FHM’s one-day event “Windows on Russia” took place in Godalming, Surrey (U.K.) on 12 January. It was well attended and enjoyed by all.
Audrey Price, who attended, writes as follows:
“On Saturday 12th January we were immersed in Russian culture in Godalming Meeting House, where we were made very welcome on a cold wet day. The first talk was by Mary Morris, entitled ‘What makes Russia different’ and made very interesting listening. It emphasised that people in Russia would have a totally different way of thinking about the world. In my notes I wrote for the early history that ‘mir’ which is part of the name Vladimir means peace and also community. They wanted peace, security and defence.
It was decided by Prince Vladimir that they needed a new religion and so scouts were sent to other parts of the world to explore religions. On their return with this information it was decided that they could not choose Judaism or Islam because you could have no pork or alcohol, and they could not be Catholics as they were too miserable, but they liked the Orthodox church and this is how the Russian Orthodox Church began –because it seemed like heaven.
The size of the country and the history is vast, and I wish I could relate all the interesting things Mary related during her lively potted history. (See Friends House Moscow website for more history etc.)
Next Patricia Cockrell, who was a founder member of Friends House Moscow, talked on ‘Life and Death in the new Russia’. Patricia had worked in Russia for a long period and had been teaching Russian in English schools, but really knew that her heart was in improving the wellbeing of people in Russia. She knew there were so many people dying in terrible circumstances. She, therefore, used her influence by writing hundreds of letters in order to get grants and premises to open hospices and ended up getting a lot of help and donated items, and over many years hospices were opened in many parts of Russia.
We were told that on one occasion free transport was given by a British airline which said she could have unlimited luggage, and not only did she take her whole class of students to help manually with a project, but one piece of luggage she took was a case with all the equipment for a dental surgery.
The Russian lunch we had was of soup (borsch), kasha made from buckwheat (especially brought from Russia), cubed cooked and shredded vegetables, sour cream and salmon caviar on little pancakes, then mushrooms and cabbage etc. in little pastries with drinks called Kvas and Mors.
In the afternoon Bill Chadkirk talked on ‘Quakers and Famine Relief in the 1920’s’. There were horrifying tales of thousands of refugees and deaths and how a huge effort had been made by Quakers, and a vast number of refugees had been helped.
Quakers were turned out of Russia in 1931 and asked to return in 1990.
Also, during the day there was a quiz, a jigsaw puzzle, a sales table, a cartoon, a story telling by Cindylou, music and a film about Christmas in Russia. In all it was an interesting and informative and enjoyable day thanks to everyone who organised it.”