Horsham Year of Culture identified twelve “Hidden Gems” in the district, one for each month of the year. The Blue Idol Quaker Meeting House is October’s Gem.
This month, organisers set up a day to wrap up all the different events that have run throughout the summer. The Meeting House was almost full to capacity for the occasion, which included a Meeting for Worship, a shared lunch, and discussion groups about values.
“The events have been a great success this summer” said Chrissie McGinn, one of the organisers. “We’ve been fully booked for many of the events, and have even had to turn people away.” The Blue Idol have been running experiences based on Quaker Testimonies, another word for values. There has been a different value as a focus each month:
April – Simplicity – Dialogue Pairs were used to discuss the question, “How has a simple approach to life helped me?” “It helped me see things from a new perspective, and how I could actually simplify most areas of my life”, commented Charles Harries on the day.
May – Equality – Collages were made to represent “How the world would look if we valued everyone as unique human beings”. “We don’t have to do things. We have value just by existing, and being ourselves. We all have a unique place in the world.” said one participant.
June – Sustainability – Over a hundred people attended a Sustainability Fair to share ideas for sustaining our world. “Even though you think you know a lot about reuse and recycling there’s always something new to learn” said someone from West Sussex County Council. “I didn’t realise there was so much going on in the county” she added. There was also a concert to remind us how music can sustain us, and a retreat to nurture and sustain ourselves.
July – Truth – A panel, i.e. a G.P., a Managing Director of a local business, a social media consultant and a politician talked about integrity in their professional lives. “Relationships break down if you try to hide things.” stated one speaker.
August – Peace – People shared poems, songs and chants about creating a peaceful world and a sense of inner peace. “The afternoon was a totally new experience for me.”
September – Hospitality – There was a fun family afternoon with a picnic and games to celebrate life together, and a retreat to reflect on the power of our humanity.
All of these events had space and time for silence to allow for reflection and to deepen our sense of connection.
“On top of these, we have Open Days every Friday and are part of the Quiet Garden Movement,” said Eva Wrenwood, another organiser. “So, we’ve been kept really busy this summer.” To find out more about this Hidden Gem, the Blue Idol, go to www.blueidol.org Facebook @BlueIdolQuakers or just turn up on a Friday.