World Plenary Meeting / Reunión Plenaria Mundial

17 August 2023

Registrations are now open for the FWCC World Plenary. All Yearly Meetings associated with FWCC are invited to send nominees, as are nominees of partner groups. Open Places are also available.

Please prayerfully consider if feel you led to take part, whether in person or online. To help you discern, below is a list of questions and answers about the event. If you have a further question, clarification or correction please email [email protected] .

All bookings need to take place through our dedicated online form. Participants will need a letter of recommendation from the clerk of their local Friends Meeting, or Section Secretary. 

If you are booking a pay-as-led online-only place, scroll down to where it says ‘online only’ to find your ticket category. Ignore where it says ‘access online event’ at the top of the page.

Leer en Espanol: Información Reunión Plenaria MundialEspañolMayo2023

What is the FWCC World Plenary Meeting?

The FWCC World Plenary Meeting (WPM) is a meeting for representatives from all four FWCC Sections to undertake FWCC business, surrounded by worship and fellowship with Friends from around the world. All affiliated Yearly Meetings and other bodies associated with FWCC are invited to send nominees, and individuals are welcome as well.

When is the World Plenary Meeting? 

5-12 August 2024.

For those attending the physical meeting, arrivals take place on 5 August 2024 with the official opening taking place on the morning of 6 August. It will finish after breakfast on 12 August. 

The online meeting will also take place from the 5-12 August 2024, with some prepartory conversations online also in the months preceding the event.

Why do we have a World Plenary Meeting?

FWCC began in 1937, following a world conference, and has periodically held them ever since. Some decisions can only be made by the International Representatives Meeting of FWCC – the World Plenary.

While the business is essential, there is much more to a Plenary Meeting. Past participants have often referred to the experience as transformational, because dialogue and worship with Friends from different countries and traditions has a tendency to strengthen all in the faith.

Where will the FWCC World Plenary Meeting take place?

The venue for the 2024 World Plenary Meeting will be around an hour from Johannesburg in South Africa. It will also be possible to take part as an online participant from where you are, either individually or with others gathered together in the same place joining through a single internet connection. 

The event is hosted by Southern Africa Yearly Meeting, which brings together Friends and Quaker Meetings in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

What is the theme of the World Plenary Meeting?

The theme of the event is “Living the Spirit of Ubuntu: Responding with hope to God’s call to care for creation and one-another”. Strongly echoing the ‘Golden Rule’ (Love your neighbour as yourself), the word ubuntu refers to the deeply held belief, morality and custom that every person is worthy of being recognised, respected and heard, and that we as human beings are all interdependent. 

It implies a collective responsibility to ensure that all members of the community have the means of subsistence and learning and participation. It further extends to care for the environment, since people are part of the same divinely given creation that is an interdependent whole.

What is on the agenda of the World Plenary Meeting?

Three interrelated strands will inform the World Plenary Meeting: ubuntu/community, healing historical injustice and care for creation. We expect that these discussions will combine into an epistle or minute to be shared with all Friends everywhere. We hope to share an outline timetable in August 2023.

How much does it cost to attend the World Plenary Meeting? 

The base-fee for in-person participants from Meetings and Friends Churches in Western Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan is $1300 USD, which is approximately ‘cost price’ for the accommodation, food, and conference costs.

The base-fee for participants from Meetings and Friends Churches in Africa, Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe, the Middle East and countries in Asia not listed above is $130 USD, subsidised by FWCC. There are also places for under 35s from any country at $130 USD. Day tickets will be $13 USD a day.

These are described as ‘base-fees’ because places are ‘pay as led’ with these as minimums, so if you or your Quaker group is able to pay more you will be invited to do so. 

Online places will be ‘pay as led’, with a recommended base-fee of $130 USD in higher income countries and $13 USD in lower income countries.

What is included and not included in the conference fee?

The in-person conference fee includes:

– Seven nights accommodation in a room shared with one other person*
– Breakfast, lunch and dinner for the duration of the event
– Airport transfer by specially commissioned coach on Monday 5 August and Monday 12 August
– Morning, mid morning and afternoon tea/coffee
– World Plenary Meeting Study Guide
– 2024 World Quaker Songbook
– Access to pre-event online sessions

The conference fee does not include

– Travel tickets to the event**
– Expenses incurred on the journey to the event
– Airport transfers not on 5 or 12 August
– Cost of excursions
– Any extras bought from the hotel
– Travel insurance

*If you are unable to sleep in a room shared with another person please tell us on your booking form and a single room can be provided
** We are able to cover travel tickets for one nominee each from Yearly Meetings in the Global South if needed

Do I need to be nominated by my Yearly Meeting to attend the World Plenary Meeting in person?

Every yearly meeting in the world is encouraged to send at least two nominated representatives: one in-person, one online. To use a ‘Yearly Meeting Nominee’ place you must be nominated by your Yearly Meeting, and will be asked for the minute and a contact email address in the application form. The invoice will then be sent to your Yearly Meeting treasurer. Your place will be confirmed when it is paid. 

