Epistle of Asia West Pacific Section Gathering

27 October 2023

From 19 – 23 October 2023 Friends from Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Nepal, India, the Philippines, Australia, and Aotearoa New Zealand, met on Cheung Chau Island, Hong Kong to worship, fellowship and discern together as members of the Asia West Pacific Section. For many it was tehir first section meeting.

Their epistle says:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, goes a well-known saying. Some of us
have travelled thousands of kilometres to be here, daring to take that one brave step. The
conversations that we travelled so far to have, were enriching.”

“We delighted in and deeply valued being together in person after five years without a section Gathering. Being present is both an honour and a privilege. As a community we can do much, but not everything online. Young Adult Friends were uplifted and challenged the Gathering to strengthen their engagement.

We renewed friendships and discovered the depth of new relationships. We had fun learning phrases and songs of our different languages. We are learning new strategies for communicating together, between languages. Making the work of speaker and listener more equal. Our walking together on the island enabled us to share deeply of our joys and challenges. It connected us.

In peace we heard the voice of the Spirit, being able to share what is happening for Quakers locally and globally. We were particularly grateful for the presence and contributions of Tim Gee, General Secretary of the Friends World Committee for Consultation and Sarah Clarke, Director of the Quaker United Nations Office in New York. The outline of their current priorities helped broaden our understanding of the world family of Friends and Quaker UN work. We heard the call to be active participants in their work. Friends Peace Teams Asia West Pacific contributed to our conversation about ways to develop peace and justice in our region.

The FWCC Asia West Pacific Climate Action Network shared about their work, connecting Quakers across the Section who are concerned about the climate emergency. The Network is an example of how Friends can create a fellowship community of interest that strengthens us at many levels.

Expectant waiting was the key to every suggestion and decision. We discerned our response to the FWCC priorities to be considered at the 2024 World Plenary Meeting and considered how those priorities relate to us in the Asia West Pacific Section.

We as individuals have plenty of hopes and visions but are we ready to participate in the future of the Section? We are challenged to discern where God is calling us.

We look forward to our next Section gathering, online in 2024 and to being together at World Plenary Meeting 2024 both online and in South Africa.”

Read all epistles here.