Tag Archives: Quakers

The Department Store and the Quakers

In the early 1950s a well-known department store in Birmingham wanted to extend its premises. Close by this department story in Birmingham was an ideal site. But there was a problem: it belonged to the Quakers, whose Meeting House had been there for well over two hundred years.

Still, why should a bunch of Quakers stand in the way of commerce?

So, the department store wrote to the Quakers, offering to buy the site. Very grandly, they said, “We will give you a very good price for the land. In fact, we’ll send you a blank cheque. Please fill in whatever sum of money you think appropriate and we will honour it.”

Then they sat back and waited. Weeks passed. Finally a letter arrived from the Quakers. It thanked the department store for their generous offer but declined to accept it. “Our Meeting House has been here for almost two hundred and fifty years,” they explained, “much longer than your store. We have no wish to sell our property. However, if YOU would agree to sell YOUR site to us, we are very interested in buying it. We will give you a very good price for it. Just state your selling price and we will honour it.”

The letter was signed ‘Cadburys.’

The department store thought they were dealing with a small, meek congregation of Quakers. Instead they were dealing with the Cadburys’ empire. Cadburys could have bought the department store twenty times over!

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic


The Quakers tell the story of one of their number who put up a sign on a vacant piece of ground next to his house. The sign read,


A wealthy farmer rode by, read the sign, then went to the owner’s house. He said to the Quaker, “I may as well have the land you are offering because I qualify: I am rich. I have everything I need. I am satisfied.” “Are thee really satisfied?” the Quaker asked. “Yes, I have everything I need and I am well satisfied,” said the rich man. “My friend,” said the Quaker, “if thee is satisfied, why does thee want my land?”


In the Gospels, Jesus gives us a sign that reads,

I will give peace of mind and heart and soul, I will give contentment to all persons who acknowledge the Gospel Truth of a loving God who wants them to express their love for Him through their love for one another.

God is Love! The Mystery of God is the Mystery of Love! In God’s Wisdom, we are given our best human glimpse into this awesome Mystery in and through our love for one another. And, in God’s Wisdom, that is enough for now.

Be satisfied … Be content! And live accordingly!

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic