We’re advised (##5 & 6) to “Take time to learn about other people’s experiences of the Light”, and to ask ourselves “Do you work gladly with other religious groups in the pursuit of common goals?”
Ride+Stride on 8 Sept was a great chance to do that. Part of a national programme, it’s Somerset Churches Trust’s most important fund raising event of the year. Thanks to Margaret Heath for organising Bath Quakers’ participation in Ride+Stride this year, and for arranging a rota of Friends to welcome visitors.
Many thanks to all who contributed to our being open on 8th. Although we were on the Ride+Stride list of Bath churches, very few sponsored people visited us but a number of others did and were glad to find a beautiful refuge in which to relax over refreshments and cuppas.
After a slow start, we were kept busy with people who had seen our sign and wandered in. Conversation flowed and was wide-ranging, to put it mildly; architecture, archeology, free will, life in Hong Kong, life in Canada, comparison of Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s, a city, which had better be nameless, where no churches were open, clocking up nearly 60 churches in Oxford by including college chapels.
When we were busy- or deep in conversation – I think some escaped without signing our visitors’ book but comments of those who wrote were favourable. It was good to hear that the Friends can be counted on to give a welcome.
The Trust has been very supportive of Bath Quakers’ Friends Meeting House when we needed it, and it feels good to take part. It’s a great way to walk – or ride – cheerfully and encounter that of God in everyone.
In each church I visited I was the first Ride+Stride visitor. One church was particularly startled to see me: having had no visitors at all in three years of doing the programme they’d decided not to participate this year, and were only open by chance.
It’s interesting and fun to make up your own tour. The buildings are varied and intriguing, some needy, others beautifully and imaginatively restored and modernised. The welcome is warm, and there is an infinite ocean of delicious cake. Try it next year!