Why I am a Quaker - Abigail Maxwell

I am a Quaker for the people. I am a Quaker for the person who can relate to anyone, of any age, and share enthusiasm - with that empathy, she is my role model; for the brilliant intellects; for the one whose beautiful love inspires me, for the one who supports me in my misery, shares my joy and makes me laugh, because of sharing coffee, and lunches, and evenings; for being able so easily to cadge lifts; for the delight of a particular friend's voice at YM, and the amazement of seeing his wife who had been so ill.

I am a Quaker for Minute 36, for our struggles to find new ways of living our faith beyond giving more money, for us, building the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth, for an alternative way of Valuing people and things beyond the value capitalism assigns.

I am a Quaker because I worshipped almost weekly, and when I felt uncomfortable worshipping God pretending to be a man and uncomfortable expressing myself female with the Anglicans, I was welcome in the Quaker meeting. My girlfriend had introduced me to her Meeting a year before. I was a stranger and you took me in. Ten months later when I became a member that acceptance gave me the courage to express myself female at work. At YM, I had a heart-felt sense of my beauty as God's creation, and of the love of God for me - for the first time!

I am a Quaker because of my first experience of the Meeting room at Wellingborough, where stepping through the door felt Holy, stepping into a hallowed space, and for the loving welcome I received there. I am a Quaker for the profound sense of worship at Yearly Meeting, and because people I had never met before gave me bed and breakfast for the long weekend. I love the challenge of clerking and the search for Unity. I love the encounter with silence, when it is gathered and when I am angry, depressed, tired or spiritually cold.

There are people I respect, or delight in - or both! - in Kettering, Northampton, Oundle and Wellingborough. I am a Quaker for my community.

Abigail Maxwell