Autumn 2009 No 25 – 01/12/2009
Document Code: WJ25
Julia Ryberg has been one of my colleagues at Woodbrooke for almost four years. During that time she has brought a strong and lively European connection to our programme. Since 2007 in a joint Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) Europe and Middle East Section (EMES) and Woodbrooke project she has pioneered the e-learning courses and has been enthusiastic in promoting the value of this 21st century approach to learning; reassuring Friends that the virtual community works. I am fortunate to belong to a Local Meeting in Birmingham where I regularly meet Friends in worship and chat over a cup of tea. Sweden Yearly Meeting has fewer members than my own meeting! So providing a meeting place on line where Friends can chat, share their deepest questions and searchings with someone geographically far away can only be a good thing. In this article Julia is able to share this and many of the ways that she is bringing people together and making many different connections.
The article was originally an address given to Britain Yearly Meeting Gathering in 2009. The theme of the week together was Creating Community; Creating Connections and Julia was able to captivate the meeting of over twelve hundred people as she told her own stories. As well as her European travels she was able to include a very recent study visit she had made with a group to Israel and Palestine. This experience was still very raw and trying to assimilate the impressions of a country where connections are made difficult by road blocks, check points and a wall added to the poignancy of what she was saying.
Julia’s use of images to focus on the different ways we make connections is also helpful for readers and as you read you will be able to reflect on the way you make your own connections. The familiarity of a journey, the intricacies of a net or web, or the majestic tree deeply rooted in the earth all provide a visual, almost tangible portrayal of the complexity and challenges of the way our connections are made. She encourages you to tell your own stories about the connections that you have made and the changes they make in your own life.
I am pleased to bring the spoken word into a written form to share with those who were not able to attend Yearly Meeting Gathering.
Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre