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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.


laying down a meeting

 Changes in meeting participation due to death, relocation, and other causes sometimes make it necessary to “lay a meeting down.” The Meeting itself, or the Quarterly Meeting to which it belongs, may initiate this process. In either case the termination of a Monthly Meeting should be carried out thoughtfully, respectfully, and with due regard for the good order of Friends.

 If a Quarterly Meeting is aware of significant problems which may warrant laying a Meeting down, or if a Monthly Meeting requests clearness about its status, the Quarterly Meeting should appoint a visiting committee to clarify the situation. The committee should be prepared to serve in this capacity over a period of many months, if necessary. If the Monthly Meeting is not part of a Quarterly Meeting, the Ministry and Oversight Committee of the Yearly Meeting should appoint the visiting committee. The visiting committee reports its recommendation to the Quarterly (or Yearly) Meeting for approval.

 The visiting committee should consider the Meeting’s viability based on size and activities over the preceding year or two, the frequency and depth of its Meeting for Worship, its ability to conduct business and care for its members, and the strength of its work in the wider community.

 Before a Meeting is laid down, members must decide whether they wish to continue as a Worship Group under the care of a neighboring Monthly Meeting. If so, they should ask that Meeting for its oversight. Individuals may transfer their memberships to the overseeing Meeting or a different Meeting according to the usual process.

 In any case, another Monthly Meeting should be prepared to welcome Friends and attenders from the laid down Meeting and to accept their memberships. Both Monthly Meetings should be involved in all discussions prior to the actual laying down.

 The Quarterly (or Yearly) Meeting Ministry and Oversight Committee is responsible for overseeing both the details and the process of laying down a Meeting. The Oversight Committee must be confident that minute books, membership and other records, financial assets and real property have been properly accounted for. Records may be deposited in the Yearly Meeting archives or with the Quarterly Meeting. All the Meetings concerned should participate in decisions on these matters.