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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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vi: activities and organization of the yearly meeting

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The Yearly Meeting as an Organization

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.


yearly meeting officers

 Yearly Meeting officers are nominated by the Nominating Committee and appointed by the Yearly Meeting. Officers are selected from the membership of the Yearly Meeting on the basis of their qualifications, availability to serve, representation of the geography, and resources for present and potential leadership. There is no predetermined pattern of rotation or appointment to leadership; three consecutive annual appointments has been a frequent pattern. Terms generally begin at the close of the annual session and last for one year. Outgoing officers are expected to complete responsibilities related to the annual session and to orient new appointees.

 presiding clerk. The Presiding Clerk has chief responsibility for the plenary sessions of the Yearly Meeting. The Presiding Clerk: with the assistance of the Clerk’s advisory committee, prepares the agenda for the Yearly Meeting sessions, providing for worship, sharing, business and reports from Friends organizations; presides at plenary and Representative Committee sessions, and is a member of all committees ex officio; forwards the Epistle to Yearly Meetings throughout the world; in cooperation with the Recording Clerks, takes responsibility for the final form of the minutes of the Yearly Meeting; and ensures that the instructions of the Yearly Meeting are carried out.

 Upon recommendation by the Nominating Committee, the Yearly Meeting appoints such additional clerks as may be needed, including an Assistant to the Clerk, Recording Clerks, and a Reading Clerk. When the Presiding Clerk is unavailable, the Yearly Meeting calls upon past Presiding Clerks, beginning with the immediate past Clerk.

 the assistant to the clerk. A Friend experienced in the working of the Yearly Meeting assists the Presiding Clerk with practical arrangements for conducting business. The Assistant oversees the scheduling of interest and sharing groups and Community Night.

 recording clerks serve overlapping two-year terms. They assist the Presiding Clerk with formulating accurate minutes of all proceedings of Yearly Meeting and Representative Committee sessions. These are read to the Meeting for correction and approval. They constitute the official minutes of action of the session. The Reading Clerk assists the Presiding Clerk by excerpting and reading Epistles sent to the Yearly Meeting, and other communications as needed.

 the clerk’s advisory committee includes three or four experienced Friends who are able to recognize and appreciate the diversity in the membership. Their task is to assist in planning sessions and to help the Clerk remain flexible and responsive to the wide spectrum of feelings, thoughts, and styles present in the Yearly Meeting. The Yearly Meeting Clerk and the Clerk of Ministry and Oversight, in consultation with that committee, selects the advisory committee.

 the treasurer receives and holds funds of the Yearly Meeting, makes authorized disbursements, and keeps complete records of all income and expenditures. The Treasurer presents interim financial statements to the Yearly Meeting at its annual session and final financial statements for the preceding fiscal year to the Representative Committee. The Treasurer is a member of the Finance Committee and the Pacific Yearly Meeting Holding Corporation ex officio. An Assistant Treasurer may be appointed to help the Treasurer as needed. The Treasurer is appointed for a threeyear term consistent with the fiscal year (10/1 to 9/30).

 the statistical clerk is responsible for assembling annual statistical reports (births, deaths, marriages, new memberships, changes of address) from constituent Meetings as well as maintaining lists and addresses of Worship Groups, Preparative Meetings, and Clerks of local Meetings. These lists are distributed to Meetings and provided to other Friends’ organizations as appropriate. The annual report of the Statistical Clerk is given at Yearly Meeting. The Statistical Clerk also maintains current forms, files and records of Yearly Meeting, and periodically transfers them to the care of the Historian-Archivist. See <Appendix 1e>, <Appendix 2a> and <Appendix 2b>. Two members of the Ministry and Oversight Committee are named to be available for guidance and counsel to the Statistical Clerk. The Statistical Clerk is a member of the Finance Committee ex officio and is appointed for a three-year term.

 the historian-archivist gathers, organizes and preserves materials relating to the development and history of Pacific Yearly Meeting and its precursor, the Pacific Coast Association of Friends. The Historian-Archivist works with the Recording Clerks to maintain an index to the minutes of Pacific Yearly Meeting and its Representative Committee as an aid to officers and committees in their work. The Historian-Archivist is appointed for a three-year term and serves on the Discipline Committee ex officio. Records and materials are stored at Whittier College Library in a room that the College agreed to set aside for this purpose in 1986. See <Appendix 2a> and <Appendix 2b>

 the arrangements clerk has primary responsibility for all preparations and operations of support services necessary for the right holding of the Yearly Meeting. These may include negotiating a contract for the site in consultation with the Presiding Clerk, Treasurer, and Clerk of the Site Committee. The Arrangements Clerk names the Arrangements Committee, serves as its convener, and is a member of the Representative Committee. The Assistant Arrangements Clerk serves as an aide to the Arrangements Clerk and is a member of the Arrangements Committee ex officio.

 the registrar’s duties revolve solely around the annual session. They include setting fees in consultation with the Finance Committee, designing and collecting registration materials, and assigning lodging, as needed to adapt to the site. The Registrar works closely with other officers to see that it is as physically and financially convenient as possible for all to attend the annual session.