That of God in everyone

M&O May 22 Update

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Last week, 40 Friends from the Europe and Middle East Section Annual Meeting 2022 meet in Paris while 40 other Friends joined online. It was first annual meeting together in person since the start of the pandemic and also our first blended annual meeting. The blending seemed to work very well, while for those in Paris it was a great joy to be physically together for eating, walking and talking after two long years of restrictions. As the meeting noted “cultivating joyful relationships enables us to do our work. If we are to sow and nurture the seeds of peace, we need fertile soil. We became a gathered community.” We now look forward to Ireland Yearly Meeting at Stranmillis, from 11-14 August, and the gathering that will bring among Friends, including the Meeting for Worship at South Belfast after which the Yearly Meeting concludes.

The theme of the Paris meeting was “From Crisis to Connection: working creatively to heal our fractured world”. It was of course very conscious of the long shadow of the war in Ukraine which has fallen over Europe and the rest of the world, yet recognising the on-going suffering in other parts of the world which could be forgotten at this time. On Sunday morning it joined in a very moving Meeting for Worship with Quakers in Kiev, and it heard first hand accounts of the fantastic work being done by Friends across Europe to support those affected by the war, notably in Georgia, Estonia, Czechia and Poland. (If you would like to financially support them, you can by going to!/DonationDetails

This discussion parallels one that we have been having informally at South Belfast, and in M&O, as we all try to work out what our Peace testimony means at this time of war. It is an issue that we will need to return to over the coming months, perhaps in after Meeting Conversations.

It is an issue where Friends across Europe and the Middle East are seeking discernment. This is very difficult and challenging, and one where we, sitting far from the immediate conflict on the Atlantic rim, have to realise the privilege of our comparative security.

As was said in Paris, “Our prayers are with all those involved. We uphold the Quaker organisations who are working both through social activism and methods of quiet diplomacy to help end conflict and support those affected. We were inspired and challenged by our speakers to create peace on earth, to dare to dream of turning weapons into spades, and to challenge the mistaken notion that the military option is the only option.”

(For Epistle of EMES meeting go to
EMES Annual Meeting 2022 Epistle | FWCC-EMES

The Ministry and Oversight team - Felicity, Jonathan, Ian, Kerry, Marie, Michael, Sylvia and Will