There has been a Quaker Meeting in Chesterfield for well over 350 years. Currently we have about 40 Friends, which makes us a medium sized meeting. Usually about 15 – 25 Friends attend meeting on a Sunday. We are one of the nine Quaker meetings in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Area Meeting. This gives us the opportunity to take part in events and meet with Friends in the other meetings.
Here are the thoughts of some Chesterfield Friends as they explain why being part of a Quaker Meeting is important to them and what has drawn them to our meeting:
‘Everyone has their own reasons for coming to Quaker Meetings. For me, I have found the energy that comes from a group of Friends sitting in silence in a circle very uplifting. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning with depleted energy and with the feeling of not wanting to leave the comfort of my bed. I ask myself why I come to the Quaker Meeting, it is the upliftment I gain from Friends that is fulfilling’.
‘Because I don’t have the answers to all my questions – about life, religion, everything – and I find that Quakers aren’t afraid to say they are uncertain about these things too. It’s been really refreshing to find people who think deeply about the ‘nitty gritty’ issues of life without concluding that there is one ‘truth’ or way of believing which answers all the questions.’
‘Because I find that Quakers are open and very friendly people!’
‘Because Quakers are concerned about other people and making life fairer for everyone; this is what they try to do, not just what they say.’
‘I have been a Quaker for over 30 years and it has enhanced the quality of my life. Being part of a community that cares about Peace and the Environment is empowering. When matters are discussed they are considered seriously and thoughtfully within a long established framework, with all free to be part and contribute if they wish to do so.’
‘I find friendship and support at Chesterfield meeting. I believe that as well as our physical and mental existence we are spiritual beings too and Quakerism helps me to explore and develop my spiritual life, assisting me to see that of God in everyone. It challenges me to live in a way that could help create a better world.’
‘Being a Quaker is part and parcel of my everyday life. I love the advice to “live adventurously” as well as the acknowledgment that “I might be mistaken.” Being a Quaker has made me more tolerant, kinder, a better listener. The Quaker community supports me and keeps me grounded in my faith.’
‘In the meeting there are Friends who may have been coming for decades and then those who are much newer, maybe just for a few months and all stages in between. What we share is that we are all on a spiritual journey and it doesn’t matter that all our starting points are different or that we may proceed at our own pace. We can all learn from each other.’