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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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vi: activities and organization of the yearly meeting

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The Annual Gathering of Pacific Yearly 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.


 Every year all members and attenders of Monthly Meetings are invited to attend an event known as Yearly Meeting. During the course of this annual gathering, Friends meet for worship, fellowship, and to conduct business. Worship and business take place in plenary sessions. The Yearly Meeting reviews the State of the Society as reflected in the reports received from its Monthly Meetings, and hears and acts upon concerns which come to it from its Meetings and members. The annual gathering provides an opportunity for all present to support one another in seeking Divine Guidance and strengthening the bonds that unite them. Pacific Yearly Meeting also welcomes visitors from other Yearly Meetings and Quaker organizations, and all who are interested in Friends ways.

 Friends share thoughts on matters of immediate interest and deep spiritual import. Over the years, many times a strong call to action has motivated Friends to join in decisive actions with lasting impact. Daily worship-sharing groups have been a tradition and a highlight.

 Children attend activities in groups organized by interest and age. There is music making, singing in small and large groups, and a “Community Night” which gives thespians of varying talents a time to perform. Youths build lifelong friendships.

 There are several opportunities for sharing, both informal and structured. Many Friends attend one or more interest groups to share common concerns. Friends who want to meet with others of similar background (such as women, participants in 12-step groups, those concerned with mental illness, or gay and lesbian Friends) may attend affinity groups. The Children’s Program, Junior Friends (junior and high school age) and Young Friends (college age) groups are a vital part of the Annual Gathering. Each of these groups meets separately for part of the time, and with the entire group, as they find appropriate.

 It is traditional for the names of Friends who have died during the previous year to be forwarded to the Yearly Meeting Ministry and Oversight Committee, so that their names may be read at a plenary session devoted to memorials.Many people find it inspiring to recall the lives of Friends who have helped Truth prosper among us.

 The exchanges of experience, feelings and insights which Friends are able to make at Yearly Meeting, in correspondence and intervisitation, as well as in Monthly and Quarterly Meetings, are the lifeblood of our fellowship. Widely dispersed as we are geographically, the Annual Gathering allows us to feel, with deep gratitude to God, as one body. Friends of all ages find this gathering binds them into a close-knit community, which in many cases lasts far longer than the week of the experience.