Collection this Month

Freedom From Torture- which has emphasis on therapy sessions with traumatised refugees, involving sessions of art, music, drama and creative writing.

If you wish to donate but can’t attend at the Meeting House, please send a cheque to Rachel Bach made out to “Ipswich Quakers”. Please send this before the end of the month concerned.


This year passages from Quaker Faith and Practice will alternate monthly with short poems by the American poet Carl Sandburg.

Primer Lesson
Look out how you use proud words.
When you let proud words go, it is
Not easy to call them back.
They wear long boots, hard boots; they
walk off proud; they can’t hear you
Look out how you use proud words.

Carl Sandburg.

Film Evening: 28 July- “Agora” .

This film is set in Alexandria, Egypt, in 391 AD and explores the relationship between the pagan rulers and the increasing numbers of Christians. The film has subtitles too.

Films coming up:

  • 28 July- Agora – set in Alexandria, Egypt, 391 AD and exploring the relationship between pagan rulers and increasing numbers of Christians-subtitles
  • 25 August- The Crucible- film version of the famous play about the Salem witch trials- subtitles
  • 22 September- Blackfish- documentary about the treatment of performing and captive orcas- no subtitles
  • 27 October- Selma- Martin Luther King and the American civil rights marches- subtitles
  • 24 November- The Boy With The Striped Pyjamas- exploring the growing friendship between the son of a Nazi death camp commandant and a boy inside the fence- subtitles
  • 15 December- Quartet- lightening the atmosphere with a very positive film about old age- retired opera singers in a home, plus a superb soundtrack- subtitles

Quaker Quest Discussion Group May 2017 – “Journey of a Lifer”

Mr Cornish attended the Ipswich Quaker Meeting House on Wednesday evening and gave a talk concerning his life sentence prison journey and his research into the Kings Fund Dying Rooms.

There was lively, relative questioning as the talk progressed toward discussion groups being set up and posed with the dilemma of “Can there ever be such a thing as a “good death for a life-sentence prisoner in a secure prison environment?”

There were about 25 people in attendance and after the discussion topic feedback was given by each group. The general consensus was that there has to be security but also dignity being upheld at the same time but it would be hard to uphold the balance of both due to environmental cultures and constraints.

The evening was closed by a short true story to change the topic area from its discussion subject to a lighter hearted mood.

Mr Cornish thanked all for their presence and contributions and says that he is always approachable in the future when attending meetings: in case anyone even wants to ask a question in either discussion sphere from the evening’s talk.
Stan Cornish

Journey of a Lifer

Stanley is at “Lifer” at H.M.P. Hollesley Bay, which is a D category open prison. Stan, who is around 6o, has reached the end of his tariff. (The minimum amount of time he must serve, though his “life” sentence is longer)

Stanley managed to get leave to come and hear Tim Newell speaking about Restorative Justice at the Friends Meeting House, and on that occasion offered to come and talk to us. We already had a forum for this, as Quaker Quest appealed so much to our meeting that we have continued it indefinitely, inviting speakers from many backgrounds to come and open our minds a little with their stories.

Stanley is hoping to be released by the end of this year, and is keen to establish contacts, friendships, and support systems in the community. In fact he now attends Woodbridge Meeting, with two other Hollesley Bay men, every Sunday. I think he saw the talk as a good way of making an impact….and he did. It was intriguing, different, and at times gruelling, and the faces around the circle of Friends were often genuinely pained for Stan and his fellow prisoners. He is an enthusiast and a story-teller by nature, not afraid to put himself forward and ask for whatever he requires, and charming with it: he has engaged many people in trying to get his needs met as he prepares for release.

The talk took us through prison life and Stan’s progress away from despair and into study. He vowed to save himself from a meaningless life behind bars, and over the years has collected an impressive cv of study courses, largely directed towards therapy and counselling, but also practical courses like Braille translation. He claims that the Quakers, through the Shaw trust, have supported him financially through this long course of study, and he is very grateful to the Society, and was keen to encourage us to go out and get involved in things that are important to prisoners, especially as Prison Reform is one of our areas of concern.

