Towards a Quaker View of Sex

Working Group

This group of 11 British Quakers traveled an extraordinary journey together. The group was initially convened by Dr. Anna Bidder to discern whether Friends might provide a word of understanding and comfort on homo­sexuality and other problems of sexuality, and six years later they published a prescient 74-page study. Although they came from different backgrounds and locales, the group eventually arrived at a clear consensus on a troubling topic of their day through continuous meetings, correspondence, discussions and prayer.

The members of the Towards a Quaker View of Sex Working Group were well-known in the London Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends; some were prominent in civil society as well. Their professional backgrounds were primarily in psychology, education and criminal justice. Here are sketches of these exceptional persons, drawn from the biographical information available today.

Anna McClean Bidder, M.A. Ph.D., identified in TQVOS as "Research Worker and Teacher in Zoology, Cambridge University." Bidder served as Chair of the Committee for most of its time.

Kenneth C. Barnes, B.Sc. identified in TQVOS as "Headmaster of Wennington School, Wetherby."

Richard Duncan Fairn, identified in TQVOS as "one member who for professional reasons must remain anonymous."  (He held government positions in Prisons.) Fairn served as Chair when Bidder was on sabbatical during the 1960-61 academic year.

Richard D. Fox, M.B., B.S., M.R.C.P., D.P.M., identified in TQVOS as "Senior Registrar, Bethlem Royal and Maudsley Hospitals."

Alastair Heron, M.Sc., Ph.D., identified in TQVOS as "Fellow of the British Psychological Society; Director of the Medical Research Council's Unit on Occupational Aspects of Aging."

G. Joyce James, identified in TQVOS as "Housewife, one-time Marriage Guidance Counsellor, who was unable to attend during the last year."   As the new chair of the Marriage and Parenting Committee, James was invited to join the group later in 1959.  See Meeting Minutes 7 June 1959.  No other biographical information found.

Kenneth Nicholson, M.A., identified in TQVOS as "Headmaster, Friends’ School, Saffron Walden."

Mervyn Parry, identified in TQVOS as "Teacher of educationally subnormal children. One-time Assistant Housemaster in a Borstal." 

Lotte Rosenberg, M.D., D.P.M., identified in TQVOS as "Consultant Psychiatrist and Child Psychiatrist."  Anna Bidder recounted in her letter to Friends Quarterly (October 1988) that Rosenberg was the first person she consulted about this enterprise. She also stated that Rosenberg was divorced by her husband in Germany many years earlier because "of her Jewish blood."

Alfred Torrie, identified in TQVOS as "consultant psychiatrist; Fellow of the British Psychological Society."

Keith B. Wedmore, identified in TQVOS as "barrister."

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