Stourbridge Quaker Diana Lampen reports from Ireland Yearly Meeting, held in Belfast 11th – 14th August 2022, as Representative of Britain Yearly Meeting:
I was honoured to be appointed as Representative for Britain Yearly Meeting at Ireland Yearly Meeting (IYM) at the beginning of August. IYM has always been both Northern Ireland and The Republic combined. It was a wonderful experience! Every session started with deep gathered worship for half an hour or so. The Clerks did a magnificent job. We were joined online by Barbara Luetke, from the USA. She writes Historical Quaker novels. She came to Woodbrooke, on an Eva Koch scholarship, to make sure she was accurate in the Quaker history in her novels. And in another session the speaker was Esther Mombo from Kenya. The joys of zooming!
In person we were joined by Nozizwe Madlala Routledge, from South Africa; but now in Geneva as head of the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO). John and I have known her for many years since she had just been released from prison after all her campaigning against Apartheid. The next time we went she was a Member of Parliament! Also joining us was Tim Gee, now Head of Friends World Committee of Consultation (FWCC).
The Public Lecture, which was available online was given by Lynn Finnegan, with the title “Embodying the Quaker Testimonies in Service of a Living Planet: the challenge of asking beautiful questions”. It was so good to have such a positive and stimulating approach.
There were many choices for the times we weren’t in the main sessions. I went to two very moving worship sharing sessions.
The whole atmosphere was relaxed, positive and friendly.
Personally, it was a joy to be back in Northern Ireland, without the challenge of The Troubles, and to reunite with many old friends and make many new ones. I hope to remain in contact with some of them. It was quite hard to say goodbye! I say I left my heart behind!