Friends Peace Teams (Draft 2013)
African Great Lakes Initiative
Peacebuilding en las Americas
Asia West Pacific Initiative
Friends Peace Teams is a Spirit-led organization working to develop long-term relationships with communities in conflict around the world to create programs for peace building, healing and reconciliation. Friends Peace Teams uses basic Quaker practices to strengthen the spiritual basis of Quaker peace teams. Friends Peace Teams’ governing Council is comprised of representatives appointed by Yearly Meetings as well as working group members for each initiative, co-opted members, staff and volunteers approved by Friends Peace Teams Council. Working group members for the regional initiatives, friends and partners in other countries, peace team members, extended volunteers and speakers involve more friends in the work. The Council has officers, staff and committees to support the work of the regional initiatives.
Friends Peace Teams was conceived at Friends General Conference in 1993, when Friends were concerned about responding to conditions in Bosnia. Yearly meetings were invited to send representatives to a Council and Friends World Committee for Consultation–Section of the Americas accepted Friends Peace Teams as an affiliate group in 1996. A minute was approved in 1997 to encourage yearly meetings to inform their members about Friends’ service and witness in the world, encourage Friends to join a peace team and send in accounts of discernment, activities, and vision regarding peace teams via their representative. Friends Peace Teams publishes the PeaceWays magazine, about peace teams in the regions of the African Great Lakes, Central America and Colombia, and Asia West Pacific.
Functions of the Representatives
Representatives appointed to Friends Peace Teams by yearly meetings are responsible to participate on the Friends Peace Teams Council, bring forward questions, concerns, insights and discernment from their yearly meetings to Friends Peace Teams, share the work of Friends Peace Teams with Friends in their yearly meeting, extend the offer for people to accompany Friends traveling for peace, and raise the resources to support these Friends and activities (traveling visitors, hosts, storytellers, listeners, funds, material aide, and so forth for the administrative office and teams). Friends Peace Teams asks yearly meetings to seek out representatives who are young, middle-aged and older adults. Representatives encourage Friends Meetings and Churches to 1) sign up for a bundle of PeaceWays, 2) budget an undesignated annual donation to administrative support, 3) arrange for speakers, 4) publicize the peace team concept and opportunities to serve on peace teams, 5) provide clearness and support committees to Friends who join a peace team, publicize their experiences, raise needed resources for their travel, and provide emotional and practical support, and 6) form a local peace team to serve as a resource to travelers or people locally. Some representatives may chose to take on additional administrative or regional responsibilities as well, depending on the interests, gifts, and availability of the representative.
Organization & Method of Appointment
Names a representative to Friends Peace Teams Council for a term of three years on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee. There is no set limit to the number of YM representatives, typically one to three, but there have been as many as four. Given the size of New York Yearly Meeting, quarterly and regional meetings are encouraged to consider naming representatives.
Meeting Times & Places
The Council meets face-to-face once a year in the spring, rotating among meetinghouses across the U.S., and has a monthly conference call for about one hour.
Contributions designated to each of the three initiatives—the African Great Lakes Initiative, Peacebuilding en las Américas, and the Asia West Pacific Initiative—are appreciated. The named representative may, with approval from WCC, draw on the budget for travel and administrative expenses under the Witness Section.
Friends Peace Teams is a 501c3 tax deductible organization. Checks may be sent to: Friends Peace Teams, 1001 Park Ave., St. Louis, MO 63104, and earmarked to an initiative on the memo line or paid through Paypal over the website http://friendspeaceteams.org/.