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Quakers in Australia

Contacts - National

National Office

The national office of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia is known as the Australia Yearly Meeting Office, and is situated at Upper Brookfield, Brisbane, Queensland.

Jacqueline Schultze
Australia Yearly Meeting Secretary
email: AYM Secretary
address:

119 Devonshire Street
Surry Hills,
NSW 2010

phone: 0423 308 550
web: www.quakers.org.au

Australia Yearly Meeting is legally incorporated in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory as —

The Religious Society of Friend (Quakers) in Australia Inc.
A.B.N. 16 036 715 933

What is a Yearly Meeting?

When people say ‘Australia Yearly Meeting’ they can mean

  • The fellowship of Friends throughout Australia (i.e. all the members in each of the States, the seven Regional Meetings (i.e. the States), close to 1000 Friends), which constitutes Australia Yearly Meeting, or
  • The occasion when Friends gather in a particular place for 7-8 days, usually in January each year.

The Yearly Meeting Gathering

The annual gathering for dealing with the are organised by a different Regional Meeting each year, and held in that state or territory. Information about the upcoming Yearly Meeting and a registration form is published in the July and September issues of The Australian Friend.

The annual Yearly Meeting gathering has the following purposes
• Considering matters of concern and reports from the various Committees of the Society
• Considering matters of concern and reports from all the Regional Meetings
• Conducting a Summer School on a particular theme, where Friends discuss and share in small groups
• Having Fellowship and sharing information with as many Friends as possible.

Decision making in the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is a collective process, and all Friends are invited to participate.

Before Yearly Meeting, Documents in Advance (DIA) are published in print form and on the websit. These documents include reports on the work undertaken by the varying committees of the Society, and issues which need a decision.

Meetings are invited to discuss the issues raised, and the the feedback from each Regional Meeting is collated and displayed to all Friends at Yearly Meeting. In this way, members who cannot be at Yearly Meeting can still participate in the decision-making.

After Yearly Meeting, Documents in Retrospect (DIR) are published, again in print form and on the website (www.quakers.org.au, Events/Yearly Meeting, etc.). In this way, all Members are kept informed about the issues that are being considered within the Society in Australia and decisions that may affect them.

Australia Yearly Meeting within the world gathering of Friends

There are about 338,000 Quakers globally. African Quakers make up 46% of world Quakers. Australia is part of the Asia-West Pacific Section, which makes up only 3% of Quakers worldwide. American Quakers comprise 45% and Europe 6% of the total global Quaker population. The countries with the most Quakers are Kenya 132,800; USA 91,600; Bolivia 30,300; Guatemala 20,600; and Britain 16,400.

The most common languages spoken among Friends are Swahili, Spanish, English, French, and Chinese.

Within Friends worldwide are unprogrammed Friends, who worship as Australian Friends do, with no pastors and in silence, and programmed Friends, who have clergy and programmed Meetings. A world body, Friends’ World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), works to encourage communication between these different strands of Quakerism. Its purpose is ‘to facilitate loving understanding of diversities among Friends while we discover together, with God's help, our common spiritual ground; and to facilitate full expression of Friends' testimonies in the world’. The FWCC World Office is in London, UK, where Nancy Irving (from USA) is the general secretary. FWCC has Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC.

Australia Yearly Meeting is part of the Asia-West Pacific Section (AWPS) of FWCC. The AWP Section produces a quarterly newsletter, which can be read at http://fwccawps.org/. In the Asia-West Pacific Section, Taiwan has the most members — 3,200, and Korea has the least member —12 members.

Friends World News is published twice a year, and is sent to all FWCC Committee representatives within Australia Yearly Meeting. However, all Friends can receive the newsletter, and can go to the FWCC website, http://fwccworld.org/.

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© The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia Inc. in ACT
119 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010, AUSTRALIA
Phone 0423 308 550
Email