Christine Davis. When I heard of Christine's death last month the first thing that came into my mind was the sound of her voice addressing the Yearly Meeting in the early 1990s as 'Dear Friends' in a warm but also authoritative tone. From her they were the perfect words to assure us of her love but also to remind us of our responsibility and to gently take us to task when we were in danger of neglecting our discipline.
As a description 'dear' is mild and understated but often heartfelt. Through the years many friends have earned the epithet - for example Grace Chamber and Abiah Darby, as well as George Fox himself. It is often to be found not in the official record but in the letters and diaries of their contemporaries.
The phrase also reminds me of a Quaker song which I have sung many times as a round. The music can be found in an instrumental arrangement here but it is the words which are most important.
Dear Friends, dear Friends,
Let me tell you how I feel.
You have given me such treasure.
I love you so.