Burford Reflections, Issue No.23, 2019

Thought for the month:

Come regularly to meeting for worship even when you are angry, depressed, tired or spiritually cold. In the silence ask for and accept the prayerful support of others joined with you in worship …. Let meeting for worship nourish your whole life” (Advices & queries, 10)

Sometimes one is asked what is Quaker meeting for worship or why do Friends sit in silence. The following is how some Friends experience Meeting:

 “The joy of Quaker worship for me is that I am engaged with the others present in this spiritual exercise. I am upheld by them; I am upholding them. In this communal act we become something more significant than our separate selves; our worship can find something greater than our individual efforts. The initial part of the Meeting for Worship usually requires a time to settle and to find this focus and attentiveness. I do not fight the restless thoughts but give way to the intent of being ready to enter into worship …

(Taken from New Light: 12 Quaker Voices edited by Jennifer Kavanagh (published by O Books and in our Meeting House library)

Journey into Quakerism

A moving account of how Jacinta White came to join the Religious Society of Friends appears in the Friend (November 15). Jacinta

(a member of Horsham Meeting) emphasises that in her initial quest she was not given a list of dos and donts but just invited to come to Meeting “to see for herself”.

Suffering from autism, Jacinta writes “A most important lesson was the testimony of equality. That we are all unique and precious, children of the same God … I feel supported and directed by our testimonies of Simplicity, Truth, Equality, Peace and Sustainability” (our Quaker STEPs).

Helping to Support Oxford’s Garden Project

Alan Allport (Oxford LM) and Deb Arrowsmith donned safety vests and helmets to promote Oxford Meeting’s development project at Burford earlier this month. Burford Meeting was introduced to the why/what /who /how and when of the major programme. This includes a new green roofed garden room, new improved kitchen facilities – all designed to increase OLM services as a drop in centre with sustainability very much in mind.  Information from The Office, Oxford Meeting.

Burford LM is hoping to provide an interest-free loan to help finance the project.

Recycle Your Cycle

According to an advertisement in The Times (November 10) thousands of cycles in the UK lie unused in sheds or are even thrown away. Re-cycle.org collects and ships unwanted bikes to rural communities in

Africa having donated over 111,000 bicycles since the eco-friendly

charity began in 1998. If you have visited South Africa you will have seen people walking great distances along dusty roads in the hot sun.

Your unwanted cycle and/or a financial donation will also provide accessories for repairing bikes and the necessary training involved.

Re-cycle’s Christmas campaign this year is Give the Gift of Independence. Contact re-cycle.org or telephone) 01206 617865

Books! Books!

Landskipping by Anna Pavord

‘Landscape’ was considered a foreign word at first, often written as ‘landschap’, the Dutch word to describe the pictures that artists in England began to make in the eighteenth century.  This book shows the different ways the countryside has been viewed over the centuries.

Areas of the Lake District used to be seen as wild and savage lands not fit to be visited by cultured gentlefolk.  However, this view was changed by the poets and painters, who saw mountainous areas like the Lake District, the Highlands and Snowdonia as romantic.  Tourists flooded to these areas, armed with books, telling them where to stand,   

what landscape they should be gazing at and even how they should feel.  William Wordsworth, while extolling the beauty of the Lakes, had something of a nimbyish attitude to the new breed of tourists and wrote a tart poem.  ‘On seeing some Tourists of the Lakes pass by reading, a practise(sic) very common’.  It reminded me of two young people I saw recently on a bridle path, both avidly glued to their mobile phone screens.

Landskipping: Painters, Ploughmen and Places (published by Bloomsbury)also deals with the changing agricultural methods and how, over many thousands of years, people have radically changed the landscape, principally by agriculture.  The observers and improvers of agriculture are likewise mentioned.  These, like William Cobbett, who wrote Rural Rides, viewed the land in terms of its usefulness for the country as a whole.

We are fortunate to be living in the Cotswolds, one of the most beautiful areas of the British countryside.  I’m sure all of us appreciate being here.  This book may help to reinforce this and help us to look at the ever-changing landscapes around us with fresh eyes.

Steve Ford

It has been claimed that the hedgehog is Britain’s favourite animal (google hedgehogs endangered). Despite this, hedgehog numbers hae fallen by 30% in a decade.

Do you know how to construct a Hugel heap or how to make off-street parking wildlife friendly? How can I help hedgehogs? is the attractively illustrated book byHelen Bostock & Sophie Collins (published by Mitchell Beazley). However, as its subtitle suggests, it provides a collection of inspiring ideas for welcoming not just hedgehogs but other wildlife into our gardens.

Lesley Hadley

The Garden Jungle (or, Gardening to Save the Planet)

This book by Dave Goulson (Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex) gives an authoritative account of the need to maintain the interdependent web of life which starts with the invertebrates and insects on which we ultimately depend for healthy soil and our food crops.

