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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 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.


other yearly meeting committees

 arrangements committee: coordinates all preparations and ongoing operations of the Yearly Meeting annual session except the agenda and program. It arranges housing or camping for all resident attendees. It provides all necessary equipment for the Yearly Meeting plenary sessions, committees, interest groups, and for the Children’s Program. It arranges for a system of communications; assists with transportation to and from the annual session; and maintains liaison with the management and food services at the site. The Arrangements Committee also determines the use of the various facilities at the site in consultation with the Presiding Clerk, and maintains a liaison with the management and food services on the site.

 Members of the committee serve through the close of the annual session. The Arrangements Clerk assigns responsibilities to members, all of whom, together, ensure the smooth operation of the Yearly Meeting. The Clerk may ask Monthly Meetings located near the annual session to assist and provide volunteers to see that the work is done.

 children’s program committee: During the Yearly Meeting annual session the Children’s Program Committee is responsible for coordinating an educational program and activities for infants and children up through sixth grade. It selects, supervises and evaluates the program coordinators, and determines the level of their stipend. This committee consists of six members, who serve three-year overlapping terms, with two members appointed annually. The current and immediate past coordinators are members ex officio. the committee to name the nominating committee (ad hoc) <See Representative Committee>.

 discipline committee: This committee operates between revisions of the Faith and Practice. It assembles and organizes material that may go into a revision of Faith and Practice, and submits it to the Yearly Meeting for study, discussion and acceptance. Faith and Practice, also known as “the discipline,” is an instrument for growth as well as a reflection of current feeling and thought as Friends continuously seek to experience and follow the leadings of the Spirit. All Meetings and Friends with concerns, suggestions or questions should submit them to the committee in writing. The Discipline Committee may also be asked to interpret matters relating to Faith and Practice.

 The committee consists of six Friends, representative of the thought and spirit of the Yearly Meeting, who serve three-year overlapping terms. The Historian-Archivist is a member ex officio. At the instruction and with the approval of the Yearly Meeting, the committee may be augmented by six “permanent” members, nominated by the Nominating Committee, in order to labor on a revision of Faith and Practice, preparing material in book form for acceptance and use by the Yearly Meeting. (“Permanent” members serve for the duration of the task of revision.) During the time of revision, the entire committee is called the faith and practice revision committee.

 east-west relations committee: The East-West Relations Committee focuses on nurturing the work of Friends House Moscow. It promotes intercultural visitation in the area formerly called the Soviet Union. The committee consists of nine members who serve three-year overlapping terms. Three members are appointed annually. Pacific Yearly Meeting has two representatives and one alternate on the board of Friends House Moscow, who are members of this committee ex officio.

 epistle committee (ad hoc): The Epistle Committee prepares a statement (epistle) expressing the spirit and concern of the annual session to be sent “To Friends Everywhere” when it has been accepted by the Yearly Meeting.

 This committee is appointed by the Ministry and Oversight Committee and consists of three Friends who serve for the duration of the annual session. Their names are publicized at the beginning of the annual session so that Friends can contact them with suggestions. One member, who should have served the prior year, is appointed Clerk. A first draft of the Epistle is read at a plenary session prior to the final day. Then the committee may hold an open meeting for consideration and discussion of proposed changes. The revised Epistle is presented at the plenary session before the closing Meeting for worship.

faith and practice revision committee <See Discipline Committee>

 finance committee: The Finance Committee develops the Yearly Meeting budget including that for the annual session, for the fiscal year 10/1–9/30. It recommends an appropriate assessment of the constituent Monthly Meetings for each adult member. The committee considers all proposed expenditures of money and makes recommendations for consideration by Representative Committee or Yearly Meeting.

 The committee regularly solicits input from Monthly Meetings to determine the Yearly Meeting’s outreach and other expenditures. Guided by these recommendations, the committee proposes contribution amounts and recipients to be included in the budget for approval at the Yearly Meeting sessions.

 The proposed budget for the following fiscal year is presented at an early session of the Yearly Meeting and adopted at a later session. Following the adoption of the budget, the committee ensures that all Yearly Meeting officers, committee Clerks and Representatives to affiliated organizations are notified of the amounts budgeted for their use.

 The Finance Committee recommends travel reimbursement rates for Representatives to organizations and for committee members who travel to committee meetings. It oversees all expenditures that have been authorized and arranges for an audit of accounts whenever there is a new treasurer or at least every three years. This committee is composed of six members who serve overlapping three-year terms, two of whom are appointed annually. The Treasurer and Statistical Clerk are members ex officio.

 junior yearly meeting committee: The Junior Yearly Meeting Committee serves as a support group for the Junior Yearly Meeting and as the liaison between Junior Friends and Pacific Yearly Meeting. The committee is responsible for providing appropriate adult leadership during Junior Yearly Meeting activities and is available to advise and counsel the Junior Friends. It helps Junior Friends arrange programs during the annual Junior Yearly Meeting <see p. 120> and at other times of the year. Ministry and Oversight appoints a liaison to this committee, to facilitate communication in both directions.

 The committee, officers and Clerks of the Junior Yearly Meeting and other interested Junior Friends usually meet at the Representative Committee session to plan for Junior Yearly Meeting. The Clerk of the committee and the Clerk of Junior Yearly Meeting jointly report to Representative Committee. The committee may also meet at other times.

