‘As Quakers, we have long worked for peace and equality, because of our belief that there is that of God in everyone, everywhere, whoever they are.’
Sanctuary Everywhere, Meeting for Sufferings December 2017*
What seems so often to be missing in public and political discourse about refugees, asylum seekers and migrants is the humanity of those involved, in whatever capacity: their lives, choices and lack of choice, their suffering, hopes and limitations.
Listening, advocacy and action
Limited ourselves by the ongoing need for covid caution, during 2021 we have continued to hold online gatherings to reflect on this and other topics – in particular how we can ‘grow connectedness’ when disconnection is a constant temptation. In the most recent QVA online retreat, we heard from former asylum seekers and volunteers with organisations existing to support them, such as Refugees at Home and Life Seekers Aid. In coming alongside and listening we aim to be better advocates and action takers in our everyday lives. So in April this year we aim to connect hearts and hands by joining in with the Refugee Community Kitchen for a working retreat at their centre in Calais.
Meanwhile our return to practical action starts closer to home, with a non-residential working retreat supporting Horton Community Farm in Bradford, on Saturdays 5th, 12th and 19th February. Applications are open for this event, which may appeal to people within commuting distance of central Bradford.
Further afield, look out for news of our return to eco-village and organic farm Borgo Basino, near Bologna, Italy in March. For this and all other updates, see https://qva.org.uk/about/news/ and https://qva.org.uk/programme/ – and get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Theme for 2022
In these times of uncertainty and change, we look to the future with a Quaker blend of concern and assurance, searching for ways in which we can uphold the unique expression of the spirit of God present in all people and creatures. And so our theme for 2022, Where new light leads offers a space in which we can hold that intention even as the ground under our feet continues to shift. In doing so we hope to better open ourselves to light both in ourselves and others, continuing to trust that only when our eyes are closed can darkness eliminate that light.