London Link Group

Young Quaker London Link Group

Jordans

From the 9th to the 11th March, 16 London Linkers and 5 volunteers visited the historic Jordans Quaker Meeting House, (William Penn and Isaac Pennington are buried here).

After meeting at Marylebone, the London Linkers jumped on a train to Seer Green. On the train, torches and reflective jackets were handed out, and tension began to build. ‘We’re not in Forest Hill anymore’, one young person was heard to mutter. We jumped off the train, into the pitch dark, and with torches at the ready, we headed into the woods. ‘Only at a Quaker event…’ another young person intoned, gravely, and with pride.

After safely navigating the roadsides and woods of Seer Green, we arrived at the Youth Hostel where we were to stay for the weekend. After some dinner and room-finding, games were played and a lovely calm Epilogue was had.

The next day, after breakfast, the Quaker-y band of city-people headed straight to the biggest attraction in the area: Bekonscot Model Village, the oldest of its kind in the world. After riding the model railway around tiny-town until the intense thrill had finally worn off, London Linkers took in the sights in groups. Tiny model figures were seen walking down tiny cobbled streets; tiny running trains steamed along tiny railway lines; and a group of much larger Quakers sat down together to have a sandwich lunch.

When we returned to the meeting house, Sally and Trottie ran a workshop about economic justice and how the whole thing is tied in tightly with fossil fuel usage and big business’s moneymaking concerns. Linkers particularly enjoyed the ‘adbusting’ segment, where magazine advertisements were scrutinised and their subliminal emotive messages were revealed.

After dinner, we settled down to play a couple of Quaker favourites as a group: namely Mafia and Empire. We had another lovely Epilogue, gorged upon a biscuit feast carefully laid out by Eli, and then it was time for bed.

In the morning, we attended Meeting for Worship at the Meeting House at Jordan’s, which is one of the oldest Friends’ Meeting Houses in the world. The simple beauty of this centuries-old Meeting House was not lost on the London Linkers, and the meeting was full of moving ministry.

Some Linkers joined the local young Quakers in their children’s meeting, which was excellently co-run by a young Quaker from Jordans. Two London Linkers would pair up with a much younger Jordans Quaker, and they would make mosaic tiles together. It was genuinely lovely to see the Linkers encouraging, helping, and getting on with the younger Jordans Quakers.

After meeting, and having had our final sandwich lunch of the trip, we set off across the fields in search of a London-bound locomotive train. Morale was high, the weather was good, and it was a lovely end to a great weekend. Massive thanks to Jordan’s Friends’ Meeting for hosting us so graciously in their meeting house for our activities during the trip, and of course to all London Linkers, young and old, who helped make the atmosphere warm, welcoming and friendly.

We hope to see all of you at the next one!
Eli, Noa, Sally, Trottie, and Scottie.

Winterval 2018

Winterval 2018, London Link’s winter party, took place at Westminster Quaker Meeting House on Saturday evening, 13th January.

We were 18 young people and seven adult volunteers. We started out making our own pizzas with an exciting array of possible pizza toppings. Pesto was a favourite, hummus an experiment, olives the ‘marmite’ of the evening, and there is never enough cheese. (We weren’t doing veGanuary.) We quickly learned that the top of the oven was hotter than the rest of it.

After a good meal, a bit of tidying up, and a quick game of Mafia, a group of nine headed out to Trafalgar Square for an adventure, which was so appealing that another group headed out after them. It was neither raining nor freezing and therefore the perfect (January) night for being outside and stretching our legs.

We gathered back at the Meeting House at the end of the evening and closed with five minutes of Quaker silence.

It was particularly nice to welcome five new volunteers to the Winterval team. We all got on splendidly with each other and the young people, and it was great that there were enough of us to allow two walking groups and have two people to stay behind at HQ. Special thanks to Sue and Sally for persisting with, and mastering, the oven. Thank you all for your help, and I hope to see you again!

– Rob

Quaker Homeless Action

For the second year running, London Link helped with the set-up of the Quaker Homeless Action Christmas shelter.

With school having just closed for the term, about 15 young people gathered at Highbury & Islington station midmorning, Friday, 22nd December 2017 and walked together to Union Chapel where the Shelter was to be hosted.

