Czech Friends become a Recognised Meeting
With about a dozen members and attenders, and as many children, the Friend’s community in Prague and further afield may be seen as tiny by the standards of most churches. But among Quakers in Europe such tiny groups are often the norm. In some countries there are several such groups, and together they constitute what in Quaker parlance is a “Yearly Meeting”. But in the Czech Republic this small group IS the Quaker presence. In such circumstances it may take a long time to develop a strong and faithful Quaker identity. In this case, the determination of Friends, some of whom regularly travel long distances to attend Meeting for Worship in Prague, and the development and delivery on-line of an Introduction to Quakers in Europe course in the Czech language, has resulted in the consolidation of Quaker ways and spiritual growth of this small community, which the International Membership Committee of Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) has now officially recognised as a Quaker Meeting.
Asked what this recognition means for them, Arne Springorum, Clerk of the Meeting, said: “As human beings it’s wonderful to be recognized and feel supported and loved. At the same time this seemed much more like simply the next natural step to do rather than a reward for some efforts. Come to think of it, we don’t meet and build community to become a recognized meeting, we meet and worship together because it feels right and supports us each time we do it. We tried to follow the path many, many have gone before us, and it simply worked. It’s like you don’t become a Quaker, you simply recognize for yourself, and then are recognized by others, that you are a Quaker. There is no “in order to”. Like the well known peace quote: There’s no way to peace, peace is the way. We have been blessed with a wonderful small but growing community of committed fFriends supported by the larger Quaker community in uncountable ways and we thank you all for that.”
International Membership Secretary Harry Albright added: “Recognised Meeting status acknowledges the permanence of the group and puts it in touch with the world family of Friends in a more tangible way. The new meeting plays a full part in the life of FWCC, which supports it as it works towards full monthly meeting status.”
Messages of welcome and support have been pouring in from all over the Section, from larger and smaller Quaker communities alike.
Any Friends visiting or passing through would be welcome to join the Meeting for its regular worship. See details.