At the Stream of Life - Reflections on the fresco of the Caux dining room

A 75th Anniversary Arts Event

Lennart segerstrale fresco dining-room Water


When you go into the dining room of the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre the first thing that strikes you may well be the wonderful view from the bay window. The second is the colourful fresco which covers the whole of one wall.

It is easy to become accustomed to it and forget it is there. But it is a great privilege to have such a magnificent work of art, generously given by the outstanding Finnish artist Lennart Segestråle (read about him in the 75 Years of Stories series). 


Connection fresco Morenike

It really made me think about the endless chain of everybody being connected in some way, shape or form.

- Morenike Onajobi, UK -

This year's celebrations of 75 Years of Encounters at the Initiatives of Change conference centre in Caux were the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at this beautiful masterpiece, full of symbols and inspiration, which has accompanied so many important meals and discussions over the years.

Segerstråle called the fresco ‘At the stream of life’.  It portrayed his vision for the Caux conference centre as a place where people come to quench their inner thirst and from which they go out to take the water of life to a thirsty world.


Help fresco Lotty

We can judge ourselves in darkness or we can look up to the light and we can let the living water find us, flow through us, cleanse us, free us. Where and what is my source of living water? Am I willing to share it with others?

- Lotty Wolvekamp, Netherlands -

The arts have always had the power to challenge, transform and subvert. Artists of all disciplines have participated in this year’s celebrations, inspired by Segerstråle’s fresco and its theme.

At the beginning of the Day of Gratitude on 1 August 2021 five people from different walks of life shared their reflections on specific sections of the fresco. As each person spoke, the participants could see the relevant part of the painting on their zoom screens.


Family fresco Vivek

The strength of a family lies in the combination of the diversity of the people within a family.

The glue that holds any family together, through all its ups and downs, is love.

- Vivek Asrani, India -

We had contributions from Vivek Asrani, India, and Morenike Onajobi, UK, who are both on the Council of the IofC Switzerland Foundation. We heard from Lotty Wolverkamp from the Netherlands, who served on that Council and has been a member of the IofC network for many years; Liz Weeks, Australia, who spent many summers in the Caux kitchens; and Hamza Ghandour, Lebanon, an alumnus of the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme, who worked in the Caux dining-room.


Blessing fresco Liz Weeks

We all have a past, we live in the present, and the future is there to be explored, experienced, discovered, imagined, rebirthed. And then beyond is the great spiritual unknown, perhaps a blessing waiting for humanity.

- Liz Weeks, Australia -

At the end of each reflection, the speakers posed one or two questions – and the participants spent time with them, connecting the fresco’s message to their personal experience, while listening to inspiring music by Norwegian composer Sveinung Nygaard.


Youth fresco Hamsa

I believe that to create a better world, to create peace (...) each contribution can be a piece of support to be able to move forward.

- Hamza Ghandour, Lebanon -





Watch the replay here




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