Sometimes it feels as if the world is falling apart—because we’re caught in a pandemic lockdown and can’t see people who are important to us, or because a war has broken out nearby and threatens expanding consequences. Then it can feel as if we as individuals are helpless against the larger forces that can sweep our familiar personal worlds away.

But it is exactly in times like these that individual ties—a network of friendships, of the kind that the BIWC is designed to foster, hold the world together.

During the lockdowns, Zoom groups proliferated in the Club to counteract social isolation, and walking groups provided a combination of exercise, fresh air, and talk with friends that proved to be a wonderful antidote against the pandemic of depression and anxiety that followed the virus.

Now a network of friendships is starting to work to alleviate some of the effects of the war in the Ukraine.Some members of the Club have been offering space in their homes to Ukrainian refugees, while others have been collecting, sorting, and distributing needed donations.Plans are under way to connect Club members active in this work, to share information and support in the continuing task of managing the flood of refugees.

Some members participated in a recent event in which Russian residents in Berlin hosted a welcoming picnic for the refugees, with children from both countries playing football together and sharing toys. Cultivating friendly ties like this holds the world together!