Northern Europe Quaker service committees meeting
Kristine Hovland of Quaker Service Norway writes:
Representatives from Quäker-Hilfe (Germany), Quaker Hulpfonds (Netherlands), Quaker Service Sweden and Quaker Service Norway met over the weekend 8-9 April to deepen our knowledge of each other’s work and to explore possibilities for collaboration.
The weekend included time to share on who we are as organisations, reflecting on our values, visions and choices of operational modes. We recognised a deep, common identity in who we are and what we do, as expressions of Quaker values in practice. At the same time, we were struck by and grateful for the richness of different activities that grow out of that identity.
The meeting included time to map partners and projects supported, looking in-depth at our different involvements in the Middle East, in Eastern Europe, and in Eastern and Central Africa in particular. Coming out of the meeting, we feel more confident that we are able to complement each other in the support given. We see that better coordination between our committees can help us focus better and reinforce each other’s work.
We spoke about our committees’ place in the Quaker societies in our respective countries, recognising the various models that have been chosen and the strengths of each of these. As participants in the meeting, we enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the work of other committees and feel part of a larger venture. We want to look for ways of sharing that outlook with our committees and our membership at home.
The meeting was hosted by Vidar and Caroline Salvigsen, who are members of Norway Yearly Meeting living in Sweden. The affection and openness with which we were received added a valuable extra dimension to our gathering.