Tuesday, 23 October 2007

FWCC Triennial in Dublin

For nine days in August 2007, the international Quaker network, Friends World Committee on Consultation welcomed over 300 Quakers from 40 countries for business, worship, discussion of current global issues, and a celebration of the 70th birthday of FWCC. The next FWCC conference will be held at Nairobi in 2012. There are over 350,000 Quakers worldwide: the Americas (North and South) report 167,765 members, Britain and Ireland 42,000, Africa 155,871, Europe and the Middle East 22,723, Asia and West Pacific 12,564 . Stephen Wamboka of Uganda opened with the theme the gift of prophecy. Delegates discussed how Friends could respond to climate change, violence, and the AIDS crisis. See their blog with photos, songs, and videos.

- some quotations from the transcripts (also available in French and Spanish) -

Lizz Roe of Britain YM: my kind of prophetic voice is one that is lived, danced and expressed with tenderness through action.... The threats posed by climate change are not a future theoretical possibility; for millions of people, for many people here, they are already a lived reality. Drought, food scarcity, violent conflict over dwindling resources, floods, forced migration and displacement, changes in weather patterns, altered biological relationships, all these are just some of the effects experienced now. In the future, we will see a global rise in temperature, sea level rise, increased loss of species diversity and mass population movements. Consequently there will also be increased levels of violent conflict over materials, territory and resources.... Those of us who live in countries which have mostly exported industry to countries with low wage overheads, cheaper energy and raw materials should invest in making sure that the environmental and social consequences are not unevenly borne. If in the north we want this kind of lifestyle we should pay the full costs and not expect to be subsidised by the health, well-being or lives of the poorest nations, nor the health, well being and life of the planet.

Environmental Concerns Working Group report by Aiden McCartney: ...There are many different problems and happily many different solutions and ways forward here. We have heard from Friends in Kenya and Congo about their tree planting programmes to improve their local environment, re-foresting large areas and providing food and fuel. Friends in New Zealand have set up a fund to enable people to use renewable energy sources, e.g. loans to buy solar powered water heaters for their house, which would be too expensive otherwise.There was no doubt among the group that the problems are urgent, we as Quakers need to get out there in the world and do something now. Many Friends talked about their Yearly Meetings considering writing an Environmental Testimony but I think this is a side issue. The time to act is now, in fact it's yesterday! Let's think about Testimonies separately. The group continues and we hope to bring a statement to the whole Triennial to try to bring all Friends together around this concern.Lizz Roe has inspired us in her message this morning that we can do much with God's tender hand guiding us to reduce our impact on the world's resources. But with only 400,000 Quakers this is not enough, we also must seek to change others. Our theme of finding the prophetic voice for our time seems relevant here, could this be Friends prophetic message to the world today? Should we go out to the world and say "this has to stop!"? God calls his people to act to be good stewards of the world and the plants, animals and other human beings in it. Let's take this message to the world! A message that can enrich people's lives and give hope for the future.

The final Epistle is on the FWCC website along with a worldwide directory of Quaker groups and current projects for environmental action, peace and social justice.

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