Quaker Week events in October: lecture; debate on pacifism and the missing wreaths

Quaker Week in early October includes two public events in Bath at the Friends Meeting House in York Street.

Juliet Prager (photo by JRCT, via The Friend)

Mon 1 Oct Juliet Prager, Deputy Recording Clerk of Quakers in Britain, gives a public lecture Who are Quakers and why they matter today and tomorrow. It starts 1930, free and open to all.

Th 4 Oct there will be a public meeting to debate the issues behind the mystery disappearance of three white poppy wreaths.

For the past three years, as regular readers of Bath Quaker News will be aware, Friends have laid a white poppy wreath, to commemorate all victims of war, at the war memorial at Royal Avenue and Queen’s Parade Place, during the Remembrance Day memorial ceremony. This is done with the kind agreement of the Royal British Legion. Each time the wreath has disappeared without explanation.

Bath Quakers’ Clerk Lin Patterson said:

“We regret the disappearance of the wreaths, and hope very much that this year’s wreath, to be laid at the centenary of the end of the First World War, will be allowed to stay in its place. We want to encourage public participation in a conversation about commemoration: how we can remember those who have died in war, and how commemoration may help to bring peace and end war. The public debate on 4 October will offer this opportunity, and perhaps make it clearer why the white poppy wreath is laid, and the hopes it represents.”

Why does it go missing every year?

The panel for the debate includes:

  • Sarah Bevan, Independent councillor for Peasedown St John, on the council’s policies for war memorials, and on human rights in war
  • Diana Francis of Bradford on Avon Quakers, on the Quaker Peace Testimony
  • Major Dick Beath on a view on conscientious objection from the modern British Army
  • Professor Lois Bibbings of University of Bristol, on the Commemoration, Conflict and Conscience national festival
  • Literary historian Kate Macdonald on her book The Conscientious Objector’s Wife, published in June by Handheld Press.

The debate begins 1930. Visitors can see exhibitions on Conscientious Objectors from the Bath and Bristol areas, and visit the book stall from 1900.

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