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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 committees

 representative committee consists of the officers of the Yearly Meeting, Clerks of Quarterly Meetings and all Yearly Meeting standing committees, the Registrar, one Representative from each Monthly Meeting, Representatives of special committees as approved by the Clerk, the convener of the Friends World Committee for Consultation Representatives, and the immediate past Clerk of Yearly Meeting. All members of Representative Committee are expected to attend all meetings of the Committee.

  Each Monthly Meeting should appoint a Representative and Observer who are active in the life of the Meeting and are capable of communicating its views, to serve for a full term of at least one year. The Representative keeps informed on matters likely to come before the committee and reports back to the Monthly Meeting on the issues, concerns and decisions of the committee and the Yearly Meeting. Although they bring the thoughts, feelings and convictions of their Meeting to matters under consideration, they should not adhere to a predetermined point of view, but join with other members of the committee in seeking Divine Guidance for the corporate sense of the Meeting.

 Each Monthly Meeting also selects an Observer who is encouraged to use the opportunity to become familiar with the work and procedures of the Representative Committee and the Yearly Meeting. Because the Yearly Meeting needs continuity of service, the Representative and the Observer may be re-appointed, and Meetings may find that their Observer is the most appropriate person to be their next Representative. Long term service by both gives continuity to the Representative Committee.

 The role of the Representative Committee has evolved over the years. As of this writing, it meets annually in early March (alternating between Northern and Southern California), but the the yearly meeting as an organization the yearly Clerk may call for additional sessions as necessary. For some time Representative Committee seasoned concerns on behalf of the whole Yearly Meeting, but it does not now function in this way.

The Representative Committee conducts any business of the Yearly Meeting that cannot be delayed. It is authorized to act on behalf of the Yearly Meeting if long-standing policy or historical position covers the matter. Nominations made by the Nominating Committee since the previous annual session are presented at Representative Committee for approval. The Representative Committee makes interim appointments as necessary, accepts the report of the Treasurer for the previous fiscal year, and approves budget changes for the current year as needed. This body may hear reports on the progress of plans for the annual session, make suggestions for the agenda, and approve a site change if necessary. Reports are presented from Quarterly Meetings and Monthly Meetings in Guatemala, Hawaii and Mexico (not included in either Quarter).

 The Representative Committee names an ad hoc committee to name the nominating committee. It consists of three Friends, one of whom acts as convener and a fourth person who serves as an alternate. During the annual session this committee recommends Friends to serve on the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee, for approval at a plenary session. <See Nominating Committee, p. 129>. They also recommend the name of a person (ideally one who is in the second year of service on the Nominating Committee) to be Clerk for the ensuing year. Members of the ad hoc committee serve through the annual session, until the next meeting of Representative Committee.