Introducing Quakers: The Role of Friends House
Friends House is a building in central London, UK, in which the administration for Britain Yearly Meeting is accommodated. Quaker Life looks after, sustains and develops Quaker Meetings. Quaker Life Representative Council is a gathering of Area Meeting representatives who meet in order to discuss, explore and share information about Quaker Life work in support of Meetings. Quaker Peace & Social Witness organises humanitarian work to be done in our name. These projects and programmes are administered from Friends House.
Friends House is a large building, situated opposite Euston railway station, on the Euston Road in central London, UK. It is where the administration for Britain Yearly Meeting is accommodated. The building also houses a one thousand seat capacity Meeting Room, many smaller rooms in which meetings of various kinds are held, a bookshop, and a cafe. Outside, there is a courtyard. In common with all Quaker buildings in Britain, Friends House is not a sacred building, and both the Meeting Room and the smaller rooms are available for hire.
Friends House: Quakers in Britain
When Yearly Meeting takes place in London, a thousand or more Quakers descend on Friends House. They may visit the bookshop, and certainly use the cafe. At other times, many of the meeting rooms are available for hire by outside groups.
Administering an organisation of over twenty thousand Quakers (Friends and Attenders) is not a small undertaking. It is achieved by means of a combination of paid staff and voluntary representatives from Area Meetings who meet from time to time in committee. The paid staff are mostly based in Friends House, and the committee meetings also usually take place in Friends House.
Quaker Life is the name given to the section of the administration that looks after, sustains and develops Quaker Meetings (Local Meetings and Area Meetings). Quaker Life Representative Council is a gathering of Area Meeting representatives who meet in order to discuss, explore and share information about Quaker Life work in support of Meetings. This work includes issues of faith and practice, diversity and inclusion, children and young people, looking after and managing staff (wardens) who work in or live in a Quaker Meeting House, outreach, and pastoral care.
Bearing in mind that Quakerism is significantly about ‘faith in action’, many Quakers ask for humanitarian work to be done in our name. The kind of work that is undertaken is extremely varied: for example, peace education in Britain, peace-building in East Africa, the Ecumenical Accompaniers Programme in Palestine & Israel, looking after the human rights of refugees, challenging the injustices of the British criminal justice system, and so on. Many of these projects and programmes are administered from Friends House under the heading of Quaker Peace & Social Witness.