A concern in the Quaker sense is slightly different from things we are concerned about, although the two words are closely related.
A Quaker concern comes when an individual feels that they have received a spiritual prompt to do something in the world. This would often be something huge, needing a lot of support from fellow Quakers, financial, emotional and spiritual.
If a Quaker feels a concern’s spiritual prompt then they may bring it to their local meeting to be tested. If the meeting feels that this is an appropriate concern then they could provide support to the individual Friend, or take it on as a concern of the meeting.
If a local meeting takes on a concern then they are likely to bring it to their Area Meeting and potentially Meeting for Sufferings to see if it is a concern that Britain Yearly Meeting would like to support.
Recent Concerns of Wanstead Quaker Meeting
Gender equality. Wanstead Local Meeting in 2017 agreed a Statement welcoming all to our Quaker Meeting, and this too was adopted by the Area Meeting.
This statement has been sent to the national body of Quakers (Meeting for Sufferings) and is currently being discussed across the country.
Climate and Ecological Emergency. Friends at Wanstead Quaker Meeting declared a climate and ecological emergency in 2021. We are concerned for the planet, individually and corporately, and we are working towards reducing our carbon footprints. We are an Eco Church and received the Silver Award in June 2022, working towards progress in five themes: worship and teaching; buildings; land; community and global engagement; lifestyle. We now have better roof insulation, and the walls are now all insulated – which reduced our energy consumption by a third. We hope soon to improve the insulation of the windows and external doors.
Spare Room, which worked towards helping homeless asylum seekers, finding people to offer spare rooms to them. The work became increasingly significant as the situation of asylum seekers worsened. Other organizations were also involved in this, and similar, work. For this reason, in 2017 Spare Room was laid down as a Concern, and the remaining funds passed to help the work of similar organisations.
The Fair Penny Campaign which originated when the government’s austerity programme began in 2011. This Concern was also adopted by the Area Meeting. It offered the chance to sign a petition which says, “I’d pay an extra penny in the pound in income tax to help the most vulnerable”. As with Spare Room, the idea behind The Fair Penny has increased in importance as austerity has continued. However, it is likely that the focus will change, sharing the idea that paying tax is a way of belonging, and of making a fair contribution, to our community.