Review of the year

15 December 2023

Image: Woodleywonderworks

Thank you so much for being a supporter of FWCC, as we act on our mission 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.

As we reach the end of the year we’ve been looking back at some highlights of what we have been able to do and achieve together, with your help.

January began with Southern Africa Yearly Meeting, exploring the word ubuntu. A short film made at the gathering, commissioned by FWCC, has been viewed by Friends around the world. Young Adult Friends from East Africa then gathered to consider the same theme, including Friends supported by FWCC to take part in SAYM.

In February we began the global phase of our fundraising campaign, to enable inclusive and equitable participation in the World Plenary Meeting. We think we are now on course to be able to meet our target. We are incredibly grateful.

A highlight of March was to be able to join Friends from across the diverse traditions represented in the Americas in their first ever Section meeting in hybrid form.  The Quaker United Nations Office also spoke up in our name 24 times at the UN IPCC climate talks, focussing on the need for urgent, transformative, rights-based and ethical climate policies.

In April FWCC was granted official accreditation with the UN Environment Programme, allowing QUNO to take part in encouraging progress towards a plastics pollution treaty.  We also formed part of a keynote panel at the American Friends Service Committee’s annual meeting, alongside leaders of other international Quaker agencies.

In May we joined Friends from across Europe and the Middle East in Birmingham, England, for one of the last major international events at the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. Our international worship working group also started putting together the next World Quaker Songbook.

In June the Quaker United Nations Office celebrated its 75th year, which we added to with articles for publications and talks for events. We were also glad to cofacilitate the ‘World Quaker Voices’ course, hosted by Woodbrooke online, exploring the diversity of Quakerism worldwide.

In July we published a resource pack supporting Friends to organise events to mark George Fox’s 400th birthday in 2024, which was downloaded more than 1000 times. Our planning committees also met in South Africa to preview and test our venue and systems for next year’s World Plenary Meeting.

In August we published a consultation paper on FWCC’s future directions, proposing six priorities including Young Adult Friends, addressing the digital divide and nurturing online worship. Two committee members including the clerk also visited Burundi to engage in a thoughtful international dialogue with Young Adult Friends there.

In September we spent a good deal of time answering the many enquiries about the World Plenary Meeting, following the opening of bookings.

At the start of October Friends from many countries and traditions discussed, discerned, studied and contemplated the word ubuntu, as part of World Quaker Day. Friends from across Asia and the West Pacific came together for their first meeting for a number of years as did the Quaker Peace Network for Africa both of which we were glad to join.

In November we joined the Quaker agencies in a statement urging a bilateral ceasefire and return of hostages in Israel-Palestine.

Now this December we are planning for next year, including officially announcing the George Fox 400 programme (here’s how it’s shaping up), and of course counting down to the Plenary itself. Online and onsite places are still available, if you’re interested.

We end the year deeply sombre in the context of world events, but also very grateful that you have helped enable us to do what we do, with your prayers, donations and support. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, and we wish you a peaceful new year.