Brighton Quakers’ Approach to Contentious Bookings In Our Meeting House

After due reflection and hours of consideration, Brighton Quakers have issued the following statement regarding contentious bookings at the Meeting House.

Quakers value Justice and Peace and have a long history of engagement in trying to resolve conflict. Quakers have premises in the United Nations in New York and Geneva to provide space for opposed nations/factions/camps of all kinds to meet ‘off the record’ and away from the media in order to explore the possibilities of common ground. This long-standing attempt to mediate between opposed groups has been widely praised. As far as Brighton Quakers are concerned, our Meeting has no wish to mediate in similar cases, nor does it have the capacity to do so, but we do attempt to provide a space in which complex and controversial views can be aired and discussed in an uncharged atmosphere.

Alongside Peace and Justice, Quakers also value Equality and the need to work towards equality in the midst of human diversity and competing needs. Given our commitment to equality,

we do not offer a platform to all contentious groups. For example, those who are committed to and express racist, homophobic, sexist or transphobic views are not welcome to hold meetings in Brighton Friends Meeting House.

For those groups whose views are broadly in line with our values, however, there are two important points which need to be borne in mind.

  • Conflict-resolution requires moderation and Kindness. Views expressed in an aggressive or inflammatory fashion are not helpful. We require of hirers, therefore, that their meeting is conducted in a manner which is respectful of the other side. That means acknowledging that the others’ views - however different - may also be based upon fundamental beliefs and experiences and be deeply felt. Where we have doubts about whether a hiring-group will be able to abide by this requirement, we may require that a representative of the group meet with us prior to booking, and Quaker observers are present at the subsequent event.
  • Second, the Quaker tradition of mediation would never have been possible, had Quakers taken sides on the controversial issues in question. Conflict-resolution is only possible where the host maintains a detached stance in the debate. To be sure, individual members of the Brighton Quaker Meeting undoubtedly feel strongly about some of the issues under discussion. But if the Meeting House is to provide a space in which controversy can be explored through respectful dialogue, it is essential that the Quaker community as a whole does not take sides in any given controversy. In agreeing to allow an organisation to use the Meeting House, therefore, we do not necessarily endorse all of the views held by that group. It is worth noting that there is nothing unusual in such a stance. The letters-page or opinion-pages of quality newspapers routinely state that the views expressed on those pages are not necessarily those of the publisher.

Organisations willing and able to conduct their discussions in a moderate manner and who can accept that we may also hire rooms to groups who hold views contrary to their own, therefore, are welcome in the Meeting House.

These are the basic values and principles that inform our consideration of applicants for bookings. We recognise that this document represents our best current understanding, and that this is an ongoing work in progress. We also recognise that these are our best ideals and that there may be times or situations where we do not have the practical facilities, resources or expertise for accommodating the most challenging of bookings, and in these cases, we will have to say no.


Important Booking Details

Brighton Quaker Meeting is part of Sussex West Area Quaker Meeting, and together we have policy and practice which helps us to safeguard children and adults who are part of our Meeting. Abuse is unacceptable. Everyone, including children and...
Room Rates
Unless stated otherwise there is a minimum booking period of two hours on all rooms. ROOM PRICES Room 2  £16 per hour Room 3 £18 per hour                 Room 4 £18 per hour                 Room 6 £16 per hour                 Lecture Room £30 per hour Meeting Room £35 per hour Cafe £18 per hour and...
Refreshments & Equipment Availability
Refreshment Charges
Policy on Hirings
Statement from Brighton Quaker Meeting Finance and Property Committee on our bookings policy
Health & Safety
Brighton Quaker Meeting has a duty of care to all users of the Friends’ Meeting House.
Disabled Access
Days/Times Available for Hire
Friends’ Meeting House opening times for room hire
Bringing Dogs to the Meeting House
Untill recently, the Friends Meeting House has had a policy of refusing the entry of dogs to either the garden or the building, unless they are designated assistance dogs.   In a recent review of this policy, we have agreed to grant access to...
Brighton Quakers’ Approach to Contentious Bookings In Our Meeting House
After due reflection and hours of consideration, Brighton Quakers have issued the following statement regarding contentious bookings at the Meeting House.
Booking Terms and Conditions
1. Bookings 1.1 All Bookings must be made by completing and submitting the Booking Form which can be downloaded from our website or obtained on request from the staff at the Meeting House.