An Encounter with Truth


Spring 1998 No 2 – 01/03/1998


Author: Harvey Gillman

Document Code: WJ02

Description: After this edition, we may change direction and use the Journal for publishing the fruits of the new Eva Koch Research Fellowships, but in the meantime we are continuing to use the Journal to give an opportunity for a Friend associated with Woodbrooke to give extended attention to a topic of Quakerly interest.

In this issue, Harvey Gillman, well-known Quaker writer and speaker, looks at models of mission and outreach and the theology of encounter. As I write this in January 1998, the Woodbrooke community is in the middle of the module Signposts and Legacies: inheriting the Quaker Tradition. This course is looking at the nature of Quaker faith and its transmission, taking its lead from Christine Trevett’s 1997 Swarthmore Lecture. What does Quaker faith consist of? How are we to talk of it to each other and to non-Friends? What is our good news? How have we come to learn our Quakerism and how do we pass it on?

It has been a full three weeks. We have had talks by Christine herself, Alastair Heron, Janet Scott, and Harvey. With his typical energy and insight, Harvey has helped us see what the dilemmas are for Friends in talking about their own faith and the wider Quaker way and helped us understand the nature of current Quaker outreach in Britain. He performs a similar task in this piece, originally a talk given at the Quaker Studies Research Association conference ‘From Mission to Outreach?’ organised by The Centre for Quaker Studies, University of Sunderland in April 1997.

I used to work in the office next to Harvey’s at Friends House and we would act as shoulders for each other’s tears of frustration at times. Whilst he had been a personal friend for many years prior, it was a particular privilege for me to have Harvey as such a close colleague over those years and one too for me to be able to introduce his work in this edition of the Journal. Over to you, Harvey!

Ben Pink Dandelion

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