 The committee consists of eight members who serve three-year overlapping terms, of whom two or three are appointed annually. To the extent possible, members of this planning group also attend Representative Committee. The Clerk or Clerks of Junior Yearly Meeting are members of Representative Committee ex officio. latin america concerns committee: In 1997, the annual session established a standing Latin America Concerns Committee to gather and disseminate information to Pacific and other Yearly Meetings regarding Friends groups and service projects in Latin America. The intention is to support rather than replace spirit-led projects already supported by Monthly Meetings, Worship Groups and individual Friends. It is composed of five to nine members as determined by the Nominating Committee in consultation with the committee.

 nominating committee: The Nominating Committee submits nominations for all officers and committees. A preliminary report is given in an early plenary session, then posted for study, review and formal consideration later in the annual session. When vacancies occur during the year, nominations should be offered to Representative Committee at its interim meeting. When time is a factor, the Presiding Clerk, in consultation with the Clerk of Nominating Committee, may make interim nominations for Representatives to affiliated organizations. The committee is responsible for ensuring that organizations are notified of such appointments. The committee is responsible for notifying appointees, making sure they understand their responsibilities, and confirming their willingness to serve. The Nominating Committee may aid the Yearly Meeting by helping to define the structure and method of appointment of Yearly Meeting committees.

 The committee consists of nine members who serve three-year overlapping terms. Three members are proposed annually by the Committee to Name the Nominating Committee and approved by the Yearly Meeting.Members of the Nominating Committee should be thoroughly familiar with the function and structure of Yearly Meeting and with Friends practices. They should be aware of the interests, talents, proven experience, latent gifts and potential leadership of Meeting participants. The committee membership should be well balanced as to age, gender and regional representation.

 The ad hoc Committee to Name the Nominating Committee recommends the Clerk of this committee from members who are serving a second year. <See also Representative Committee, p. 125>.

 peace and social order committee: The Peace and Social Order Committee encourages and assists Monthly and Quarterly Meetings in undertaking peace and service activities. With the approval of Yearly Meeting, it coordinates activities that express Friends’ testimonies on unity, equality, simplicity peace, and community. The committee seeks to balance its efforts between peace and social order concerns. It may provide programs during a plenary session or sponsor interest groups to heighten awareness of issues and concerns, share activities, and encourage corporate action on proposed minutes.

 The committee appraises concerns brought to Yearly Meeting by constituent Meetings, and requests for interest groups or displays at the Yearly Meeting session that are concerned with Peace and Social Order issues.

 The committee consists of nine members who serve overlapping three-year terms, of whom three members are appointed annually. It includes the Clerks (or their designees) of the Quarterly Meeting Peace and Social Order Committees, and correspondents from Meetings unaffiliated with a Quarterly Meeting. One of PYM’s Representatives to the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) named by PYM’s delegates, and one PYM Friends Committee on Legislation (FCL) Representative serve ex officio. Representatives from Junior Yearly Meeting and Young Friends are encouraged to attend meetings of the committee.

 religious education for children committee: This committee is responsible for encouraging religious education programs for children in the Monthly Meetings. The committee may hold workshops and interest groups at Yearly Meeting to provide opportunities for Religious Education Committee members from constituent Meetings to share ideas and problems or to publicize outstanding materials and programs. The work of the committee is not limited to First Day School content, but may include related areas, such as the place of children in Meetings, Quakerly parenting, pre-school and teenage religious education. The committee may provide assistance to Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups through newsletters, regional gatherings, visitations, or other means as opportunity or need arises. It consists of six members who serve three-year overlapping terms, two of whom are appointed annually.

 secretariat committee: This committee is responsible for ensuring good communication at the annual sessions, distributing materials to Monthly Meetings, Preparative Meetings and Worship Groups, and maintaining a current mailing list for these purposes.

 It is composed of three members, who serve three years with overlapping terms. The Assistant to the Clerk serves ex officio.

  site committee: This committee evaluates sites for the annual sessions of the Yearly Meeting and remains involved as a resource until the Presiding Clerk and the Arrangements Clerk, in consultation with the Treasurer, have negotiated a contract. It also examines the feasibility of a permanent site and makes recommendations to the Yearly Meeting. It consists of six members who serve three-year overlapping terms, two of whom are appointed annually. The present and immediate past Arrangements Clerks are members ex officio.

 unity with nature committee: Established in 1985 in response to Yearly Meeting members’ concerns for the environment and dangers to it, this committee is empowered to act on behalf of the Yearly Meeting on spiritual concerns as related to the environment and to develop its charge as way opens. This may take the form of newsletters or other publications, such as EarthLight. It may raise funds to further its work. The committee consists of nine members, appointed for three-year overlapping terms. The EarthLight Editor and one additional member of the committee are members ex officio of the national Friends Committee on Unity with Nature (FCUN).

 wider fellowship among friends committee (wfaf): At the 1985 session of the Yearly Meeting, the Wider Fellowship Among Friends Committee was established. The committee consists of three members who serve overlapping three-year terms. Its charge includes:

reporting regularly (in Friends Bulletin or in a newsletter) on upcoming activities or interests of Friends groups in which Pacific Yearly Meeting Friends might participate;

encouraging the release of Friends for visitation to other Friends groups;

exploring ways to bring Friends together in activities such as working for peace, assisting refugees, supporting Friends schools, and hosting conferences.

 The committee also includes ex officio those Friends who attend as visitors, Liaisons, Representatives or Observers to the following Quaker organizations: Evangelical Friends International, Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting, Evangelical Friends Church, the Reunion General de los Amigos en Mexico. It includes one member from the group of Pacific Yearly Meeting

 Representatives to the Friends World Committee for Consultation: The convener attends Representative Committee, convenes a meeting of the Representatives at the annual session, and makes an annual report to the Yearly Meeting.

 other committees: The Yearly Meeting may set up additional committees as necessary to carry out its purposes. Such committees can be laid down when their assignments have been fulfilled and full reports have been made to the Yearly Meeting.