The thing is, if you have tinnitus, like I do, is it a good idea to go to a Quaker Meeting? This is what I did today. The answer is yes, because funnily enough a Quaker Meeting is not silent. A chap afterwards agreed with my suggestion that Quaker Meetings are not meditations but "waiting". There is a theological difference.
There were twelve present, and I was told it is sometimes more and sometimes fewer. The quip is that this is still more than the Unitarians.
It is not silent and not meditation, because a clock ticks (I'd like to have seen a large wooden clock!), people read and shuffle pages, and people get up and talk. The main inspired message by one individual was from Advices and Queries that we should share the burden of each others' failings. This was followed up. Mention was made of lessening conflict and thus reducing the impetus for terrorist outrages as with earlier this week. I "ministered" as well; I wasn't going to say anything but got to a point where I would. I said that I'd been on my travels looking in various places and that numbers were lower than expected, and I do want to get to the URC - it meets so very early! - and this is a body puzzling now over its very existence. But then as long as each group is authentic to itself then that's where it will find truth.
I didn't know they have afterthoughts. This is where, after finishing, and a quick greeting and chat, everyone sits down again for some more!
But the real surprise came in the coffee period. Here I have to mention the local Unitarians and my own opinion. I was in the Quaker building and told it was expensive to run. To me, it was fit for purpose, but I said to this person that the Hull Unitarian building, in my opinion, is not fit for purpose, and in my view doesn't have the space to make usable rooms, which this Quaker building enjoys. So I quipped that I would sell the Hull Unitarian building and move into this one, except for the difference in worship styles. On the other hand, the Unitarians might meet in the afternoon... The person spoke to said this would be really great to share ministry and witness from the one base.
The other point made there by this person was a 'so what' if the numbers are so low. The building serves community groups and this includes local health needs, so close is it to the main hospital. A chap said he used to use the Unitarian building in a yoga group, but this group now meets in the Quaker building. This just shows how daft is the inability to share, because the provision of building resources is useful to the same people.
I was always in a minority about this and of course I am not a Unitarian member and indeed have ceased to attend on Sundays. But as someone who was interested, I'd not improve the Hull Unitarian building, with the cost involved, but sell it to someone who'd find it useful and use the income to invest elsewhere. I would create some guaranteeing covenant for putting much of that money into the Society of Friends' building to be beneficial for both parties. I would not do it without the Unitarian name added to the front of the building, a notices area added and putting audio-visual equipment into the meeting room. If the Unitarians set up the equipment and the screen, the Quakers could use the same for business meetings, and other groups (with care) could use the equipment for whatever their purposes. Then do without books (put the lyrics, readings and images on screen) like they do at the Hull Community Church.
As for my tinnitus, it was noisy enough in there that I didn't notice it. But my dry throat and its tickle spot did demand repeated attention to avoid descending into coughing. That would have been a great nuisance in there.