Sue Shreeve – Co-Clerk Mid Wales Area Meeting writes:
Thirty-four Friends from all corners of Wales, representing our four Area meetings, joined this meeting by Zoom, at which we welcomed Carina Mundle-Garratt as the new Coordinator to her first meeting of CCQW.
The considerable amount of business that was covered in the morning session demonstrated the range of work being done by Quakers across Wales, on the national and international scene, as well as the contribution of CCQW to British Yearly Meeting (BYM).
The meeting commenced with an update on the progress of Symud Ymlaen that had cumulated in the formation of the new charity, CYMAR. This incorporates all of the Area Meetings in Wales and the Marches as well as Crynwyr Cymru, and has held its first meeting where its trustees were appointed. A ‘map’ was shared, showing developments across BYM that were, in part, a result of the pioneering work of Symud Ymlaen.
Carolyn Samson, representing CCQW, had attended the Yearly Meeting Agenda Committee (YMAC) on 16.9.23 and planning is in progress for YM 2004. We also heard reports of Meeting for Sufferings (MfS) in October, where the first session was given over to a presentation on the activities of CCQW.
The Children, Youth and Families All-age Network (CYFAN) had sent a minute to MfS, in
response to their consultation on membership, urging them to recognise the “commitment to Quakerism of young children and young people”. This minute was referred to in the report of CCQW’s representative to MfS, Deborah Rowlands, and Jane Harries also spoke to a report from CYFAN highlighting, among other things, the concern of young people about issues of sustainability. Both reports can be viewed via a link in the minutes.
The meeting also received a report from our representative, Annie Delahunty, about the
October meeting of the Quaker Life Representative Council. Her report gave a personal
account of what she found to be a valuable weekend in the company of other Friends from across Britain.
On the international front the Clerks of CCQW have sent letters to President Zelensky, the Ukrainian Government, the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK and the British Ambassador to the Ukraine, in support of the Conscientious Objector, Yuri Sheliazhenko, who had been formally charged with the crime of “justifying Russian aggression”. Wendy Jones had also attended the International Summit for Peace in the Ukraine, held in Vienna in June. A link to a report on the event can be found in the minutes of our meeting.
A request from the Welsh Centre for International Affairs and CYTUN (Churches Together in Wales) for CCQW to be a signatory to letters being sent to Members of the Senedd and Welsh MPs, opposing the Economic Activity of Public Bodies Bill, a bill that would prevent public bodies from joining campaigns to boycott goods from particular nations or regions, had also been agreed by the Clerks.
Sustainability and climate change is an issue of considerable concern for Quakers and we heard about a number of activities that Friends had been involved in South Wales Area Meeting (SWAM) had organised an on-line event, together with Cardiff UNA, on Ecocide. We were also informed of a public meeting that had been hosted in Mid-Wales by Machynlleth Local Meeting about the work of Stop ECOCIDE International.
Cardiff LM had sent a minute to this meeting regarding the draft Sustainability Advice
and Queries for CYMAR, a revised version of Bristol Sustainability Advice and Queries,
suggesting that these be translated to Welsh and published. This was also an item
discussed by the Advocacy and Support Circle (ASC), reported by Jane Harries, (a link to
this report can be found in the minutes) where it was felt that something originating in
Welsh values and culture was needed. The suggestion by our Local Development worker
that this could take the form of an on-line scrapbook, a Sustainability Padlet, was
considered. ASC and CYFAN were asked to take forward the production of this.
The ASC had also discussed how CCQW should respond to requests from Climate
Cymru to support their campaigns and actions. The Sustainability Panel receive these
requests for discernment and asked that other Friends who are interested, to join this
small group. Area and Local Meetings are also encouraged to sign up as supporters of
Climate Cymru, via the website. CCQW has signed up as partner, as has SWAM and
several other SWAM Local Meetings, but no other Quaker groups are shown as
Under the heading of ‘Peace’, the ASC had noted a request from Peace Action in Wales for Quakers to be involved in a project mapping and monitoring the militarisation of Wales and to increase advocacy for peace across Wales. This sixteen-month project, starting on 1st October, had been awarded a grant from the Rowntree Trust, and it was proposed that CCQW were asked to find a name to join the project.
Other peace projects reported on were, a review of Peace Education in Wales; a project to raise awareness of the 1923/24 Women’s Peace petition; the Churches Peace petition; the development of an Adult Peace Curriculum as part of the Welsh Governments Citizens’ Curriculum; and the appointment by Quaker Peace and Social Witness of a peer-mediation co-ordinator. Furthermore it was agreed that CCQW should sign up to be a part of the Peace Action Wales Network. A Friend to act as the link person, with that network, would be sought by Nominations.
The Gyda’n Gilydd committee works, in part, to support communications between Friends across Wales, working with the communications department of BYM. Rhian Parry, who reported on the work of the committee, asked that Friends read the up-dated strategy (link in the minutes) and to share thoughts on the proposed direction of the group. Friends were also encouraged to send material for their blog.
Gyda’n Gilydd also seeks to encourage outreach, and the Eisteddfod, which was reported on by Medi James, is also seen as an opportunity for such. Although Quakers did not have a separate stand, Medi spoke about how Friends had been active alongside others at the event this year, and had held silent worship, with a banner, three times during that week. This described as “a small circle of quietness” among the noise and busyness of the Maes.
We heard of the involvement of CCQW in other areas of activity in Wales, including the
endorsement of an educational pack that the Welsh language pre-school playgroup
movement (Mudaiad Meithrin) have produced to promote the inclusion of children of
LGBTQ+ families in their groups.
Ecumenical involvement has included representatives of CCQW, Jane Harries and Gethin
Evans, attending the CYTUN Church Leaders Meeting on 19.10.23. Their report can be
seen via the minutes. Christine Trevett, who had represented CCQW at the Autumn
Synod of the United Reform Church, was also appointed as representative at the Woodbrooke/ Quaker Committee for Christian Faith and Interfaith Relations conference in March 2024.
We also heard of the successful completion of the transfer of ownership of the Pales, from Southern Marches Area Meeting to Addoli Cymru, and the MOU which enables the continuance of the Quaker Heritage there, as well as it being of future use to a wider community.
A CCQW residential weekend is being planned for 2025, and we heard that the Legacy
Group have agreed funding towards the cost of this. The report from the Legacy Group
also indicated that CYFAN would be receiving funding to support their work. These funds
will be handed over to CYMAR Trustees for future administration.
In the afternoon session, Catherine James and Stevie Krayer gave an informative
presentation on the work of the Book of Discipline Revision Committee. The last revision
was thirty years ago and, with the final draft being considered by the Yearly Meeting in
2027, this next revision is not expected to be finalised until 2030. An account of this
presentation is in the minutes, but here it is worth noting that the core aim is to ensure that the new book will be inclusive and more accessible, and that the Committee have been delighted, and overwhelmed, by the responses to consultation on drafts of sections that have been sent out. The minutes of this meeting concludes, “we hold the Committee in the light as they proceed with their important work on our behalf”.
In our final period of worship we held in the light all those caught up in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, a catastrophe that casts its shadow far.