Andrew Norman, Rector of St Nicolas’, Guildford
I was ordained in 1978 in the Canterbury diocese, serving in Deal, Maidstone and Tenterden. Since 1993 I have been Rector of St Nicolas’, Guildford. I am married to Jacky and we have two grown-up daughters.
My interest in Quakers stems from research many years ago for a doctoral thesis exploring the significance of silence in Christian experience. Latterly I realised that I felt completely at home within the Religious Society of Friends and so, with the support of my bishop, became a member. I now look for a thoroughly integrative approach to living the Christian faith.
The Quaker emphasis is on direct, simple experience of that which we may call God. Yet from that base I find I can draw on catholic resources Anglican, Roman and Eastern Orthodox and I am keen to encourage others to do so too. My hunch is that as so many familiar features of church life now break down there will be opportunities for us to connect with streams of contemporary life, exploring perhaps unpredictably new forms of spiritual renewal, sharing the riches of our movements.
I am an enthusiastic member of the Green Party. This is rooted in a holistic appreciation that everything is spiritual. Our economy and politics, a new deepening involvement with the rest of Europe, energy production and transport, all hang together.
Currently I am training to be a counsellor and look forward to working in that role as the next phase of my life when I retire from full-time church ministry next year.
I shall begin with an introduction to the experience of the ‘Inward Light’ that the first Quakers had in the context of the 17th century. This will lead into a silent Meeting for Worship. We shall then conclude with a discussion about the Quaker approach to ecumenism and how that might help us all feel more hopeful.