Report on the 2007 FWCC Triennial in Dublin, Ireland
[from Julie Peyton, NWYM]
Reception of NWYM reps
I’m always surprised at the number of people who want to talk to me simply because I’m from NWYM, an evangelical Friend. Other reps had the same experience.
Quality of program
Excellent; see Triennial Epistle. You can also read transcripts of the messages brought during plenary sessions; the speakers were EXCELLENT.
This Triennial accomplished exactly what it purported to do: it brought Friends together for face-to-face communication. That sounds too weak as I re-read it; but I don’t know how to express the importance, the value, the joy, the clear Presence of God without taking you there with me. Wish I were a poet, or a song-writer…
Well worth my time and money; had a wonderful time; would do it again in a heartbeat. I am convinced that it was a profoundly transformative experience for me.
Impact of NWYM reps on Triennial
Although none of us are on committees at this level (yet), since Ken Comfort (Reedwood) was asked to facilitate one of the morning worship services we had about 90 minutes of the program to communicate who we are. Afterwards, at least 20 people stopped me to ask about the Bible passage Ken asked us to read (1 Cor 12 and some of 14). Because Elenita Bales (Newberg) and I chose a modern translation (Eugene Peterson’s version, THE MESSAGE) many Friends with minimal Bible familiarity heard the Apostle Paul with fresh ears and open hearts. About half of those 20 told me they were planning to buy a Bible soon, and were glad to hear about a more accessible translation (though I did warn them that it is as much an interpretation as a translation!) This is a specific instance of a more general interest I continue to hear from liberal, unprogrammed Friends about the Bible.
While there are multiple evangelical YMs affiliated with FWCC, only NWYM represents the English-speaking evangelical Friends. At least, I was told three or four times that we are the only North American Evangelical YM who sends representatives to the various levels of FWCC gatherings. This is not to say we are the only evangelicals from North America! The Conservative Friends in general and many more individual uprogrammed, liberal Friends share our faith in and following of Jesus.
Having Ken Comfort along was great for me, because for once our Latin American Friends from Peru and Bolivia didn’t have to try to communicate through me back to NWYM At the previous three Section of the Americas gatherings (2005, 2006, 2007) I’ve spent time with these precious Friends trying to understand their concerns and then get that info back to the right people. My Spanish continues to improve, and I enjoy the practice, but this is too important to entrust to an intermediate-level speaker of their language.
Impact of Triennial on me
This is the most difficult part, because it is the most personal and therefore the riskiest to write. In the words of the earliest Quakers, I experienced several “openings” – new insights into my own faith, sudden “aha!” moments that I trust will change me forever. I come back somehow softer, more gentle, humbled. Rather than try to explain that more fully, I’ll merely invite you to ask me about it sometime if you’re interested.
Julie Peyton, West Hills Friends