Sawley Friends' Meeting House
Last night, Joyful Noise was held at the Quaker Meeting House at Sawley. We had a good time blasting out some great old hymns, as well as learning newer songs.
Quakers are generally said to have been founded by George Fox in the 1650s, who had a vision on nearby Pendle Hill of a people called unto God. Reacting against the formalism of the puritans, he helped form groups of 'friends' who would quietly meet together, looking within, rather than without. Having read and enjoyed Fox's Journals, which are still in print, it's clear that Fox was a firebrand, interrupting services and crying out against those in authority. Though a severe, humourless man, he rightly emphasised the inner witness of Christian faith, not just outward reliance on 'priests' and 'steeplehouses'.
Whereas I admire Fox, and I respect modern Quakerism for its integrity and social action, it is too theologically liberal for me. So liberal in fact, that Quakers I have encountered deny even the name Christian or the word 'God' as being far too narrow an expression for deity. So tranquil and pretty a place it might be, the Sawley Friends' Meeting House is unlikely to be a regular haunt of mine. No, take me to a pulpit where the old, old gospel is preached. The gospel of Peter, Luther, Calvin, Wesley- and Fox.