Life of the Southport Meeting 2023

Time moves on so quickly, and it is now time to write about the Life of our small Meeting here in Southport. Below are two short contributions. One from our Friend Marcia, who has been with us many years and makes an enormous contribution to the Life of the Meeting. The second is a short report from our beekeeper. Sadly due to her retirement we will no longer be housing bees in our garden. Although we are small, we are active as you can see by reading on. Late in 2022 we met on a Sunday and three Friends spoke of their involvement with quakers and what this means to them. It is useful to reflect on our journeys and continue to search and move on down that path.

We are grateful to all Friends who contribute to the Life of the Meeting in many different ways. We thank Elizabeth and Mike for their tireless work in arranging the lettings, maintaining the building, and generally looking after the Meeting House and all its affairs.

Gerard Hughes
Clerk to the Southport Meeting

Quaker Write-Up: May 2023

This is my thoughts on my Quaker year.

It is strangely difficult now to remember what it was like in lockdown but I think it has affected me and many people I know. Probably the main effect is a certain lack of confidence and perhaps reluctance to go out and about so much. At Meeting we are reduced in numbers and have members online. This was an innovation I was unsure of at first, but realise it works well.

Sunday mornings with the period of silence, usually followed by a lively, interesting, stimulating and often humorous discussion over coffee works very well for me. We connect, we disagree, we understand, we laugh. I come home both relaxed and invigorated – if that is possible! (Enjoy the biscuits too!)

I love the way that visitors are so welcome (as I was made to feel when I came for the first time). It was very special to welcome Hugh from Malvern who was visiting his terminally ill daughter. He gave us his book and, having read it, I felt able to discuss dying with a friend of mine who is in a Hospice with terminal cancer. I know we need to discuss death and dying – just need help to do so.

3MG. For generations women have sat and sewed and talked and that is what we do. We are working on a wall hanging of past members. It is going well and I look forward to putting it all together and having it on display.

I’ve said this many times and I’m re-iterating it. I so thank my son Matthew for introducing me to Quakers. I really feel it’s where I belong. A friend of mine said “Oh, you can believe what you like!” That’s not true. But I can like what I believe. And I can like what everyone else believes too.

I think I’ve really found my spiritual home and it feels good.

Marcia Thompson

Beekeeping in a Quaker Garden

I’ve been a beekeeper for over twenty years and have been beekeeping at the Friends Meeting House in Southport for at least 18 years. My records from the Quaker bees start in 2005. I’ve enjoyed my time there.

The garden is a lovely peaceful place and the friends have always been kind, considerate and understanding. The neighbours too have mostly enjoyed having colonies so close. Though swarming happens the swarm is usually reported, caught and rehived quickly.

As with most Meeting Houses the friends hire out the premises to other groups . I take care not to inspect the colonies when these groups are using the facilities – though the bees are sometimes not so considerate. I’ve had some interesting calls from people who are using the hall when bees have decided to swarm.

This year has been extraordinary as far as swarming is concerned. The vast amount of swarms have even made it onto the BBC news. A couple of weeks ago I enlisted a friend to help me split the hive to stop it swarming. We arrived at 2:30 with all the equipment for splitting the colony, just in time to watch the swarm leave the hive and settle on a tree in the garden. Fortunately it was easily within reach and we hived it and sent it to a beekeeper who had lost colonies over the winter.


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