One issue of special interest to Stan, because he is himself a cancer sufferer, is that of terminal illness and death within the prison system. He took the course in Dignity in Dying, and talked vividly to us of his fear of being sent off to a specialist hospital prison (he tells us there are three in the UK) where he will be apportioned a “dying room”, away from family, friends and jail mates, and away from his cell, which at present is the only “home” he has. Offenders who need medical or surgical interventions, when they are admitted to public hospitals, are always attended by one or two prison officers and are handcuffed onto a 6 foot chain. All ablutions and toilet needs are carried out in this condition, sometimes with only a curtain for privacy. Sometimes the officers (who may be of either sex), will remain present and not even turn away, thus depriving the prisoner of normal dignity. Stan expressed anger and disgust at what he himself had suffered, and returned to the one real conflict for those who work with the seriously ill in custody: how can the balance be kept between the human right of the prisoner to dignity in dying, and the right of the public to be kept safe from harm by men and women who have committed crimes in the past and may be capable of doing so again.

At this point in the evening, we divided into smaller groups in order to wrangle with this dilemma. It was an eye-opening experience, as we realised that an offender might be a risk to himself, as well as to the public, and that even at the moment of death some people are capable of surprising physical and destructive energy. We returned to the main group without resolving the conflict, but with much food for thought.

And Stan returned to Hollesley Bay to await his Parole Board in September.

Helena Woddis

From an attender at Stan’s Talk “Journey of a Lifer”

Thanks for last night, it was really excellent. I think the Quakers are unique in both attracting speakers from backgrounds and experiences who would not comfortably appear elsewhere, and in that their open inclusive format allows free and powerful expression for them (both points probably amount to the same thing). I am thinking also of Andrea Needham and the talk you have coming up too from Bal Kaur.
From our point of view it allows us to hear a wholly new perspective on things which can only come from you such speakers who have lived differently and are able to articulate it. So we are hearing something wholly new and then able to reflect and discuss it.

In Stan’s case, apart from the main thrust of his story, it is remarkable to think of someone being academic in isolation. Most people are doing it in an environment where they are, whether they realise or not, absorbing much from contact with others. There are pros and cons there of course! Obviously the internet helps to temper the distinction, although presumably use of that is also controlled and monitored in prison? I would be grateful if you could pass this message on to him if you can as I read the rest of his handout when I got home.

There are two more sections we could not cover on ‘Words in Death’ and ‘Hegemonic and Discursive Power’ which had some resonance for me and my interests of late. The former referenced directly Native American thinking which is interesting but the latter seemed to reference not only that (symbolism) but also Sartre and existentialism to a degree that I would be very interested to know, given my comments, whether it was conscious reference. Not just the topics but even the phrase ‘things- in –themselves’ (Sartre: ‘etre en-soi’) not ‘producing knowledge’ but ‘the discourse of them’ doing so. I hope he also got back in time for his ‘exit pass’ time which I think was 10.30!
Ant Wooding

The Long Life Of Hilary Thomas

When Marie and I first started attending the Ipswich Quakers in the early 1990’s Hilary and her husband Charles were established members, seen by us as ‘weighty Quakers’. Hilary came from an artistic family and at school was encouraged, in those days of restricted female activities, to play lacrosse and enjoy many artistic activities. Once when she won an art prize it went to financing riding lessons. Hilary was a Froebel trained teacher and she and Charles had already taught outside Suffolk, Charles in a Quaker school. Charles then went to teach at Woolverstone Hall and they lived nearby in ‘The Holt’. By then Hilary had two daughters, Caroline the oldest and Cathy, who was about five and a half when they moved to Woolverstone in early 1957. Hilary subsequently taught at Amberfield and the Ipswich High School for Girls, which ironically, at a much later date, moved to Woolverstone Hall. Hilary was the founder, with a friend, of a playgroup at nearby Shotley and this subsequently moved to the village hall at Woolverstone. Such was the demand that an overflow had to be arranged in a village house. Andrew Sterling remembers his daughter Anna being part of this group and this early learning through play included involvement in the early days of the Pre-School Playgroups Association. This developed to a point where Hilary moved on to be their area organiser, using buses and trains to visit new groups starting up and offer advice as appropriate. She did eventually pass her driving test, in an ‘automatic’ car, at the age of seventy.

