Recent History

Recent History of Newark Meeting

Until recently there has not been a Quaker Meeting House in Newark. Quakers from the Newark area had over the years travelled to Brant Broughton in Lincolnshire to worship.

In 2010  Brant Broughton Friends had set up an outreach group whose aim was to look for ways of raising the profile of their meeting in the local area and to try and find ways of letting more local people know something about Quakerism.

In 2011 they had the idea of organising meetings at a lunchtime in the two neighbouring towns of Sleaford and Newark. They tried Sleaford first but only attracted Brant Broughton regulars. The response in Newark was much better, and so it was decided to concentrate their energies in Newark and to persevere with the lunchtime meetings in Newark, advertising them in the local press as ‘Silence in a Busy Day’. A short 30 minute meeting was held on every second and fourth Wednesday. Initially a Yoga studio was used, but then the Newark Methodists agreed to let us use the attractive foyer to their Barnby Gate Methodist church which proved a very comfortable and convenient location for the lunchtime Meetings. Numbers slowly grew and attracted new attenders who became regulars and started to form the nucleus of a Newark group. By summer 2015 we were thinking of adding a Sunday meeting once a month on the third Sunday. This started in September 2015 and proved successful, though as the Methodists are meeting at the same time we had to use one of their smaller rooms in the next building.

Some of us who had been involved with the Newark meetings from the start were asking as to where the meeting should go next; so a meeting of Newark Friends was held on 30/11/2016. Thirteen Friends were present and the strong feeling of the meeting was that it was time now to establish Newark as a separate local meeting.

One problem was that the original Newark initiative had come from Brant Broughton Meeting which is in Lincolnshire and many Newark Friends were members of Brant Broughton and therefore Lincolnshire Area Meeting but Newark of course is in Nottinghamshire. Fortunately, we had already been in contact with Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Area Meeting who had wholeheartedly supported our Newark efforts. So our Newark group wrote a minute to be sent to Brant Broughton which was supported at their business meeting and forwarded to Lincolnshire Area Meeting. On Saturday January 15th the establishment of a new meeting in Newark was supported by Lincolnshire Area Meeting.

We felt the need to have our own premises in order to be more visible as a group and one of our members had identified a small shop for sale in the corner of the Market Place at no 1 Queens Head Court. 

The trustees of Lincolnshire Area meeting visited and indicated their support in principle and reported this to the Area Meeting. A long and intense Area Meeting approved the proposal to purchase and convert for a total sum of £180,000 in June 2017.

An initial planning application for change of use from retail to a place of worship was swiftly approved, the purchase was completed and our first Meeting for Worship held in the unconverted shop in July 2017, only 15 weeks after first seeing the property, lightning speed for a Quaker project. Work then began to convert the former shop into a meeting House or Quaker Centre which was completed by the summer of 2018.

On Saturday October 13th 2018 Newark Meeting was officially opened by Geoffrey Durham.