Plenary Session # 6
July 17, 2015
10:30 am – 11:45 am
Friends gathered in waiting worship to begin this session.
2015-6-1 Performance by Anna Fritz
Clerk Tom Rawson introduced Anna Fritz, cellist and song-writer. Anna is a member of Multnomah Meeting who is carrying out a traveling music ministry. Her music expresses who we are as people, as Friends—connecting us with our bodies and with the land on which we live.
2015-6-2 Presentation, Friends Peace Teams (Andy Cross)
Andy Cross, who has had experience with Peace Teams, presented the report that our representative, Ann Dusseau, has written.
Many of us have heard of Friends Peace Teams or receive information about them but few or none have participated directly in Peace Team. Ann Dusseau serves as treasurer of Friends Peace Teams, but we have no other representation to the national group. When our NPYM participation began, the areas of emphasis were in Latin America and Africa, additional areas such as Indonesia, Nepal, and the Philippines have been added. Their work began with the Alternatives to Violence Project. Emphasis in Africa has been on helping people deal with trauma (such as experienced in post-traumatic stress disorder). Peace team work has included water purification, assistance for people with AIDS, educational opportunities for children orphaned by AIDS, micro-financing for women’s work. The results are remarkable: victims of genocides in Rwanda and Uganda have carried help and forgiveness to those who mistreated them and who are remorseful. It leads the remorseful to move past their shame and forgive themselves.
There are challenges. We ourselves are the most difficult to change, we don’t choose to trust the spirit. Some on the council hold too tightly to our points of view. Peace Teams needs Friends to be involved—as coordinators, as representatives, as makers of policy decisions. The goal is to have 100% of donations made go to programs themselves; it is not a reality now. People who volunteer for work in Latin America do better if they are bilingual, with Spanish capability.
Andy distributed several types of printed information.
2015-6-3 Presentation, FWCC (Elinor Jordan and other representatives)
In addition to Elinor Jordan, this group included: Jane Snyder, Lucy Fullerton, Ann Stever, Pablo Stanfield, Gayle Matson, Erin Eichenberger, and Nancy Irving
This presentation was presented partly in Spanish and English with interpretation by Pablo Stanfield.
All Americas FWCC meetings are conducted in both Spanish and English.
Lucy Fullerton: One change in FWCC has been in transition from primarily an English-speaking group to a group with fully participating members from Friends in Latin America because of matching of skills with the FWCC’s needs, not just as token representatives. Clerking a bi-lingual committee and making everything is inclusive is an interesting experience. Items must be clear to be interpreted fully. Phone meetings among several countries can be challenging; in-person meetings have been joyful occasions.
Jane Snyder: Friends who have ever been to an FWCC regional meeting, who have served as a representative, committee member, youth pilgrim or have been a family member of a youth pilgrim were asked to stand. Many of us stood, representing the work of the Section of the Americas.
Erin Eichenberger: Getting to know other Friends who were Spanish-speakers was initially uncomfortable but grew less so as one of the women interpreted into English for her. She felt honored to be an outsider, to realize what it felt like to be an outsider. Hearts were opened. This seems to be the fundamental work of FWCC.
Nancy Irving: Served as general secretary of the world-wide FWCC, based in London for seven years. She attributes her being a Quaker to the presence of FWCC. She reminded us that members of Northwest Yearly Meeting are more plentiful than members of NPYM but we more active in FWCC. She gave us some history about her experience of becoming involved re-involved with Quakers through the women’s theological conference in Oregon soon after she attended a FWCC meeting in Portland.
Ann Stever: When she attended World Gathering of Friends in 1991, she met both evangelical and liberal Friends. They were considering the question of what one’s faith leads someone to do. They heard about military action to control drug-use problems in other countries and the conflicts that continued to simmer in those countries when so many other needs were not being met. They also reached toward shared beliefs and how these were expressed differently by evangelical and liberal Friends.
Gayle Matson: FWCC has become a much leaner organization. This means better training for representatives and more emphasis on volunteers, increasing representation from a wider variety of Friends. They have crafted a new mission statement: An integrated and thriving network of Friends from the Arctic to the Andes, woven together in transformational faith, learning to love, listen, and witness.
Elinor Jordan: Traveling ministry has become a focus of FWCC. More information will be available at their interest group during this annual session.
The session ended with this presentation.