Sunday 18th September: A Meeting with the Southport Unitarians
On 18th September we were invited by the Southport Unitarians to their Sunday worship at the Reform Jewish Synagogue in Princes Street. A great welcome was given to us by Phil the Unitarian minister and the congregation, some of whom we knew from their previous visits to our Meeting House. The theme for the day was Covenant and Phil spoke of their own community being united by an agreement that Love binds them together instead of a declared and compulsory statement of creed. This ‘spoke to my condition’ as I always struggled in the past before joining the Society with having to say I believe this, this and this. I really cannot put into words what I believe. It’s far too big for words.
We sang several hymns, accompanied on the keyboard by John who brought with him his lovely guide dog Isaac, a great black Labrador who sat quietly during the meeting and then when it was ended came to meet everybody.
The second half of the service was in Quaker mode. We sat in comfortable silence and received ministry from several Quakers. Our first piece was from Advices and Queries number 6 which was very relevant to the occasion-
Do you work gladly with other religious groups in the pursuit of common goals? While remaining faithful to Quaker insights, try to enter imaginatively into the life and witness of other communities of faith, creating together the bonds of friendship.
We also had a special reason for celebrating as our Friend Pam Ashworth was enjoying her ninetieth birthday. John on the keyboard accompanied our rendition of ‘happy birthday’ for Pam.
The Unitarians respond:
What a wonderful coming together of the Quakers and Unitarians in Southport! The service theme was about Covenant, and how some Unitarians have an unwritten covenant, a belief of allowing the theist and atheist a home for seeking nourishment of the mind, heart, and soul, but does our unwritten covenant create a sense of vagueness to the outsider or is a breath of fresh air? If we do have a covenant what would it be, and what values and beliefs do we share with our Quaker friends?
Pictures from the event: