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Quaker Arts Newsletter

December 2021

Dear Friends,

Welcome to our final newsletter of 2021. 
We wish you a New Year full of peace and joy.

Quaker Arts Events 

Loving earth through poetry - An online poetry reading 
A link to a recording of the event, along with some of the poems and a report from Stevie Krayer who initiated it, are available at the end of this newsletter. 

/picture - one of Loving Earth panels/   

New Year Celebration Concert

January 2, 2022 at  7:15 pm - 8:30 pm on Zoom

The Quaker Arts Network is offering a concert featuring Quaker musicians, to be broadcast on Zoom on Sunday 2 January at 7.15pm.
The performances are filmed and include music by Sally Beamish, Susan Hope, Stephanie Irvine, John Lampen, Isa Levy, Susan Ann Mackenzie (from USA), Mig Kerr, Majk Stokes, Eden Thomas, and Jenny Vickers among others. The songs range from the humorous to the inspiring.
More details are on our website at If you would like to join us, please book by emailing He will send out a link a few days beforehand.
A number of exhibitions and events are also on the Loving Earth Project website, including in Chorley, Cambridge, Ireland, Fife and Sedbugth. 

An lovely sharing Zoom conversation about our creative processes and links with our spiritual practice was held in October. If you would like to participate in a follow-up conversation, please contact

You can publlicise  Quaker arts events by adding them to our events page at

If you would like to organise an event (online or in person) through QAN please get in touch with us at 

Loving Earth Project commended 

Six exhibitions of groups of panels from the Loving Earth project were on display in Glasgow during COP 26, one of them being cited by the List as one of ‘ the best cultural events in Scotland for COP26. Glasgow Meeting hosted an international discussion by Zoom , and a number of workshops for people to start making their own textile panels were also held, in the Gorbals Parish Church and the Scottish Maritime Museum in Dumbarton. Displays were also held in Dundee, Arran and Alloa and the Dumbarton one continues until January. 
Over 400  panels have so far been created, and we are now planning exhibitions until the end of 2023, but limited volunteer time means that we will focus on displays of large groups of panels for a month or more.  The aim of the project is to help people engage creatively with the challenges of climate and environmental breakdown, without being overwhelmed. A high quality, ready-made exhibition which is easy to transport and can be displayed in  a variety of spaces is a great resource for this. Might there be a suitable public venue in your region and groups or individuals interested in organising such an exhibition, and other events alongside?  

More details, about the project and its past and future events are in the latest LEP newsletter and website

 This Loving Earth Project panel, River Bank     Management Project, was created by the Peace     Advocates Foundation in Bukangara village, Western   Uganda.   They have just written to us to describe the   devastating floods in their village.  Crops are damaged   and many homes have been washed away;  they are   providing food and sheltering families in their school         buildings.  They need funds to help with resettlement.
 If you are able to help, please make a bank or CAF transfer to Stourbridge Quakers, 40-52-40, a/c 00001638 who send money to the Foundation.  Ref: “Uganda Flood Relief”.  Or send a cheque or voucher made out to Stourbridge Quakers to Uganda Flood Relief, 21 Heathfield Gardens, Stourbridge DY8 3YD. 


Instagram and Facebook

Are you an Instagram user? If so, would you like to help QAN by posting to Instagram on our behalf from time to time? We don’t have anyone available to so this, but it is a good form of outreach and a way to build community. Please get in touch if you can help.

We also have a closed QAN Facebook group, for people to share ideas, artworks etc. Thank you to those of you who have shared your paintings, films, photos of quilts, mandalas and more. Social media isn’t for everyone and most of us have reservations about it but used with care, it can be a great way to share and provide inspiration. 

Painting by Bernie Kennedy - one of our Facebook group members - depicting the rally against an Arms Fair in Liverpool. 

Beethoven and the planet

David Maxwell, a Bedford Friend and past lecturer in education and writer for theatre, has written to tell us of a choral composition he has written inspired by Beethoven and the climate crisis.  He is now seeking help and advice to organise and fund a performance. Please contact David if you think you can help or would like to purchase a score.

Some Publications

This Place

Our Friend and poet (see below) Sam Donaldson, together with Mike Sprout, have now published a beautiful book of poems, texts and fabulous rich illustrations, based loosely around Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone’s Active Hope. Each poem and page provides a starting point for contemplation. A rich offering - inviting and expressing joy in our place within the natural world. You can purchase the book, cards, and prints of some of the images at

Ways to Kiss the Earth

A few copies of this lovely book in which Quaker artists explore sustainability issues are still available from Quaker Arts Network . This book could be a treat and inspiration for yourself or a lovely gift. £10 plus P&P Details at


WORDS FOR THE EARTH poetry reading

Stevie Krayer writes: 

Back in September I was admiring the beautiful panels contributed to the Loving Earth project and wishing I had one stitch of craftwomanship in my creative fabric. My medium is words; my hands can manage a keyboard but that's about it. So I asked whether I could contribute a poem instead of a panel. The response was an invitation to organise a poetry event! 

Quite quickly the idea began to take shape. QAN kindly offered to host an online event in the runup to COP26, and between Linda Murgatroyd, Philip Gross, Sam Donaldson, Jennifer Kavanagh and me, we sorted out all the details and chose the title Words for the Earth.

