In October we held our annual planning meeting to set out a programme for events in the coming year which we hope will help us to both look outward and make connections, but also offer spaces for reflection. The East Midlands covers a wide area and whilst most of our events are based in Leicester as a central point, we try to visit the furthest points of where members live, currently Derby, Northampton and Corby at least once a year. We’ve kept in touch with other local LGBT Christians by going along to the Carol Service of St Nicholas’ Church in the centre of Leicester, the only East MIdlands church listed by Changing Attitude as a Welcoming and Open congregation. And we’ve also celebrated a House Mass in Leicester (in January) led by the chaplain at this year’s conference. The next meeting will be hosted by John in Corby on Saturday 21st February starting with Evening Prayer at 6.30pm, followed by supper, and the evening will end with a viewing of an award-winning German film, Stations of the Cross (Kreuzweg).
We’re planning a joint event with the West Midlands group in March for a day trip to Lichfield to see it’s famous cathedral and in April heading to a Farm Street Mass. A good start to our plan for the year. Later in 2015 we are looking forward to welcoming the Quest Conference back to the Diocese of Nottingham, in Swanwick. See you there!
- Greg Thornton
The big piece of news to share with you is that following a lengthy discussion it has been decided that the Quest North West group which has been meeting in Liverpool will not meet during 2015 as we consider the future of a Quest Local Group. Robert and Warren have both needed to step down from the local committee due to increased professional and parish commitments.
However, all is not lost! There is still a very strong commitment amongst those gathered to see a local Quest presence. Again following lengthy discussion the following action plan was determined:
- Not organise a programme for 2015 at this point.
- To transfer the newsletter distribution list to the Yorkshire convenor to ensure continuity of communication and an invitation to join Yorkshire activities where accessible.
- Robert, Edward, Warren and Gez will meet in February to discuss further possibilities following consultation with other members and Quest National.
- To organise a North West gathering in March/April to consider if a re-launch is viable.
- Warren Hartley
We had a very successful Christmas party and grateful thanks to all who organised and participated. We are now looking forward to the New Year and hope to expand on the various events that proved popular in 2014. The monthly date of attending a weekday Mass in Central London followed by lunch not only gave us an opportunity to visit Churches many of us had not been to before but also gave us a good knowledge of various pubs and restaurants nearby. House Masses during the year were very well attended and I am grateful to all those who offered their home and to the priests who celebrated. Such has been the success that a number of London members have offered to host in the year ahead. So we look forward to a full programme of activities in the year ahead.
- Ralph Long
The group continues to thrive. In May we chose the topic of HEROES to consider and each member brought some aspect of a chosen “hero” to talk about. The choices were amazingly diverse. The size of the group dictated that we had to split into pre and post lunch deliberations. A great session though.
June was entitled “A Day with Anne Lister”. We had a joint meeting with our local LGCM friends. Anne was a 19th century landowner, diarist, traveller, mountaineer and is also known as “the first modern lesbian”. She is a local woman to Halifax and we studied her life and visited her home. All who took part agreed it was a fascinating day. She is well worth researching.
July – Yorkshire were well represented at the Summer Conference in Scarborough (representing over 10% of delegates). We hosted the conference as the local group and gave a warm Yorkshire welcome to the delegates. The group were excellent ambassadors and supported Nick (the conference organiser) in numerous ways.
Between welcomers, liturgy planners and readers, tours of Scarborough and Whitby, plus raffle ticket sellers, I think that we can safely say we played our part in a highly successful conference.
September – we met in Manchester at Mark Dowd’s new residence. This was a joint meeting between Quest Yorkshire and Quest North West. We were welcomed to his beautifully appointed apartment in central Manchester which allowed us to conduct the main purpose of the day – a visit to the celebrated Norman Adams Stations of the Cross at St Mary’s church (the Hidden Gem) , Mulberry Street, near Deansgate. Gez led a presentation and background to the stations. Lunch followed and then a pleasant walk to this significant church pre-dating Catholic emancipation. Some members remained for Mass.
November – Our theme was “Two Remarkable People”. We had presentations about:
- Fr Mychal Judge(first martyr of the 9/11 attacks) Franciscan chaplain to the New York Fire department.
- Fr Henri Nouwen (theologian, writer)
Both of these were subjects of the LGBT retreat at St Beuno’s centre in November – taking the title of “Wounded Healers”. Several members gave moving accounts of what they learned from the experience. We had another new participant from Sheffield. The gathering was also a Housewarming for Gez and Nick’s new residence on the hills above Halifax.
January 2015 – our theme was Epiphany and we took some thoughts from Mark Dowd’s deliberations (via Facebook) on his experience of Epiphany in Central America recently. We followed up this with a carousel of prayer methods used as aids to meditation and a focus on our personal prayer-life and needs. Again we welcomed a new participant from York.
We remain a healthy and vibrant group. Long may it continue.