Bath Quakers is a thriving Quaker meeting in the sacred and healing district of the World Heritage City of Bath. It’s close to the Roman hot baths and the Anglican abbey.
The Friends Meeting House in York Street has been Bath Quakers’ spiritual home for 150 years, and it’s where we continue to hold our Meetings for Worship today.
We are fortunate to have a building in the heart of a busy city , well-served by public transport, and perfectly placed for Bath Quakers to play a full and active part in the community. The Meeting House itself is grade II listed, an architectural gem . It represents our presence in the City and is central to our witness .
Why does Bath need a strong Quaker presence?
In turbulent times such as these, there is an overwhelming need to provide welcome, comfort and moral direction. Quakers in Britain have a distinct witness and voice, based on the commitment to our core testimonies of equality and justice, peace, truth and integrity, simplicity and sustainability.
Those values and that voice are needed now. A confident, vibrant Quaker Meeting in Bath can speak out. We can play a full part in support of our community.
What is the purpose of the appeal?
Bath Quakers are appealing for funds so that the Friends Meeting House can stay on track to develop a sustainable, more confident and ambitious presence at the heart of Bath. This appeal reflects our values:
We care about climate change and not being wasteful of energy: our building will use less energy once windows are well insulated
We are welcoming and friendly people: our building will look welcoming and friendly too, encouraging people to come inside
We are inclusive and open to all: the lighting system in our meeting room will be comfortable, excluding none from participating in events
We are part of our community: our building will play a fuller part once this work is finished.
How much are you aiming to raise and why ?
Bath Quakers are working to raise £80,000 by the end of 2018 . This will allow us to complete the refurbishment of our unique building , looking to the future while respecting the past.
Over the last five years, we have raised and spent £110,000. The upper floor is now fully accessible, with a lift and accessible toilet. We have created a kitchen and re – sited our library, installed a PA system, renewed the acoustic panelling, provided better seating, and renovated the stone staircase and wooden flooring. This work cost £95,000.
The two remaining jobs , for which we have spent £15,000 on sound professional advice leading to the granting of planning permission, are:
- Looking to the Future through making significant improvements to the environmental performance of the Meeting House through insulation, draught – proofing, and secondary glazing , and upgrading the lighting, taking us as far as we can at present towards having a sustainable building
- Respecting the Past through renovating the stonework and lettering on the two hundred year – old façade so that our Meeting House looks welcoming and well – cared for, fulfilling our responsibi lity for good stewardship
What happens next ?
Bath Quakers’ first priority is to complete a long – term vision with business plan for financial sustainability in keeping with our Quaker witness. We have many years’ experience of running our unique building so are fully aware of the costs involved and the need to be practical as well as visionary.
But change is coming. In 2019, we will have new opportunities for developing a range of activities in the Meeting House when a significant and long – standing hirer moves on . We are now evaluating a range of purposes consistent with Friends’ principles and beliefs, whilst continuing to host local Quaker meetings as the bedrock.
We recognise that this Quaker asset at the heart of our community is well – placed to support for example:
- a blend of charitable work for vulnerable groups such as the Genesis Lifeline project currently based with us
- cultural activity such as Bath’s rich variety of art , music , and literature festivals
- social enterprise needs
- interfaith , peacebuilding and reconciliation work.
Our vision for the future and our care for the Meeting House go hand in hand. These will come together in two years’ time as this stage of renovation draws to a close and our longer-term vision becomes reality.