I was impressed to find that many towns in Canada and also Paris and other French cities have banned the use of pesticides. Professor Goulson goes on to make a strong case for organic gardening and farming.

I particularly enjoyed the mildly satirical account of his local garden centre which had many echoes of our own Burford Garden Company.

Published by Cape.

David Day


This is the story of how the author, Isabella Tree, and Charlie Burrell returned their 3,500 acre farm at Knepp in west Sussex to nature.

At Knepp the heavy clay soil (a result of intensive farming) was reversed to become a haven for free-roaming herds of animals and rare species of birds, butterflies and flora.

Wilding has been described as “a unique experiment in nature conservation”, “truly the most magnificent and inspiring book”, “a pioneering, wonderful book, blooming with humour, practicality, science and lessons learned”, “read and restore your belief in the return of nature”.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, 34th President of the USA, said “the nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself

Wilding is published by Picador.

Quaker Open Christmas

Quaker Open Christmas this year will run from December 23-30 offering people (and their pets!) a warm welcome, home cooked meals and access to services such as new clothes and haircuts. You can volunteer (in London at the American church, 27a Tottenham Court Road) or help with a much needed financial donation.

Quaker Homeless Action volunteers were shortlisted for a Mayor of London Volunteering Award in the category of Improving Life Chances This was for QHA’s mobile library which is run for homeless people. The homeless miss out on public library services as one needs a fixed address to borrow books. “Man cannot live by bread alone” or, as one user of QHA’s mobile library said “Reading makes me feel almost human”.

QHA needs to buy a new mobile library van as the present vehicle does not meet the Ultra Low Emission Zone guidelines.

Contct QHA at qha.org.uk or telephone 020 8983 5066

Quaker Homeless Action

QHA is a UK charity which aims to support homeless, marginalised and excluded people and help them break the cycle of poverty and exclusion. QHA is run by a council of trustees with one part-time executive director and around 100 volunteers.

Quaker Homeless Action is our chosen charity for November (see also previous item)

Our charity for December is EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel) – more information in the next issue of BR

Burford Friends Website

Have you checked out our website which is now up and running, thanks to Max Howells. Please send your thoughts (and contributions!) including photographs of current local Friends events to our Meeting Clerk for inclusion.

Make our website a vital space for enquirers!

For Your Diary

December 8 Wychwood Circle meets in Milton Village Hall. Mark Vernon asks ‘Why is Christianity failing?’

December 23 -30 Quaker Open Christmas in London (see p4 for more details)

December 30 – January 2 Start the New Year with Dances of Universal Peace (including chanting and simple movements). Contact woodbrooke.org.uk

January 11 Area Meeting at Oxford, St. Giles. Saturday at10.30 am

January 17-19 2nd National Conference on diversity and inclusion, Woodbrooke (Woodbrooke.org.uk for details)

March 7 Area Meeting at Swindon. Saturday at 10.30 am

March 7 Nationwide day of healing 11 am – 3 pm to be held in Meeting Houses and I Friends’ Homes. Information from friendshealing@gmail.com


Lucy Crispin (from Preston Patrick Meeting) writes:

“I sit in a different seat today

cutting it fine. Friends slip in,

join the deepening stillness.

The crunch of tyres on gravel,

a door-tongue carefully released,

the known slow tap of ferrule on floorboard:

the small sounds stir the silence

which settles again, as water over a pebble

or a shaken sheet drifting down;

like heat on spread limbs

after the breeze has dropped.”

(Find the whole of Lucy’s poem in the Friend, November 15)

March 13-15 Creative writing: the wonder of trees. Course led by Rebecca Hubbard at Charney Manor, Oxfordshire. Contact charneymanor.com or telephone 01235 868206 to book or for more details

March 20-22, 2020 Quaker Peace and Social Witness Spring Conference at The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire. Information from 0300 111 4444

May 7 Area Meeting at Charney Manor (PLEASE NOTE: this is on THURSDAY at 19.00)

July 12 Area Meeting at Marlborough (Please note: this begins at 12 noon with the AGM)

September 12 Area Meeting at BURFORD (Saturday at 10.30 am)

October 21-23 Weaving death back into life. Information from charneymanor.com

November 7 Area Meeting at Charlbury (Saturday at 10.30 am)

“Worship does not consist in achieving a mental state of concentrated isolation from one’s fellows … Communication seems to have taken place sometimes without words having been spoken. In the silence we received an unexpected commission to bear in loving intentness and spiritual need of another person sitting nearby. And that person goes away, uplifted and refreshed. Sometimes in that beautiful experience of living worship which the Friends have called the gathered meeting, it is iif we joined hands and hearts and lifted them together toward the unspeakable glory”(Thomas Kelly, writing in The Eternal Promise)

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