Friends World Committee for Consultation - Europe & Middle East Section

Quaker Youth Pilgrimage

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In 2014, the Quaker Youth Pilgrimage took place in Peru and Bolivia – see the Epistle.

The Quaker Youth Pilgrimage is a long standing ministry which helps young people aged between 16 and 18 to explore their Quaker roots. In the past, the Pilgrimage was organised jointly by the Europe & Middle East Section and the Section of the Americas of FWCC, the world body of Friends. In future pilgrimages may be organised to involve young people from South America more, and also from Africa. The programme offers an opportunity to promote loving understanding of our diversities within the Quaker worldwide family. Pilgrims will come from different cultural, language and theological traditions. During their time together they travel and learn with and from each other, and seek to nurture their spiritual lives.

The Pilgrimage normally takes place every two years. In the past it alternated between Europe and the United States. In 2008 and most recently in 2012 the Pilgrimage took place in Europe. In 2008 young Friends explored the theme ‘A Journey through Conflict to Peace’. After home stays in Glasgow the pilgrims travelled to Yealand Conyers, where they explored the ‘1652 Country’ and had three days for facilitated community building exercises. Their next stop was Dublin, where they were involved in a service project before travelling on to Moyallon Quaker Centre in N. Ireland. Among other activities, they were able to visit Quaker House, Quaker Cottage, Stormont and Maghaberry Prison Visitor Centre. The pilgrimage was brought to a close with two days at Wiston Lodge near Biggar, outside Glasgow. Read the report.

In 2010 pilgrims met in Seattle, USA and after short homestays travelled to Quaker Cove on Puget Sound where they spent over a week building their community and being involved in service projects. They returned to Seattle and were welcomed by NSF – North Seattle Friends church where they learned about the work of AFSC and about Native American issues. In the third week they moved on to Portland, attending a variety of meetings and churches and being involved in service projects before spending a few days at Camp Mugruder on the Oregon Coast. The pilgrimage ended with a closing retreat hosted by Camas Friends Church. Read the epistle and see the pictures.

The Pilgrimage in 2012 began in Birmingham, UK, with homestays with local Friends, and then community building exercises at Woodbrooke. Once again, Pilgrims visited “1652 Country”, going to many Meeting Houses and places of historical significance. They then travelled to Brussels to learn more about the work of the Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA), and from there on to The Netherlands, where they participated in Alternative to Violence workshops and visited Amsterdam. An overnight ferry brought them back to Newcastle in the UK. They worked for a few days at Barmoor, in the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors, and completed their month together at the Bilberry Hill Centre in Birmingham with a closing retreat.

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