The theme asked us to reflect on how we can be salt and light and what Friends have to say in the 21st Century. It was explored through worship, small group discussions, by speakers from across the globe and in working groups, looking at areas such as peace work, poverty and the environment. Study materials on the theme were distributed widely, and it is hoped they offered inspiration and challenge to participants, Meetings and Churches.
In deciding the theme, the International Planning Committee (IPC) drew inspiration from several Bible passages, including Matthew 5:13 (“You are the salt of the earth...”), Matthew 5:14-16 (“You are the light of the world...”), Matthew 6:33 (“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God...”), Matthew 6:9-13 (the Lord’s Prayer), Micah 4:4 (“They shall sit under their own vines and fig trees and no one shall make them afraid.”), and Micah 6:8 (“... And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”).
The theme is supplemented by a passage from Luke, 17:20-21. “The Kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed … the Kingdom of God is among you.”
The second supporting quote for the theme is from the eighteenth century American Friend John Woolman: “We have the prospect of one common interest from which our own is inseparable, to turn all we possess into the channel of universal love becomes the business of our lives.”
“This theme unites the spiritual foundation of our faith with our understanding of the basis of our work in the world in all its diversity,” said FWCC General Secretary Nancy Irving.
Worship underpinned our time together - each day there were opportunities for stillness, prayer, singing and experiencing the diversity of Friends' worship. A number of keynote speakers helped us to explore our theme. Participants were assigned a home group - small groups which met daily with more time for discussion, worship sharing and to get to know other Friends on a deep level.
During the first three days of the conference, working groups looked at how Friends can respond to aspects of the theme. They were offered on 42 different topics, or threads, and the insights which emerge were woven together later in the conference.
On Saturday excursions to local sites of interest were arranged or participants relaxed on campus.
Kabarak is a purpose-built university on a 600 acre farm, 20km northwest of Nakuru, in Kenya's Rift Valley. Its motto is 'Education in Biblical Perspective.' Participants will be housed in dormitories on campus and fed in the campus dining hall. The campus also features an outdoor swimming pool, sports areas, and tree-shaded lawns.
Nakuru is on a high plateau, over 1 km in altitude. The weather is pleasantly warm but not hot or humid.