In 2012 Friends House Moscow received a major grant from The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which provided three years of funding for translation and publication of Quaker texts.
2015 was Year 3 of the project. The work has proceeded more slowly than planned, partly due to delays in obtaining copyright permission for translations, and so it is extended into 2016 with the agreement of the Trust.
Meanwhile much has been accomplished this year. Rethinking War and Peace by Diana Francis has been translated and prepared for printing, as well as being put online. Other books translated for online publishing were Elizabeth Fry, a Biography by June Rose, and The Norwegian Diary by Myrtle Radley.
Other publications work (funded as part of our general outreach strategy) included the translation of Rex Ambler’s booklet What is the Experiment with Light? We also printed 300 paper copies of Emil Fuchs’s Christ in Catastrophe, which had already been well received online. Copies went to the State Book Chamber, public libraries, and the regular recipients of Alternativshchik Newsletter (see page 4). The remainder were given away to enquirers and we are now “sold out” of stocks in Moscow.
Social media becomes more and more important in our outreach work, especially Facebook and Vkontakte.
At the end of 2014 there were 57 participants in the Russian language Facebook Group and 30-
40 views of each news item. As of October 2015 we had 104 participants and 50-60 views of each item. It is the most active Quaker discussion group on the Russian internet. The Vkontakte Quaker Group had 18 participants at the start of 2015 and by October grew to 84.
Our www.quakers.ru website was updated 2 or 3 times a week. The number of visitors increased by 3-4 times over 2014. Our vision of the technology of outreach work is to use the website as a stable place, an archive, a digital library, a resource center for Russian speakers
who want to know about Quakerism. We use Facebook and Vkontakte as places where people can discuss Quaker materials, ask questions and communicate with each other.
Meditation of friends
A new project in Moscow introduces people to spiritual meditation using materials in accordance with Quaker values and practice. It is not advertised or run as a religious or Quaker group, but enquirers ask about Quakers if they are interested.
We are grateful to EMES (the European and Middle Eastern section of FWCC, www.fwccemes.org) for support with running costs.