Part 2. Addition by SP:
On Saturday 15th March I went up to Friends House, London to take part in a one-day conference "Quaker Threshings". This was an extension of the "Quaker Quest" programme. The main speaker was Frank Parkinson and we had received several papers by him outlining his philosophy, about the nature of God (his views are scientific and very radical) and the supposed crisis in which Quakers find themselves in Britain and many other liberal Yearly Meetings. Elsewhere I will be writing quite a lot, based on his analysis. After Franks's address we broke into groups and I found myself in one with several people who I soon realised were quite brilliant and were very knowledgeable of the subject matter. With one of these, a very large man, I had a minor spat. but thereafter we got on well. I asked a lot of questions and he and others answered them quickly, clearly, and interestingly. At break I got talking to this large man and we seemed to really hit it off. I found his name to be Adrian Cairns and realised I had seen his name in many Quaker journals, and I think on Quaker-B. (A Quaker Newsgroup.) I was delighted to find that he was a member of my Monthly Meeting (I had transferred to it recently), and of the local Meeting nearest to mine. I went home excited by the thrust of the conference (though increasingly critical of many of the views expressed) and eagerly anticipating more interaction with this jovial giant - a man with a giant personality, and a giant mind.
Next day, Sunday, in Meeting I pondered on the theories I'd heard and had what I felt was an important religious 'opening'. My gratitude was directed towards Adrian who I felt had helped me make a significant step forward in my spiritual development.
After Meeting the Clerk announced that Adrian Cairns had died that morning. I interrupted, exclaiming genuinely, "It can't be true!".
When I read the above announcement, and went to the funeral and later to a tree planting meeting at the Old Vic Drama School I realised that his greatness as a spiritual inspiration was just one of his many greatnesses. I thank God for the grace shown in the life of such an individual. SP 14/7/03
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