It was again a busy and tiring four hours: moving crates of non-perishable food from the truck, into the building, up the stairs and into the hall; unpacking the crates quickly; unpacking carrier bags of food; sorting piles of pasta, bread, biscuits, tea, coffee, sugar, tins of soups, tins of vegetables, boxes of mince pies, and much, much more into an organised ‘shop’; setting up two tents in the hall for medics, other support services, and changing spaces; and sorting huge black bags of mixed clothes into piles of coats, jumpers, shirts, trousers, socks and other collections.

But there was a lot of laughter and fun, too. The call for “chain” had everyone moving into an efficient, if not always organised, line. Items, from one area were moved to another speedily. Initially, this was from the outside trucks into the building up and around the stairs into the main hall. It worked for shifting more food from another truck down the hall to the kitchen. It worked just as well for moving bags of donated food past the bought food, into a safe, out of the ways pace behind the counter. It worked, yet again, for moving black sacks of clothes from the stage area, to the other side of the hall.

Chain! Worked so well, as we were leaving shelter volunteers adults adopted it. We had all just said our goodbyes, left the building and gathered outside to walk back to Highbury & Islington underground station, when we heard the call: ‘chain!’. We watched adults form a line and begin moving food stuff from another delivery truck to the kitchen, hand to hand to hand…

Much of the food is bought; most of the clothes are donated. Buying food ensures there are common basics that can be given to each guest to take with them when they leave the shelter and for healthy meals to be planned and offered. Relying on donated clothing saves a lot of money but can lead to some very unuseful items, like sleeveless women’s summer dresses!

In return for the hard work and getting the shelter sorted so much quicker, lunch was provided. Pizza had been ordered but there were so many to cater for, the pizza place couldn’t fulfil the order. (In addition to London Link, some parents came, and there were many shelter volunteers, too). So lunch unexpectedly became make your own sandwiches this time. Not unlike our London Link weekend residential midday meals.

The Quaker Christmas Shelter offered at total of 26 beds each night for the week it ran. Breakfast was provided to ‘all comers’, whether homeless or impoverished. A packed lunch was available to take away, as well. In the evening a ‘home cooked’ meal was provided for up to 80 ‘all comers’ each night. There was also Christmas themed entertainment and up to 30 services (e.g. a doctor and/or nurse on site, a hairdresser, an optometrist, etc.). In addition, guests left with food from the ‘shop’ and warm clothing.

Before we left, London Link young people were again thanked profusely, with the invitation to help next year again. So, if you missed out, you’ll have a chance next December. If you did attend, share your experiences so others know what it was like!

See slide show for more photos

Augene

Forest Hill

On the 23rd to 24th of September London Link visited Forest Hill Meeting.

After getting thoroughly confused by the new London bridge layout, London Linkers arrived at Forest Hill meeting house. 23 of us and 5 volunteers. As everyone was getting hungry for lunch we had just a quick introduction session.  After lunch we headed out to the Horniman museum, The Museum is a curious mix of collections having been started by Frederick John Horniman from the Quaker family that founded the Horniman Tea Company.llg-dsc02521

 

We went off in groups to look around at some of the museum’s collections, it was a bright sunny day so we spent lots of time in the gardens as well as looking at the animals.

llg-dsc02524Early evening we headed back to the meeting house for a BBQ, some played games whilst others chilled out. Later in the evening we set up a pop up cinema and watched a film. We had an Epilogue then bed.

Although we had planned a cooked breakfast on Sunday we had a bit of a cooker melt down, so instead we had to make do with just cereal (the horror!).  Before meeting we had some time to hang out; some of the group read through a sketch about going to Quaker meeting. We stayed in meeting for the first 15 minutes, some stayed for the whole hour. As it was another nice sunny day we went down to a local park and enjoyed the zip line and swings.

Once back at the meeting house we were greeted by an amazing spread of a shared lunch which Forest Hill Quakers had very kindly arranged. After lunch we played some more games and generally just enjoyed hanging out and the excellent weather.

We’d like to thank Forest Hill meeting for hosting us, the young people, the volunteers (especially at late notice and travelling a long distance to allow the event to happen) and to Kerri and Jonathan for also planning the event.

