Elvin’s & Brylie’s Autumn Greetings

Elvin’s & Brylie’s Autumn Greetings

Here is a short epistle regarding my and Elvin’s autumn activities. Yesterday, Elvin and I went to Quaker worship. We arrived early, as I had the key to the meeting from setting up the previous week. Elvin quickly took to helping set up for yesterday’s meeting. He carried out cups, saucers, and bread plates for the fellowship seating, and placed them around the table. Then, he helped arrange the chairs in the meeting circle, even moving chairs all by himself. Finally, he set the small table in the center of the circle and placed the bible and decorative stones atop. He was then a bit hungry, so we got him a slice of the fellowship rye bread. It was now time for worship, and Elvin picked seats, next to one another, for me and him. The group settled into the silence. Elvin chewed his bread, bit by bit, until it was gone, and then sat still, quietly breathing. The meeting seemed to settle after a few minutes had passed, with quiet stillness enveloping our group. Elvin sat holding my hand until our quarter-after departure from the room. We had planned to leave the meeting at that point, to go to a children’s festival in town. As we were nearing our shoes and jackets in the hallway, Elvin looked up at me and said he would like to stay at the Quakers’ a bit longer. We fetched a couple of racecars from my jacket pocket, found a large sheet of paper and drawing colors, and spent the remainder of the hour drawing a racetrack for the cars. Elvin got to...

Jane represented FYM in Britain Yearly Meeting

Britain Yearly Meeting 4-7.5. 2018. Held in Friends House, Euston Road, London What an amazing contrast to be in both Finland Yearly Meeting and Britain Yearly Meeting within a week. Our own YM with 17 Friends including Alvin aged 4 and Britain YM with over 1000 Friends and 6 groups for children and young people: New shoots (0-2) Fox Cubs (3-6) Penn Friends (7-9) Spiritual Adventurers (9-11) Young People’s Program (11-15) and Junior Yearly Meeting (16-18). But yet, the similarities seemed more striking than the difference in numbers might suggest. I took with me the quality of the Worship and Spirit that I experienced in Ilkko at the end of April and I found the same depth of Spirit in the gathered silence among the many of us worshiping in Friend’s House central London. The final ministry from our Sunday morning worship in Ilkko brought us the message of how Quaker structures and ways of service have changed as Friends have learned to see what was not obvious to them before. Britain YM spent the whole weekend considering whether the time is right to revise the ‘red book’ Quaker Faith and Practice in Britain YM; not change for the sake of change, but because the world has changed, and Quaker experience has changed, and the new book needs to reflect this; not least because there is a new generation of younger Friends and more coming. We were asked to treat younger Friends as ‘the now’ and not ‘the future’. All the children’s and young people’s groups addressed the same question in their sessions and all sent their response to...

Epistle from Britain Yearly Meeting

Epistle from Britain Yearly Meeting, held at Friends House, London on 4 – 7 May 2018   To Friends around the world: Loving greetings from Britain Yearly Meeting 2018, gathered in glorious sunshine in and around London from 4 to 7 May. We have rejoiced in the voice and witness of Friends of all ages. Our diversity has been enriched by over 40 Friends and visitors from around the globe, with whom we have shared stories. We have experienced different traditions of worship, created art, sung, and danced together. The sequence of annual Yearly Meetings in Britain has been unbroken for 350 years. This year our focus has been to discern whether we are led to revise our book of discipline, which we adopted as ‘Quaker faith & practice’ in 1994. This follows four years of work by our Revision Preparation Group, and study of Quaker faith & practice by many Friends and local meetings. Periodic revision of the book of discipline is an essential part of our witness, recalling the past and looking to the future. Encouraged by the voices of younger Friends among us, we have united joyfully, to embark on a Spirit-led process of revision from much-loved foundations. We know that this will take time and energy. We are clear that we have the resources to undertake this, while continuing our witness in the wider world. Many voices, experiences and identities are missing from our current book. Since the last revision, our Quaker community and the world around us have changed. We need a book of discipline that reflects more closely who we are now, and...

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...

World Quaker Day 01 October

Friends World Committee for Consultation… . . . invites every Quaker meeting and church from around the world to celebrate World Quaker Day (WQD) on October 1, 2017. The theme, Gathering in Worship Around the Globe, focuses on uniting Friends in different parts of the world and from different traditions in one big virtual worshiping community. Whatever you do as a worshiping community, we hope you will share this with others through FWCC. It can be very simple — a description, a poem, a short video from a mobile phone, a few photos — we will post them on this web site so that you can see what other churches and meetings were doing on the same day. There are three ways to let us know about your activities: Email items to us, post them to the FWCC World Office Facebook page, or Twitter, hashtag #wqd for posting to the website. Finland Yearly Meeting organizes a joint Skype meeting for worship 12:30-13:30. The first half an hour is for introductions and share of thoughts, and the half an hour silent worship begins 13:30. The event is called Kveekari Hartaus on Skype. For more information about Quaker Day and how we have celebrated it previously, please see http://www.worldquakerday.org/ Video greetings from Gretchen Castle, General Secretary of...

Quakers in Finland show a deep concern for ongoing deportations

The Religious Society of Friends, Finland Yearly Meeting Spring Gathering 2017, March 19 2017 We are writing this letter to express our grave concern regarding the ongoing deportations from Finland of persons who face death threats, violence and persecutions to Iraq and Afghanistan and other conflict areas.  Our members and attenders are particularly concerned about the deportations affecting underage children and families to these countries.  Having read numerous deportation decisions made by the Finnish Migration Service we are particularly concerned with recommendations included therein that deported persons change their names, professional and identity information in order to conceal, for instance, their religious orientation, a direct violation of their human rights. Finland has always strived to be a leader internationally in advocating for high standards in recognition of human rights as set out in the Human Rights Treaties as well as the UN treaty on the Rights of the Child and the Treaty on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Finland is also noted for its advocacy of rights to family reunification as set out in the Helsinki Agreement of 1975. These rights are now often denied mainly due to onerous financial barriers and inadequate consular services. We urge the Government of Finland to take measures to protect the reputation of Finland as human rights defender and cease the unjust deportations now ongoing during Finland’s 2017 Centenary Year. Distribution: Prime Minister Sipilä, Foreign Minister Soini, Interior Minister Risikko, Chairpersons of parliamentary groups, The Finnish News Agency...