27 young people and 6 volunteers battled the commuters to arrive at Welwyn Garden city for Friday evening, escaping the rain in a very welcoming Welwyn Garden city Quaker meeting house. Having introduced the event to everyone, we got to know each other a bit better by saying our name and crucially ..what we would do in the case of a zombie invasion…, dinner, an epilogue, some hot chocolate and then bed.
After breakfast we made ourselves a picnic to take to Stanborough Park, where we were graced with a beautiful day for games, ice cream and messing about in the river.
Having the park as a base we split into groups and went on a nature treasure hunt, after all the nature had been found we headed back to Welwyn Garden city meeting house to hear a talk on our theme “Marriage Equality” from Michael Booth (Britain Yearly meeting staff).
We heard about the decision made in 2009 at Yearly Meeting gathering and some of the history of the concern that links to our testimony to equality. This brought about a very open and challenging discussion about the homophobia that young people face and witness in schools and how difficult it can be do help people to overcome their fears and prejudices, especially when they are not supported well by their school, and when the word “gay” is used commonly to mean bad.
After dinner we had some free time and then we continued on our theme by looking at equality further, using a post-it based forum we had discussions on:
“Why are some people against Marriage Equality? Should some people be richer than others? What is the effect on us and everyone if people are treated unequally? Quakers have broken the law before to do what we believe is right, should we do so now? Do you feel equal to other people? and Why?”
After this we had an epilogue, some hot chocolate then bed.
Morning came round slightly earlier than we’re used to for a Sunday but we managed to be up and packed before the special early morning Quaker meeting started. A quick breakfast and then out onto the green to play some Frisbee, ‘Giants, Wizards and Elves’ and more games.
We then went into Quaker meeting and were warmly welcomed. Broadening our theme we heard from Michael Wood about the Occupy movement and the Quaker meeting that was setup at St.Pauls and how Quaker’s had many shared values.
We had a very short meeting about upcoming events and the formation of a Young People’s team to help support the events. Some free time and then back to London.
Thanks to all the Young People, all the volunteers and Welwyn Garden City meeting for hosting us.
Michael Wood (Assistant Clerk)