Georgian Friends rent a space to hold their Meetings for Worship
Friends in Tblisi have a new place to worship in. With donations from individual Friends locally and Meetings abroad, and with the support of New York Yearly Meeting, they have been able to rent a flat for seven months. After many years of having to meet in the Clerk’s top floor flat of a building without a lift, Friends feel that they now have an opportunity to grow and get stronger – and somewhere to host visiting Friends from abroad!
Friends hope that more financial help will come to help them continue to use this space beyond the initial seven months. Anyone who would like to contribute to the rent can do so also through the FWCC website.
Last summer we learned how the anniversary of the conflict between Georgia and Russia has brought fresh tensions to the area at the beginning of August 2009. The work of Friends House Georgia goes on, mainly through the provision of food at a soup kitchen , which Friends opened in a Shelter, and medical assistance to refugees still living in temporary accommodation all over Georgia. There are sufficient funds to continue the relief work approximately till the end of Autumn. Friends around the world have supported this work generously, but the need goes on. Anyone wishing to contribute can do so through the FWCC website.
Friends have plans to start two new long term projects in the Spring of 2010.
They also want to develop an Alternative to Violence Programme for Georgia. They have held a short version of AVP workshop and picnic this summer, with the financial support of a Friend from Jesus Lane, Cambridge, UK. They have invited Friends from New York Yearly Meeting to visit and carry out some AVP training in 2010.
Friends in Georgia hold unprogrammed, silent meetings for worship. The Meeting is slowly growing. As well as the original seven International Members, and four more who are hoping to become International Members, there are several “friends of Friends” who attend Meetings regularly. Many people in Georgia learned about Quakers through their relief work for refugees and Religious Encyclopedia, that was published in Georgian language in 2008. Five pages with coloured pictures where devoted to the Quakers in that Encyclopedia.
Georgian Friends plan to register Religious Society of Friends in Georgia, not as an ordinary NGO, as Friends House Georgia, but as a religious organization. Since 2005 Georgian Law gives a permission to Churches and different confessions to be registered as a religious organization .
In 2009, a Representative of the Georgian Friends Worship Group attended Ireland Yearly Meeting and a study course at Woodbrooke. These where very good, informative and helpful visits. We express gratitude to Friends in England and Ireland for inviting us to these Gatherings. They also enjoyed a visit by Woodbrooke on the Road in the autumn of 2009.
Georgian Friends would like to express the gratitude to all the Friends for the support , help and the prayers for them and for Georgia. Please continue to hold them in the Light.