Friends Gathering in Ukraine 21-23 October 2011
Natasha Zhuravenkova, a staff member of Friends House Moscow writes:
Seventeen participants from five countries met in the industrial town of Kremenchuk along the Dniepr River. We came together in a spirit of peace and friendship to share our vision and to learn from each other’s experiences. We started the first session by introducing ourselves and our home meetings.
The main session was given by Johan Maurer on “The Gathered Meeting”. It was based on a chapter from Thomas Kelly’s The Eternal Promise, translated into Russian especially for the gathering – it sounded so beautiful in Russian. It was not just a talk or reading; all the participants were encouraged to contribute to the discussion. More on the main session can be found here.
We had two sessions of worship-sharing on extracts from Britain Yearly Meeting’s Quaker Faith and Practice. One of the sessions was held in a larger group where each participant could choose and introduce a quotation. The next afternoon we divided into smaller groups to deepen our sharing.
Judy Maurer reported on the Evangelical Friends Church International – Europe Conference in Tolna, Hungary, held on the previous weekend. For some participants of the Russian-speaking Gathering, this was the first time they had heard about a programmed Quaker worship model.
A session on “Ecology and Sustainability” was brief, but attracted a vivid interest, and it is a topic that Friends may well want to explore further.
The atmosphere during the weekend was one of great friendliness and fellowship, which left participants hoping to gather again regularly, perhaps annually.
On the way back to Moscow, three Friends stopped in Kiev (the capital of Ukraine) and met with a representative of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Kharkov and Poltava Eparchy, or diocese.