All posts by nottinghamquakers

Silent Podcast makes a splash

The Young Quakers Podcast has been making a splash recently in local, national, and global media. In February they released their ‘silent podcast’, broadcasting an entire Meeting for Worship complete with little shuffles, chairs creaking, and the flicking of Advices & Queries pages.

The almost silent episode, dubbed ‘slow radio’, stimulated much conversation in the media around the nature of silence in a busy and hectic world, and what Meeting for Worship can offer.

The Church Times, the Friend, and The Guardian all published pieces about it, and our podcast host, Jess, was interviewed on local and national Radio stations and for a short BBC film about the decision to broadcast a Meeting. The news story even made it to the States when it was covered by NPR, and the podcast gained over 900 downloads in 24 hours while the coverage was happening.

You can find a list of links to the interviews and articles published below:

The Guardian article written about the silent podcast:

A short film made by the BBC about our silent podcast recording. It was recorded on Wednesday 4th April at Nottingham Meeting House, and despite being filmed, the Meeting we had there was also surprisingly beautiful and gathered:

The Church Times’ article covering the story:

Podcast host Jess on BBC Radio Nottingham on The Breakfast Show, talking about why we recorded our silent podcast, and the value of quietness in our busy lives:

Jess on local BBC Radio stations in England, talking to Georgey Spanswick on her show Georgey Tonight about the podcast, who the Quakers are, and what Quaker silence is really like.

Jess on BBC Radio 5 Live, talking about the podcast, spiritual diversity in Quakerism, and how faith and science don’t have to be mutually exclusive:

Jess, and her husband Joe, on BBC Radio Nottingham talking about how they came to Quakerism, and how silence plays a role in their faith:

It was even mentioned on Have I Got News For You!

The Young Quaker Podcast

One of the exciting projects that was partially inspired by Nottingham Young Quakers is The Young Quaker Podcast, a podcast made by and made for young adult Quakers.

I’ve been coming to NYQ events for a couple of years now, and have always loved the laughter, stimulating conversation, and friendship I have felt here. I decided that I wanted to expand this supportive community in whatever way I could, and being an avid podcast fan embarked on a mission for create a podcast for young adult Friends that would encapsulate the sense of community I had experienced at NYQ.

Posting in the Facebook page Friends Don’t Let Friends Procrastinate: Quaker Support and Accountability (also set up by a member of NYQ), my ideas were met with great enthusiasm from the community, and with the help of the lovely people at The Young Quaker magazine (TYQ), Friends House (the HQ of Quakers in Britain), and Young Friends General Meeting (YFGM), I was able to set up the Young Quaker Podcast as a sister publication to TYQ magazine.

The first episode came out in November 2017 and discussed ‘Beginnings’ with two Friends from Nottingham, and featured NYQ as an example of one of the many young adult Friends groups springing up all over the UK at the moment. Quakers in Britain also kindly agreed to partially fund the podcast, allowing me to get a good microphone and pay an excellent audio editor, who co-composed our awesome jingle too! It is also edited by some of The Young Quaker magazine’s editors, and part of what has been so wonderful about setting the podcast up is the community support and real collaborative effort that goes into producing episodes.

Each one includes the personal journey of a young Quaker to their faith, a central discussion about the podcast topic that month, and a young Quaker focus segment, where we look at what young Quakers are doing locally, and globally. The idea behind the formatting was to move from a more intimate retelling of a Friend’s story, then zooming out to several young Quakers’ opinions on a broader topic, and finally moving back again to look at global young Quaker groups in the world, creating a cross-section of views and voices that value each individual as well as the broader young Quaker picture.

Often recording at Nottingham Meeting House, I am reminded of what an important role NYQ has had in my setting up the podcast. Without the friends I have made and discussions I have had here I never would have been energised to start this project, showing just how significant and valuable community can be. I’m so excited to see how much it has grown, and as we move towards 1000 downloads and beyond I am even more excited to see where the podcast will go.

The Young Quaker Podcast aims to be a space for young F/friends to able to express and explore their spirituality, engage in lively discussions, and be part of a supportive community of young adult Quakers. Episodes are released monthly every 22nd of the month, with different topics and guests as we tackle questions like young Quakers’ experiences of God, Quaker social witness, and what Quaker silence actually sounds like in a Meeting for Worship. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play by searching for “Young Quaker Podcast”, or via libsyn or SoundCloud. If you’re interested in coming on the podcast either as a guest, or to talk about what young Quakers are doing near you, please email us at

Halloween 2017

Since University Hallowe’en has been one of my favourite times of the year. To me, it is a great chance to get together with friends and have fun without having to navigate the maze of social rituals that seem inherent to the way our society celebrates some of the other special occasions. Even better, this year brought with it not one but two NYQ Hallowe’en celebrations!

The first event was held at the Meeting House earlier in October: a spooky bring and share supper followed by the puritan horror film The VVitch.

As it was Hallowe’en, a horror film seemed appropriate, but there was only one problem: most of us (myself included) don’t like jump scares! Fortunately, I found a website listing horror films with few jump scare, if any. From there we developed a shortlist, and a poll of the NYQs selected The VVitch as our Hallowe’en film. Here’s what IMDb says about it:

“A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.”

It received a Rotten Tomatoes  Tomatometer rating of 91%, with critics scoring it an average of 7.8/10. They said:

“As thought-provoking as it is visually compelling, The Witch delivers a deeply unsettling exercise in slow-building horror that suggests great things for debuting writer-director Robert Eggers.”

I… can’t say that the NYQs were in agreement. After making it through the film’s 92 minutes there was stunned silence, and then laughter. Jaz (who had been The VVitch’s main advocate) immediately apologised, and we then set about dissecting everything we didn’t like about the film. In short: it had some really cool ideas, I personally really liked the idea of the ending, and someone had clearly put a lot of work into researching 17th century beliefs about witchcraft, but it did not come together well. SPOILER ALERT: The characters who openly worship the family’s black goat are, in fact, in league with the devil.

Still, watching a terrible horror film together was a bonding experience, and in a strange way we all had a good night.

For the second part of our Hallowe’en celebrations we attended The Final Girls Present We Are the Weirdos  at Broadway cinema. This was 82 minutes of short, horror-themed films from female voices, and therefore the second year the NYQ Hallowe’en festivities had involved feminist cinema.

With the exception of Undress Me (which was just plain weird), we found something to like in most of the films, which covered a huge range of styles and subjects. Dead. Tissue. Love. was a darkly fascinating monologue over short, artistically-shot, thematically relevant footage; Don’t Think of a Pink Elephant was a claymation exploration of intrusive thoughts; Pulse had the audience audibly squirming as the haunting presence became physically manifest; and Shortcut was an unashamedly ridiculous tale of cheating boyfriend getting exactly what he deserved, leaving the audience in hysterics.

After the films there was a quiz in the bar, but I don’t like quizzes and the rest of the group couldn’t find a space, so we decided to cut our losses and head home.

This was the second year I have celebrated Hallowe’en with NYQ, and I had a fantastic time. I hope for many more in the future!