FWCC Triennial Report
From Ken Comfort
On my return to the Northwest I was asked what I enjoyed most about my trip to the Triennial. I responded enthusiastically, “The people.” I sat and had meaningful conversations with more than half of the three hundred and nine participants in attendance. Besides meeting with close friends from South America and North America, I purposely sought out those I didn’t know from other continents. I can tell you incredible stories of how God is moving in people’s hearts around the globe. I met wonderful people from every continent (except Antarctica) who are the direct result of George Fox’s vision of a multitude to be gathered. The overwhelming majority are faithful witnesses to the life and salvation of Jesus Christ.
While I didn’t go as an official Representative from Northwest YM to the FWCC Triennial, I was able to participate in all of the business sessions and more. I talked at length with the evangelical Friends from Latin America, the Philippines, India, Rwanda, and other African countries. We found our hearts comforted by each other’s presence. I was part of the Consultation on Outreach and Growth. I listened to Friends from around the world express their concerns that the witness of Christ as expressed by Quakers needs to be at the forefront of our priorities. It was a unified voice that spoke to the need to be clear in our message regarding our faith in Jesus. This concern does not only come from Friends in Africa or Latin America. European, Australian/New Zealand, North American and Asian Friends also desire to reach out with the truth of Christ’s Gospel.
I sat by a man from Denmark on a bus. He was a little nervous to sit beside a Christ-centered Friend. We became good friends that day. An African woman was sitting in the row ahead of us. She turned to me as we were getting off the bus at the end of the day and said, “Thank you for your faithfulness to communicate in a kind manner the message of the power of Christ to change lives. You have clear convictions.”
I did attend as one of the Keynote speakers to discuss the theme: “Finding a Prophetic Voice in our Time.” The theme was based on the verse (from the Good News Version): It is love, then, that you should strive for. Set your hearts on spiritual gifts, especially the gift of proclaiming God’s message. 1 Corinthians 14:1. (You can read the script of my talk on Reedwood’s website: www.reedwood.org). Nancy Irving, General Secretary of the World Office in London, wrote the following, “Thank you, Ken, for your contribution to the profound experience our Triennial became for so many Friends. Your morning message laid the foundation for what was to happen the rest of the day and beyond…”
I was approached at the end of the eight day conference by a concerned Friend from Sweden who asked if it would be possible for those from Northwest Yearly meeting who are ministering in Russia to partner with some in the European Section regarding outreach. Our conversation lasted for over an hour, and there were times when we were both in tears. I came away very excited by the timing of God: As a Yearly Meeting, we have responded to God’s call to send people to live and work in Russia, and now they are being asked to help train others in outreach in their respective Yearly Meetings. There is a place for us to witness and minister alongside those who are seeking renewal.
Ken Comfort, Reedwood Friends Church