The Pales Newsletter – Winter 2019
From the Pales Management Group
This newsletter can be downloaded for printing – please click here.
Winter is here with icy blasts and snow on the hills. Things are quiet at the Pales during these winter months but there is continued activity behind the scenes as we continue our work, with the architects and the planners, and with arranging an exciting program of events for 2020.
- Report on the Annual Lecture 2019
- Pales Christmas Meeting 15th December
- Planning update
- Program for 2020
Report on the Annual Lecture – by Peter Hussey
Pales Annual Lecture 2019 – Ruth Moore Williams
An Opportunity Missed
The opportunity was not missed by all, but unfortunately the audience for this the second of the Annual Lectures at the Pales was tiny; but amazingly well informed and entertained by our energetic and dedicated speaker.
Ruth had retired from her career as a music teacher, a role which utilised her constant desire to sing, but exhaustion had led her to stop singing. Her recovery involved a spiritual search for repair and re-energising, which led her to explore “the peculiar people called Quakers”. Finding Quakers and their understanding of the God within, the presence of the Spirit in silence, and the leading of that Spirit that would not be ignored, restored her to singing. As with so many people who had found their way to Quakers, Ruth felt that she had “come home”.
“Nid wy’n gofyn bywyd moethus” the first line of the famous Welsh hymn Calon Lan was a call to the entirety of Ruth’s audience at the Lecture, to join her in singing out the first element of her explanation. With a pure and happy heart one can sing all day and sing all night. Ruth had found her way back to singing.
As a religious Society whose initial inspiration goes back to the 16th century Friends, as they are known, have retained some archaic language and references. Ruth has developed a very funny stand up routine to make gentle fun of the “peculiar” elements of language used by what is, otherwise, a dynamic and changing form of religion, which modern Quakers find as a refreshing dose of laughing at ourselves.
Ruth’s main narrative was to talk about her experience as a Quaker Prison Chaplain at Berwyn, the new, huge, prison outside Wrexham. She had been able to set up, with the help of a circle of support of Quakers from North East Wales and Cheshire, and the men themselves, a weekly period of worship based on Quaker silence. Ruth was able to continue this work for two years, during which time the weekly meetings became very important and helpful to a number of men. Ruth is now continuing to work to find ways in which the meeting can continue.
A hurdy gurdy, a Celtic harp and a piano keyboard were the instruments that Ruth had brought, and the first two of these were used to punctuate her talk and to ease the emotion of her story. After a tea break the piano, with lyric books that Ruth had also brought, were employed for a loud, fun end to the afternoon. We explored “Dancing Queen”, “Bring me Sunshine” “I’m the King of the Swingers” and several other songs that would not usually be heard in a Quaker Meeting House.
Ruth had given a huge amount of herself, her talent and her experience in what was an amazing occasion, it was such a shame that only a few of us were privileged to experience it.
The planners have requested an extension to their response and also needed some alterations to the parking proposals so we are preparing additional information for them and will await their response.
Program for 2020
Initial planning for events in 2020 has begun and dates are being confirmed. Our aspirations for the calendar of events include;
19th March: Poetry day “Beginnings” with Linda Murray Hale and Trish Munn
April – in the week following easter – ‘Seeds and Saplings’ All age Gardening day with support from the Woodland Trust
April/ May Sufi day
April/May Spiritual Healing day with music/sounds/bells
April/May Footpath exploration
May Beattie’s Bugs and Beetles
May Rumi day
June/ July. Explore Watercolours
July Summer picnic and concert
August Green Art Day for all ages
September The Annual Talk
Peace Pole renewal. The Peace Pole stands by the pond in all weathers, exposed to the worst the heavens can throw at it – a symbol of the steadfast stand we as Quakers make against all form of wars and strife and fighting. But the Pole has not weathered the storms as well as some of us and needed renewing. Step forward our own sign-writer, Derek James, who has done all the signs around the Pales.
The lettering has been repainted – Derek found the Japanese characters, which face the worst of the weather, the most challenging.
On your next visit to the Pales please find time to stroll down and admire his craftsmanship.
The more keenly sighted of us may also have noticed other improvements to the signage. ?