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  • Writer's pictureRobert Ashton

Pandemics, Quakers & your opportunity to learn more

In 1918, just over a century ago my great-grandfather was one of more than 250,000 people who died as the flu pandemic swept across Britain. My grandfather, then 18 and recently conscripted into the army, was allowed to return from the front to comfort his mother. My grandparents never spoke about those days, choosing instead to put both the war and pandemic far behind them.

We find ourselves living through the 2020 pandemic alone, with nobody to ask who remembers what it was like last time. This makes it a frightening, but far from a unique event. There have always been, albeit infrequent, pandemics and plagues that have changed the way we live. The 1920s saw the world quickly recover from the recent horrors of war and pandemic. We may see similar good times when this has all passed.

It is far from unusual at times like this, when so much is unknown and the future so uncertain, for people to ask themselves big questions. Why am I here? What is life’s purpose? Is there a God? These are questions to which Quakers have been seeking answers for centuries. We each have to find our place in the world, and come to understand the influence of a power greater than ourselves.

Quakers seek those answers, which for each of us are unique, within the stillness of Quaker worship. Right now Norwich Quakers are meeting online, on Wednesday lunchtime and Sunday morning. If you’re starting to ask yourself those big questions, then joining us online for half an hour is a good place to start. If you find our style of worship fits you, then later, when the pandemic has passed, you can also join us at our Meeting House, but for now, we’re meeting online.

If you’d like to know more, or if you’d like to join one of our online meetings, email and someone will contact you and if you wish, invite you to join our next online meeting. You might also like to read this more detailed explanation of what to expect at an online Quaker meeting

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