Michael, Kerri, Jonathan, Rob, Jen, Simon and Alice

 

Finchley

llg-2017-07-15-11-23-08On a drizzly Saturday morning, eight Young Quakers and five adult volunteers gathered at Finchley Meeting House for a weekend residential. Some met at Euston station and travelled together, a few met at the Meeting House. While waiting for the Euston group, introductions began. Along with sharing names, we consider what kind of a sea creature we’d like to be and what our name would be on Mars. After some offerings, the conversation turned to facts about dolphins and stories about the many and varied types of sharks and how they interact with people.

Duly the damp Euston group arrived, unburdened themselves of their luggage, dried off, had a quick tour of the Meeting House, and more introductions and name games took place.
Lunch: make your own sandwich got the chatting going and the weekend was off for a great start. It was a relief to see the sun, and so we tromped off to the local park with space to run around, plays some games and catch up with friends we hadn’t seen for a while and get to know those we hadn’t met before.

llg-2017-07-15-16-27-32We returned to the Meeting House mid-afternoon for a few hours of playing a variety of board games. We were joined by young and older Friends from Finchley Meeting and elsewhere, and David Parlett, a Quaker Friend who makes games (best known for Hare and Tortoise). He brought out some of his games which were fun and a bit different. Meanwhile, a friendly head-butting game of Monopoly (created by Quakers, did you know?) was taking place at the neighbouring table. Banana grams (a bit like scrabble but you work independently) was popular with a few games happening in the time that the one Monopoly game ran.

In spite of snacking out on lots of crisps and biscuits during the game playing, we were still hungry for supper. A few of us helped in the kitchen to create our gourmet salad and the well-remembered pasta dish. After clearing up, we had a wild game of newspaper hockey. We created our own “sticks” from rolled up newspaper, moved all the Meeting benches to the edge of the room, teamed up, and then wham! It was a fierce game of wildly hitting the ping-pong ball and manoeuvring it past opposing team mates for the all-important scores. When all “sticks” had disintegrated, it was time for a few games of sardines. Shrieks from the shower ended the game. Those hidden emerged dripping wet! Was it a coincidence that only one player remained dry?

Fortunately the sun was out, so we gathered in the garden for a bit of a rest. Sadly the plastic slide and sand table – which belonged to the resident friends’ 3-year old – was off limits.
As dusk gathered, we built a fire in the garden and enjoyed its warmth and light. We enjoyed some mini (and very mini ,mini) marshmallows and then baked bananas which were surprisingly delicious. After a long and exciting day, we ended the day with a calming epilogue around the fire and under the night sky. Finally, off to bed for a well-deserved sleep: divided with a larger group in the main big room and others in the smaller carpeted room.

llg-2017-07-15-22-11-02We were woken up in the morning with some optional tea and coffee and a fabulous full (veggie!) fry up, along with choices of cereal and fruit. Sleeping bags and mats were tucked away in the small room, and we readied the Meeting House for Meeting for Worship.

llg-2017-07-16-13-20-27We gathered as a group in the beautiful garden for our own Meeting for Worship, planned and lead by one of us, looking at the theme of Yearly Meeting through crafts and guided meditation. We then joined the adults for the last part of the hour.

Once the Finchley Friends left, we had a quick lunch of left overs and sandwiches out in the garden with the sun shining brightly. Helen MacKeith, an artist, taught us frottage: fancy word for surrealist rubbings.llg-2017-07-16-14-47-27 The technique was developed by Max Ernst and Helen showed us photos of the fantastic birds and scenery he created from his rubbings. We then all had a go at finding textured surfaces, creating our own rubbings and cutting and gluing to create our own wild and imaginative birds and images. If you visit Finchley Meeting House, soon, you’ll see some of our art hanging on a wall. Few of us finished our creations because all too soon, it was time to leave.2017-07-16-14-00-53v2

We were a small group and for some of us that was a treat. It gave us more time to get to know each other better. We are very grateful and want to offer a huge thank you to Finchley Meeting, especially the friendly and welcoming resident Friends, Jessie and Peter. Thank you, too, to Michael and Augene for organising, and for the support and help of Rob, Katy, and Olivia who stepped in at the last moment to ensure the weekend could happen.

Anya20170715_175222

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