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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 Yearly Meeting as an Organization

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.


links to other friends organizations

 Pacific Yearly Meeting is an unaffiliated Yearly Meeting that maintains membership with the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) and appoints representatives or visitors to many Friends organizations in order to maintain twoway communication. The Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee selects liaisons to Friends organizations whose ability and experience enable them to relate to the particular organization. If a Friend is unable to attend a given session, the Clerk of the Nominating Committee and the Clerk of Yearly Meeting appoint an alternate.

 When a nomination is made, the Nominating Committee provides the Representative with a summary of his or her responsibilities. The Yearly Meeting budget includes travel funds for its Representatives to attend gatherings of Friends organizations. The Treasurer or Finance Committee advises each Representative of the availability of such funds.

 american friends service committee (afsc): Founded in 1917 by a small group of Quakers to provide alternative service opportunities for conscientious objectors and relief for war victims, the American Friends Service Committee today is a worldwide organization which continues to serve as a corporate expression of certain Quaker beliefs and practices. The AFSC undertakes programs of relief, social change and reconciliation in this country and abroad. People of many races, creeds, and nationalities who share the Committee’s religious and social philosophy serve as staff members or volunteer on its committees which carry primary responsibility for program direction at every level.

 The AFSC is made up of a national office in Philadelphia and nine regional offices throughout the United States including those in Pasadena and San Francisco, plus a network of domestic and overseas programs. The national Board of Directors, primarily members of the Religious Society of Friends, sets organizational policy. The Clerk of each Regional Executive Committee is a full member of the National Board. Quaker process guides decision making throughout the AFSC.

 Pacific Yearly Meeting appoints five persons to serve as Representatives to the AFSC Corporation (which oversees the Board of Directors), each for a three-year term. At least one of the five (selected by the Representatives themselves) should attend the annual meeting of the Corporation. The primary responsibility of the Representatives is to develop and maintain a close relationship between the AFSC and the Yearly Meeting.

 evangelical friends church southwest is a member of Evangelical Friends International. PYM Monthly Meetings in Berkeley have participated in some joint activities with Berkeley Friends Church.

 Pacific Yearly Meeting sends a liaison to Friends Church Southwest Yearly Meeting’s annual session. The liaison makes an annual report and is a member ex officio of the Wider Fellowship Among Friends Committee.

 evangelical friends international (efi): The Association of Evangelical Friends, which was formed in the 1950s, became known as the Evangelical Friends Alliance in 1965. It expanded to include some Yearly Meetings in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in the early 1990’s. Its current membership includes five Yearly Meetings in North America. It publishes The Friends Voice monthly from its headquarters in Colorado. Pacific Yearly Meeting’s Representative attends any EFI Yearly Meetings during the year (for example, Evangelical Friends Church Southwest Yearly) but there are no regular meetings of EFI per se. The Representative to EFI is an ex officio member of the Wider Fellowship Among Friends Committee.

 friends committee on legislation (fcl): The Friends Committee on Legislation was founded by California Friends in the 1950s to bring a Quaker witness to the California state political process. The policies, priorities and programs of FCL are developed and established by its Northern and Southern Regional Committees which meet together annually to form the statewide organization. These Regional Committees are composed of Friends and likeminded persons, most of whom are appointed by Monthly Meetings in California.

 FCL maintains an office in Sacramento with lobbyists who represent the organization to the California Legislature. They prepare a monthly newsletter on pending legislative issues of concern to Quakers, and distribute action alerts to FCL supporters.

 One seat on FCL’s executive committee is reserved for a PYM Representative who is named by and is an ex officio member of PYM’s Peace and Social Order Committee.

 friends committee on national legislation (fcnl): The Friends Committee on National Legislation was founded in 1943 to bring spiritual values to bear on the political process. It advocates reconciliation among nations and peoples. FCNL works to eliminate militarism, coercion, and injustice and to promote civil rights, self-determination of Native Americans, restoration of confidence in government, and better housing, education and health care. This work is directed by a committee of more than 200 members of the Religious Society of Friends, who are appointed by twenty-four Yearly Meetings or other Friends organizations. They participate in the process of developing policy, establishing priorities, and approving programs. FCNL’s professional lobbying team in Washington, D.C. publishes newsletters and background papers, issues timely and informative calls for action, and maintains useful resources and files. A periodic Statement of Policy, prepared and approved by the Committee, guides all expressions of FCNL views.

