The meeting houses in which Friends in the Australia West Pacific Section worship are as varied as the places where we live. Here’s a snapshot-in-words of some of the locations where we worship in the region. And please share your own for the next edition of the newsletter!
I worship with two other Quakers in the residence of one of us. It’s a 25 year-old house mostly made of cement with galvanized iron roofing. There are several trees and plants in its surroundings. It’s a 36-square meter house built on a 280-square meter lot, with glass jalousie windows secured by iron grills, wooden door, and fenced with cement and iron grills, too. Just right for a tropical climate, it’s very simple. But since it is located on a hill, it is usually peaceful, except that the houses around it are clustered to each other closely because this is part of a socialized housing project. When there are visitors, we usually choose to worship elsewhere at an office or at a garden resort that serves organic food.
Denmark, Western Australia
‘The Sanctuary’ is a community meeting place beside the river. It’s shaped like a hexagon, is made of mud bricks and has an earth roof with native plants growing on top.
There are glass doors, and light reflects onto the walls and floor tiles. In the angle of one wall there is a wood stove for winter fires. It blends into the landscape and is very peaceful.
We are a core group of four. Once a month we are joined by Friends from Albany, 50kms away, when we worship and share lunch together.
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Just five minutes on my bike gets me to Canberra Friends Meeting House. My children grew up in this meeting so there are many memories for me attached to this place. The meeting room is a hexagon (now I know this is the same as Denmark WA) and although it is in an inner city suburb, is surrounded by trees and a garden recently built by local Friends. Canberra is blessed with native birds and I love listening to them during worship time.
Thirty or 40 Quakers gather each Sunday morning – sometimes more. Canberra is the capital of Australia and we often have visitors that remind us of the world wide family of Friends and the web of friendship that connects us.
We gather together for worship every Sunday in newly constructed meeting house. The old building was sold to Friends in Bhopal in 1939 by the then NAWAB (King of Bhopal ) at very nominal cost. Even before purchase we have been worshipping in that building since long. It is located in Pari Bazar – means Fairy’s Market. Before independence this place was well secured because only Ladies and on fixed day women from the Nawab family used to come at this place for purchases. Now it is not so. Some old historical buildings are still around our meeting one of them is Golghar means round house.
About 100 people can participate in the meeting but 25 to 40 people gather for worship every Sunday. Mostly we have programmed worship meetings but on the first Sunday of the month we hold open worship meeting where who so ever is moved by the spirit leads the meeting by singing, praying or sharing his/her witness. We have one monthly meeting at Raisen . We visit Raisen once in a year where Lunch is provided by Raisen MM. We celebrate Christmas, Easter joyfully and always have Lunch together.
Palmerston North, Aotearoa/New Zealand
My home place of Worship is a Meeting House set on a small piece of land with a small space of lawn, fruit trees and two lovely birches. It is built from concrete blocks, simple, not lined on the inside but with big windows so that the trees outside can be seen as the breeze blows through them. The sun shines onto a plain wooden floor bringing warmth and instils calmness to the small group who worship together, mostly in silence.
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Like Ronis, I usually worship in the Canberra Meeting House in Australia.
We are fortunate to have our own building where we can meet comfortably. We built the building to be a useful resource to others in our community. There are some meditation groups who use it. Sometimes the building is used by an organisation who teaches English to new-comers to Australia. A group who supports the families of people who are in prison meet there. We have several rooms that can be used at the same time.
We are always pleased to see our building being used, especially when people comment that it is a lovely place to meet in, and how they find that it helps their meetings run well. Many people in Canberra know about Quakers because they see or use our Meeting House. Maybe they read our signs that introduce Quakerism as they cycle past.
A forest of buildings, tall and dense. Think ‘urban’. A place of peace, a pre-school, with soft mats, and order. People: from near and far. Language: English, but Chinese too. Visitors: welcomed, and we’ll be friends with you. A meeting: growing, healing, bonding, seeking more truth on our journey together and journeys individually. Communicating: not just Sundays, but all days – with WhatsApp.
A future: how to be Quaker in China, how to seek more of being Quaker in China. Change: the speed of change, the effects of change on society. Let us know if you plan to visit Hong Kong. See: www.friends-hk.org for more details.