In Spring 1660 Margaret Fell rode to London with a declaration to appeal to Charles II to end the persecution and suffering of Quakers. She declared:
“We do … inform the governors of this nation, high and low, that we are a people that desire the good of all people, and their peace.”
This summer, a group of Quakers (including some from Central England) are following in Margaret’s footsteps by making a pilgrimage of 330 miles. From 22nd July to 4th August 2018, the pilgrims will travel from Swarthmore, Cumbria to Downing Street by bike, foot and public transport.
In 21st Century Britain, Quakers do not face the persecution that they did in the 17th Century. Instead, today’s pilgrims will be speaking truth to power by declaring of support for the welfare state, and presenting the testimony of people who have suffered in recent welfare cuts.
Three ways to uphold their witness:
1. Share their message with your meeting
Kendal and Sedbergh Quakers have written A Quaker Declaration for Equality and the Common Good. The Declaration describes the spiritual basis of their concern for people affected by welfare cuts, and critiques the privatisation of public resources.
Help share the Declaration within the Quaker community by arranging to read out the full or shortened version of the Declaration in or after a meeting for worship. Sunday 22 July or Sunday 29 July will be ideal times to do this as the pilgrims will be on the road on those dates.
2. Join in for a leg of the journey
The ride begins on Sunday 22 July and ends on Friday 3 August. The route wends through the Lake District, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, before ending in London. If you would like to join them for part (or all) of the ride, view the route.
The riders will present the Declaration to 10 Downing St on Friday 3 July at 2pm. If you are local and would like to support them, meet them by Downing St for 1.30pm.
3. Share your own story
The group will be presenting 10 Downing St with messages from people who have firsthand experience of welfare state cuts. If you have a message about the welfare state for the government, please email a few lines sharing your experience to Quakers4theCommonGood@gmail.com. You can also write your message on a postcard, there are copies available at Peace Hub.