Friends World Committee for Consultation
The Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) is a Quaker organisation that works to communicate between all parts of Quakerism. FWCC's world headquarters is in London. It has General Consultative NGO status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 2002. FWCC shares responsibility for the Quaker UN Office in Geneva and New York City with the American Friends Service Committee and Britain Yearly Meeting.
FWCC was set up at the 1937 Second World Conference of Friends in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, US,
to act in a consultative capacity to promote better understanding among Friends the world over, particularly by the encouragement of joint conferences and intervisitation, the collection and circulation of information about Quaker literature and other activities directed towards that end.
Between representative meetings, governance is carried out by a Central Executive Committee of 17 members from around the world, which meets annually in a different part of the world. The current General Secretary is Tim Gee.
FWCC has four sections in addition to the world office in London:
- Africa Section, based in Nairobi, Kenya
- Asia and West Pacific Section, based in Australia
- Europe and Middle East Section, based in Birmingham, England
- Section of the Americas, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Africa Section represents Friends throughout the continent of Africa. Most African Friends are from the evangelical and programmed traditions. However, a significant minority are from the unprogrammed tradition. South Africa Yearly Meeting is principally an unprogrammed Yearly Meeting and there are unprogrammed Meetings elsewhere in Africa, notably in Kenya. Africa Section is numerically the most numerous of the Sections and the administrative headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya. The 2012 Friends World Conference was held in Kenya.
Asia West Pacific Section
Asia West Pacific Section (AWPS) is geographically the largest FWCC Section, stretching from Japan in the north to New Zealand and Australia in the south and from the Philippines in the east to India in the west. Asia West Pacific Section is growing significantly and recently welcomed into Membership the Philippine Evangelical Friends Church, a Filipino programmed and evangelical Friends Meeting; Marble Rock Friends and Mahoba Yearly Meeting in India. Some AWPS Friends Meetings are numerically small, e.g. those in Korea and Hong Kong but nonetheless give generously to Friends work internationally and contribute a lot to the life of Friends. Other Friends Meetings in the Section are relatively large with several thousand Friends. The geographical area of the AWPS region includes numerically large Friends Meetings of the evangelical programmed tradition which have not as yet affiliated with FWCC, although friendly relations are maintained locally.
Europe and Middle East Section
Europe and Middle East Section (EMES) is numerically the smallest of the Quaker Sections but historically the oldest and is growing in former Eastern Bloc countries, though declining in so-called Western Europe countries. EMES includes Britain Yearly Meeting, the mother Meeting of Friends, being the heir to the former London Yearly Meeting. Britain Yearly Meeting's "Faith and Practice" or book of discipline is used by many Friends around the world as a guide to Friends' practices and procedures. Britain Yearly Meeting is the largest Meeting in the Section with approximately 16,000 Members, followed by Ireland Yearly Meeting with around 1,000 Members. Other Yearly Meetings in Europe are small, in some cases smaller than Monthly Meetings in Asia but retain the name and form of Yearly Meetings for historical reasons.
Friends have a long-standing presence in the Middle East and the Palestine, dating back to Ottoman times. For example, Friends School, Ramallah, is a noted educational centre and Friends are active in attempts to build peace at the grass roots in this troubled area. Britain Yearly Meeting's Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) is one of the significant international Friends agencies. The FWCC Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) in Geneva is partly supported by Britain Yearly Meeting. Friends presence at the United Nations has engaged and continues to engage in much quiet diplomacy to reduce violence and build peace around the world. Friends House in Geneva is a quiet haven in a busy international city and hosts Geneva Meeting.
