Criticism Of Lincoln Quakers

Of course Lincoln Friends aren’t perfect – so here’s some criticism from Rodney Perkins, an occasional attender of the Meeting.

Rodney’s Rant

The criticism was publicly posted on Twitter in response to an online article about Lincoln Meeting House (opens in a new tab), recently written by the Quaker Chris Skidmore. Rodney tweeted the following:

“One is used to Quakers neglecting their property and having to appeal for funds, but vandalising their Meeting House the way generations of Lincoln Friends have done is almost unique, I think.”

Rodney Perkins

Curious to know why Lincoln Quakers are accused of being vandals, YQN got in touch with Rodney to ask for a more detailed explanation. He replied:

“Well, I claim that generations of Quakers have vandalised, their meeting house. Why do I think this?”

“I have been to Meeting for Worship at the meeting house a number of times since my move to Lincoln two years ago (not recently, because of Covid). Each time I have sat thinking, ‘What have they done! … and why?’”

“Why is most of the interior painted in this strange colour? I think it’s called ‘Magnolia’, but I’ve never seen a Magnolia that colour. Why is the paint overall, even on the woodwork? It’s really ugly!”

“Why does the entrance to the meeting room go along the old ministers’ stand? It behaves as a drum. Perhaps it’s to shame late-comers into arriving on time (preferably early – see Quaker Faith and Practice’)? Intensely distracting!”

“Why are the additions so out of sympathy with the original building? (In mitigation the original building is of no architectural merit.) The entrance arch seems to me to be preposterous (as Prince Charles would say, ‘a monstrous carbuncle’).”

“And why does the ‘new’ meeting room (at the rear) look like a bicycle repair shop? After all, as Chris Skidmore’s web page shows, the architect was capable of much more elegant work!”

“I do know of one fairly recent improvement – apparently the ‘coffee area’ once had a suspended ceiling, which much have looked very ugly. However the present acoustics there are terrible! I am somewhat tone-deaf (I make musical instruments as a hobby, so I know), have a bit of Tinnitus and (possibly) a bit if Hyperacusis too. When a loud person starts speaking I can no longer follow a conversation with anyone else.”

“So, sometime around the time of lock-down I went to Meeting feeling rather low, got more depressed by the surroundings in the meeting room, couldn’t talk over coffee because of the acoustics – and decided not to attend again.”

“As I’m no longer a member because I cannot accept Britain Yearly Meeting’s association with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (which contains a number of evil organisations), I feel very semi-detached from Quakerism.”

“However, I do intend to go to Hope Valley Meeting about once a month when I visit the Bamford Quaker Community. I am also going to Lincoln Unitarians (having been a unitarian – small ‘u’) all my life.”

In Friendship, Rodney

What Do You Think?

Dear Lincoln Friends, what do you think of Rodney’s criticism and do you agree or disagree? Is it constructive or just simply designed to provoke a reaction? Please leave a comment below:

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5 thoughts on “Criticism Of Lincoln Quakers

  • July 1, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Dear Rodney

    Thank you for your criticism. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think the way the 1689 and 1910 rooms mix 17th century and modern architecture together is well done and very tasteful. To say Lincoln Meeting House ‘is of no architectural merit’ I find, in your own words, preposterous. It is the oldest Nonconformist place of worship in Lincoln and is grade II listed! And to say the 1910 room looks like a bicycle repair shop, I find frankly insulting.

    As for hearing problems due to poor acoustics in the 1910, Lincoln Quakers are well aware of this and before Lockdown were looking at a solution.

    It is a shame that in your criticism you never make a single positive point either about the building or the community of Quakers that use it. Everything is so negative with you. All the best at Bamford Quaker Community and I hope to see you back at Lincoln Meeting House one day.



  • July 3, 2021 at 9:57 am

    I think the problem lies with Rodney, and find no need for justification for our lovely old Meeting House.

  • July 3, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    It’s always interesting to read someone else’s impressions of a place that you yourself may visit frequently and with some affection for its idiosyncracies. I will always now think of the 1910 as ‘the bicycle repair shop’, and am certainly not offended in any way by this description, and bicycles do indeed look comfortable there waiting for fitter-than-me-Friends to speed away after Meeting for Worship. As long as Lincoln Meeting House is a safe, warm, dry and welcoming space, it continues to serve its purpose – like Quakerism, the building has grown in different directions at different times – architecturally, it may be all wrong (I don’t know), but spiritually, it’s still a living space – I hope you, Rodney, will come back soon in person or join us on Zoom – you’re welcome.

    • July 3, 2021 at 11:13 pm

      “As long as Lincoln Meeting House is a safe, warm, dry and welcoming space, it continues to serve its purpose – like Quakerism, the building has grown in different directions at different times – architecturally, it may be all wrong (I don’t know), but spiritually, it’s still a living space.”

      Very well said.

  • July 5, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    I think focusing on the physicality of the building misses so much, tbh. Quakerism isn’t a building, thankfully.

    I’m very fond of the MH – despite being really old, it’s pretty accessible and considerate – buildings need to work for us, not vice versa.


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