Central Executive Committee (CEC), Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC)  Toronto, Canada. June 2019

Report by Ronis Chapman, Asia West Pacific Section Secretary.

 FWCC is registered as a charity in the U.K. and the Board of Trustees of the charity is made up of Friends from around the world. In the Quaker world the Board is referred to as the Central Executive Committee (CEC).  The CEC meets in person once a year and electronically in between. In June 2019 the CEC gathered at Camp NeeKauNees, a Quaker camp under the care of Canadian Yearly Meeting near Waubaushene, Ontario.  This camp is set in a managed forest and it is very clear that we were beneficiaries of years of the love and hard work from Friends from all over the country.  The camp offers a program of camps each summer that provide recreational program in an atmosphere of spiritual growth.

These people attended the meeting:

Gretchen Castle (Philadelphia YM)                           General Sec FWCC

Elizabeth Cazden (New England YM)                       Assistant Clerk FWCC

Ronis Chapman (Australia YM)                                 Secretary AWP Section

Jonathan Fletcher (Aotearoa-New Zealand YM)       Alternate for Clerk, AWP Section

Myron Guachalla Montano (Bolivia Central YM)     Member at large

Marisa Johnson (Britain YM)                                     Secretary EME Section

Fenwick Kirton-Darling (Britain YM)                       Treasurer FWCC

Simon C. Lamb (Ireland YM)                                    Clerk FWCC

Foote Lund (Ohio Valley & Wilmington YMs)         Alternate for Clerk, Section of the Americas

Thule Mbete (Southern Africa YM)                           Member at large

Robin Mohr (Philadelphia YM)                                 Secretary Section of the Americas

Lee Taylor (Britain YM)                                            Alternate for Clerk, EME Section

Bainito Wamalwa (East Africa YM-North)               Clerk Africa Section

The Secretary of the African Section Job Bikokwa was unable to be present.

Representing the Quaker world

This added up to 15 Friends from 8 different countries.

15 people representing Friends around the world. 15 people attending to the business that keeps our global organisation a thriving organisation that crosses cultures and shares stories and enables us to be and work in the world together.

It does not take much of a Quaker imagination to realise the complexity of attending to business with this sort of bunch of mixed Quakers.  I am very pleased to tell you that we managed the complexity very well.

Every day at Camp NeekausNee I gave thanks for the beauty of the forest and lake. Being in such a natural setting helped us focus on one of the key concerns of Quakers all over the world today – building a sustainable future.

Doing Quaker Business

Each CEC member is very aware of the huge responsibility we have as guardians of FWCC.  Our global headquarters in London is a small office with a very big job.  We continually reminded ourselves that we must be careful of the financial and environmental cost of meeting and the aim is to keep costs of the CEC to a minimum.   The community we built together over the week as we worshipped together, ate together, washed the dishes together and soaked up the magnificent sunsets helped us to attend to the serious business of managing the finances and planning for the future.

Reports were tabled from the Quaker United Nations Office and we are very grateful for the work they do on behalf of us all in Geneva and New York.  Each Section is represented in this work through our representatives on the QUNO Committees.

We heard about the world office sustainability work (http://fwcc.world/sustainability). Susanna Mattingly is the Sustainability officer and her position has been funded by Britain Yearly Meeting.   Quaker Take is a regular podcast produced by British Quakers and you can listen to Susanna talking about her work on one of their recent programs: https://soundcloud.com/qwitness

World Quaker Day began its life at a CEC meeting 6 years ago and on Sunday 6 October 2019 the WQD theme is Sustainability: Planting seeds of renewal for the world we love.

We heard how the issue of privilege and historical injustice is being discussed by Friends in all parts of the world and discussed a project that would enable the world office to facilitate a wider discussion in our world family.

The meeting discussed plans for the 2023 world plenary meeting to be held in Durban, South Africa.  It was agreed that we wanted to broaden the involvement of Quakers around the world in international gatherings by using video links and live streaming speakers.  We recognise that linking using technology is not the same as being together in the same room or conference centre but we want to explore and embrace new electronic ways of being together.  If we can bring people together in a meaningful way electronically then we can reduce our collective travel footprint and also make international gatherings more inclusive.

We shared stories of bridge building – between Quakers in different parts of the world and between Quakers who have different approaches to worship and between Quakers who have different world views.  Our family is vast and varied. Our common prayer is the need to develop resilient spiritual communities that enable us to live out our faith in the world.

Together we experienced God’s presence among us and I left with a deep sense of gratefulness for Friends past and present who work to nurture our global connections.

We do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will. Show a loving consideration for all creatures, and seek to maintain the beauty and variety of the world. Work to ensure that our increasing power over nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life. Rejoice in the splendour of God’s continuing creation.

Britain Yearly Meeting Advices and Queries no. 42