues as well as maintaining their 'peace witness' about the arms trade and conflicts overseas, although they tend to do this individually rather than collectively as there aren't many of them around here and they lack the critical mass as it were.

    As far as passive-aggressiveness goes, I've found that they can be a bit sniffy towards mainstream churches - 'We don't have paid ministers like the rest of you ...' type of thing, or 'Anyone can minister in our meetings ... (unlike you lot)' or 'We don't rely on outward forms ... (unlike you poor priest-ridden saps) ...'

    It isn't necessarily what's said but what's implied. There is 'something' in the Quaker silence ... ;)

    To be fair, they aren't alone in that. Every single religious group I've encountered can be sniffy towards outsiders or people who see things differently. I've come across Baptists who think Anglicans are 'insincere' because they use set rather than extemporary prayers. I've come across Anglicans who think all non-conformist groups are wild and whacky sects.

    I have a friend who is going through the process of becoming a Friend and I kind of 'get it' and can see the 'logic' as it were and I very much value the interaction I have with Friends. Given the choice between a Quaker meeting and a full on charismatic happy-clappy tongues fest, I know which I'd prefer ...

    I certainly get where the Quakers are coming from but for my sins still feel the need for something more formally creedal and I do like my 'outward forms' ...
  • You can still hear 'thee' - or its dialect equivalent 'tha' for 'thy' in parts of northern England, notably Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, although it's nowhere near as common as it was 30 or 40 years ago.

    I'm not surprised to hear that it was used in the East Anglian fens, where ExclamationMark grew up. Farm labourers in the West Country would have said it too until comparatively recently.
  • You can still hear 'thee' - or its dialect equivalent 'tha' for 'thy' in parts of northern England, notably Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, although it's nowhere near as common as it was 30 or 40 years ago.

    I'm not surprised to hear that it was used in the East Anglian fens, where ExclamationMark grew up. Farm labourers in the West Country would have said it too until comparatively recently.

    My daughter-in-law is from Sheffield. She uses a variant form - thi. As in "Behave thi-sen" when one of her bairns is acting up.
  • Yes, you get that in West Yorkshire too, 'thissen' for 'thyself' and 'ussen' for 'ourselves' - us-selves.

    It's more pronounced in South Yorkshire though. When I lived in Leeds the accent became a lot 'broader' as you headed south and south-east. Stronger in Morley, Dewsbury and Batley and 'broader' again as you headed out towards Wakefield, Pontefract and 'The Five Towns'. There were subtle variations across short distances, from Leeds to Pudsey and on to Bradford. Huddersfield was different again.
  • I'm intrigued by the 'thee' but not 'thou' remarks.' thee 'is the accusative case of 'thou' but seems to be used as a nominative. Could this be because English speaking society generally uses 'you' which is accusative of 'ye' as both nominative and accusative ?
    There was a series recently on BBC TV set in Cornwall where certain members of a 'working class' religious group regularly used 'thee' to address one another.
  • You can still hear 'thee' - or its dialect equivalent 'tha' for 'thy' in parts of northern England, notably Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, although it's nowhere near as common as it was 30 or 40 years ago.

    I'm not surprised to hear that it was used in the East Anglian fens, where ExclamationMark grew up. Farm labourers in the West Country would have said it too until comparatively recently.

    Sort of Fens -- bit higher ground if I'm really honest. I'm a slodger not a tiger
  • Yes, you get that in West Yorkshire too, 'thissen' for 'thyself' and 'ussen' for 'ourselves' - us-selves.

    It's more pronounced in South Yorkshire though. When I lived in Leeds the accent became a lot 'broader' as you headed south and south-east. Stronger in Morley, Dewsbury and Batley and 'broader' again as you headed out towards Wakefield, Pontefract and 'The Five Towns'. There were subtle variations across short distances, from Leeds to Pudsey and on to Bradford. Huddersfield was different again.

    I lived in Dewsbury 40 years ago where you could still hear a mother telling a child to "get tha booits on."
  • Indeed. 'T i'n't in 't'tin'.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    In English please.
  • That is English!

    Of a sort...I don't know what it means, either... :wink:
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    That is English!

    Of a sort...I don't know what it means, either... :wink:

    "It isn't in the tin"
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Thank you. Not that I can see how it fits into the thread though.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Suspended
    edited December 2019
    I was talking to someone the other day about the use of dialect in church. In that particular context there are hymns and written prayers (in a non-English language) and we were talking about how even with efforts to be relatively informal, the dialects are excluded from the (official) language heard in church.

    (Btw, I've never been to a Quaker meeting but I regularly go into a meeting house. The first time I was quite amazed to see a piano and hymnbooks...)

    Anyway, I'm quite interested to hear how dialects work in Quaker settings. Is there a common "sound" across the country or do meetings develop their own dialect and form of words? Do people speak differently to the way they do normally?
  • I tried a Quaker meeting once. But because of my tinnitus the silence was torture!
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    I wonder if they would have objected if you wore earbuds and listened to something amid the silence. Would that mitigate the tinnitus?
  • Yes it would help- and might be a conversation starter afterwards! Might try a Friends Meeting again 😀
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    You could always claim it was a hearing aid.

