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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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Growth and Change

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.


establishment of new monthly meetings

 A Preparative Meeting (or, occasionally, a Worship Group) becomes a new Monthly Meeting when a Quarterly Meeting recognizes it as such. When a Preparative Meeting feels ready for independent existence as a Monthly Meeting, the Preparative Meeting sends a letter to the Clerk of the overseeing Meeting stating these facts and asking that its request be forwarded to the Quarterly Meeting. If the overseeing Meeting concurs, it forwards this request to the Ministry and Oversight Committee of the Quarterly Meeting. If the latter approves, it reports this to the Quarterly Meeting and suggests names of four or five Friends for a visiting committee. This committee should include one or two members of the Monthly Meeting committee that has had the Preparative Meeting under its care, along with suitable and experienced Friends who have not been closely associated with the Preparative Meeting.

 The visiting committee meets with the prospective Meeting, making sure its members are aware of the responsibilities of a Monthly Meeting. Plenty of time, care and deliberation at this stage may prevent complications later. The visiting committee should attend Meetings for Worship and for Business and visit with individuals from the Preparative Meeting. The following topics should be explored:

application: If the Preparative Meeting has not done so earlier, it should write a statement telling why it wishes to become a Monthly Meeting and why it feels ready. It should provide a complete list of names and addresses of its participants, and indicate the Meetings in which individuals hold their memberships.

spiritual condition: Does the Meeting function under divine guidance? Is the Meeting for Worship the center of its life? Are Meetings for Worship held in the spirit of expectant waiting and communion with God?

history and experience: How long has the group been gathering? What relations does it have with other Meetings? What geographical area does it serve? Where and when is its Meeting for Worship? What is the usual attendance? How many Friends, other attenders and children are in the Meeting? Of the families taking responsibility for the Meeting, how many appear well settled in the area? What are the Meeting’s social concerns?

evidence of good order: Has the Meeting studied Faith and Practice of Pacific Yearly Meeting? Does it hold a Meeting for Business regularly? How are minutes formed and approved? Are they recorded? Are the functions of Clerk and other officers understood? What committees does it have? Are the functions of the Ministry and Oversight Committee understood? Are these functions being carried out? Are financial matters being handled in an orderly manner? How are the Meeting’s officers, Nominating Committee, and other committees selected? How are children related to the Meeting? Does it understand the importance of religious education programs for children and adults?

 If the visiting committee agrees that the Preparative Meeting is ready to become a Monthly Meeting, it prepares a written report, including reference to the above guidelines, and presents this report to the next Quarterly Meeting. If there is no Quarterly Meeting available, the visiting committee will have been appointed by Pacific Yearly Meeting Ministry and Oversight Committee and will report back to Pacific Yearly Meeting.

 The Quarterly Meeting (or Pacific Yearly Meeting upon recommendation of its Ministry and Oversight Committee) has the authority to establish the new Monthly Meeting. Notice of that action is then forwarded to Yearly Meeting which records the new Monthly Meeting as a member of that body. The Meeting functions as a Monthly Meeting as soon as the Quarterly or Yearly Meeting has established it. The Clerk and Statistical Clerk of the Yearly Meeting should be notified promptly when a new Monthly Meeting has been established.

 The Clerk of the new Meeting should forward to the former overseeing Meeting a list of all who wish to transfer their membership to the new Meeting. Such transfers are usually accomplished automatically without an additional visiting committee. Others who hold their membership in different Meetings are encouraged to transfer promptly to the new Meeting following the usual process. <See Transfer of Membership, p. 100> and <Appendix 4c: Procedure for Transfer of Membership.> The visiting committee should continue its oversight of the new Meeting and be available for consultation for at least a year following its recognition.