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From EMES Annual Meeting 2013

Old Abbey, ancient tree
Blossom, ducklings
Dandelions shine
Do we?

A haiku penned by Lee Taylor

The Epistle from the EMES Annual Meeting 2013:

To all Friends everywhere,

Between 2 and 5 May 2013, 34 Friends from 15 countries in Europe and Middle East Section of Friends World Committee for Consultation met together in the beautiful setting of the Old Abbey, Kortenberg, Belgium. Friends from 12 smaller communities were prevented. Our theme was Becoming a Faithful Community and Exploring our Ecumenical Connections.

In Christ there is no East or West
In Him no South or North
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide Earth

This was our first Representatives’ meeting since many of us met during the World Gathering at Kabarak, Kenya in 2012: a once in a generation and life changing experience for many of those blessed to attend. The challenges of the Kabarak Call for Peace and Ecojustice remain with us: we need to be the change that we want to see in the world.

We experienced in many ways yet again the powerful enrichment of meeting each other face to face, worshipping and working together. Strengthening these personal and Meeting connections in our Section and world family is essential. We explored how best we can harness technology and social media, and how it can strengthen the threads that bind us and our work together. Some of us gratefully participated in a live webstream Meeting for Worship organised by Young Friends General Meeting gathered in Lancaster, England.

We value opportunities to hear about the wider ecumenical context; we trust we are open to new light and can continue to be part of initiatives such as the development of the doctrine of Just Peace by the World Council of Churches (see www.oikoumene.org.) We believe that Quaker ways of worship, our business method and our speaking truth to power can make a valuable contribution.
We appreciate understanding more about the work done in our name by Quaker Council for European Affairs in Brussels and Friends World Committee for Consultation worldwide. How can we help support and disseminate this work? We uphold our Quaker Youth Pilgrimage Committee as we consider significant ways forward with other parts of the world family. We continue to explore ideas about how best to nurture our children and young people.

What is the work that God is calling us to do in EMES? We know that much of our work is slow to grow and only bears fruit in the long-term. We have many practical ideas; let us encourage the sharing of these. We know we can call on the many gifts amongst us.

We ask Friends to consider what each of us can do in our meetings and communities to serve them more faithfully. How can we deepen the sense of community? As representatives who have experienced the energy and richness of our gathering, we want to share with F/friends in our own Meetings and across the Section the joys and challenges ahead. We seek God’s guidance in what we are called to do.

In loving Friendship,

Europe Middle East Section Annual Gathering 2013

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