Friends World Committee for Consultation Annual Reports
The text of recently received Annual Reports are below, with the most recently received at the top and older reports below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the year listed below.
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Friends World Committee for Consultation Section of the Americas met on March 21-24 of 2019. The venue was at Lake Doniphan Camp and Conference Center, outside of Kansas City, Missouri. We came together from both continents of the New World and several of the islands. The theme we explored was "Who is my neighbor?" and "How Can we all be friends?" We did this through semi-programmed worship, worship sharing in small groups, and informally in long walks, food lines, and dorm groups.
The high point of the weekend for many of us was the semi-programmed worship under the leadership of our traveling ministers each morning. None of the traveling ministers come from Baltimore Yearly Meting, but our tradition of unprogrammed worship was well represented. After the close of worship, we reconvened in small gorups and delved deeper into the themes, based on our own experience of the spirit.
On Saturday afternoon, the new contingent of Traveling Ministers were blessed and sent forth. These ministers are not charged simply with explaining one version of Friends to another, but also to serve as a source of spiritual enrichment wherever they are invited to go. They can carry out children's programs, preach, lead worship sharing, preside at group meals, etc. There is no cost to the host Meeting.
The weather was a constant worry as severe rainstorms were predicted. Leaving on Saturday was ifish. We needed to cross several rivers which had been already affected. We had to take some detours, but we did make it across the Missouri River without any trouble, and the rest of the way home.
This year, Sheila Bach, Judy Seaman, Bette Hoover, and Thomas Finegar will rotate off the committee. Replacement are needed. If you are interested in this fascinating work, approach the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee.
No report received.
FWCC Section of the Americas met this March in Stony Point New York. This was a very convenient location for members from BYM. Five delegates, including Thomas Finegar, the youngest delegate, attended from our Yearly Meeting.
The mission of FWCC is to bring together the various Quaker groups, from all the countries which have Quakers. This meeting was of the Section of the Americas, which included delegates from Bolivia, Peru, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico.
The theme of the conference was 'living the peace." We met in worship with a sermon each morning then had small groups for discussion and worship sharing. One dynamic sermon by Kirenia Criado of Cuba made the man with one talent the one to do Christ's will. He put his talent into the soil, to grow food, rather than to charge interest which would bring in money for no work, for nothing.
This led to a discussion of the financial status pf the Section. Some of our plans are expensive, such as bringing more Central and South American delegates and involving them in the work of the section. The plan of a traveling ministry is also expensive. The former practice of supporting the Section's work with legacies seems to be a thing of the past.
New forms of support were set up. A system of monthly donations from one's bank has been established. As members looked at their pocketbook and signed up for what they could donate, enough was pledged at the conference to enable the office of FWCC and its mission to continue its work.
We also were introduced to the first cohort of Traveling Ministers. They were completing their training at this time, and were preparing to set out on their travels. The US ministers will travel in the US, and are now available to go to your Meeting and discuss FWCC and its mission. These ministers will come to your meeting at no cost to the meeting, and will be available for potlucks, discussion groups, Young Friends groups as a resource for discussing the larger communion of Friends and its place in our own meetings. The task of the committee is to make sure that these ministers are used. We are also to do anything we can to facilitate their use in our meetings. This means getting Meetings to invite them, making sure they have venues for their message as well as lodging.
Future plans include a longer gap between big regional meetings and more use of the traveling ministers. As the ministers become more seasoned, there will be international travel as well. The FWCC is looking to the future for ways to become more attuned to climate change, population movement, and energy needs. We hope to maintain our relevance through all of this.
No report received.
This has been an interesting time to be the convener for the Representatives to the Friends World Committee for Consultation, or FWCC, section of the Americas. When I was first asked to be on the FWCC-SOA, I asked what I would be doing if I accepted that task. I was told, just go the things they organize, and maybe have a meeting at lunch at the Annual Session of BYM.
That seemed to be something I could do pretty effortlessly, so I agreed. However, things started to change as the executive director, Robin Mohr, her staff, and her committees looked with clear eyes at the state of the organization. An extensive and intensive reorganization began, with an eye to making the Committee and the Section more responsive to the changes in several things, the availability of electronic communication, the changes in South and Central America, and the changes in the Society of Friends.
As a consequence, my task as convener has increased in responsibility and importance. One of the changes in the Section has been the decrease in paid staff. At present, there are two full time people, and two part time people are being hired soon. The representatives have been urged to step up and do more of the work of the Section. Committees of representatives have been formed to handle communications and publications. These committees will carry out functions previously performed by staff. The other representatives will serve as liaisons from the Section to the Meetings, and from Meeting to Meeting. My section has put together a mailing list so we can let the others in the region know of events that would be of interest to those who want to follow the work of the other Meetings, including those from different traditions of Quakerism
Several of the representatives went to the Section Meeting in Mexico City, where the deeply involved in the work, Chuck Kleymeyer from BYM co-clerked the working group on social initiatives for funding. I interpreted for the finance committee throughout the year and at the section meeting. We all met and schmoozed with people from all over the section, and created important relationships.
