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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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Friends Process for Making Decisions

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.


threshing sessions

 Occasionally an issue may be complex, controversial, dependent on technical details, or emotionally charged so that significantly more corporate preparation is required than can reasonably be accomplished in Meeting for Business. In such cases the Meeting should arrange a series of separate meetings. If technical details are crucial, study sessions may be in order. If matters are emotionally charged or members need to be heard in a receptive setting, Quaker dialogue or worship-sharing may be helpful. If extended preliminary exploration is needed, threshing sessions may be appropriate.

 Threshing sessions derive their name from the assumption that through them the chaff might be separated from the grain of truth, clearing the way for later action on the issue. However, no corporate decisions are made at such meetings.

 The Clerk or moderator of a threshing session is responsible for ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to speak, drawing out the reticent and limiting redundancy. Special efforts must be made to see that Friends of all shades of opinion can and will be present.

 To the extent that Friends who hold a given view are absent, the usefulness of such a meeting will be impaired. Knowledgeable people should be asked to present factual or complex material and be available to answer questions. A recorder should take notes of the meeting for later reference.