2015 Central Executive Committee news and minutes

The CEC minutes are available here (.pdf, 267kb.)

NEWS FROM THE CENTRAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The Central Executive Committee (CEC) met 7-11 June 2015 at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, UK, after participating in the annual meeting of the FWCC Europe and Middle East Section. We were heartened by the many energetic and engaged young adults and new Friends in EMES.

The CEC’s work, as usual, was a mix of routine (but essential) governance matters and broad discernment on policy matters. Fuller minutes (with some detail redacted) are available here.

We received written and oral reports from all four Sections, rejoicing in how much has been done with limited staff and resources. We were reminded that when we stretch to do the work that is needed, God provides the needed resources.

We reaffirmed sponsoring “World Quaker Day” on 4 October 2015, using the theme from the World Plenary, “Living the Transformation,” and encourage meetings throughout the world to participate and send reports, photos and video.

We made appointments to the International Membership Applications Committee and the Quaker United Nations Office oversight committees for New York and Geneva. We also received the evaluation of the work of the General Secretary and affirmed continuing her employment through 2016.

We reviewed audited accounts for the fiscal year ending 31 December 2014, which show a reasonably healthy financial status, with general fund balances near our target level of six months’ operating expenses. Income has increased somewhat. New accounting software has permitted more accurate and faster recording and reporting. We approved the Trustees’ Report, the organization’s required formal report to the Charities Commission of England and Wales.

We approved revised budgets for FY 2015 and FY 2016, plus projections for 2017, based on conservative estimates of income and prudent planned use of restricted and endowment funds.

We have also allocated two significant special gifts, one from the committee responsible for the 2005 World Gathering of Young Friends and one from the family of a Friend long active in FWCC. We approved expenditures to support the attendance of younger Friends at the World Plenary, and to expand our capacity to provide full and equal participation in the Plenary in several languages. We also authorized funds to support communications (including web design and IT) within the Africa Section, and funds for a consultant to explore how to increase fundraising capacity across the organization.

Following on the 2012 Kabarak Call for Peace and Eco-Justice, and consultation with the International Finance Committee, we minuted a change to our investment policy to avoid fossil fuel companies. We acknowledge the ethical discomfort created by declining to invest in fossil fuels while still utilizing them for transport and other uses in our daily lives and in our organizational work, and continue to seek to bring our whole lives into alignment with Universal Truth as we understand it. We affirmed FWCC’s endorsement of the Quaker Statement on Climate Change, prepared in conjunction with the United Nations Climate Change Summit in September 2014, and recognize the World Office’s key role in facilitating consultation and conversation among the many Quaker organizations concerned with this issue.

We received a final report on the emergency relief funds for Friends in the Philippines following the November 2013 typhoon and earthquake. We received £30,629 in gifts; £22,600 was distributed during 2014 to the unprogrammed worship group in Bohol and to six churches on the island of Samar under Philippines Evangelical Friends International Ministries (PEFIM), which was spent on immediate needs for food, water and shelter, and church building repairs. The remaining £8,029 will be disbursed during 2015 for a joint project to restore agricultural production on Samar. We have heard that Filipino Friends deeply appreciated the concern and generosity of Friends around the world. We are grateful for the opportunity for Friends to work together to strengthen the bonds among diverse Friends in the region.

We heard plans for the World Plenary Meeting to take place in Pisac, Peru, in January 2016.

We examined the mission and values that guide our work together in FWCC. We then considered possible amendments to the FWCC Constitution to conform to a new charities law and provide more flexibility in the scheduling of World Plenary Meetings, hoping to engage more Friends in FWCC’s work and fellowship while promoting financial and ecological sustainability. Regardless of the formal legal structures, we are committed to open, frequent, and usable communications between the World Office, CEC, and Friends around the world. Any Constitutional amendment will be brought to the World Plenary in January 2016 for approval.

We heard a report on the work of the Quaker United Nations Offices, which are under FWCC’s umbrella. We encouraged Sections to look for ways to engage each Section’s representatives to the QUNO committees in the life and work of their Section.

We affirmed a statement on the political instability in Burundi that the General Secretary endorsed on behalf of FWCC, after consulting with the Africa Section Secretary, the CEC Clerk, and Friends in Burundi.

Future plans: The Central Executive Committee plans to meet electronically during October 2015, and to meet in person for one day prior and three days following the World Plenary Meeting in Peru in January 2016. Meeting dates and places for 2017 and beyond have not yet been set; the CEC Clerk and the World Office welcome suggestions of venues with modest accommodations cost and convenient transport from all parts of the globe. We also welcome your prayers and support, both spiritual and tangible, for the work we do together, with Divine assistance, to connect Friends, cross cultures, and change lives.

Elizabeth Cazden (New England YM), CEC Clerk