She and Charles were very active members of the Ipswich Quakers, not just regular attenders but in Hilary’s case being a doorkeeper, looking after the children and acting as an Overseer. Angela Schultz, who arrived as the warden early in 1983, remembered that Hilary was her Overseer and her practical concern extended to providing bunk beds for Angela’s young children when they first moved in. After the death of Charles Hilary eventually moved to a smaller house at nearby Chelmondiston and I can remember, from our visits, a wonderful colourful garden that she enjoyed. Her move was in 2003, at the age of ninety, which didn’t stop her joining the over-sixties club. She was by then finding it increasingly difficult to last the whole hour of our Meetings for Worship, so she started coming in halfway through and eventually stopped attending. She was also by then ninety five and further away, having moved to Oak House on the edge of Stutton in 2008. Her daughter Cathy soon got her moved from a room with limited light to a sunnier downstairs one, next to the garden. On one of our visits she expressed her disappointment at being discouraged from feeding the birds, just as lumps of white bread came down from the room above.

Initially we visited Hilary in groups of five or six and followed a routine of arriving about eleven, having drinks and biscuits, poetry readings- more of that later-then a short Meeting for Worship and saying goodbye after we had accompanied her to lunch. This was just long enough not to exhaust and disorientate her. However, as her eyesight, hearing and memory deteriorated, we restricted numbers to two or three, who had known Hilary for a long time i.e. Andrew Sterling whose mother was with Hilary at the Ipswich Quakers, Lydia with her dog and Frances who lived nearby. Hilary was always welcoming and interested in our personal lives as well as the progress of our Quaker Meeting. Even in her last days, when she found it increasingly difficult to remember who we were, she continued to surprise us. On one visit Marie and I were almost transfixed by her bright red nails, which she had agreed to have painted on by one of her helpers. Her room decorations included several of her own paintings and her love of nature and the countryside was represented by a series of ‘toys’ representing different birds, which when squeezed produced a remarkably accurate call. There were also several cards with bird photos and when opened they gave their individual songs. I always tried the nightingale one. Incidentally Hilary also wrote an unpublished book for children- Lydia can send an email copy to anyone interested.

Hilary also loved poetry, as could be seen from the volumes in her book collection. Whenever we visited we read poems by her two favourites, Walter de la Mare and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Until a few years before her death she knew almost every word of a long de la Mare poem and often joined in with lines from Hopkins poems such as ‘Spring’, ‘Pied Beauty’ and ‘The Woodlark’. On our last visit, just before her 103rd birthday late December 2016, she could still remember several lines from a Christmas poem Marie read to her. Hilary was able to see her great grandson but increasingly became frail and disorientated, falling over several times and finally suffering a dislocated pelvis. She died peacefully in her bed at Oak House on 2nd May 2017.
Four of us from Ipswich Quakers joined her family and friends at the Oakfields Wood Green Burial site in Wrabness, where her funeral included a very full life history and several readings, including poetry. It was a hot day with birds singing and a blue butterfly dancing nearby. On the next day, 26th May, a meeting to celebrate her life was held at our Friends’ Meeting House in Ipswich, attended by several of her family. This was a less formal occasion, allowing several who had known Hilary for a long time to recount tales from her long life, many of them amusing. I also read a favourite Hopkins poem, ‘God’s Grandeur’. Perhaps my abiding memory will be of Hilary on the occasion of a 100th birthday party held at Oak House. Dressed up for the occasion she sat almost regally at the entrance door, which enabled her without undue exertion to welcome all visitors and engage them in conversation. She was a lovely lady and Marie and I will miss our visits to see her. I will always remember her when I read a Hopkins poem or listen to the incredible song of a nightingale.
Richard Stewart.


Hilary with Marie, Andrew and Richard

Hilary’s Favourite Paintings

On the left Hilary’s Flowers
On the right Hilary’s Still Life


Events – July 2017

Discussion meetings are held every Sunday in the Library, from 9.15 -10.15am where we are looking at passages from Quaker Faith and Practice, interesting articles from The Friend or any relevant topics

Saturday 1st Visit to Bressingham

Sunday 2nd Shared Lunch after Meeting for Worship

Sunday 2nd Music in the Park Christchurch Park

Sunday 9 th at 12 Business Meeting

Sunday 9th 12-6pm Indian Mela Christchurch Park

Wednesday 12th QQ Discussion Group with Cynthia Capey

15th July – Music on the Green 11 to 4 outside the Unitarian Meeting House

Sunday 22nd Area Meeting at 2pm Felixstowe

Friday 28th Film Night “Agora”

Events – July 2017


Collection this Month
The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) is a charity working to create a just, humane and effective penal system in the UK. It was set up in 1981 in London and now aims: To improve prison regimes and conditions, defend and promote prisoner’s human rights, address the needs of prisoners families and promote alternatives to custody.
It carries out research on all aspects of prisons, such as: prisoners’ views on prison education; mental health needs of women prisoners; older prisoners; those with disabilities; prisoner councils; foreign national prisoners, prisoners’ votes; and has written a report on how sentencers make the decision to imprison offenders.

