The Sgwrs sessions on Zoom offer Friends and attenders the opportunity to practice speaking Welsh in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Here, Medi James, the convenor of the sessions from Aberystwyth Meeting, explains the history of the Sgwrs sessions and also how you can join!
The SGWRS sessions follow the same pattern as Ruth Moore Williams, North Wales Area Meeting’s, Welsh Lingo sessions. Ruth’s zoom sessions have given Quakers and our following an opportunity to socialise and keep friendships close during the recent lockdown periods. Ruth’s love of music and socialising transmits so easily over the airways.
Ruth spoke of her ‘Welsh Lingo’ sessions in Britain Yearly Meeting in 2021. The session stimulated a lively and fresh reaction. Several Friends admitting to their nervousness and uncertainty in speaking Welsh publicly in Meetings or within the Society.
It was decided to further this idea of zoom meetings and offer an opportunity to Friends who either lack confidence in speaking Welsh and their need to practice more, Grwp Croeso (welcome group), or to those who felt they wanted an opportunity to chat in Welsh and so improve their fluency, Croesi’r Bont (crossing the bridge). I also suggest it as an opportunity to concentrate on listening, not necessarily to understand, but to hear a variety of voices, inflexion and sounds of the Welsh language. This has led to the zoom meeting called SGWRS, (the Welsh word for ‘chat’).
By now, two years later we continue to meet monthly for an hour on Wednesday evenings. We draw Friends not only from Wales but England too. The input is varied, from hobbies, to current affairs. It’s also interesting to gather and share information from a variety of Meetings from Winchester to Colwyn Bay.
This month we delved a bit deeper into Quakerly matters. We read and studied number 1 from Advices and Queries. Whilst understanding some of the simpler Welsh words many were either unfamiliar or unused. The hope is to make the unfamiliar familiar through understanding and use. Who knows how this use would change the dynamic of Meetings. We all realised how difficult it must have been for William Morgan to translate the Bible into Welsh!
Our aim in these sessions is to be open and inclusive but also have a laugh. Shatter a few myths maybe and get to know each other better.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to put your email address on the SGWRS contact list