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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

vi: activities and organization of the yearly meeting

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The Annual Gathering of Pacific Yearly 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.


the business of the yearly meeting

 The Yearly Meeting exercises general oversight and care of its constituent Monthly and Quarterly Meetings in matters pertaining to the Yearly Meeting as a whole. It is necessary to keep careful records of its procedures and information concerning constituent Meetings and membership. <See Appendix 1e>.

  Responsibility for actions and decisions lies with members present at plenary sessions.Monthly Meetings select representatives to attend Yearly Meeting, who carry a special responsibility for being familiar with concerns and issues coming before it and their Meetings’ feelings on those issues. Although representatives areinformed by their Meetings’ concerns, they act as individuals. They carry a special responsibility to report back to their Monthly Meeting on the proceedings. Representatives should be chosen carefully, with awareness of the subtle role they play in plenary deliberations.

 When a Quarterly or Monthly Meeting has labored with a concern, built a foundation of essential background information, and reached a clear conclusion embodied in a proposed minute, it should promptly forward the minute to the Clerk of Yearly Meeting.

The Clerk should acknowledge receipt of the concern, send it to the appropriate Yearly Meeting committee, and inform the originating Meeting of its disposition. The committee should consider the minute for presentation at the Yearly Meeting. Concerns that cannot be seasoned in this manner should be presented to the Presiding Clerk as far in advance of the Yearly Meeting as possible. Committees may choose to consolidate concerns, refer them back to Quarterly and Monthly Meetings for further seasoning, or, finding unity, develop them for presentation at the Yearly Meeting. In exceptional circumstances, a concern may arise from the floor at a plenary session. If so, it should be presented briefly and heard without discussion. The Clerk may refer it to an appropriate committee for consideration, or for presentation in concise written form at a later session. If a concern arises from the floor at the last business session of Yearly Meeting, the Clerk has discretion as to its consideration.

 Friends attending plenary sessions may expect a wide range of matters to be covered. They may include: reports from Yearly Meeting committees, including Nominating and Finance; calls for action from committees and constituent Monthly Meetings; communications among groups in the wider Quaker world; reports from delegates to other Quaker organizations; presentations by occasional invited guests. Plenary sessions hear Epistles and communications addressed to the Yearly Meeting and approve an Epistle “To Friends Everywhere.” Plenary sessions for business are always subject to the leading of the Spirit through which alone the purposes of Yearly Meeting can be achieved.

 It is helpful if Monthly Meetings hold an orientation for all who will attend the annual sessions, to acquaint newcomers with the many opportunities at Yearly Meeting and to keep them from being overwhelmed by the wealth there to be appreciated.