The Trust’s activities also include information and advice, education, parliamentary lobbying and provide a secretary for the All Party Parliamentary Penal Affairs Group.

If you wish to donate but can’t attend at the Meeting House, please send a cheque to Rachel Bach made out to “Ipswich Quakers”. Please send this before the end of the month concerned.

Quaker Faith and Practice
This year passages from Quaker Faith and Practice will alternate monthly with short poems by the American poet Carl Sandburg.

– QFP 10.05  We recognise a variety of ministries in our worship. These include those who speak under the guidance of the Spirit, and those who receive and uphold the work of the Spirit in silence and prayer. We also recognise as ministry service on many committees, hospitality and childcare, the care of finance and premises and many other tasks. We value those whose ministry is not in an appointed task but is in teaching, counselling, listening, prayer, enabling the service of others, or other service in the meeting or the world. The purpose of all our ministry is to lead us and other people into closer communion with God and to enable us to carry out those tasks which the Spirit lays upon us. (London yearly Meeting, 1986).

Film Evening 23rd June
Film Night- 23rd June at 7 pm- documentary about Satish Kumar, titled ‘ Earth Pilgrim’ .It explores the relationship between humans and the natural world, using the wisdom of this writer, ecologist, pacifist and editor of ‘Resurgence’ magazine. The documentary portrays his home area of Dartmoor. Time 48 minutes, no subtitles but clear speaking. This will be followed by a short Concord film ‘The Red Stain’ about the effects of militarisation. Length 13 minutes, no subtitles but no spoken words.


Tim Newell was the Swarthmore lecturer at Yearly Meeting in the year 2000. I was a Quaker attender and it was the first time I had been to Friends House. Tim made such a lasting impression that when I heard last year from another Quaker Prison Chaplain that he had been speaking in Winchester, I immediately contacted him and asked if he would consider coming to Ipswich to talk to us about his life and interests.

Tim spent 38 year of his life as a Prison Governor, the last 10 in HMP Grendon, and he gave his Swarthmore lecture on Restorative Justice just two years before his retirement. I was delighted that he agreed to come, and offered to tell us more on that theme, and also on Circles of Support and Accountability, and on his latest interest, a charity called Escaping Victimhood.

Tim comes from a long line of Anglican Clergy, and was born in India where his parents were missionaries. He was a churchgoer until adulthood, when, on impulse, one Sunday morning, instead of taking his usual route to church on the right, he turned left to the Quaker Meeting House. I like to think of that impulsive swing away from convention as a metaphor for his life’s work. He has turned away from the conventional British approach to Criminal Justice, which he sees as gratuitously punitive, and has espoused and followed the concept of restoration; which means the possible recovery, healing, growth and re-habilitation of the prisoner, so that he has an opportunity to return to the community outside and live a life with some meaning and value.

Many of us, like myself as a new attender, have not thought much about prisons and what they do. They are places where troublesome people are shut away out of sight and out of mind. We have a limited idea about the profile of a typical prisoner, his experience inside, and what the kind of life he is offered. Nor do many of us realise that release from prison, as one offender said, is as traumatic as “falling off a cliff”.

Tim started his career as prison Governor in the early 60s. By the time he moved to Grendon, in the early 90s, conditions were being studied and criminology had become a serious study subject. No doubt all prisons were changing their style, but Grendon was already exceptional. It began life in 1962 as an experimental psychiatric prison but developed the concept of the therapeutic community, and specialises now in the treatment of serious sex offenders and violent men. It is a place where everyone has a right to speak out without inhibition, and the whole of the staff, at all levels meet up regularly with all the men. There are 5 and sometimes 6 different wings with about 40 men in each, and the idea is to uncover and treat serious mental health and other problems, encourage the exploration of each man’s crime, and offer support by a staff of professionals, but also by officers and by one’s peers, in seeking recovery and preparing to move on .

