Swarthmore Friends Meeting

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania







World Family of Friends

Friends World Committee for Consultation

Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) was set up in 1937 at the World Conference of Friends in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, "to act in a consultative capacity to promote better understanding among Friends the world over, particularly by the encouragement of joint conferences and inter-visitation, the collection and circulation of information about Quaker literature and other activities directed towards that end."

About 60 Yearly Meetings, with total membership of over 300,000 Friends, are now affiliated to FWCC. Representatives of these affiliated Yearly Meetings and groups meet every three years at Triennials. These Meetings aim to provide links between Friends as they seek to perceive God's will more clearly, so that they may make their corporate witness more effectively. An Interim Committee meets annually to continue FWCC's decision making process and guide the work of staff between Triennials.

The World Office in London serves as a center of worldwide communication. It helps organize Triennials and other gatherings and maintains contact with the four FWCC Sections and the Quaker United Nations Offices in New York and Geneva. Isolated Friends and worship groups throughout the world are linked to the family of Friends through the International Membership program. Through travel, correspondence and publications, the office helps Friends to gain a better understanding of the worldwide character of the Religious Society of Friends and its vocation in the world.

FWCC Sections

In 1938, at the second World Consultative Committee Meeting held in Vallekilde, Denmark, the European Section of FWCC was recognized. The name was changed to Europe & Middle East Section (EMES) in 1992. EMES consists of and serves the Yearly Meetings and groups of Friends within Europe and the Middle East. The Section normally meets once a year for an Annual Meeting. The officers of the Section are: Clerk, Treasurer and Executive Secretary. The Executive Secretary is appointed on the basis of a written contract and receives a remuneration. All other officers are voluntary. The Executive Committee consists of the Clerk, Treasurer, Executive Secretary and two other members. Urgent decisions may be taken between Annual Meetings by the Executive Committee. Several committees and groups have been set up for organizing the Quaker Youth Pilgrimage and Peace and Service Consultations (bringing together representatives of peace committees and service bodies from various Yearly Meetings and groups).

Also in 1938, the Section of the Americas was recognized. It now serves some 40 Yearly Meetings and groups in the western hemisphere and seeks to bring Friends from different traditions together in unity. It also sponsors programs such as Right Sharing of World Resources program, Quaker Youth Pilgrimage and International Quaker Aid. The Wider Quaker Fellowship (under the care of the Section) circulates a range of carefully selected Quaker literature (in English and Spanish) to 'friends of Friends'. This service is appreciated by many isolated Friends around the world.

The Africa Section was established in 1961. It maintains links with Friends in West and Central Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Burundi, Rwanda and Zaire), East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania) and Southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia). The first Representative Meeting of the Section was held in 1975. The first secretary was appointed in 1976. The Section newsletter makes a valuable contribution to communication within such a wide area. The Section is involved in several peace and service projects in the region.

The Asia-West Pacific Section started in 1985. Its first Meeting was held during FWCC's Triennial in 1988 in Tokyo. The Section seeks to serve the small and dispersed Yearly Meetings in India, Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia, as well as small groups in Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and elsewhere. The main organ of communication is the newsletter, which is edited by the volunteer Executive Secretary. In addition, the Section encourages inter-visitation and regional gatherings.

International Membership Committee

Most Friends join the Religious Society of Friends after worshipping at a Meeting near their home. If there is no such Meeting they can become members through the FWCC International Membership program. This program was started in 1919 by British Friends, but the responsibility was taken on by FWCC in 1979. FWCC was seen as the natural organization to have this worldwide responsibility. There are at present about 100 Friends whose membership is held in this way.

The International Membership Committee seeks to nurture and support isolated Friends, worship groups and several recognized Meetings. The Committee acts as a kind of Monthly Meeting with regard to membership and pastoral care for these Friends. Each application for membership is considered by the Committee as carefully as are applications to any other Monthly Meeting. Visiting Friends are appointed to meet with the applicant and discuss the meaning of membership. The visitors make a written report to the Committee which gives the application its prayerful consideration.

Other International Friends' organizations

A number of organizations, such as Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting and Evangelical Friends International, associate (mostly North American) Yearly Meetings from programmed and un-programmed Quaker traditions.  Several Quaker study centers, such as Woodbrooke in Great Britain, and Pendle Hill  in the USA, provide learning communities in which individuals and groups can study, explore new ideas and seek spiritual growth. 


List of Addresses

FWCC World office
4 Byng Place, London WC1E 7JH, UK.
Tel: +44-20-73880497;
fax: +44-20-73834644.
Twice yearly bulletin: "Friends World News"

FWCC Europe & Middle East Section
Quarterly newsletter: "Among Friends"

FWCC Africa Section
Friends International Centre, N'Gong Road, Box 41946, Nairobi, Kenya.
Tel: +254-2-567601.

FWCC Asia/West Pacific Section
657 Mount Eden Road, Auckland, New Zealand.
Tel: +64-9-6388662.

FWCC Section of the Americas
1506 Race Street, Philadelphia PA 19102, USA.
Tel: +1-215-2417250;
fax: +1-215-2417285.
E-mail: [email protected]

Europe & Middle East Young Friends
Quaker House, 50 Square Ambiorix, 1040 Brussels, Belgium.
Tel: +32-2-2304935;
fax: +32-2-2306370.

Friends House London
(Friends Book Centre, Quaker Home Service and other departments of Britain YM)
173-177 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ, UK.
Tel: +44-20-73873601;
fax: +44-20-73881977.

Quaker Council for European Affairs
Quaker House, 50 Square Ambiorix, 1040 Brussels, Belgium.
Tel: +32-2-2304935;
fax: +32-2-2306370.

Quaker United Nation Offices
Geneva office: 13 Av. du Mervelet, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland.
Tel: +41-22-7484800;
fax: +41-22-7484819.
New York office: 777 UN Plaza, New York NY 100017, USA.
Tel: +1-212-6822745;
fax: +1-212-9830034.

Friends General Conference
1216 Arch Street, 2B, Philadelphia PA 19107, USA.
Tel: +1-215-5611700;
fax: +1-215-5610759.

Friends United Meeting
101 Quaker Hill Drive, Richmond IN 47374-1980, USA.
Tel: +1-765-9627573;
fax: +1-765-9661293.

Evangelical Friends International
5350 Broadmoor Circle, Canton, OH 44709, USA.
Tel: +1-330-4931660.

Quaker study Centers
Woodbrooke, 1046 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6LJ, UK.
Tel: +44-21-4725171;
fax: +44-21-4725173.
Pendle Hill College, 338 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford PA 19086-6099, USA.
Tel: +1-215-5664507;
Tel: +1-215-5663679.

The books, brochures and leaflets listed in the Bibliography were used to edit the text of this publication. Most of these titles are still available from the Friends Book Centre and the FWCC World Office in London or Friends General Conference in Philadelphia