In 2001, for the 350th anniversary of Quakers first coming to Ireland, the members collectively embroidered three commemorative panels.
These panels represent key tenets of the Quaker faith: Peace, Worship and Service.
Our Research into the Anniversary Panels
The three panels were designed by Patsy Browne, the wife of one of our members, for the 350th anniversary in 2004 of Quakers first coming to Ireland. Patsy was a skilled craftswoman and embroiderer, and she planned the three panels to represent Peace, Worship and Service which are all key to our Quaker faith. Everyone was encouraged to help stitch the borders, which consist of olive branches, sunflowers and flax flowers respectively. This involvement of the whole meeting makes the panels very special, particularly as Patsy and some of the others who contributed are no longer with us.
The first panel represents Quakerism and Peace. It includes words from the Quaker Peace Testimony and the dove and green olive branches around the border feature as symbols of peace.
The centre panel represents worship. In the Quaker tradition, the round table occupies the centre of the Meeting room and contributes to everyone’s sense of belonging to the Meeting. This table represents both the gathered Meeting and God, who is without beginning or end. This panel represents both the old Meeting House and the current one, with Quakers in old-fashioned and modern dress to remind us that Quakers have been worshipping in this area of Belfast since 1799.
The Service panel (right panel) depicts some of the current work undertaken by our charity, Quaker Service, which runs a cross-community programme for mothers and children from North and West Belfast (at Quaker Cottage) and also supports isolated prisoners in prisons across Northern Ireland through the Quaker Connections project. Quaker Service evolved out of a voluntary response at the start of the ‘Troubles’ in 1969, when the old Meeting House was opened as a refuge for those who had been burnt or intimidated out of their homes. Ways were sought over the following years to achieve reconciliation and serve the community, just as previous generations had worked to end slavery, help the poor and provide famine relief.