Quaker insights in the context of ecological crisis

Suffering: The Way of the Cross

13/05/2020, 10:30 am - 11:30 am

at Bournville Quaker Meeting House, Bournville Birmingham

A study group held at Bournville Friends Meeting House on the second Wednesday morning of each month from 10.30 – 11.30 from October 2019 to June 2020. This month’s topic: Suffering: The Way of the Cross

The meetings will begin with around 20 minutes of Quaker worship, and then a further 40 minutes exploring how the ecological insight for the day can help us in our daily lives.

Tea and coffee from 10.15 and again afterwards.

Based on a nine-part framework devised by Stuart Masters, Senior Programme Leader for on-site learning at Woodbrooke.

All the sessions can be downloaded here.

This month – Suffering: The Way of the Cross

Are you following Jesus’ example of love in action?  Are you learning from his life the reality and cost of obedience to God? (Advices & Queries 4)

Our responsibilities to God and our neighbour may involve us in taking unpopular stands. (Advices & Queries 38)

While the world remains caught between the way things are and the way they could be, and while the spirit of darkness holds sway, following God’s way can have extremely costly consequences. For, when we become morally independent of the dominant powers, systems and ideologies of this world, and offer a different vision, we can become a threat to them. If we stand firm in our witness, like Jesus, we may end up being ‘crucified’ by the world. This is the way of the cross. Our founding mothers and fathers knew this only too well. It may be a deeply discomforting prospect, but the possibility of suffering could be unavoidable in the context of war, injustice and ecological crisis.

Ecological Reflection

There is a great deal of suffering within creation. Much of it seems unavoidable, but some of it is the direct result of human violence and greed. There is therefore no avoiding suffering from an ecological perspective. It may be that, in order to reduce the suffering created by human action, some people may feel called by a strong sense of compassion to suffer for the sake of liberation and right relationship. This is not an easy thing to face up to, and should not imply that suffering is inherently positive. However, the experience of our tradition suggests that costly witness and suffering can be associated with great joy, solidarity and a deep sense of divine accompaniment. The life and writings of James Nayler provide a powerful example of this.


Do you seek the guidance of the Spirit and the support of your community in order “to find a spiritual wholeness which encompasses suffering as well as thankfulness and joy” (Advices & Queries 10).  How can we uphold each other so that we encounter costly witness with joy and steadfastness?

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Bournville Quaker Meeting House
65 Linden Rd Bournville Birmingham B30 1JT