Come the evening of 25 October, I sat down at my computer and logged in. To my mingled astonishment, delight and terror, there was an audience of some 70 Friends for an hour of poetry about our planet. Philip, Sam and I read, Jennifer was the perfect compère and Kate Green took excellent care of the technical side (which didn't stop a gremlin gatecrashing and repeatedly silencing Philip - but being a seasoned pro he coped with aplomb). 

I started my set by worrying aloud whether poetry might be seen as yet more 'blahblahblah'. The size of the audience was itself a reassurance on that point, and both at the time and subsequently, many audience members let us know that the event had been inspiring. One wrote "Thank you all for your wonderful words, which transported us to places of light and dark in the realm of imagination." To me it was clear that as we confront the climate crisis, poetry is something we really need. It articulates our deepest emotions about the Earth and its denizens. It unites us, comforts us and heartens us as we continue the struggle to save our shared home. I hope there may be further events forthcoming from QAN.

Further reading from the poets:
Sam Donaldson: This Place (illustrated by Mike Sprout)
Here's a brief extract:
my first task of the day:
to breathe
in a sense of sacredness
and the vast interconnectedness of our world
into this animal body of mine
Philip Gross: Dark Sky Park (Otter-Barry Books, 2018) with illustrations by Jesse Hodgson. 978-1-910959-88-6
Between the Islands (Bloodaxe, 2020) 978 1 78037 506 9
Philip also wrote this poem especially for the event:
Words for the Earth
The world.  The wild.  Whale-road.  Turtle Island.  Ship of fools.  Leaky ark.
Beast of burden.  Mulch bed.   Midden.  Mater Dolorosa.  Dancer in the dark.
              Dustbowl.  Floodplain.  Squatters' camp round the amusement park.
Pandora’s box.  Rock bottom.  Hall of mirrors.  Everything that is the case.
Cooling ingot.  Shop floor.  Rumour mill.  Our daily bread.  The commonplace.
The real internet of things.  End of all rainbows.  Silver teardrop.  Golden fleece.
The heart of the matter.  Bag for life.  Pièce de resistance that's never at peace.
              Gaia the Grave, the Gay.  Mother-of-mountains.  Slop-bucket of seas. 
Ironheart.  Wind-spindle.  Wonky wheel.  Moon-waltzer.  Whipped top
teetering.  Lost marble down a crease in time.  A glittering full stop.
Ticking time bomb.  Grindstone.  Life's one lucky roll of the dice. 
Roulette wheel.  Self-stirring cauldron.  Sweet spot between fire and ice.
              Real estate.   Stuff.  Things. Sub-prime mortgage.  Pearl of great price.
The aftermath of Eden.  Storm in God’s teacup.  Mr Darwin's petri dish.
Penny tossed down the well-shaft of space.  Condemned man's last wish.
Equivocator between day and night.  Bipolar.  Everything we've got.
The nitty-gritty.  State of the art.  Terra infirma.  Heartland.  Melting pot. 
              Base camp.  Arrivals and departures lounge.  Way out.  Blue dot.
Crystal ball.  Snow-globe.  Humdinger.  Radio Babel.  Whirling dervish in a trance. 
Launchpad for the afterlife.  Our lady of changes.  The lord of the dance. 
Decontamination zone.  An open question.  Crossword with no clues. 
The ground of our being.  A suspended sentence.  Devil's playground.  Rolling news. 
Addlepate.  Cracked bowl of continents.  Alarm bell ringing on and on
unheard.  Last chance saloon.  Last orders.  Going, going, on the edge of
                                                                                                                         edge of edge of...
         Love island.   Vale of tears.  A handful of dust.  The pleasure dome.
Mortal coil.  Life-support.  Celestial clod.  Third rock.  Ground zero.
Stevie Krayer: New Monkey (Indigo Dreams Publishing - available from the author)
Words from the Brink (anthology of poetry and short stories, published by Arachne Books) - which includes her poem Recharting the territory:
Where are we? Songlines, archipelagoes
of knots in twine, little fleets
of outriggers weaving the world
into a cradle, letting sea and land
show us where we stood. We turned,
reverently ochred the landscape
with what we needed it to mean.
You are here. Later, emboldened,
we drew our mappae mundi without looking:
us and our special places at the centre
of everything. The authorities
were slow to take down the city walls
and see the truth of the lie of the land.
Easier to erase the truthtellers.
This land is our land: we-know-best grandees
in topees and top hats, in offices and map-rooms
built, tunnelled, razed, dumped,
drawing confident lines across continents,
dividing and ruling, shifting whole peoples
with hunger and bombs, posting an alien label
on someone's home and then evicting them.
Recalculating... Goaded beyond retrieval
Nature has uninstalled Inkscape
and is taking our sloppy handiwork
to its last flourish. Google Maps shall be wiped.
With its apocalyptic toolkit - fire, famine,
meltwater, microscopic armies, mass extinction -
Earth is taking back control.
Perform a U-turn where possible.



PS - Don’t forget to keep an eye for news on the website and to put your events up there, and to post and share Quaker arts news via Facebook, if you can.

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