130 Keep your meetings
in the power of God. … And when Friends
have finished their business, sit down and wait a while quietly and
upon the Lord to feel him. And go not beyond the Power, but keep in
Power by which God almighty may be felt among you. … For the
the Lord will work through all, if … you follow it.
george fox, 1658
Not in the way of the world, as a worldly assembly of men, by hot
contests, by seeking to outspeak and overreach one another in discourse…
not deciding affairs by the greater vote,… but in the wisdom,
fellowship of God, in gravity, patience, in unity and concord, submitting
one to another in lowness of heart, and in the holy spirit of Truth
righteousness, all things [are] to be carried on.
edward burrough, 1662
I had occasion to consider that it is a weighty thing to speak much
in large meetings for business. First, except our minds are
rightly prepared and we clearly understand the case we speak
of corporate search and practice
testimony and experience forwarding, we hinder business and make
more labour for those on whom
the burden of work is laid.
If selfish views or a partial spirit have any room in our minds,
we are unfit
for the Lord’s work. If we have a clear prospect of the business
weight on our minds to speak, it behooves us to avoid useless apologies
repetitions.Where people are gathered from far, and adjourning a
meeting of business attended with great difficulty, it behooves all
they detain a meeting, especially when they have sat six or seven
a good way to ride home.
In three hundred minutes are five hours, and he that improperly detains
three hundred people one minute, besides other evils that attend
it, does an
injury like that of imprisoning one man five hours without cause.
john woolman, 1758
133 The gift of the Clerk is to call forth the clerk in each of us.
Fellowship in a common faith has often brought a religious society
into being before it was in any way organized into an institution.
was so with the primitive Church and with the Society of Friends.
Organization is a good servant but a bad master; the living fellowship
within the Church must remain free to mould organization into the
fresh forms demanded by its own growth and the changing needs of
Where there is not this freedom the Church has its life cramped by
ill-assorted clothes, and its service for the world becomes dwarfed
anna l.b. thomas and e.b. emmett, 1905
The spirit of worship is essential to that type of business meeting
in which the group endeavors to act as a unit. … To
we really want as compared with what at first we think we want, we
below the surface of self-centered desires. … To will what God
wills is … to
will what we ourselves really want.
howard brinton, 1952
I have not mentioned community in all of this because I really do
not believe community can be sought after directly, at least in
Meeting for Business. I believe it is discovered. When we sit together
silence, in humility, in common obedience, listening for that of
God in each
of us, and in patience, a bond of love grows among us that knits
inextricably. This, I think, is the Good Order of Friends. Once more
to turn to ancient Latin origins for a phrase of St.Augustine which
to understand what this is. He wrote “Ordo est Amorix,”Order
is Love. In a
way this sums up all we might say about the spiritual basis for the
ellie foster, 1986
It is sometimes assumed that unity can be found only by the submission
of a minority to the decision of a majority. This is not
neither should it be assumed that positive steps cannot be taken
without unanimity. A minority should not seek to dominate by imposing
action which the general body of Friends feels to be right. Throughout
history as a Society we have found that continuing search to know
of God, a different a unity is opened to us.
london yearly meeting, to lima with love, 1987
My appetite is whetted for more experiences in business meetings
because they often provide the stimuli for spiritual growth
rejoicing in the affirmation of a practical, working faith.
david o. stanfield
Through the process by which Quakers attain the sense of the meeting,
transformation occurs. We are changed. We feel, in a literal
the loving Presence which hovers over us. It manifests in the love
for one another.We form invisible bonds among ourselves which transcend
the petty and make the next sense of the meeting more desirable and
readily attainable. We are participants in each other’s
well being. Later we
may stop to wonder whose idea evolved into the sense of the meeting.
we can’t remember. Often the person through whom
the idea came cannot
remember.We sense that the sense of the meeting came through us and
us, but not from us.We are amazed that it works — exactly as
to. Over and over we are amazed; it is appropriate that awe and
barry morley, 1993