A new year can bring with it a variety of sentiments: relief that the old year has departed, the anticipation of better times, the hope for change, to name but a few. The March issue of the Australian Friend offers a selection of diverse articles, which may challenge, confuse and evoke pleasant or difficult memories, but above all engage Friends in the workings of the Spirit among us.

            The article Our Way Forward to a New QA Office presented by the Transition Implementation Working Group or TIWG – we Quakers love our acronyms – challenges us to see the changes as “an Adventure” and “Radical” which reminds us of Advice 29 “Live adventurously….” and of early Friends with their radical approach to Christianity that so disturbed the established church and government of their time.

            Rainbow Friends’ article Exploring Gender may confuse and/or challenge some older Friends but gives us all an insight into the difficulties still facing those that question the status quo, even in the 21st century. Again, we are reminded of early Friends who dared to be different at a time when to do so, often led to lengthy imprisonment in appalling conditions.

            Memories abound in the text and photographs of Werona – a place of peace which serves as both a refuge and an inspiration for many Australian Friends.

            The review of the IPAN report: Charting our Own Course:  Questioning Australia’s Involvement in Us-led Wars and the United States Alliance. The results of a People’s Inquiry by the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) gives us up-to-date information and much food for thought, vital as the war in Ukraine enters its second year.

            I finish with a quote from The Brothers and Sisters of Jesus.  How I smiled as I read Rae Litting’s interpretation of Jesus’ response to Peter’s question, how many times should I forgive my brother? as I envisaged “a man who shared a small sleeping space with 4 brothers, all treading on each other’s toes and borrowing each other’s possessions?  Surely seven acts of forgiveness would hardly get you through the week.”

            We trust Friends will find every segment a worthwhile read.

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