National Quaker Week is coming up in September and I, for one, am looking forward to the chance to become a Quaker for a week. Centrally, a programme of newspaper adverts and publicity is being planned and local Meetings will be doing their bit to bring people in off the streets or gather them in the market places and hills as in old.
It should be fun. Just as Fairtrade fortnight is a chance to indulge in good chocolate, coffee and again decide you will buy fairtrade clothes instead of cheap bright things from H&M, National Quaker Week will be a chance to enjoy some silent Meetings and worship in your own style. Be sure to give up violence (physical and structural) for the week, especially if you are an arms dealer, prime minister or manager. Wage real, active peace and discern some brilliant ideas, being sure to find collaborators who can change the world with you. If you really want to go for the Fox style of Quakerism, wear simple clothes, drop all titles for the week, wear a hat at all times (especially if asked to remove it) and step into pubs to verbally abuse the revellers in such a way that actually persuades them to come out and join you in a Great Gathering.
I hope that Quaker Week will spread internationally too, with all the great new Friendly bloggers sharing their journeys online. Online Meetings will undoubtedly take place but it's also worth checking out a real Meeting in your area where hopefully they will be holding some at better times than Sunday mornings (in my experience a time of silent slumber without me having to get up to sit in a circle with other people). The Meetings I've taken part in during busy times have been the most valuable, injecting inspiration and energy into the day from an apparently quiet time.
I've decided that the only way to celebrate National Quaker Week is through a Facebook group. Let's hope my addiction hasn't moved on by September. I'm now looking for real-life Quakers to be the elders and overseers of this enterprise so if you're on there, come and find it!