Europe & Middle East Section

(until 1966, “European Section”; until 1992, “European & Near East Section”)

Contact Persons: Marisa Johnson, Executive Secretary; Michael Eccles, Assistant Secretary
Address: PO Box 1157, Histon, Cambridge, CB24 9XQ UK
Telephone: +44 1223 479585
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Publication: Among Friends (3 times per year)

The largest Quaker community in the Section is Britain Yearly Meeting, which comprises England, Wales and Scotland. Figures for Members and regular Attenders are around 22,400. Ireland Yearly Meeting is the next largest community, with around 2,300. There are members, attenders and sympathizers of the Religious Society of Friends in at least 25 countries of Europe and the Middle East, in many cases these are small groups of people. Meetings for worship spring up in many places. Sometimes they grow and become established, some other times they thrive for a while, then they wane as people may move away.

The total number of members of the Society within the Section is about 25,000.   The other yearly meetings are: Belgium & Luxembourg, Denmark, France, Finland, German (which includes Austria Quarterly Meeting),  Middle East (comprising Brummana Monthly Meeting in Lebanon and Ramallah Monthly Meeting in Palestine), Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. They range in size from fewer than 50 to 250 members. Friends in Barcelona and Moscow have formed Monthly Meetings in the care of the Section.  The Central European Gathering is made up of worship groups in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Serbia. This group of Friends is working towards developing a Regional Meeting status, with the functions and responsibilities of a Monthly Meeting. Worship groups also exist in Estonia, Georgia, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Spain. Some isolated Friends hold international membership under the care of FWCC. Recent interest in Ukraine is being encouraged and nurtured.

Because of their small number, Europe & Middle East Friends welcome the opportunity for contact and exchange of ideas and experiences. As most countries within the Section have their own language (some even more than one), the very tools of communication provide difficult but stimulating challenges. Thus, the production of material, both printed and on-line, in different languages has been developed in recent years.

Various events and opportunities, such as annual meetings of Representatives, youth pilgrimages, border meetings, intervisitation, occasional family gatherings, seminars and peace and service consultations encourage mutual respect, support and trust, leading towards greater spiritual growth and involvement. A small Executive Committee, assisted by two part-time secretaries, ensures communication within the Section and with other Quaker bodies. A part-time Ministry and Outreach Co-ordinator has supported a Visiting Friends programme and developed on-line resources to help people grow their understanding of Quakerism even when geographically remote from other Friends. Increasing focus is planned on youth and peace and service work.

The Europe & Middle East Section holds an Annual Meeting of YM and Group representatives (usually in late spring/early summer) and maintains a keen interest in the activities of Quaker agencies which operate within the area, e.g. QCEA (Quaker Council for European Affairs) in Brussels and QUNO (Quaker United Nations Office) in Geneva.

Alongside EMES, Young Adult Friends have their own organisation: EMEYF (Europe & Middle East Young Friends).  More information about EMEYF can be found here:  EMES works closely with EMEYF and EMEYF nominates one of the members of the EMES executive committee.

Up-to-date information about meetings for worship, particularly outside Britain, can be obtained from the Section website:

Clerks (until 1986 “Chairmen”)

1939-1948 Regnar Halfden-Neilsen Denmark
1949-1952 William H. Marwick Scotland
1953-1955 Norah Douglas Northern Ireland
1956-1963 Sigrid H. Lund Norway
1964-1970 Heinrich Carstens West Germany
1971-1973 Gunnar Sundberg Sweden
1974-1976 Madelaine Jequier Switzerland
1977-1985 John Ward British, resident in Switzerland
1986-1991 Erica Vere Great Britain
1992-1996 Ena McGeorge Great Britain
1996-1997 Egil Hovdenak Norway
1998-1999 Marianne Ijspeert The Netherlands
2000-2006 Anita Wuyts Belgium & Luxemburg
2006-2011 Marit Kromberg Norway
2011-2015 Rachel Bewley-Bateman Ireland
2015- Sue Glover Frykman Sweden

Executive Secretaries

1938 Helen Peach (Brooks)
1939-1947  Frederick Tritton
1948-1952 Elise Thomsen
1953-1955 Archer Tongue
1956-1963 Sigrid H. Lund, Executive Chairman
1964-1981 Margaret S. Gibbins
1982 Jonathan Fryer
1983-1993 Franco Perna
1993-1997 Hans Weening
1998-2002 Tony Fitt
2002-2008 Bronwyn Harwood
2008- Marisa Johnson

Europe and Middle East Young Friends

Contact Person: EMEYF Secretary
Address: Quaker House, Sq Ambiorix 50, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Telephone: +32 2 234 3062
Fax: +32 2 230 6370
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Established: 1984

Europe and Middle East Young Friends (EYEMF) was set up by young Quakers from various European countries in 1984 as a body within EMES. EMEYF is run autonomously by young Quakers. Its aims are to foster communication amongst, and information about, Young Friends communities in different parts of Europe. We hope to learn and grow from each other’s spiritual experience and try to overcome boundaries by encouraging exchange between our different cultural backgrounds. One way in which we do this is to organise an annual Spring Gathering which is held in a different country each year with a special aim of supporting isolated Young Friends. There is also an annual business meeting held in March in Brussels.

Every country has a national contact person who passes information from their Young Friends group to EMEYF as well as spreading information from Young Friends in other countries to their own. EMEYF tries to give Young Friends a voice within the wider Society of Friends. EMEYF has a secretary at Quaker House in Brussels, Belgium, where enquiries can be answered.

Quaker Council for European Affairs

Clerk: Oliver Robertson (Britain YM)
Representative: Andrew Lane
Contact Person: Andrew Lane
Address: Quaker House, Sq Ambiorix 50, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Telephone: +32 2 230 49 35
Fax:  +32 2 230 63 70
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Publications: Around Europe (monthly), Briefing Papers on a variety of subjects
Established: 1979
Reference Library: Yes

QCEA was established to bring Quaker concerns to European decision makers in the European Union and at the Council of Europe. In the past we have also engaged with other European or international agencies (i.e. NATO and the OSCE) and may do so in the future.

We work on four broad programme areas: peace, human rights, economic justice, and sustainable energy security. Within those areas we identify specific projects or themes which change over time. Our website attempts to be up to date on these at all times.

QCEA also has a role in bringing information to Friends about political developments in the European institutions and in international organisations; we do this through our publications and by running annual Study Tours and biennial conferences. We collaborate where appropriate with FWCC/EMES, QUNO, FCNL, AFSC and other Quaker agencies and with the peace and service committees of the European YMs. We also collaborate with NGOs working on themes related to our own.

We can assist Friends in developing appropriate strategies for political concerns which are better raised in European fora. We offer limited overnight accommodation (very simple!) to Friends and those affiliated with Friends.