Quaker A-Z: L is for Learning and Lights

Scattered Light at Northern Spark
Jim Campbell’s Scattered Light at Northern Spark at Upper Landing Park in Saint Paul.

This is part of the Quaker Alphabet Project – click here for more information.

L is for Learning and Lights

Learning and Light are things Quakers talk about regularly, although perhaps not always in relation to premises.

  • How do you involve other members of the meeting in learning about the meeting house as a building?
  • How do you empower members of the meeting to help in the decision making and running of the building?

As part of my leaving transition preparations, I’m running a workshop on that subject at Muswell Hill on Sunday afternoon. Starting with a treasure hunt – looking for such things as the fuse boards, cleaning cupboard and banners and finishing with a building tour. I have done similar events in the past.

  • Have you ever done a similar event?
  • What were the results?

Woodbrooke and Quaker Life both offer ways of learning about meeting house management and sharing good practice – through courses and regular workshop days such as “Wardens Talking”.

Informal chances to get together with others can be difficult to organise but useful – if only in having the chance to talk to someone who does understand the joys and problems opportunities of living on the job!

If you are able to attend one of these gatherings, I do recommend them. The next two Wardens Talking are in September (London) and November (Lancaster), the cost for the day is only £10 which includes lunch and refreshments. A bargain I assure you!

L is for Light

In 2011 Britain Yearly Meeting agreed to corporately strive to become a low carbon, sustainable community. One of the simplest ways of reducing the meeting house’s carbon footprint it to start to use low energy light bulbs.

LED light bulbs are coming down in price, although compared to compact fluorescents they are still expensive – but use a fraction of the energy and have (or are supposed to have) a much longer lifespan.

Perhaps start by using them in places where it is difficult to change bulbs, and therefore the longer life is a good motivation.

This is something that Bath LQM did, using a sustainability grant from Quaker Peace & Social Witness, as part of their overall restoration plans.

Or use natural sources… Cotterage Meeting House uses solar tubes to bring light to their toilets. Not to mention the Large Meeting House at Friends House with its new skylight.

Don’t forget that if you make changes that reduce your energy consumption and thereby ‘green’ your building, you can use the money saved (comparing utility bills before and after) to invest in new improvements.

Plus you can also use those to make your building more attractive to potential hirers. Friends’ House use the phrase ‘With us events don’t cost the earth’ to stress their green credentials.

  • What ways have you found to help your meeting house live lightly?

To browse through all of the posts click on the Quaker A-Z link here or in the side bar.

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