Elyn Mitchell with panel E4 Criminal Justice

Visitors are often taken aback by how the stories in the panels resonate with their own lives. One such experience was that of Elyn Mitchell, who visited our latest touring exhibition. Elyn was happy to share her recollections with us.

”This story started almost five years ago, in September 2012. A young man set fire to the Quaker Meeting House in Gloucester, causing damage amounting to over £130,000.

It took time for us, as a Quaker Meeting, to realise the extent of the damage, both material and psychological.  When we could at last see more clearly, we knew that to move forward, we had to forgive.  To forgive, we had to understand – who had done this and why.

By this time the young man (we’ll call him J) had been arrested and imprisoned.  He wrote to us, asking for our forgiveness.  Through the process of Restorative Justice, two of us were able to meet him and to hear his story.  He, in turn, listened to ours and came closer to understanding the magnitude of his crime.  At last, we were able to fully forgive.

The story doesn’t end there.  J was released from prison in 2014, we fulfilled our promise to help and support him.  Sadly, it wasn’t enough J re-offended, resulting in a further prison sentence from which he has just been released.

This feels like a second chance, a chance for us all to try again and, hopefully, to do better this time.  We have enlisted the help of Friends from our Area Quaker Meeting who have relevant experience  – and who never give up hope that change is possible in everyone.  This group is now known as the Criminal Justice Group – and each of us has a postcard of Quaker Tapestry panel E4, Criminal Justice”

Read more about panel E4, Criminal Justice

Around 40 of our embroidered panels tour twice a year to towns or cities in the UK and abroad. An unqualified success, our tours attract thousands of visitors spreading the stories behind the stitches. We are yet to finalise our touring exhibitions in 2018 so please check our website for updates, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or sign up to our e newsletter

“An extraordinary history starting in the Lake District in 1652, founding banks, chocolate companies, building railways, establishing Pennsylvania, chatting with Russian Czars and Turkish Sultans.”

Who would have thought Quakers would be so interesting!