I have discovered from the prisoners I see locally that in Grendon there is a powerful Quaker ethos, and Quaker Meetings are frequent and well attended. It seems that Tim Newell was important in furthering this in Grendon, adding Quaker principles to a restorative system which was already different, in aiming to let go of punishing regimes, prevent conflict, build relationships, and repair harm.

Restorative Justice is a movement which brings those harmed by crime or conflict, and those responsible for the harm, into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward. In effect, this often means that the offender eventually meets the victim and is able to understand the harm he or she has caused. Often it involves apology and forgiveness, and gives the victim greater understanding of why the incident occurred

Tim talked extensively about his prison experience, and explained that men who go through the Grendon system talk a great deal. They often have arrived in Grendon silent and closed, but the system helps them to open up and express all kinds of things. Moving on afterward into a regular prison, they say they need to learn to shut up again, because they find there is no longer a listening ear immediately available.

Tim’s second theme, Circles of Support and Accountability, was about a pilot scheme, financed by the home office and initially carried out by Quakers, to support sex offenders when they are released from prison. This scheme was eventually supported nationwide. Sex offenders have a tough time of it in prison, yet many of them seem to stay on indefinitely, sometimes in special units. Release can be particularly alarming for them. Paedophilia, for example, is an addictive behaviour which means that it is very difficult to resist the urge to re-offend, especially in a hostile world outside where they have been branded for their crime, and have their names are on a sex offenders list available to the public. Circles of Support and Accountability is a small group of trained volunteers who will meet regularly with an ex-offender in an informal way, and be available at all times, to try to support him or her in resisting the urge to re-offend. They are also expected to report any further offences to the justice system and the offender may then be returned to prison. This system has now in addition been opened up as Circles of Support for all released ex-offenders. It appears to be very effective. Many prisoners are so traumatised by release to the world outside that they quickly re-offend in order to be re-committed. This venture is helping to reduce the numbers who return.

Tim’s last theme was a charity which he helped to found, called Escaping Victimhood. This is the other side of the Restorative Practice coin, in that it seeks to help victims of crime recover from their undoubted trauma. Those who wish, if they can find a group in their area, are given a time of retreat in a lovely quiet place, where they are cut off from their familiar world and pampered. There are therapists and psychologists on hand and the idea is to explain to these victims what trauma is. Once they have profoundly understood, they can access their own trauma, and begin to release it and come to understand it. There are massages, aroma-therapy, tai chi trainers, and a whole group of supportive people on hand, and the food and setting are always attractive. The hope is for healing and a return to a bearable life.

This sounds like an expensive venture, but Tim’s ambition is to further extend this system, and he asked us to hold a retiring collection for this charity at the end of his talk.

The evening was challenging, for both Tim and his audience, and there were many questions, so we over-ran our time limit. The effort was very worthwhile and Tim is a delightful, gently humorous man, as impressive as ever, who stayed on with us for tea and hot cross buns afterwards. We had 50 people attend, many Quakers, one prisoner, several students, and we collected over a £100.
Helena Woddis  

Tim Newell Evening
It was interesting to compare Tim Newell’s approach at Grendon with that described by Andrea Needham when she and the other three women were on remand for their trial , when they were found not guilty of damaging a warplane bound for the genocide going on in East Timor. This was described in her book ‘Hammerblow’. She repeatedly describes the ridiculous nonsensical rules they had to obey and, when all other reasons had been exhausted, the prison officers simply told them ‘Because I said so.’ Their only recourse was complaining to staff or the governor and they were involved in no decision making.

At Grendon the inmates were houses in blocks much smaller than for a normal prison and had a degree of decision making which included prisoners having to present them with reasons for requesting home or compassionate visits and they decided the outcome. However when they had successfully responded to the Grendon system they then had to return to a larger and more formal prison regime where they had to disguise their previous way of doing things otherwise they would be picked on, isolated or bullied by other inmates. I can remember this being evident on a visit to see Suffolk Punches at Hollesley Bay. We were told that many of the prisoners, conscious that others were looking for any emotional signs of ‘weakness’ in them, developed a very close relationship with the horses, since these magnificent animals did not judge them and by working with them they could unlock emotions that had to be kept to themselves back in the prison system.
Richard Stewart.

