11. Returning to the 1689 Room

Today, Lincoln Meeting House opened its 1689 room after the lockdown and I went along for its re-opening.

It felt strange to be back at the Meeting House. I’d been to the last Meeting for Worship, (MfW) which was held back in March (I think – it seems so long ago). Normally, there are 10 – 20 Friends present, but this number has been reduced to a maximum of 12 being allowed at anyone time.

After several weeks of seeing Friends on a Sunday morning via Zoom, it was lovely to see friendly faces in the flesh. During the summer, in recent weeks, there had been MfWs in the back gardens of Friends in Lincoln who live close to the Meeting House.

Luckily, I’d been able to attend a couple of these ‘garden meetings’ and gathering outside in a natural environment was a pleasant change that definitely made me feel more connected to the First Generation Quakers, who had no purpose-built buildings and would often worship in open spaces. Listening to birdsong and the wind whistling in the trees, had made me appreciate the silence of MfW in a completely new way.

Now, returning to the 1689 room where MfW is held, the silence felt new here as well. Including me, there were six Friends in attendance – all sitting in carefully distanced chairs. In one corner of the room, sitting on a plain table, was a laptop with our Zoom Friends joining in.

This was Lincoln Meeting House’s first blended MfW – meaning Friends being present either in person or online, but all gathered as one.

Yes, it felt good to be back in my favourite sacred space, walking past the Licence for Worship and hearing the wooden floorboards creak.

Image by Smudge

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