 Pacific Yearly Meeting may appoint as many as six Friends for overlapping three-year terms to serve on the FCNL General Committee. These Representatives serve as a liaison between the Yearly Meeting and FCNL, facilitating mutual sharing of needs, concerns and information. They make periodic reports to Representative Committee or the Yearly Meeting. The Yearly Meeting pays for one member’s attendance at the annual policy setting meeting of the General Committee. The representatives name one member to serve on the Yearly Meeting Peace and Social Order Committee ex officio.

 A representative of the Yearly Meeting who attends the annual meeting of FCNL is also appointed to attend the annual William Penn House Board meeting (which immediately precedes that of the FCNL).

 friends general conference (fgc): Friends General Conference, formed in 1900, is composed of fourteen Yearly Meetings and six Monthly Meetings. It provides many services to Friends in unprogrammed Meetings, including a bookstore and catalog service, materials for religious education programs, and assistance with the purchase or building of Meetinghouses.

 FGC also maintains connections among unprogrammed Meetings in the USA and Canada. All Friends are invited to its annual gathering, where a large number of Friends experience contemporary expressions of life and thought within the Religious Society of Friends and share concerns and problems.

 Although Pacific Yearly Meeting is not an affiliated member, it does name an Observer annually to attend Friends General Conference Central Committee meetings. This representative is a member ex officio of the Wider Fellowship Among Friends Committee.

 friends united meeting (fum): Friends United Meeting is a fellowship composed of both pastoral and unprogrammed Meetings. It works to extend Quaker witness throughout the world and to provide Yearly, Quarterly, and local Meetings with practical resources, including a bookstore and conference center. It meets every three years. Pacific Yearly Meeting is not a member. However, it names an Observer to attend Friends United Meeting Triennial. This Representative is also an ex officio member of the Wider Fellowship Among Friends Committee.

 friends world committee for consultation (fwcc): Created in 1937, The Friends World Committee for Consultation is a worldwide body of diverse Yearly Meetings which acts in a consultative capacity to promote better understanding among Quakers. FWCC is a committee-run organization that enables Friends and their Yearly Meetings to work cooperatively. The four geographically defined sections meet annually, and the global organization meets every three years.

 These gatherings enable Yearly Meeting Representatives to join in worship with Quakers worldwide to search for God’s will and to make their corporate witness more effective. FWCC encourages spiritual and personal connections with adult and young Friends around the world through conferences and intervisitation. It also publishes a directory and calendar of Yearly Meetings, and other Quaker literature. FWCC sponsors programs and is affiliated with the Quaker United Nations Offices (QUNO) in New York and Geneva.

 Pacific Yearly Meeting appoints five Friends to the FWCC, Section of the Americas, for overlapping three-year terms. All Representatives are encouraged to attend the annual session of the Section of the Americas in March, which is open to all Friends. Pacific Yearly Meeting sends three Representatives to the triennial worldwide sessions of worship and business.

 The Representatives name one of their members to serve as convener and one to serve as an ex officio member of the Wider Fellowship Among Friends Committee.

 pacific friends outreach society (pfos): was formed as a California nonprofit corporation with the purpose of providing a center for spiritual development in a sustainable environment and committed to social justice, education and outreach, capable of hosting yearly meetings and other Quaker and non-Quaker groups. This action was taken with the approval of Pacific Yearly Meeting in 1996.

 reunion general de los amigos en mexico (rgam) includes both unprogrammed and pastoral Friends in Mexico. It meets every 18 months for fellowship, sharing and mutual support. The Yearly Meeting appoints one Friend to attend who is also an ex officio member of the Wider Fellowship Among Friends Committee.

 western young friends (wyf): Young people from Pacific and North Pacific Yearly Meetings founded WYF in the 1970’s. The group holds an annual intergenerational New Year’s Gathering, lasting four or five nights, which alternates between northern California and southern Oregon. While there is no formal tie to other Quaker bodies, WYF has many participants who are or have been members or attenders of Monthly Meetings.

 The WYF New Year’s Gathering is multi-generational and open to all ages. All participants share the work of the gathering, including meal preparation, childcare, and workshop facilitation.

 WYF conducts enough business to care for each other during the Gathering, create an epistle, and ensure the planning of the next Gathering.