Talk/Discussion on Restorative Justice by ex Prison Governor

Tim Newell, Quaker and former Governor for 10 years of Grendon Prison came to talk to the Ipswich Discussion Group about Restorative Justice on 31 Mar 17. At Grendon the restorative justice approach is central to prison life.

Extent of Restorative Justice has been widened to include not just “Healing the Hurt” between Offender and Victim, but also with their Communities, including the Police and other associated Agencies affected by the crime.

Where Restorative Justice has been used is in 100 Countries: Canada is a forerunner, S Africa notably (Truth and Reconciliation Commission), N Ireland (limited extent in the Troubles, success in youth justice), UK schools (spearheaded by schools in Hull starting 8 years ago), Business and Public Sector (here and there especially for conflicts arising out of change)

The Process of Restorative Justice begins with helping those involved, making connections in terms of seeing others points of view and developing an understanding  for others. There is no expectation that e.g. forgiveness will be achieved. However such things may come later. The whole process is very open and allows feelings to be expressed.

Benefits include reducing the risk of re-offending of ex offenders, combating (PTSD) post traumatic stress disorder amongst victims, and various stresses amongst other participants. Amongst prisoners there may be crime related and historical PTSD. Home Office/ Ministry of Justice research found that where offenders of serious crimes met their victim, reoffending fell by 27% (and of course future victims of those offenders fell by 27%) For prisoners serving community sentences it fell by 55%.

Disbenefits are that it costs more at the time, but the research showed that for every £1 spent on delivering that Restorative Justice, up to £9 was saved in lowering the cost of offending.

Grendon holds over 200 prisoners. They request to come to Grendon because they want to give up crime. They stay for over two years, before usually returning to a normal prison to continue their sentence. Most are prisoners on an indeterminate sentence and have committed homicide, violent or sex offences. There is a waiting list for Grendon.
It is run very democratically, with prisoners divided into communities of 40. E.g. a community decides whether one of them should have home leave or, who should do the cleaning. They are supported by therapists with a range of skills. Attitudes and expressions, which would not normally be tolerated in prison, are accepted and used to give feedback to prisoners. Much therapeutic dialogue occurs in small groups with prisoners often experiencing real feelings for the first time. This leads them to be able to confront their behaviour where they have hurt people or property, and to have a greater understanding of their behaviour.

Returning to a Normal Prison after Grendon, prisoners have to return to adopting a “system head” which includes showing no feelings and not talking about their crime, in complete contrast to Grendon . For this Grendon prepares them with a strategy for coping with being back in a normal UK prison.

Possible Role for you and me Leaving prison is often a frightening experience. No family, no accommodation and no work and only £50 in your pocket. However just like in prison there are volunteer chaplains, outside there are too, but lamentably all too few. They are for ex offenders of any faith or none and an ex offender would have a “circle” of volunteers supporting their different needs.. Circles of Support and Accountability are especially valuable for sex offenders for whom integration back into society is most difficult. Prisoners have to be clear of drugs for 3 to 4 months before early release into such a scheme is considered. The deal is that if volunteers feel unhappy about an ex offender’s behaviour the volunteers will report it to the authorities. That can lead to reimprisonment. Typically support is for about a year but it can be for much longer.
There is also a community chaplaincy system throughout England at present. This trains volunteers to mentor people coming out of prison to help them resettle more safely.
Training for such volunteer chaplains or mentors is 6 half days. A Volunteer will have a supervisor who they work under. Tim is now involved in this chaplaincy. You can apply to become a volunteer from
Questioning him afterwards he said that he was aware of only about 10 of the 100’s of ex sex offenders had reoffended who had been supported by a Circle of Support.

Bad Publicity turned out Good when the Daily Express featured ex prisoners getting special treatment – Circles of Support and Accountability it led to a surge in applications for volunteers to work this way.

