The purpose of the pilot programme is to explore whether having locally-based staff can help meetings to thrive as communities with a vital Quaker ministry, becoming stronger, more connected, more confident, more engaged, and more sustainable.
Helen Oldridge is our Local Development Worker for Wales and the Southern Marches. Helen introduces herself as follows:
“I have attended Cardiff Quaker meeting for 20 years. Over this time I have been involved with Children’s Work, a fundraising project for QPSW, editing the South Wales Quaker Newsletter, the Pastoral Care team, the End of Life Matters group and Nominations.
I am passionate about strengthening relationships by sharing our stories; and finding out what nourishes us spiritually so that we can do more of it. These are things that I believe will help us to build more vibrant meetings and communities. I love the Welsh word for Vibrancy “Bywiogrwydd” which sounds so full of life and spirit!
Helen started work September 2016 and hopes to get out and about to different meetings and events so that she gets to know her area, and so that local meetings can get to know her.
Vibrancy in Meetings is not a “new thing” which meetings have to subscribe to; it’s part of the support and information structure to help meetings do what they already do, or develop in the ways they wish to develop.
The programme will inform Britain Yearly Meeting and Woodbrooke, as well as the wider community, helping them to shape their work in supporting local meetings.
The Vibrancy in Meetings Programme is responsive – the team will respond to requests from local meetings, and work with them in a planned way.
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The first few weeks as the Local Development Worker for Wales and Southern Marches.
September 2016 we started at Woodbrooke, a very fitting place as the initiative began with Woodbrooke and Friends House wanting to find a way of working together more closely, and we started with a gathered period of Worship, also very fitting for a Programme that is based on a vision of Spiritual, Pastoral and Practical support. We met key members of the Woodbrooke staff and heard about some of the historic aims of Woodbrooke, and how these are continuing today as part of the current Woodbrooke Strategy in the “Fostering of a vital Friends’ Ministry” through providing learning opportunities for Quakers to grow as individuals and as a community.
We then had a number of inductions at Friends House and discovered more about Vibrancy in Meetings from Paul Parker, along with his passion for seeing the Society of Friends thrive. The Programme itself comes under the Recording Clerk’s Office. I was struck by the enthusiastic welcome we all received as we were introduced to each new member of staff across all departments. I realised that they see us as the connecting point or “two way conduit” between Friends House/ Woodbrooke, and Local Meetings.
I have been touched as well by the kindness and support from Area Meetings who have started welcoming me and inviting me to attend events. As we get to know each other better I look forward to becoming a familiar face that walks alongside your Local Meetings as you follow a path of celebrating, exploring, developing, learning, sharing, struggling and thriving in the Quaker Way.
The Vibrancy Programme is seeking to tap into what is already available by working with Local Meetings to narrow down and focus on the existing resources and opportunities that will best serve and support the current needs of that Meeting.
|Vibrancy in Meetings Local Development Worker
Wales and Southern Marches
Mobile no: 07422 972 990