FWCC-EMES Annual Meeting 2009, Moyallon Centre, County Armagh, Northern Ireland
To Friends everywhere,
We have a vision of a flourishing garden and we are called to realise that vision and sustain it.
Our gardens are our Meetings and our concerns. We have been busy planting seeds, patiently waiting and tenderly caring, nurturing what we already have, harvesting our fruits and making plans for the future, mindful of right ordering and good governance. Friends in the European and Middle East Section of Friends World Committee for Consultation are using online communication to deepen Quaker experience and to share it with others in an increasing number of languages.
We have a flourishing Visiting Friends programme, which began with one Friend, then it was expanded to six. Now a pool of Friends is being equipped to travel within and beyond geographical, cultural and language areas, making connections and giving support. We are grateful for funding to develop the scheme.
We have reaffirmed our commitment to the Amari Play Centre near Ramallah. Friends have long had a concern to witness in the Middle East. The scheme continues to this day thanks to the dedicated staff on site, Friends in Ramallah and loyal donors from the Middle East, the US and Europe. Please join us in holding Swedish Friends in the Light as they develop meaningful proposals to strengthen the governance of the programme. The consolidation of this project in Amari is particularly important in view of the continuing violence in the area.
We have shared with each other about the actions and responses of our Meetings to environmental challenges and have learned about global energy security and peace issues that are being addressed by the Quaker Council for European Affairs. The need for a new international accord has caused us to examine how we can unite in a corporate concern to act together on the issue.
Forty-five of us travelled from seventeen countries to be at our annual meeting, at the Moyallon Centre, in the heart of Ireland Yearly Meeting. The 2006 opening of the Centre alongside the eighteenth century Meeting House was the fulfillment of a longstanding vision to encourage young people to walk closely with God.
The theme for our annual meeting was ‘Movements of the Spirit: reflections on Martha and Mary’. Like Martha and Mary when they opened their home to Jesus, we have been reminded, with movements of the spirit, to shed the cumber and distractions from our lives: to take inspiration from what we hold dear, the riches of our faith.
We missed our dear Friends from the Middle East and elsewhere who were unable to join us and hope that we will all be able to meet next year at Bonn-Venusberg in Germany.
12 April 2009