Friends World Committee for Consultation - Europe & Middle East Section

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A New Clerk for EMES

EMES has a new Clerk, Rachel Bewley-Bateman of Ireland Yearly Meeting, who has taken over from Marit Kromberg of Norway Yearly Meeting, whose term of service has come to an end.

Taking her leave of EMES after six years, Marit reflected on her service: “In 2005, out of the blue, I felt led to tell our Norwegian nominations committee that I felt ready to serve outside Norway. At that time I had no idea that I would be involved in the revision of the FWCC Constitution both at world level and within EMES. Neither did I fully understand how deeply I would come to feel about some of the diverse projects and tasks Friends are involved with all over the planet. It never ceases to amaze me that the total number of Friends is fewer that a half million, all counted. Yet there is so much Quaker activity.

The work has been varied and exciting in many ways, but not overwhelming, as EMES has been blessed with very capable and hard working Executive Secretaries. The previous Executive Secretary, Bronwyn Harwood, had a vision for the future of pastoral care among old and new Friends and seekers in Europe and the Middle East, and it has been particularly rewarding to see her vision unfold in the Ministry and Outreach Programme. Thanks to generous support from Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) and the work of Marisa Johnson and Julia Ryberg we have been able to implement and develop that programme. Thanks also to JRCT and Marisa’s vision and hard work EMES now has a very attractive and serviceable web site. I look forward to leaning back and watching it all grow.

It became clear to me a few years ago that it would not be a good experience for my successor as Clerk of EMES to be plunged into the World Conference of Friends in 2012 as his or her very first experience of the Section’s work with FWCC, For this reason I decided to step down before the meeting of the FWCC Central Executive Committee this year. I do not know whether this was the only reason, I may also have felt my age creeping up on me. It has felt absolutely right for me to have completed my service to EMES and handed over to Rachel Bewley-Bateman.”

Rachel introduces herself: “I am very much looking forward to getting to know more European Friends and increasing contact with the world family of Friends. Ireland YM was delighted to welcome Friends from 41 countries to the FWCC Triennial held in Dublin in 2007. I was a member of the Local Arrangements Committee.

Since my childhood I have enjoyed meeting visiting Friends from around the world and learning from them. There is a history of Quaker commitment in my family. Both my parents have also served as Clerks of Ireland Yearly Meeting. I have two sisters: Winnie is Assistant Clerk of Dublin Monthly Meeting Elders and Heather is Clerk of Yearly Meeting’s Committee.

I was Clerk of Ireland Yearly Meeting during the years when we were revising our book of Christian Experience and agreeing the text for our new book, Quaker Life and Practice. I received an MA in Biblical Studies from the National University of Ireland (NUI) in October 2010. The title of my thesis was “Led by the Spirit: Seventeenth Century Quaker Women – their Inspiration and Message.”

In the past I attended the Geneva Summer School, worked in France and Switzerland for a year and lived in England for five years, including three years as Assistant Warden of the Friends International Centre, London. My background is in catering and hotel management. I have also studied in Woodbrooke and the Irish School of Ecumenics. My language is English, in the past I have spoken French, plus a little German and Irish. I have recently been learning Biblical Greek and Hebrew. Among other places, I have briefly visited Moscow, Minsk, Bucharest, Berlin, Greece, Norway, Denmark, USA, Canada, and plan to visit Jordan in March.

I am a member of the Quaker Committee for Christian and Interfaith Relations of Britain Yearly Meeting, secretary of the Dublin Council of Churches and represent my meeting in our local Inter-faith group, which will be holding a series of talks on the Lord’s Prayer in our Meeting House during the weeks before Easter.

I seek for unity in diversity and believe that we are called to build a caring community.”

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