Friends World Committee for Consultation (World Office)
The purpose of FWCC is to encourage fellowship and understanding among all the branches of the Religious Society of Friends. FWCC brings Friends together in multiple ways to celebrate God in our lives, to gather the Quaker voice and build networks to address issues of our time, and to unite us within our diversity. Website: fwcc.world
Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February, Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) has fundraised for Quaker work supporting refugees in eastern Europe; published church anti-war statements in English, Ukrainian, and Russian for use by the Christian anti-war movement; and joined with more than 140 others in cowriting an interfaith statement against nuclear arms, which was read at the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna, Austria, in June.
The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) has spoken in the name of FWCC at the UN, including calling for an end to the use of explosives in populated areas, for guns to be kept out of the hands of children, and for global investment in peacebuilding financed by an overall reduction in military spending.
There have also been more than 60 Quaker interventions during intergovernmental climate negotiations this year, helping ensure legally significant texts reflect important findings on the environment, climate justice, and human rights.
Dates have been set for the next World Plenary Meeting: August 5–13, 2024, in South Africa and online (FWCC’s first global hybrid event of this scale). Preceding this, celebrations are being planned in many countries for George Fox’s 400th birthday in July 2024.
World Quaker Day 2022 falls on October 2, and is supporting mass online intervisitation with Friends in other countries.
Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) continues to connect Friends and bring fellowship to Friends around the world. FWCC welcomed Tim Gee as its new general secretary in January 2022. Towards the end of 2021, FWCC published a new, refreshed website and launched the second series of the popular webinar series “Quaker Conversations,” which explores such topics as food security, the inner work for peace, and the impact of the shift to online Quakerism. Recordings of all past events and details of future events can be found on FWCC’s website. FWCC worked with international interfaith networks and Friends around the world to support Quaker climate action and amplify the Quaker voice at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK, in November 2021. FWCC coordinates the Global Quaker Sustainability Network, which strengthens collaboration between Quaker agencies working for environmental justice. Planning is underway for the forthcoming FWCC World Plenary Meeting to be held in South Africa in 2024. FWCC is also gathering creative ideas for how Friends worldwide would like to mark George Fox’s 400th birthday in July 2024.
Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) continues to bring fellowship to Friends around the world through sharing yearly meeting news and epistles, and hosting events for all Friends.
Much of the work continues online. The sustainability program manager is supporting Quaker climate action and interfaith networks in advance of the UN climate talks scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland. As a World Office, FWCC brought together Friends from across the four Sections through a webinar series called Quaker Conversations, which had 1,363 registrations, and 1,346 views on the YouTube channel. The second series of Quaker Conversations will launch in October.
In July, FWCC saw the departure of Gretchen Castle as FWCC general secretary after nine years in the role. Tim Gee, of Britain Yearly Meeting, will take up the position in January 2022. In the interim period, Susanna Mattingly will serve as the acting general secretary.
Toward the end of 2020, Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) launched “A Friendly Advent,” a free online course offered in partnership with Woodbrooke, the Quaker study center in the UK. It allowed for spiritual inspiration during the season of Advent, and also enabled Friends to connect across the branches, living into the mission of FWCC.
FWCC continued growing its online presence with a monthly webinar series, Quaker Conversations, which explores topics such as social revolution and adaptive community. The recordings of these are available on the website.
In February, Gretchen Castle spoke on behalf of Quakers to faith leaders at the first installment of “Faith and Science: Towards COP26,” an eight-part series organized by the British and Italian Embassies and the Holy See to generate a collaborative faith response for the twenty-sixth United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) to be held in November in Glasgow, Scotland (postponed from November 2020). Toward the same end, FWCC’s Sustainability Program was asked by the Interfaith Liaison Committee to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which helps to plan the interfaith presence at the COP meetings, to moderate an interfaith panel, both last November and at the upcoming event.
In early 2021, FWCC received applications for its next general secretary. An announcement sharing the outcome of the search is planned for spring 2021.
FWCC staff have not been traveling since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have been virtually zipping around the world, meeting and connecting via online tools with the aim to bring ”Friends of varying traditions and cultural experiences together in worship, communications, and consultation, to express our common heritage and our Quaker message to the world” (from FWCC’s mission statement).
FWCC has begun an online webinar series called “Quaker Conversations,” working in partnership with FWCC sections and organizations such as Quaker United Nations Office.
Through a semi-programmed online global worship on August 15, FWCC marked 100 years since the first All Friends’ Gathering was held to collectively and publicly oppose all war.
FWCC continues to produce educational short videos, use social media channels, and share newsletters to connect with Friends, and help connect Friends around the world. These can all be found on the FWCC website.
The Sustainability Program has continued to grow. At the first online sustainability conference in February, FWCC heard the call for Friends to support young Friends in their climate action work. The program launched a 10-week series of five online workshops to build a network of young Quakers around the world who are interested in climate action, peace, and justice.