Average read time: 3 minutes

Roots and branches: sharing and supporting our Quaker work

Maisa Monteiro explains how she found a new way to illustrate the varied work Britain Yearly Meeting does with and on behalf of Quakers.

Nurturing Britain Yearly Meeting, growing Quakerism: the BYM tree.
Nurturing Britain Yearly Meeting, growing Quakerism: the BYM tree.

I still remember how inspired I was when I read a particular letter from a donor to Britain Yearly Meeting.

It explained how his Jewish grandfather was rescued from Germany ahead of WWII by Quakers and the Kindertransport. He said how grateful his family are to Quakers; what seemed a small gesture at time is forever engrained in his family legacy.

It makes me proud to know that I work for an organisation that has been and continues to be part of such impactful work, and to share that work with others.

What do we do?

Having worked in the fundraising team for six years, the most common question I hear is: what is Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) and what does it do? It's a simple question, but it can be a challenge to answer. How best to sum up the wide variety of work BYM does with and on behalf of Quakers?

Lots of people know one aspect of our work really well. Someone might get in touch because their Quaker meeting house is trying to be more ecologically sustainable, and then be delighted to also learn that staff are working for climate justice.

Another Friend might look at our website because they need advice about organising a Quaker wedding but also find themselves interested in articles about peacebuilding in East Africa. Someone interested in the work of EAPPI might also find themselves drawn to our videos on the spiritual aspects of Quakerism.

Finding an image

It's a lot to convey! We don't always know what people will be most interested to learn about, so I got to thinking about the best way to capture the work of BYM in one image or metaphor. But what metaphor should it be?

Perhaps it should be the body of an athlete, training and eating well to get stronger. Perhaps it should be a gathering wave, like the nonviolent change work of the Turning the Tide Programme. Maybe BYM is like a well-organised chocolate factory built by Quaker industrialists. Or a ship setting sail for uncertain shores, guided by faith.

They're all nice images. Maybe you can imagine a better one. But in the end, we settled for something tried and true: a tree.

Strengthened by our roots

The leaves of our tree illustrate our diverse work, including: Quaker Life, children and young people, Turning the Tide, local development, economic sustainability, climate justice, peace education, peace and disarmament, Sanctuary Everywhere and peacebuilding overseas.

Perhaps you can imagine the leaves falling to earth in autumn to nourish the soil and spread our ideas further. The trunk represents BYM and the roots represent the money and service that sustain the work.

It was wonderful to work closely with our design team who were able to turn my image into reality. I hope it helps to explain more about BYM and how the donations, contributions and grants we receive ensure Quaker work will carry on for generations.

I would love to know your thoughts about the design and on sharing and supporting our varied work – you can drop me an email at contributions@quaker.org.uk

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