Southport Lecture Society Sharing

Some time ago Southport Lecture Society invited Elizabeth Rowland-Elliott to speak at one of their regular lectures. On the 1st October, the first day of Quaker week, she arranged to speak about the Society of Friends and the various groups which use our Southport Meeting House, and organised with all the user groups for them to speak briefly about their group and experience of the MH.

This lecture took place on a wet Saturday night but was well-attended by members of the lecture society, members of the public and also some Quaker Friends.

Elizabeth spoke first about the meaning of being a Quaker and about our testimonies, and we had a few minutes of silence in the style of Quaker worship. Elizabeth supplied lots of leaflets and books on Quakerism for the visitors, which were appreciated by many. There were very few left after the talk.

We had a very moving speech from John who is a founder member of Southport Back to Basics (an AA group). It was humbling to hear how our building is used weekly by up to forty people, many of whom are saved from alcohol dependence and its terrible consequences by the programme set out by Alcoholics Anonymous. It was interesting to hear how AA has a spiritual but non-denominational aspect. Ian then spoke about his own journey from alcoholism – from a life support machine, despair and degradation to a trusted position as treasurer of the group. Our Meeting House also hosts the Narcotics Anonymous group which operates in a similar fashion to AA. Leaflets were made available in the lobby.

Elizabeth then read out several reports sent to her from other users of the building who weren’t able to attend on the night. Among them were yoga, tai chi, chair exercise, Buddhist groups and two religious communities – the Seventh Day Adventists and Robes of Righteousness. All were so appreciative of the quiet, peaceful and nurturing space which is our Meeting House.

Our third speaker was Sue, our bee-keeper, who entertained us with a very interesting talk about bees, honey, wax and hives. She also brought in samples of beeswax in its natural state and several pots of her own cosmetics and ointments which are made from beeswax and honey. The visitors were fascinated to know that we have beehives in our garden and asked several questions.

We then had a brief account of the history of the Lecture Society which formed in 1913 and has gone on from then but under several different changes of name. Many faithful members have been in the society for decades.

We ended our Meeting with a few more minutes of silence and thanks to Elizabeth for organising the evening. This was followed by refreshments and questions and much sharing between all concerned.

Thanks were also given by the users to Michael, our warden and lettings manager, who deals so calmly with all the user groups and the finance involved.

It is great to know that our Meeting House hosts such diverse and hard-working groups which contribute so much to local society. Long may it continue.

Sheila & Elizabeth

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