Here & now: Jo Parker
Jo Parker gives a Quaker’s-eye view of the United Reformed Church Youth Assembly
This January, I was a Quaker representative at the United Reformed Church Youth Assembly in Whitemoor Lakes, Staffordshire. I and another Quaker were part of a range of denominations invited to be there. The theme of the weekend was ‘Common Ground: Where is it?’, which was fitting as we managed to find a lot of similarities between us as Quakers and the URC, despite surface-level differences. Our worship styles may differ but we enjoyed being welcomed to join in with song and prayer, two aspects that made us feel a part of the community.
We felt completely welcomed into the group and felt that our voice was just as valued as everyone else’s, despite our different faith. Our experiences with religion were listened to and given as much value as the URC youth’s. We enjoyed talking about religion and hearing other’s beliefs about God/faith, with the knowledge that everyone’s experience was valued equally.
We were interested to learn about a different Church – on the level of exploring faith but also in learning about the day-to-day business processes that differ greatly from our own. We were surprised by the clapping that took place and the speed of the business process, and were honoured to find that our voice had as much weight as the voices of URC members. We were even more grateful to have an influence on the business, especially when it came to the topic of the appointment of Hannah Brock Womack to the fourth presidency of Churches Together in England, and the subsequent blocking of her taking that seat. We felt uplifted in the support the URC were offering the Quakers. We found that the URC young people wanted to know our view on the matter and took it seriously. They were interested in what the Quakers were doing in response to this state of affairs…
Jo Parker is a Quaker and lives in London
This is an extract from an article that was published in the March 2020 edition of Reform