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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.


oversight committee (overseers)

 The Oversight Committee customarily consists of members of the Religious Society of Friends with experience, empathy, good judgment, and discretion. This committee assumes leadership in maintaining a caring community, helping all members to find their right roles as nurturers of each other. It may share tasks with other committees. In order to care for all members and attenders, it is important that members of this committee represent the varied make-up of the Meeting. New members should join the committee prayerfully,with an alert willingness to be of service. The committee should meet together regularly and carry on its work in a spirit of dedication and love.

 The primary responsibilities of the Oversight Committee are as follows:

Members of this committee have a special responsibility for taking a personal interest in the spiritual and physical welfare of each member of the Meeting.

The committee considers requests for membership, and transfer and withdrawal of membership.

It considers requests from persons who wish to be married under the care of the Meeting. It sets up clearness committees for the purposes of membership or marriage, or when otherwise requested by a member or attender. <See Clearness and Clearness Committees, p. 91>

It ensures that an accurate list is maintained of all members and regular attenders of the Monthly Meeting, including mailing addresses and telephone numbers.

It offers emotional care and practical assistance at the time of death in a family.

It is concerned for the nurture of the religious life of children and young people, for their participation in the Meeting, and their preparation for membership.

It tries to be of help in reconciling differences among people
in the Meeting.

It endeavors to welcome newcomers and attenders, to respond to inquiries about Friends, to promote the Meeting’s interests to prospective members, and to make clear to them the interest of the Meeting in their joining its fellowship.

It encourages visitation and fellowship within the Meeting and seeks to assure that those who are ill, troubled, or in material need receive visits, spiritual listening and support, and other assistance.

It oversees funds available to assist members and active attenders.

It encourages Friends to attend Yearly Meeting sessions and other gatherings of Friends, advising on possible financial assistance for this purpose.

It keeps in touch with related committees and may form sub-committees charged with specific responsibilities (e.g., marriage or a fund for special needs).

 Sometimes a problem may be too complex and beyond the capacity of a Meeting to handle. In such cases, professional help should be sought. Committee members need to have knowledge of professional resources in the wider community. Even when it is clear that professional help is needed, the Meeting may still offer practical assistance such as meals, childcare, or transportation.