Escaping Victimhood is Tim’s latest charity. This is a system of small group retreats for people who have suffered the trauma of a bereavement through homicide or a criminal assault, whether it be physical or material. Tim and his colleagues believe that what must be understood  for these people is the trauma which they have experienced, as many of them don’t understand or acknowledge it. The groups are brought together in a beautiful retreat centre, although the coming together is now called a workshop as a ‘retreat’ put people  off  coming initially. Here good food and pampering help participants to relax and open up. They are told in detail what trauma is, and can thus come to understand their own post-traumatic stress. In understanding what has been inflicted upon them and what their symptoms are about, they begin a process of healing which helps them to lift away from their roles as “victims”, and begin to escape those roles. It is, if you like, the reverse side of the same coin as Restorative Justice. RJ helps the criminal to face his crime and sometimes even his victim, whereas Escaping Victimhood helps the victim to become able to live with the horror he or she experienced at the hands of the criminal. In both cases the aim is to diminish suffering and offer the possibility of a reasonable life in the future, to those who had lost it through a crime.
Ian Taylor

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Discussion meetings are held every Sunday in the Library, from 9.15 -10.15am where we are looking at passages from Quaker Faith and Practice, interesting articles from The Friend or any relevant topics

  • Saturday 3rd at 10.30 to 12.00 Community Café
  • Sunday 4 th Shared Lunch after Meeting for Worship
  • Wednesday 7th QQ Discussion Group with Bal Kaur Howard, talking of her forced marriage and her life since escaping.
  • Sunday 11 th at 12 Business Meeting
  • Friday  24th Film Night Sateesh Kumar


Discussion meetings are held every Sunday in the Library, from 9.15 -10.15am where we are looking at passages from Quaker Faith and Practice, interesting articles from The Friend or any relevant topics

  • Saturday 6th  Community Café from 10.30 to 12
  • Sunday 7th  Shared lunch. All welcome.
  • Weds 10th QQ Discussion Group, Stan will talk about his life in prison and his           spiritual journey at 7pm. All welcome.
  • Sunday 14th Business Meeting  at 12
  • Sunday 21st MOP meeting at 12
  • Sunday 21st Area Meeting    Leiston     2 pm
  • Friday 26th Film Night “To Kill a Mockingbird” at 7pm. All welcome.


Collection this Month
Our collection is for The Teapot Project- local charity recycling with special emphasis on not wasting out of date food- linked to the Cycle cafe in Ipswich
If you wish to donate but can’t attend at the Meeting House, please send a cheque to Rachel Bach made out to “Ipswich Quakers”. Please send this before the end of the month concerned.

Red And White
Nobody picks a red rose when the winter winds howl and the
white snow blows among the fences and storm doors.
Nobody watches the dreamy sculptures of snow when the summer
roses blow red and soft in the garden yards and corners.
O I have loved red roses and O I have loved white snow-
dreamy drifts winter and summer-roses and snow.
Carl Sandburg.

Film night- May 26th- 7 pm start in the library- To Kill A Mockingbird.
Gregory Peck plays Atticus Finch, a white widowed lawyer defending a black man accused of raping a white woman in the deep south of the USA. The story is seen through the eyes of his daughter, nicknamed Scout. The running time of 2 hours 4 minutes cannot include all the nuances and subtleties of the original novel but this is still a very powerful film. Subtitles are available.

A Visit to Bressingham Gardens and  Railway Museum,  Diss
on Saturday 1st July 2017

We are organising a day trip to this pleasant place which was founded by Alan Bloom who was a Quaker.

There are the fantastic gardens to visit plus the railway museum  and four narrow gauge and standard gauge railway lines plus a working old-fashioned galloping horses roundabout. There are six  Bressingham Gardens in total and include two world famous and distinctly personal gardens.  These are  Alan Bloom’s Dell Garden, son Adrian Bloom’s Foggy Bottom Garden, also a spectacular Summer Garden, a Fragrant Garden, Adrian’s Wood and a Winter Garden.

Our plan is to depart from the Meeting House at 10am.  Eric Walker is organising the visit.   If we get 12 people then we can get reduced price tickets. Invite your family and friends.

Adults:  admission to gardens and museum and unlimited rides on the railways   £9.50.  children  3 to 16   £8.00

Eric needs payment by June 15th.

Please say if you can go in your own car and how many spare seats you have or if you would like a lift, please tell Eric:


Everyone seeks happiness, joyfulness, but from outside – from money, from a big car, from a big house. Most people never pay much attention to the ultimate source of a happy life, which is inside, not outside. We can become a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that ripples out to all of those around us.
The Dalai Lama

Regional Gathering takes place three times a year in various venues throughout Essex. They take place on the last Saturday of February, June and September. Any members and attenders can go and enjoy the Friendship offered.