Section of the Americas
Section of the Americas is numerically the second largest section and includes Friends from all Friends traditions in both North and South America as well as in the Caribbean and Central America. Section of the Americas is officially bi-lingual in Spanish and English, though Canada Yearly Meeting also operates in both English and French. FWCC's other QUNO branch is located adjacent to the New York UN Building and is closely connected with the quasi-Quaker organisation American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). AFSC was founded by Friends and still has a substantially Friends Board of Trustees, however, only the director of AFSC is required to be a Friend and the vast majority of AFSC staff, including senior staff, are not Friends and are not familiar with Friends worship or testimonies leading to some Friends' Meetings distancing themselves from AFSC and its activities. In 1947 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Friends for 300 years of work for peace and received on behalf of Friends by AFSC and its London counterpart, the Friends Service Committee, now known as Quaker Peace and Social Witness. Approximately 160,000 Friends live in the US and some 300,000 live in Latin America. US Friends are often relatively affluent whereas many Latin American Friends come from relatively impoverished and oppressed indigenous communities. As in Asia and Africa, in Latin America, Friends are a growing church. Section of the Americas Friends have a long history dating back to the mid-17th Century. Friends founded or helped found a number of the US States, notably Pennsylvania, named after distinguished 17th Century English Friend, William Penn; Rhode Island; New Jersey and Delaware all had substantial Friends' contributions in their founding. William Penn's constitutional documents for Pennsylvania formed an important and influential source for the later United States Constitution. In the early colonial period Friends were persecuted in Massachusetts and New York. Friends also had a substantial impact in the early days of colonisation of the Caribbean, for example in the 17th century and early 18th century 25% of the population of Barbados was Friends. The history of suffering is a uniting factor with Latin American Friends, many of whom live in difficult circumstances and find living the transformative Peace Testimony a daily commitment.
It is difficult to speak about American Friends as a whole because they represent such a broad and diverse range of Friends traditions, however, it is a tribute to their commitment to Friends beliefs that they respect each other and work together.
FWCC triennials, conferences and international representatives meetings
The first World Conference of Friends was held in the U.K. in 1920 and the second, at which FWCC was founded, took place in Pennsylvania in 1937. The third was held in Oxford, U.K. in 1952 and the fourth in Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A. in 1967. In 1991, the Fifth World Conference was held on three sites in The Netherlands, Honduras and Kenya. The sixth World Conference was held near Nakuru in Kenya in 2012.
Between the World Conferences, Triennial meetings of representatives were held up to 2007, when it was decided that there should be longer gaps between these meetings, in part due to environmental concerns.
In future Plenary Meetings will be held every six to eight years and called International Representatives Meetings. The first of these was held in Peru in January 2016, and the next is planned for South Africa in 2023.
|Mexico||1985||Profundizar Más = Digging deeper.|
|New Mexico, USA||August 1994||On being publishers of truth.|
|Birmingham, England||July 1997||Answering the love of God: living our testimonies.|
|New Hampshire, USA||July 2000||"Friends: A People Called to Listen, Gathered to Seek, Sent Forth to Serve"|
|Aotearoa/New Zealand||January 2004||"Being Faithful Witnesses: Serving God in a Changing World".|
|Dublin, Ireland||11–19 August 2007||"Finding the Prophetic Voice for our Time".|
|Nakuru, Kenya||17–25 April 2012||"Being salt and Light: Friends living the Kingdom of God in a broken world".|
|Pisac, Peru||19–27 January 2016||"Living the Transformation: Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the Children of God".|
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- Profundizar Más : ensayos para ayudar a los Amigos, y a las Juntas de los Amigos, a prepararse para la 16a asamblea Trienal del Comité Consultivo Mundial de los Amigos = Digging deeper : papers to assist Friends and Meetings prepare for the 16th Triennial Meeting of the FWCC. – Mexico : Friends World Committee for Consultation, 1985.
- On being publishers of truth : a discussion guide in preparation for the 18th Triennial Meeting of FWCC ... 1994 / prepared by Gordon M. Browne Jr. and Heather Moir. – London : Friends World Committee for Consultation, 1994
- Answering the love of God : living our testimonies : [documents, etc. from the] 19th Triennial Meeting, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Westhill College, Birmingham, England, 23–31 July 1997
- Website for Triennial 2007 Archived 4 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine and official Blog.
- "Welcome to the World Conference website | World Conference of Friends 2012". Saltandlight2012.org. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
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