Sanctuary Everywhere 1-3.12.2017

I bring much back with me after an intense time together with over 100 Friends (sprinkled with a few non-Friends) from around Europe. All were concerned and/or working in some connection with the issue of migration and refugees in the world. There was much input; in the form of keynote addresses, panel presentations and background history of Friends’ post-war work in Europe. We were also offered a choice of workshops comprising a mixture of presentation and discussion. The program allowed adequate time to mix and mingle and informally talk with other participants, and on Saturday evening there were about twelve 5-minute slots for people to share a glimpse of what they are doing within this broad field. We also worshipped and worship-shared as a whole conference. If you ask what the essence is of what I am bringing back with me- it is this: there is the big picture and the small picture. There are people who are working at micro-level/grassroots and people who work at structural, lobbying and political level. But we need both, and both fit into the Whole. If one ‘cog in the wheel’ is missing- then the whole structure works less effectively. We need each other, and we need more than Quakers. It was said quite strongly that others are also working in this field and we needs must engage with them. I think this is even more true for a small widely-spread Quaker community like Finland Yearly Meeting. We were reminded that we live in the here and now, the end times and we are building the Kingdom on earth now- not at some...