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Faith and Practice

Pacific Yearly Meeting

of the

Religious Society of Friends

a guide to quaker discipline in the experience of pacific yearly meeting of the religious society of friends.
published 2001

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Contents page

iv: organization of the society

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The Monthly Meeting

pym in context
quaker faith & spiritual practice
testimony & experience of friends
organization of the society
activities & organization of the YM
sources of quotations
index of sources
subject index

We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Friends who have permitted us to use material for this Faith and Practice.


committees of the meeting

 Each Meeting decides which committees are necessary to carry out its business and concerns. Most Monthly Meetings find a Ministry and Oversight Committee and a Nominating Committee essential. Other standing committees often include Religious Education, Finance and Budget, Peace and Social Order, Property, and Hospitality. Ad hoc committees are sometimes useful for a particular project or concern. When a committee no longer serves its purpose, it should be laid down.

 Committees conduct business in the same manner as a Monthly Meeting, waiting on the Spirit to find direction in their operation and unity in their decisions. It is important that members of committees, and clerks especially, attend Meeting for Business regularly to assure smooth coordination between the committees and the Meeting.

 A written charge to each committee enables a Monthly Meeting to be clear both about what it expects of its committees (and officers) and the limits of the delegated authority. Such clarity and communication within an atmosphere of trust allows Meetings, officers, and committees to fulfill their respective tasks without wasteful duplication and frustration.

 Members of committees should be selected according to their abilities and concerns. Meetings customarily appoint experienced and capable members of the Religious Society of Friends to the Worship and Ministry Committee, the Oversight Committee, the Nominating Committee, and as Clerks of most committees. The purpose is to assign those responsibilities to persons of spiritual depth who are familiar with Friends’ faith and ways of organizing and conducting Meeting work. Serving on a committee allows Friends to engage in the life of the Meeting. New attenders learn Quaker decision-making process, and all committee members have an opportunity to deepen relationships and to develop their gifts.

 Committees serve the Monthly Meeting not only by carrying on routine delegated functions, but also by doing important background work in preparation for decisions at the Monthly Meeting for Business. They examine designated matters in depth, identify the issues, gather the most useful information, and make seasoned recommendations for decision by the Meeting.When this work is done well, the Monthly Meeting in session is able to focus quickly on the matter at hand.

 It is important that committees keep minutes of their meetings and report to the Monthly Meeting regularly. In bringing a matter to the Meeting for Business, the committee should supply concise background and a clear description of the response it wants from the Meeting, such as a draft minute. All actions of committees in the name of the Meeting are subject to approval by the Monthly Meeting.