The Fellowship’s December meeting followed a bring-and-share lunch with the Quakers. Some Quakers stayed on to sing Carols with us, and one or two stayed to Kath Forder’s Advent Service which explored the themes of hope, joy, peace and love. This was a very friendly event, and we are grateful to the Friends for suggesting it, and for their wonderful organisation. In January we celebrated visions of a better world. We remembered the Edict of Torda, 13th January 1568, which proclaimed that as faith was the gift of God, different beliefs should be accepted without penalty. There should be no compulsion on preacher or congregation – people should be free to find congregations with compatible beliefs. We sang hymn hymn 191 in the purple book, remembering Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, and through readings and hymns we encouraged ourselves to keep dreams of a better world alive.
Jean Macmaster led the January meeting in Swindon, ‘Coming Alive’, Her reflection, quotations and her original poems were punctuated by short imaginative passages of music. The reflection challenged us to think about our existence, to wake up to what we could and should offer to the world, and to act in the hope that however small the beginning we should make a start. This led to thoughts of new beginnings which in turn led naturally to the effects new beginnings can have on organisations, and maybe on the Fellowship.