Afterthought #27: Dame Judi Dench—Quaker and peacenik

I’m woefully out-of-step with popular culture—I don’t watch much television or take in many movies, I haven’t downloaded any music on my iPhone, and I only pick up the latest Hollywood gossip by reading magazine headlines in the check-out line at the local supermarket. Earlier this month (April 23) I confessed to being an unabashed fan of National Public Radio and gushed about my recent tour of the national headquarters in Washington, DC.

For today’s afterthought, I’ll solidify my geekiness with this clip from an interview of Dame Judi Dench.

I’ve long admired her work as an actor, and her latest movie, “Philomena,” is on my list to see. I enjoyed hearing her talk about her current project performing in the play, “Peter and Alice.” I learned something I didn’t know about her at 4:15 when the interviewer asked, “Off-stage, are you still a Quaker?”
When Dame Judi acknowledged that she is, he then asked, “Does it inform you?”
Her response, “It informs everything I do,” resonated for me.
My spiritual practice, in particular the Quaker belief that “there is that of God in everyone,” informs everything I do, as well.  I was stunned that the interviewer asked Dame Judi about her religion; that topic seems to be off-limits for most people. She said she doesn’t “flaunt” her Quakerism or the fact that she’s a “peacenik,” yet she didn’t dodge the question. I appreciate her honesty and yearn for more openness about how our beliefs inform our lives and our work. Brava, Friend Judi!

“Afterthoughts” is my blog version of a practice followed in some Quaker meetings. After meeting for worship ends, people continue in silence for a few more minutes during which they’re invited to share thoughts or reflect on the morning’s worship. I’ve adopted the form here for last-day-of-the-month brief reflections on headlines, quotes, comments overheard, maybe even bumper stickers.


  1. Well said, Gretchen. From the little I know, Judi Dench seems to be one of those Quakers who lets her life speak.

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