Greening Our Meetings at Northamptonshire AM

EarthQuaker Issue 95

Towards the end of 2019 Northamptonshire Area Meeting held a threshing meeting to discern the best use of our substantial financial reserves. The answer that came to us was to identify ways of making our meeting houses greener (we had already installed some eco measures such as an air source heat pump; we were also constrained by listed building status).  We formed a working party and started investigations. Covid put a stop to progress and when we were free to proceed again many of the original team had moved away or lost interest and our reserves had been affected by room hire loss of income.

Our three Meetings had lost heart and needed restoring. We are small Meetings of mainly older Friends and roles become harder to fill; we end up struggling with too much busyness. It is hard to stay focussed. We are now a small team and move slowly too – finding time is a major hold-up. We decided to embrace the whole Meeting in a holistic way. We visited Cotteridge Meeting to see what measures they had put in place. Afterwards we ate our sandwiches in the garden of Chris and Harriet Martin. A fox ran through the garden. Surely a symbol of hope and positivity.

Two of us also attended the Living Witness gathering at Woodbrooke in August 2022 and took away with us the positives and the doable. We have come up with the idea of engaging Friends through craft to express their feelings and concerns about the world. Our first session was at AM on 8 October,  based on an Appleseed workshop.

All this from me, who has grand intentions and rarely delivers. Like an author, I get ‘stuck’ so the panel I had intended making for the Loving Earth Project remains unstarted – no inspiration, can’t find the right backing, other jobs to do, and so on. However I felt greatly empowered and moved when I took part in The Big One in April, meeting other Quakers, holding an impromptu Meeting for Worship in St James Park, feeling in harmony with the thousands of people who had peacefully gathered to witness for climate justice.

Angela Atkins