Meeting for Learning - June 2010
Eighteen adults, two children and one dog – from Russia, Georgia, Lithuania, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Czech Republic, Spain, Germany, Austria, Britain, Poland and Switzerland – took part in the recent EMES-sponsored Meeting for Learning held at Svartbäcken in Sweden. The weekend was led by Julia Ryberg and Sue Glover Frykman. During our time together we explored the fundamentals of Quaker ministry and community and looked at the differences and similarities between facilitation, clerking, eldership and leadership. We practised time-honoured Quaker techniques like worship sharing and meeting for clearness. We taught the rudiments of and talked about threshing meetings, meetings for worship for business, eldership and gospel order. We considered how to manage and practise interaction at a distance (Quaker e-etiquette, online facilitation etc) and what was necessary when organising face-to-face gatherings. We also enjoyed a variety of music styles – classic and Taizé on CD, together with live Swedish folk music and a variety of Swedish and English ballads. Coming from so many different countries was also an opportunity to share our own stories of what being a Quaker is like in everyday reality – particularly in an eastern and southern European context.
Before the Meeting for Learning participants were provided with preparatory sheets about the subjects to be covered. During the event people had an opportunity to work with the material in their own languages, use the tools discussed on real and current issues, interact with each other and form good, deep and loving friendships. Following the Meeting for Learning we hope that participants will be able to share what they have learned with their home Meetings so that the fruits that were reaped during our time together can be spread more widely.