To Friends everywhere!
This year 105 Friends from 26 countries met in the retreat of Herzberg, Switzerland for a joint gathering from 21st – 24th April 2011. This included representatives to the European and Middle East Section off FWCC, International Planning Committee of the World Conference, and other Friends from Meetings and Quaker organisations all over the Section.
We united under the theme to “Bring and share: A feast of Quaker fare”, and we return now to share with you the good news we received.
We felt connected with those Friends who were prevented from joining us, and appreciated the opportunity to come together in spiritual reconfirmation and development. Both older and younger friends appreciated the chance to engage with their peers, whereas the shared sessions provided opportunities to exchange ideas from which both groups gained insight.
We understand that we are united as a community in God’s garden, where work cannot be done by the angel alone, nor by any of us alone.
Some of us feel the call to evangelize. We need to recall the Good News there is to share, and explore ways of expressing it. In separate sessions, Young Friends assessed their diverse traditions and circumstances. They discovered common values and goals: to “act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8).
Personal testimonies from US American, Rwandan, Italian, Cuban and Indian Friends highlighted the diversity of our Quaker community. We felt touched, and moved to embrace enriching approaches to worshipping and witness. In learning about Central African Quakers’ tiered teaching system, we were reminded of early Friends’ efforts to spread the Quaker faith. We feel led to consider how far we are able to incorporate similar practices within our collective efforts.
We are aware of the threats around us and cherish honesty in our expressions. Following the Truth we are able to offer appropriate answers to the destructive forces in our world. We are in the middle of changes, and not just as an organization. We embrace these changes, and will walk with them on the road of salaam and shalom.
We are looking forward to rejoining, in spirit or in person, in Kenya. We support those who are now in the process of preparing the Friends World Conference 2012.