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FALL, 1997: Volume 2 Issue 3

Report on FWCC Triennial by Val Liveoak

The 19th Triennial of the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), held July 23-31, 1997, in Birmingham, England, was very exciting. Nearly 300 Friends gathered from over sixty Yearly Meetings, ten other groups, and thirty-five nations. Not having attended one of these events before, I don't know if a similar feeling is often expressed, but many attenders said that they thought that this Triennial marked a step forward in increasing dialogue and understanding among the spectrum of Friends Meetings, Churches and groups.

There was a sense of overriding love that united Christ-centered and Universalist Friends, helping each hear both the message of Christ's Good News and concerns for service, peace and justice, which at times may seem to be in opposition to each other. This is an important step toward a stronger peace witness, since I am convinced that Friends cannot become more effective as peacemakers until we've made peace among ourselves.

There were many opportunities for worship and fellowship as well as interest groups on many important spiritual and social issues that are Friends' concerns. I concentrated on my central concern, Friends Peace Teams Project.

We had several meetings addressing this topic. At the first there were reports about Peace Team work being done by other YMs. German YM adopted Peace Team work as its concern for 1996 and participated in ecumenical training programs in nonviolent conflict resolution. (See article on the Forum Civilian Peace Service). The Quaker Council for European Affairs has made a proposal to the European Union to create and fund a European Peace Agency to oversee and coordinate Peace Team work. Australia and New Zealand Friends are involved in Peace Brigades International work in Sri Lanka, as well as Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) programs domestically. Friends from other YMs reported on their peace work, some of which is similar to Peace Team work. Japanese Friends reported on opposition to US military bases in their country, and resistance (including tax resistance) to the growing military budget. An Ecuadorian Friend talked about the effects that the drug cartels have had on his people, and of Friends efforts to convert farmers to a more Godly path than growing coca. An Friend from India spoke of his desire to work with poor communities near his home. I reported in the interest group and Plenary on FPTP's work, and distributed packets with FPTP's brochure, newsletters, a cover letter, and mission statement to a representative of each YM present. (Our report should become part of the official proceedings for the Triennial.) The following Minute was approved.

Minute 19/46 Friends Peace Teams

We affirm that God's love in our hearts is the essential basis for all peacemaking. We urge each Yearly Meeting to seek God's will and see how they are led to become involved with Peace Team work. In this process, we hope that Friends will discern and practice unique Quaker gifts and insights arising from our long experience.
Yearly Meetings are encouraged to inform their members about Peace Team work being done by Friends and others in situations of conflict around the world.
We request each Yearly Meetings send accounts of their discernment, activities and vision regarding Peace Team work to Friends Peace Teams Project [which will serve as a clearinghouse for such information].

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