Remembering Quaker relief work in Finnish Lapland 1945 – 47; looking at current and future challenges

Weekend seminar at Rovaniemi 3.-4. October 2015.

The American Friends’ Service Committee (AFSC) and the Finnish Christian Settlement Foundation had a crucial role in reconstructing Finnish Lapland which was totally destroyed and burned at the end of WWII. Quakers organized work camps 1945 – 47 for relief and reconstruction and many fruits were born from that work.

Friends in Finland (a small group of about 35 members and active attenders) co-hosted a weekend seminar in Rovaniemi, (a town in Finnish Lapland) together with the Finnish Christian Settlement Foundation, in October 2015, to commemorate 70 years since the start of the work camps for relief and reconstruction.

Our vision for the event was to look back, celebrate and learn from history in order to find new light for the present and the future. By remembering the work been done and looking at what came out of that initial impetus by Friends and others in America, we aimed to see what the role could be for our Quaker community in Finland today. What could be our work together with the Settlement movement? Where are we needed and called to serve?

The weekend was divided into two sections: Saturday focused on the Quaker work camps in Lapland in 1945 – 47. We will also looked at the co- operation between the Finnish Settlement movement and Friends in Finland in the past and worked together to see what our future cooperation could be. Sunday the 4th of October celebrated the International Quaker Day. Representatives from international Quaker organizations to spoke to the audience about their work. Marisa Johnson from EMES ( , Shan Cretin from AFSC ( ), and Jonathan Woolley from Quaker United Nations Organisation Geneva, QUNO ( ) are shared experiences about Quaker service around the world.

To relive some of the moments this special weekend brought to all of us, please see the videos on our dedicated Youtube channel