Our February event consisted of a drama by the Journeyman Theatre who depicted various graphic scenarios concerning torture.

Saturday June 24th Chelmsford MH
, continuing our commemoration of WW1, Janet Scott of Hartington Grove Meeting will develop our understanding of the impact of WW1 particularly on Friends by sharing her research from this period. Her series of articles is appearing in The Friend.

Saturday 30th September Saffron Walden MH
: The world faces turbulent times post Brexit and Trump. Juliet Prager, deputy recording clerk, will lead our exploration of the issues, what Friends are doing and how we might respond corporately and individually.

Feeding the Darkness
QCAT (Quaker Concern for the Abolition of Torture) appointed the Journeyman Theatre to carry out this drama which has had great success with 6th Form students in schools. About 15 Friends and 20 members of Amnesty International and Campaign Against Torture participated in the afternoon which concluded with a discussion of the issues raised.

The performance was a series of “ministries” (monologues, duologues and poems) written from extensive research into torture which is state approved.  Lynn and Dave Morris brought us face to face with the insidious nature of state crime and the state sanctioning of torture; with the vulnerability of some of those trained to be perpetrators; with the complicity of governments, and with the role of global trade in the perpetration of torture. A denial of state sanctioned torture is a form of passive acceptance.

We were reminded that the perpetrators are also victims and damaged; of the essential role of medical personnel to monitor the use of torture, and of the trauma and suffering which results. Torture is used by governments to extract information, to intimidate and control opposition, and becomes almost acceptable by the blurring of the boundary between interrogation and torture. The language used is of utmost importance as the word “torture” is not used but “maximum duress” is preferred by governments.

The Quaker position on torture is laid out in the 1976 Hamilton Declaration and the UN Convention on Torture (1965) Article 1, which are now clearly being abused by UK and world-wide governments.

Dave explained that applause at the end was not appropriate but we had a period of silence to reflect. The play was followed by an illuminating time of discussion and comment during which F/friends responded actively and emotionally.

What can we do to make inroads into this darkness?
•    Campaigning and protest letters to press and MPs can bring responses and we are encouraged to keep ourselves informed and to be active. Only 5 letters to an MOP about the same subject causes them to ask questions.
•    Protesting at the Arms Fair and Yarlswood.
•    Spreading the word to young people and getting them engaged as they have a keen sense of injustice and feel as though they are global citizens.
•    Protesting at the small firms who each have a small piece of manufacture of the overall jigsaw of the arms trade or torture implement, particularly in the Birmingham area. Knowing that we in Britain are implicit in this industry and informing people of this.
•    At least 30% of asylum seekers here in the UK have been tortured and need long term therapy; we can help by offering some sort of “normalisation” to help them recover and regain parts of themselves which have been lost, by volunteering to be a listening ear, offering classes in yoga, cooking, crafts, gardening etc.
•    Coming together and feeling the strength of other people. Talking about it helps.




Ipswich Quaker Film Nights in 2017

23 June- ‘Earth Pilgrim’ – documentary about Satish Kumar, writer, ecologist, pacifist, set in Dartmoor; followed by short Concord film ‘The Red Stain’ -both without subtitles but the second has no spoken words

28 July- Agora – set in Alexandria, Egypt, 391 AD and exploring the relationship between pagan rulers and increasing numbers of Christians-subtitles

25 August- The Crucible– film version of the famous play about the Salem witch trials- subtitles

22 September- Blackfish– documentary about the treatment of performing and captive orcas- no subtitles

27 October- Selma- Martin Luther King and the American civil rights marches- subtitles

24 November- The Boy With The Striped Pyjamas– exploring the growing friendship between the son of a Nazi death camp commandant and a boy inside the fence- subtitles

15 December- Quartet– lightening the atmosphere with a very positive film about old age- retired opera singers in a home, plus a superb soundtrack- subtitles

Note earlier date for December to keep clear of Christmas. More details in each relevant newsletter.

We try to hold our Film Night the last Friday of the month but occasionally it clashes with something else and we hold it the Friday before.

Ipswich Quaker Film Nights in 2017