The Worldwide Plenary will be in Peru in January. Several of us are planning to attend to continue our effort to bring together the different threads in the tapestry of Friends.
We are moving forward with “Let the Living Waters Flow” local events, as a continuation of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the 6th World Conference. Events in 2012-2013 took place in 16 states in the U.S., Bolivia, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Speakers have come from Yearly Meetings in Britain, Canada, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Ireland, Kenya and the USA. Hundreds of Friends have been introduced to the Friends World Committee and encouraged to think deeply about what it means to be faithful in the world. Speakers have crossed theological, cultural, economic and communities borders and have challenged and empowered Friends to live out of their faith.
In 2014, there will be four weekend consultations in Bolivia, El Salvador, North Carolina and California, to bring Friends together, face to face and heart to heart, around practical topics of mutual interest, including cross-cultural communication and developing leadership among Friends. FWCC also offers scholarship assistance for Friends to follow leadings to travel in the ministry in ways that bridge yearly meeting boundaries, theological differences, varieties of worship style and differences in language and culture.
26 teen Friends from 9 countries in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East plus 4 adult leaders from the U.S., Guatemala and Ireland returned safely but not unchanged after the 2012 Quaker Youth Pilgrimage held in Britain, Netherlands and Belgium. The program is deep in the planning of a 2014 Pilgrimage to be hosted by the Andean Friends in Peru and Bolivia. We are working carefully and prayerfully to construct the first QYP experience to be held entirely in Evangelical Yearly Meetings as well as the first Quaker Youth Pilgrimage in South America.
The Wider Quaker Fellowship has published five new pamphlets in English and two in Spanish on www.VoicesofFriends.org . The latest, Being Salt and Light, contains excerpts from most of the plenary speeches given at the 2012 World Conference of Friends in Kenya, selected especially for the Wider Quaker Fellowship audience.
The Section has established program and administrative priorities, a workplan and budget for 2013-2015. One administrative priority is working toward full integration of committees in terms of religious practice, age, race, gender and language. The next full meeting of Representatives in the Section of the Americas will be held in 2015. The next International Representative Meeting (formerly known as Triennials) will be held in 2016 in Arequipa, Peru. More information is available at www.fwccamericas.org or www.facebook.com/fwccamericas.
Robin Mohr, Executive Secretary
No report received.
Like many Friends organizations, the Friends World Committee for Consultation Section of the Americas has had many changes throughout the year. We were sorry to say good-by to Margaret Fraser, the outgoing Executive Secretary, as she left for a busy retirement. To fill that position, Robin Mohr, a member of San Francisco Monthly Meeting, Pacific Yearly Meeting, was named to be the new Executive Secretary. We are very happy to have Robin on board as of 16 sixth month. Robin has written extensively in Quaker journals and facilitated many workshops in the past five years. She is a leader in Convergent Friends, which facilitates communication among Friends across boundaries of geography, theology, age, and language. She has stated that she has been called to minister to Friends by encouraging and enabling them to share such experiences. She uses a range of electronic media and is well connected to Young Adult Friends. Robin is fluent in Spanish which will be a great help in her job.
FWCC consistently works to enable Friends to learn from one another, from Friends with a different perspective but so often the same problems.
• How do we support the ministers among us?
• How do we enable young Friends to give the gifts they are offering and assist meetings/churches to receive them?
• How can we continue to evolve towards a more equal footing among yearly meetings in North, Central and South America?
These are not new questions, but a continuation of nearly 75 years of inspiring work by some amazing people and the Holy Spirit.
The Annual Meeting in March was held in Philadelphia and was a shortened version of most Annual Meetings. This was done partly to cut costs and focus only on business. We were focused on the organization itself, its finances, naming a new Executive Secretary, and keeping everything going with a very small staff. After Margaret retired at the end of April, Louise Salinas did a terrific job of keeping the work of FWCC SoA going smoothly. Louise is also fluent in Spanish.
One of the greatest benefits of either being a representative from BYM to FWCC SoA or someone who wants to be involved in a committee or any of the programs, is the wonderful opportunity to interact with Friends who are not the same as us. You get to know not only about the Friends themselves but of their culture and different ways of worship. It is a joy to be part of this organization.
What is coming up within FWCC?
First of all, the Sixth World Gathering will be held in Kenya in April 2012. A thousand Friends will gather next year for worship, study, and celebration, seeking God's guidance for the future of the Quaker movement. A significant part of the Quaker movement is now found in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Six members of BYM have been named as delegates: Rachel Stacy, Gunpowder; Jason Eaby, Nottingham; Leada Dietz, York; Adam Heinz, Little Britain; Marion Ballard, Bethesda.
2012 is also when the next Quaker Youth Pilgrimage will take place. Planned for next July-August, the pilgrimage will gather 28 young Quakers and four leaders together in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Now is the time to think of potential pilgrims as well as adults to lead them during the month-long pilgrimage. Encourage them to apply. Read below for more information on this FWCC program for Quaker youth that has been running for over 50 years. Do you know of a young person in your Meeting who would like to join this wonderful program?