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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.


clerks and clerking

 The Clerk coordinates the business of the Meeting. The Clerk sees to it that all pertinent business and concerns are presented clearly to the Monthly Meeting in good order for its deliberate consideration, united action, and appropriate execution. The following guidelines apply generally to the Clerk of any Friends Meeting or committee.

 The Clerk is a member of the Meeting,who enjoys the confidence of its membership and who, in turn, respects and cherishes its individual members and attenders. He or she seeks the leading of the Spirit for corporate guidance. It is essential for the Clerk to be familiar with Faith and Practice and other Quaker literature.

 The Clerk should be able to comprehend readily, evaluate rightly, and state clearly and concisely an item of business or concern that comes to the Meeting. He or she should be able to listen receptively to what is said, and, through spiritual discernment, to gather the sense of the Meeting at the proper time.

 The Clerk attends Meeting for Worship and keeps close to the work of committees, in all of which he or she should be considered an ex officio member. In order to be aware of the condition of the Meeting, it is essential that the Clerk attend Meetings of the Worship and Ministry and the Oversight Committees. The Clerk presides at all Business Meetings. (An Alternate Clerk may preside when the Clerk is unable to be present.)

 The Clerk prepares the agenda, and encourages committee Clerks and others to provide reports, concerns, proposals, and other materials in advance. The Clerk’s care in preparing the agenda, and judgment of the relative urgency of each item, greatly facilitates the Meeting’s business. The Clerk makes sure that someone responds to any correspondence that comes to the Meeting.

 The Clerk sets the pace of the Meeting to assure full and balanced expression of the views of the members. He or she does not express personal opinions, but if an essential viewpoint has not been presented, the Clerk asks the Meeting for permission to offer it. If the Clerk is led to take a strong position on a controversial matter, the Alternate Clerk or another appropriate person is asked to preside and take the sense of the Meeting.

 As actions are taken, the Clerk makes sure that assignments are clear and responsible persons and committees are notified promptly in writing.

 The Clerk signs all official papers and minutes, including minutes of sojourn and travel, letters of introduction and certificates of transfer or removal. If legal documents and minutes are involved, it is good practice for both the Clerk and the Recording Clerk to sign.

 The Clerk also endorses travel minutes and letters of introduction presented by visiting Friends. The Clerk ensures that the activities of the Monthly Meeting are coordinated with those of its Quarterly and Yearly Meeting and that representatives to these gatherings are appointed. Reports, minutes and other concerns must be communicated to the proper officers on schedule. Business and concerns received from Quarterly and Yearly Meeting must be delivered to the proper persons and committees and to the Meeting as a whole.