In addition to this however there are 100 in person-places designated as ‘open places’, open to Friends travelling on behalf of monthly meetings, area meetings, worship groups, local or village meetings, sections, other Quaker groups and yearly meetings sending more than one  representatives. These are also open to individuals who feel prayerfully led to take part.

50 of these will be subsidised and half will be cost price (see above). To use an subsidised open place for Friends from Lower Income Countries you will need to fill in the online application form and get a ‘discount code’ from your section secretary.  

Can I donate to help fund somebody else to attend?

Yes please. FWCC will subsidise around half the physical places, and also help with travel and technology in many cases, but the costs of this commitment to inclusive participation are significant, for which we need to fundraise. This includes a target to significantly improve the online infrastructure of a number of Quaker Meeting Houses and Friends Churches in the Global South, which would have a positive impact long after the event has finished. To make a donation of between £100/$130 and £1000/$1300 please go to . To make a donation of a greater size please email [email protected] or contact your section secretary.   

If your place is being paid by someone else, for example your yearly meeting, please indicate this on your booking form and we can arrange an invoice. 

How do I book my travel to the World Plenary Meeting?

If you are booking an open place from any part of the world, or are a nominee of a yearly meeting in Europe, the USA, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia or New Zealand, you will need to arrange and pay for your own travel to South Africa. 

If you are a nominee of a yearly meeting in Africa, Latin America, Central Europe the Middle East, or any country in Asia not mentioned above, FWCC may be able to arrange your booking for you, and where needed, cover the cost. In Africa, contact clerk Bainito Wamalwa on [email protected] and for the rest of the world contact the World Office (email at top of this document) who will be able to advise.

Once Friends arrive in Johannesburg we plan to welcome you in person, and are in the process of arranging regular, safe and reliable transport for all from the principal arrival point (OR Tambo airport) to the venue on 5 August. Once bookings have closed for the WPM we will be back in touch to ask for your travel plans. We recommend arriving in the morning or early afternoon rather than in the evening or at night. 

How many representatives should yearly meetings send?

Every yearly meeting is asked to send at least one nominee in person, and one online. However if a yearly meeting wishes to send more than this, they may be able to come, by applying for an open place. 

Can my partner come?

Our main limitation on capacity is rooms/beds rather than other factors, so whether you are coming on an open place or as a YM nominee, you are welcome to bring your partner. They simply need to register with an open place. This may allow us to make some extra places available after the end of the registration period.

How many Friends can attend in person and how many online?

There are spaces for 270 Friends to attend the full event in person, and for at least 500 online.  In addition, day tickets will be available for local Friends. 

Can I attend just part of the event?

Yes. For Friends wishing to visit but not to take part in the whole event, day places (no accommodation) are available for any day of the gathering, intended in particular for Southern African Friends. If you plan to only take part in one part of the event as a whole, either in person or online, the weekend of Saturday 10 and  Sunday 11 August 2024 would be a particularly good time to do so, as this combines ‘all together’ open worship with Friends around the world and a plenary session weaving together the different strands discussed on the previous days. You may also want to be part of the opening ceremony on 6 August. 

Who organises the World Plenary Meeting?

The World Plenary Meeting is organised by the FWCC International Planning Committee (IPC), which combines nominees from every section, co-clerks and the FWCC General Secretary. It reports to the Central Executive Committee.

Many Friends from around the world are already working together to prepare the World Plenary Meeting, in nearly 20 different international groups. These include working groups supporting worship, finances, language services, technology, and communication. A team of Young Friends from around the world are also preparing a gathering of young Friends from around the world.  

Friends from Southern Africa Yearly Meeting are also working to prepare the WPM, and to give us a warm African welcome to the WPM.

Will there be a World gathering of Young Friends?

Yes. A gathering for Young Adult Friends from around the world has been announced, to take place from 1 – 5 August 2024, immediately before the World Plenary Meeting.

Inspired by the Southern African word ubuntu, the theme will be based on Galatians 3:28.

The event is intended to to improve mutual understanding of Quaker diversity amongst Young Adult Friends worldwide, to reinforce international Quaker identity, and to re-establish the Young Adult Friends global network, leading to joint actions and plans. Find out more here. 

What languages will the World Plenary Meeting be in?  

The Conference languages will be English, Spanish and KiSwahili. 

What kind of worship will there be at the World Plenary Meeting?

Mornings will offer opportunities for Bible study or unprogrammed Meeting for Worship, and each day will finish with an ‘epilogue’ reflecting prayerfully on what has happened.  

Worship will include many of the forms used by Friends worldwide. This will include unprogrammed expectant ‘waiting’ worship, programmed worship featuring pre-prepared hymns and sermons, and semi-programmed worship combining the two.

What key areas are likely to be talked about during the WPM?

