Meetings ordinarily take care of their business at their regularly
monthly Meeting for Business. However, the
Clerk may call for a special session to deal with an urgent matter.
Adequate notice of a Called
Meeting should be
given, particularly if the topic is controversial.
clerks and members should inform the Clerk ahead of time when they
have business to come before the Meeting. As
items are dealt with, the Clerk makes sure that all present have
opportunity to express their views. Friends address the Clerk, not
one another. Friends who stand to speak find that their ministry
is more faithful, concise, and better heard. Each vocal contribution
should be something that adds to the material already given.
work of discernment is a corporate search. The
Clerk does not direct the communication toward certain
predetermined goals, but keeps dialogue open, promoting free and
full exploration of the matter under consideration, while fostering
sense of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Clerk is responsible
discerning and stating the sense of the Meeting and presenting a
minute when unity has been reached.Members of the Meeting may
sometimes assist the Clerk in this. If a member believes that the
Clerk has incorrectly discerned the sense of the Meeting, it is
appropriate to speak up. Similarly, someone may propose that unity
actually has been reached and suggest that a minute should be
the wording appears satisfactory, the Clerk asks Friends if they
approve the minute. If Friends approve the minute without
objection, it is recorded as an action of the Meeting. If, after
careful consideration, minor editorial changes appear to be needed,
Clerk should have authority to make them. Those changes should
be noted at the next Business Meeting, when the minutes of the
previous session are read.
If the business before the Meeting is difficult, anyone may request
a pause for silent worship. This can often lead to finding a way
forward. Sometimes a member with doubts about a minute favored
by most of those present will voice his or her reservations but
release the Meeting to move forward.† This will be recorded
minutes as “one Friend standing aside.” In rare cases
a member may
ask to be recorded as standing aside; however this practice is best
limited to occasions when that member’s professional or legal
might be jeopardized by implied consent to a minute.
way of avoiding a deadlock is for the Clerk or another member to
suggest that a matter be held over for consideration at
a later time. It may be helpful for the Clerk to ask a small
including Friends of diverse leadings, to revise the proposal in
the light of the concerns and objections, and report to the next
Meeting. If the matter is urgent, the committee may retire from a
given session to return to it with a revised proposal.
reservation persists, the Clerk has an obligation to discern
whether it is appropriate to move forward to seek approval of a minute.
In Times of Difficulty,” <page 87>.