    [TANGENT] I had a friend who loved baseball and bridge, not necessarily in that order. She would always bring her radio to the bridge club and listen to the ballgame through an earpiece. The ladies at her bridge table assumed she was hard of hearing and would declare their bids extra loud, extra slow, and with exaggerated enunciation so she could hear them. My friend found it amusing. [/TANGENT]
  • 😁
  • Daft question: do Quakers read and preach the Bible?
  • There are Bibles on the table at Meetings I have been to. Sometimes someone will be moved to pick up and read. Sometimes they may be moved to read out to the Meeting. Sometimes they may be moved to comment on what is read. Sometimes someone else may be moved to comment on what another Friend has read out. We believe the moving is of the Holy Spirit.
    I suspect this is not what you wanted to know.
  • O no - seems like a reasonable answer to me...

    I assume that @Penny S means that Quakers do not march up and down a dais (or rostrum) waving a Floppy Bible (King James version, of course), and shouting out random verses about Death, Judgement, and Hell, in the mode of US fundagelicals...
    :wink:
  • Penny S wrote: »
    There are Bibles on the table at Meetings I have been to. Sometimes someone will be moved to pick up and read. Sometimes they may be moved to read out to the Meeting. Sometimes they may be moved to comment on what is read. Sometimes someone else may be moved to comment on what another Friend has read out. We believe the moving is of the Holy Spirit.
    I suspect this is not what you wanted to know.

    Thank you. Quaker meetings seem intimidating probably because unpredictable and unstructured. One day I will attend, just waiting to be moved to go; sometime I might be moved and I believe the moving is of the Holy Spirit. I could be moved to read the bible next to the radiator; if I could move myself over there it could be moving.
  • PhilipV wrote: »
    Penny S wrote: »
    There are Bibles on the table at Meetings I have been to. Sometimes someone will be moved to pick up and read. Sometimes they may be moved to read out to the Meeting. Sometimes they may be moved to comment on what is read. Sometimes someone else may be moved to comment on what another Friend has read out. We believe the moving is of the Holy Spirit.
    I suspect this is not what you wanted to know.

    Thank you. Quaker meetings seem intimidating probably because unpredictable and unstructured. One day I will attend, just waiting to be moved to go; sometime I might be moved and I believe the moving is of the Holy Spirit. I could be moved to read the bible next to the radiator; if I could move myself over there it could be moving.

    I think Quakerism is a beautiful idea and most Quakers I've met are honest and commited to their beliefs.

    I'm not sure even gentle ribbing here is called for.
  • PhilipV wrote: »
    Daft question: do Quakers read and preach the Bible?


    I've spent two evenings a month for over the last five years reading and reflecting upon the Bible in a Quaker study group. So far, we've read the New Testament and are just about to finish numbers. I think that counts as fairly serious reading. Despite that, I don't understand what you mean by preaching it. It is a fascinating and intriguing, but it doesn't in have the clear and simple message as you would seem to imply. Perhaps it is you who actually needs to read it seriously.
  • Blahblah wrote: »
    PhilipV wrote: »
    Penny S wrote: »
    There are Bibles on the table at Meetings I have been to. Sometimes someone will be moved to pick up and read. Sometimes they may be moved to read out to the Meeting. Sometimes they may be moved to comment on what is read. Sometimes someone else may be moved to comment on what another Friend has read out. We believe the moving is of the Holy Spirit.
    I suspect this is not what you wanted to know.

    Thank you. Quaker meetings seem intimidating probably because unpredictable and unstructured. One day I will attend, just waiting to be moved to go; sometime I might be moved and I believe the moving is of the Holy Spirit. I could be moved to read the bible next to the radiator; if I could move myself over there it could be moving.

    I think Quakerism is a beautiful idea and most Quakers I've met are honest and commited to their beliefs.

    I'm not sure even gentle ribbing here is called for.

    We really are robust enough to cope with such inanity.
  • I recall some jokes originate within Friends.
  • O, do tell!
    :wink:
  • I carefully constructed that sentence to imply that though I know of Friends' jokes, I may not actually remember them. All I could think of offhand was the ditty "One Friend went to sleep, went to sleep in Meeting," etc, which continues until the gathered Friends are moved to stop. But I have researched a couple.


    How many Quakers does it take to change a light bulb?

    It only takes one before the bulb actually burns out. After that, it can't be done because there's no way to hold the topic in the light.

    Or:

    Thirty-three: One to raise a concern at Preparative Meeting that the lightbulb is no longer working. Ten at PM to set up a lightbulb replacement subgroup to send a report to Monthly Meeting. Three to work on the subgroup and report to MM. Fifteen at MM to discern that the right way forward is to change the lightbulb. One to report back to Meeting that the bulb is going to be changed. One person to change the bulb. One person to write an article for the MM newsletter about changing the bulb. One to write a letter to The Friend saying that the decision about changing the lightbulb had not been in Right Ordering.
  • :lol:

    That second example sounds as if they've been taking lessons from the Church of England... :wink:
  • But presumably the jargon would be different, involving Faculties etc. I expect that if we could eavesdrop on early humans, we would find much the same. In different jargon, of course. One raises the problem of a shortage of red ochre for the cave painting. Others discuss whether the painting might be achieved with a change in technique, needing less, but eventually agree to get more. Then there is the group which plans who to take to the ochre source. And the other which plans the kit to take. And the other which gets the kit ready. Then there is the negotiation with the tribe which occupies the source area.....
    We needed all these obfuscating skills. (Watched "Yes, Prime Minister" the other night."
  • O yes, certainly the jargon is different, but the effect is much the same!
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