Three inter-related strands will run through event, one about ubuntu/community, one about addressing historical and continuing injustice, and one about the environment. Friends will be asked to choose one strand and follow it through the event. On the penultimate day of the event a plenary session will seek to bring the strands together.    

How can I prepare for the World Plenary Meeting?

This World Quaker Day (1 October 2023) Friends everywhere are invited to learn about ubuntu, pray for the world family of Friends and our neighbours, and sending greetings to the World Plenary Meeting. A film has been prepared by Southern Africa Yearly Meeting to support this, to watch and share with your Quaker community.

A study guide will be produced in 2024 for participants to the World Plenary Meeting, to reflect on before the WPM.  

Are there opportunities to be of service to FWCC in the WPM preparations?

Yes. Once bookings are closed we will be seeking a number of Friends to help serve in different roles at the event itself, including with home groups, crafts, and pastoral care both on site and online. We are also planning a World Plenary Meeting choir, so if you enjoy singing please let us know on your booking form.  

Please also spread the word about the event, and explore whether you or your Quaker community could donate to support the costs of running an inclusive event.

How will the outcomes of the World Plenary Meeting be shared and acted on?

FWCC is ready to act on outcomes of the World Plenary Meeting, and has recruited  a Justice and Peace Secretary to support this, who will begin in October 2023. World Quaker Day 2024 will be an opportunity to spread the word of whatever is decided.  

FWCC has strong commitments to sustainability. How is this being considered in the planning for the World Plenary Meeting?

With its hybrid form, this is likely to be the most sustainable World Plenary Meeting that there has been for a very long time. The relatively small in-person element will mean fewer travel emissions. The shift to holding these events every 7 or 8 years also helps with this (previously they took place as triennials every 3 years).

The online investment includes a commitment to help improve facilities in Quaker spaces which would struggle to connect with such an event otherwise will help the international communication fostered through this event long after it has finished.

Having said that there will by necessity be some air travel involved in this event. At this point we don’t think it is possible to achieve the goals of a World Plenary Meeting as an online-only event. We encourage those Friends who can to arrive by land or sea, but recognise that air will be the only option for others.

How do I attend the World Plenary Meeting online?

Online participants are likely to have access to most of the plenary sessions in addition to online-only options. The online WPM programme is being developed.

Simply sign up using the same booking form, and select an ‘online only’ place. 

What is an online ‘hub’ and how do I join one?

A ‘hub’ is a place where three or more people join the event through a single internet connection. It could be a Friends Church, Quaker Meeting House, retreat centre or private home. Further information on hubs is being developed and will be shared soon.

Can I join just some of the WPM if I join online? 

Yes.   We understand that online participants will in some cases be balancing other responsibilities. We hope some sessions can be recorded to watch at a convenient time. 

We would advise though that if you join a home group that you try to attend this ‘live’. Your home group is a daily online international community sharing and reflecting about your experience of the event. To maintain continuity and build community it would be good to plan to attend most of these.

If you are coming only for one day we recommend the Sunday, which will include a big international act of worship, hosted by the Africa Section. 

Can I join just some of the WPM if I join in person?

If you are an international visitor, an online place is for the full seven days. Coming for a shorter time effectively uses a space that someone could have use for all seven.

If you are part of Southern Africa Yearly Meeting, day places will be made available, which we will share more information about soon.  

I am part of a Quaker interest group – can I meet with others at the event?

Yes. There is currently space on the agenda for Quaker Interest Groups* to ‘set out their stall’ and meet others. Exactly how this will work is still being developed.

*In this phrase, a ‘Quaker Interest Group’ is any group of Quakers with international membership or relevance which connects with others through a shared interest, for example music, the arts, healing, social action or peace.

Is there a programme for under 18s?

In 2024 FWCC will be promoting a possibly unprecedented children‘s programme around the world, in the shape of the all age George Fox 400 events taking place.

The World Plenary meeting itself though is a relatively small event and has a minimum age of 18.

What safety precautions are being taken?

As with any travel there are some risks to be aware of, including as specifically related to the country, which has a high crime rate.

All registered Friends will be met at the airport by a reputable travel company and taken to the site. Friends must arrive and leave in daylight hours on the 5th and the 12th, or stay over at an airport hotel is this isn’t possible.

The hotel is along good roads to a location outside of Johannesburg. There is security at the hotel, and we have been told it has had no recent security issues for guests at or near the venue.

That said, no-one should walk alone offsite, and those who do need to leave the venue, (e.g. to the pharmacy at the nearby mall) will need to be accompanied by a South African Friend.

There should be no reason to carry large amounts of cash as everything is either prepaid, or takes cards. There is an excursion day which will be in groups to contained locations with many international visitors.

We will send a health and safety briefing to all Friends attending in person, which will be repeated on site. This will also  including guidance on e.g. COVID 19 and other infections, and also what to do if you do face a situation.

I have more questions – who should I send my questions to?

Email any additional questions to:  [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer. 

World Plenary Meeting in Pisac, Peru, 2016
World Plenary Meeting in Pisac, Peru, 2016