For over 350 years Quakers have produced an inordinate number of thinkers, scientists, businessmen, campaigners and entertainers.
Despite relatively few members worldwide, Quakers can rank among their numbers, two US Presidents, one First Lady, Politicians, Nobel Prize winners, Academy Award winners, BAFTA Award winners, writers, artists, musicians, the list goes on.
Quakers have been responsible for affecting our daily lives in many ways. Probably, in Britain, best known are the sweet makers Cadbury's, Rowntree's and Fry's and banks Lloyds and Barclays (although these businesses are no longer in Quaker "control"). It should be said here that Quaker Oats has nothing to do with Quakers - this was marketing ploy trading on Quaker values of honesty and integrity - although a Quaker did create the board game Monopoly.
Quakers have added their numbers to peace and social justice campaigns all over the world. Quakers were at the forefront of the abolition of slavery, prison reform and LBGT rights. They created the Friends Ambulance Service during the First World War and have been involved in the formation of many organisations including Amnesty International and Oxfam. Quakers have offices in the United Nations in New York, the League of Nations in Geneva and other international bodies.
What we do is easy to see, what we are is harder to explain.
If you have never been to a Quaker Meeting before, this may be helpful.
Quakers have no dogmas or creeds and no paid ministers. Each participant seeks to experience and learn about the religious life for her or himself. We have the conviction that each person can have direct experience of the Spirit of God and that there is something of God in everyone.
You will be met at the door to the Meeting Room by a Friend, who will ask you to sign our Visitors' book and show you into the Meeting Room, where you are free to sit anywhere.
A Quaker Meeting is a way of worship based on silence, a silence of expectancy in which we seek to come nearer to God and each other as we share the stillness of the Meeting. Participants are not expected to say or do anything other than join in this seeking. Do not be concerned if the silence seems strange at first. We rarely experience silence in everyday life so it is not unusual to be distracted by outside noise or roving thoughts. There is no fixed structure to the Meeting. There are no creeds, hymns or set prayers. There is no minister in charge and no formal service.
If someone feels compelled by the Spirit to speak, pray or read, the silence will be broken. Such ministry, which normally has not been planned before worship begins, seeks to enrich the gathered worship. If something is said that does not seem to make sense, try to reach behind the words to the Spirit which inspired them or allow them to be absorbed into the silence.
Meeting for Worship is not a debate so it is inappropriate to respond directly to spoken ministry, but it is not unusual for other ministry to build on what has been said before; however, it is custom for Friends to spend some time reflecting on what has been ministered, rather than speaking immediately. It is also customary to speak only once during Meeting for Worship.
No two Quaker Meetings are the same. A Meeting can embrace a wide range of experience. Some people may experience a profound sense of awe or an awareness of the presence of God. Others may have a less certain sense of an indefinable spiritual dimension.
Occasionally a Meeting will pass with no words spoken.
Here in Swansea, after an hour, an Elder at the Meeting will stand, signalling the end of worship and others will stand and join hands in the circle; the Elder will welcome everyone and ask for the silence to be held for a few more minutes in case anyone has an afterthought to offer.
After Meeting ends, the Clerk will welcome Friends and visitors and give any notices. A Friend will then speak to the current Appeal and this is followed by refreshments. You are very welcome to join in, but this is entirely up to you.
The Quaker Meeting House is located just outside Swansea's main city centre. The house dates back to 1858 and is the only surviving property of its type in the area, hence its Grade II listing.
The Meeting Room is the heart of the Meeting House.
A large 'L' shaped room with space for up to 54 people, the meeting room overlooks our front garden which is laid to lawn with a border of flowers and small trees and three raised beds overlooking St. Helens Road. Access to the garden is through a set of French windows. The large bay window also overlooks the garden. There is another large window that overlooks the flower border that runs alongside Page Street. The floor is newly-laid wooden laminate, which is part of the planned redecoration for the meeting room.
There are a number of tables that can be used for various purposes along with a number of meeting room-style chairs and classroom, stacking-type, seating.
Hire is from £20 per hour. (Minimum 2 hour booking.)
This room houses some of our meeting's books. A medium-sized, square room that overlooks the Meeting House patio that runs alongside Page Street. The Library seats up to 12.
The room is carpeted and has classroom-style stacking seating and two large, wooden tables. The patio, with its large honeysuckle tree, is accessed from a set of half-shuttered French windows which, when the front gates are opened, is completely self-contained.
Hire is from £12 per hour. (Minimum 2 hour booking.)
The John ap John room is named after the man who is thought of as the first Welsh Quaker, and is the smallest of all the rooms available for hire in the Meeting House.
Fully carpeted with a mixture of low-style armchairs and classroom-style stacking chairs to accommodate up to 12 people, the John ap John room is perfect for small, talk and sharing style groups or as a "break-out room" for larger groups using the Meeting Room.
Hire is from £12 per hour. (Minimum 2 hour booking.)
Converted from the original stable block of the main house, our annex is a separate, fully self-contained building consisting of a main room, kitchen, and unisex and accessible toilet.
The main part of the Annex is its large, carpeted room (34' x 12') which is perfect for parties, meetings, classes or conferences. There are a number of tables and office-style chairs which can be placed in various configurations depending on your use.
The kitchen is fitted with cooker, microwave and fridge. It also has a large water boiler for when more teas and coffees are needed than can be catered for by a humble kettle. There is also a supply of crockery and cutlery for communal use.
Hire is from £15 per hour. (Minimum 2 hour booking.)
Please note. Although cooking facilities are available in the kitchens of both the Meeting House and Annex, cooking is not allowed, however, the re-heating of pre-prepared food is.
For more information, to view, or to hire, please contact our Lettings Clerk.
From the railway station
Roughly, a fifteen minute, mostly flat, walk, exit the railway station and cross the main road, and walk along the road between Oldway House and Seren Student Accomodation buildings.
Follow the road past the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery (on the right), and continuse on past the Magistrates Court, and Swansea College of Art (on the left).
Continue walking until you come to Peter Alan Estate Agents, another six or seven minutes. This is on the corner of Page Street.
Turn left here, and continue to the bottom of the road. The Quaker Meeting House will be on your right, opposite the YMCA building.
From the Bus Station
This is a mostly flat route, which will take around five, or six, minutes.
Leave the bus station by the exit at the Co-op end of the concourse.
Walk past the old Wilco store, and cross over the road and walk toward the shops at the top of the road.
Turn left here (by the 'Eli Jenkins' public house), and continue past the arcades, and car park, to the lights.
Cross the road at the traffic lights, and once across the road, turn right.
Follow the road toward the roundabout, and turn left at the corner.
Cross the road at the crossing, and in front of you is the Meeting House.
Remember, use caution – walking directions may not always reflect real-world conditions