Each month we thought that we would also include a quote from Quaker Faith and Practice or from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.
Joy and Sorrow:
Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow’, and others say ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board,
Remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver,
Needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.’
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Cappadocia Trip – Barbara
I went on a 15 day holiday to Cappadocia in central Turkey in November and here is a taster of my time there.
On the third day of the holiday, a wake-up call at 5.30, breakfast and off we go from the hotel on the coast for a week in Cappadocia. A long coach trip was punctuated by approx. 2 hourly stops, over the Taurus mountains (1900 metres high) via Alcabel Pass.
We arrived in Konya at midday with its population of one million and two universities. It is the crossroads of central Turkey with excellent road and rail links, its own airport and air force based there. It is a very conservative area, the women wear hijabs and the present Turkish Prime Minister comes from there. It is best known for one of its previous citizens – Rumi.Konya, formally known as Ikonium, became one of the greatest Christian communities of its time under the apostles Paul and Barnabus.
We visited the monastery of the Whirling Dervishes, whose dance has been declared an intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO and where Rumi’s body is kept. We visited the Mevlena museum, home to the Tomb of Rumi, one of the world’s most revered poets and the symbol of tolerance and love; the courtyard, with its small cells, depicted various aspects of Dervish life. The 17th December is special, it is the day Rumi died in 1274 and is called the Wedding Night as it is believed he was then reunited with Shemi who was the love of his life.
We travelled through Aksaray and Nevsehir, about 320 miles, to our hotel Burcu Kaya in Urgup near Goreme arriving late in the evening. Strange hotel but nice. Room rather cave like, hot radiator making room like a sauna and no way to turn it off. Had a bath or rather ran water and shower head jumped off with extremely hot water shooting out from tap and shower hose thrashing around in the bath and covering me and the bathroom floor and walls. Managed to stem the flow, put the plug in and had a bath only to discover afterwards that I couldn’t get the plug out so had to leave a bath half full of water for the maid to empty in the morning. Embarrassing!
Next morning a wake up call before 5 am in order to get to the hot air balloon at 5.30
We were up there in the sky for one and three quarter hour, drifting above the fairy chimneys and rock formations which was magical. We floated up high to 800 metres and then down to the valleys where we could have reached out and touched the rocks. It was so smooth you didn’t feel as though you were moving. There were 20 of us in 4 compartments in the balloon. The pilot said he had been doing it 8 years and it took 200 hours of training over a 2 year period when he was only allowed to take 2 or 3 in a small basket. The one we flew in had a capacity for 24, although he only took 20, which gave plenty of room to move around and see all, and cost 105,000 euros. There were 230 balloons in all but only 100 were allowed to fly at one time and they only went up at dawn as that was when the weather was suitable with no wind. Later on in the day the sun and warmth created turbulence however they went up again in the afternoon for the 4 months from January to April as the weather was OK then.
The name Cappodocia means “land of beautiful horses” from the Hittites who lived in Cappadocia about 4000 years ago. The Persian king Cyrus 1st invaded and they were ruling Asia Minor for 200 years until Alexander the Great invaded. The Lycians were the first to start trading using coins. There are four volcanoes in the region and their previous violent eruptions covered whole area with a thick layer of volcanic ash. During the following millions of years, this hardened tuff created this spectacular and bizarre landscape by the strong influence of the wind and water erosion. Some of these chimney-like rock formations were dug-in as a home or sometimes a church by the local people.
The early Christians used the caves to hide from their enemies too and built underground cities to defeat attackers. The rocks vary in colour from yellow (sulphur), pink (iron) and cream in colour and the buildings are the same to blend in with the natural environment. The rocks are sand stone and soft to carve in the interior but harden on the outside in the atmosphere. The area was made a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996.
Today was a day of valleys. The first stop was to see caves in Uchisar where people hid out and lived in times of attack. The people of the region began to hollow out their homes, places of worship and subterranean cities over 2000 years ago. Some of the cities joined up. The rooms were small and the passage ways caused even me to bend double to walk through. The caves are not lived in now unless they have been enlarged and built outwards, some are shops, most are for storage. The early Christians escaped to this area, hiding in the caves and many of these caves were “churches” – small gathering places dedicated to various saints – there was for called Saint Barbara!
This picture is a fresco of the crucifixion on the ceiling of Tokalı Kilise or the Church of the Buckle. Venerated in the cave frescoes of Cappadocia, along with Jesus and the disciples, are a number of saints including St George, St Theodore, St Catherine, St Onuphius, St Basil and St Barbara.
Onwards to Pasa Valley with the rather phallic looking fairy chimneys where we saw a “wedding” however the bride was a model doing a photo shoot. Last stop was where there looked like a camel and the Queen carved out of the rock, I was accosted by an old lady asking me why I wasn’t cold as she showed me her vest, blouse and 4 layers of cardigans under a coat!
After all this, we still had time and energy in the evening, and were privileged, to visit the Whirling Dervishes and watch them carry out their Sema ceremony.
Amazing. Moving. Spiritual.
I was in awe at the beautiful expressions on their faces and the graceful way they turned and unfurled their arms from being crossed over their chests and shoulders to rising up to the sky.
I could wax lyrical about the Dervishes, their beliefs and rituals but maybe another time.
Notes from the treasurer
Britain Yearly Meeting wishes to thank Ipswich Meeting for our generous donation of £5,000 towards central work. Also thank you from our Area Meeting treasurer for our generous donation of £1,000 to help boost AM funds
Did you know that any donations put in our collection bowl for Local Meeting funds automatically attract gift aid through the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme? Unfortunately gift aid cannot be reclaimed for our special collections.
Our recent monthly special collections are as follows:
May – LEAP Confronting Conflict – £108.61
June – Canon Collins Educational Trust – £35.27
July – Conscience – £61.31
Some of us are planning to do the Link to Hope Shoebox appeal again this year. I know it seems early to be thinking of Christmas, but it is good to start now collecting bits and bobs to go in the shoeboxes, and the collection date at the beginning of November will come around all too quickly. If you wish to join in, let Rachel know.
The last couple of years, the children and teenagers, and some grown-ups, have been taking part in this appeal. The Link to Hope shoeboxes are distributed in Eastern Europe to the poorest and most marginalised, with no strings attached.
They are a small Christian Charity who believe in distributing love to those in need regardless of religion colour or creed. There are two types of shoeboxes to fill, family and elderly. The family shoeboxes of gifts are given to families who have to make a choice between food and fuel at Christmas time. Some live in appalling conditions and life for them is a struggle to survive. Due to the number of elderly people that are left alone while the families go to work away, the elderly shoebox was also launched.
Here is a link with lots of information about the sorts of things to go in the boxes, which you can print out. Rachel also has some leaflets which she will bring to meeting at the end of August onwards. The best place to look for all the information you need is on the Link to Hope website: linktohope.co.uk/shoebox-appeal where you can find tips on what to get etc.
How can you help? If you do not wish to fill a shoebox on your own, you could always donate a few items, or shoeboxes, or a roll of jolly Christmas wrapping paper. Or even a small financial donation towards the costs would be much appreciated. We plan to do some shoebox filling, wrapping etc at Meeting nearer the time so you can join in then too. All shoeboxes to be left at the Meeting House as Rachel will arrange for them to go to a nearby collection point probably on the first Sunday in November, 6th.