When I was asked to write about how I have been affected by FWCC related activities, I was puzzled. What could I say? I haven’t travelled with FWCC, I haven’t served on any committees, I have been pretty much focused on my local Canberra Meeting. Yet it soon struck me that my horizons have been greatly broadened and I have been enriched by a number of FWCC contacts.
1. I served as a ‘visitor’ (by Skype) for someone from seeking international membership . This introduced me to Singapore Quakers in addition to the pleasure of getting to know the person seeking membership.
2. Canberra Meeting has had a number of Quaker Day annual events, including Skyping with Friends from Singapore, Philippines, Cambodia, Japan and India.
3. Our Meeting held a study group (also by Skype) with our companion meeting in Hong Kong. We studied a Pendle Hill pamphlet and shared our thoughts.
5. The two webinars organised by FWCC Asia West Pacific Section (AWPS) to inform the region about the work and challenges of the American Friends Service Committee in North Korea were particularly enlightening about little known aspects of North Korea and its relationships with other parts of the world.
6. Our Friends Ronis Chapman Michael Searle and Harold Wilkinson, all members of Canberra Regional Meeting, have visited many Quaker communities both within the AWPS and in the wider world. They have developed ongoing relationships with many Quakers across the world and are able to share their knowledge of the service provided, and challenges experienced, by a diversity of individual Quakers and Quaker communities. This has increased my sense of connection with the worldwide family of Quakers, appreciating our differences and similarities.
I am reminded of the Quaker sociologist Elise Boulding’s suggestion (see One Small Plot of Heaven; Cultures of Peace) that if we wish to contribute to the conditions which make for peace, one way is to participate in the international networks to which we have access. FWCC is one of those networks.