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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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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.


nominating committee

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

i corinthians 12:4-7 rsv

 The Nominating Committee is a small committee that must be representative of the Meeting and familiar with its members and attenders. It is selected by a small ad hoc committee who nominates individuals to serve overlapping terms on the Nominating Committee. They need to be discerning in judgment and tactful in manner, and at the same time bold, giving opportunities to younger Friends and to those more recently arrived, and encouragement to those who underestimate their own potential for service. The great responsibility of this committee cannot be too strongly stressed.

 A Nominating Committee is given the task of discerning how the gifts of members and attenders may best serve the Meeting. Like all committees, the Nominating Committee meets in worship seeking divine guidance. The committee starts with a clear idea of the Meeting’s needs regarding officers, committee membership, and other responsibilities. Their goal is to appoint the best-qualified persons while developing and using the resources of the whole Meeting: the younger and newer as well as the older and more experienced people. A Nominating Committee tries to understand the qualifications needed for each individual appointment and the need for a committee to function well together as a whole.However, the list of vacancies is only a tool. The desire to fill all vacancies should not distract the committee from its task of discernment.

 Meeting responsibilities or jobs should rotate among Friends so that new approaches can be practiced and individuals have an opportunity to develop different gifts. Many gifts are latent. A particular appointment may enable one Friend to exercise unsuspected abilities. Another Friend may be overburdened by being appointed to serve beyond his or her capacity and experience. It requires great discernment to know the right moment to ask a particular Friend to undertake or to lay down a particular task.

 Nominating committees do not appoint. They bring their nominations to the Meeting for Business to be held over one month for the Meeting’s final approval. During the intervening month, members must have the opportunity to express any doubts directly to the Nominating Committee, while carefully recognizing that of God in each person. A member of the Nominating Committee may wish to meet with an objecting member to understand a concern. When the objection demonstrates a lack of unity around that specific nomination, the Nominating Committee should seek a different person to carry out the task. No member should press unduly to have a particular person appointed or not appointed.

 The duration and scope of each appointment should be explained to all who are asked to accept nomination; the approach should not be made casually or acceptance taken for granted. To avoid misunderstandings about the tentative nature of the nomination prior to its approval by Monthly Meeting, initially it is best to ask members and attenders whether they would consent to serve if appointed by the Meeting. At times it may seem impossible to find someone to serve. Nominating committees should not feel obligated to fill vacancies that remain after the committee has concluded faithful discernment.

 Sometimes, following thoughtful consultation with Overseers, an appointment may need to be ended ahead of schedule or an appointed Friend may request release from service. A particular concern arises when a committee member’s presence on a committee could prevent another person’s access to that committee. In such a case, the committee member should be advised to resign. Nominating committees should not hesitate to bring problems back to the Meeting for guidance and practical help. Loving and tender care are essential.

 Responsibility for an appointment does not end when it is made. Having been fully involved in making the appointments, the Meeting must support and uphold those carrying out the tasks. In the course of its work, the Nominating Committee may see cause to consider the laying down of a committee and should report this to Oversight for forwarding to the Meeting for Business.