<< PYM home

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

Search provided by

Contents page

appendix 3: pastoral care/clearness committees

< previous page

next page >

3A: Advices and Queries for Overseers

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.



 As a Meeting, we accept a degree of responsibility and concern for one another.We would not wish to turn aside from those of us in need.

 As Overseers we wish to ensure that each member of our community is able to draw upon the Meeting’s care and concern. Useful ways to give support will necessarily vary from one situation to another. As we offer help we strive to be sensitive to one another’s spiritual, emotional, and material condition, and to the need of each of us to maintain our personal dignity and protect our privacy.

 Overseers should seek not to act beyond their competence or beyond the limits of their proper responsibility. Clear discernment of proper responsibility comes when caring arises from the heart of compassion and when people are held firmly in the light.

 Our feelings and motivations necessarily color our decisions and discussions about individuals. We need to be especially aware of our feelings about a person and that these may overcome our ability to discern God’s will. We should be prayerful in maintaining this awareness and, as necessary in our Meetings, remaining silent.


 Do we reach out to ensure that contact is maintained with all of our Meeting community? Do we make clear that we are available to offer mutual support — spiritual, emotional, and material? Are all encouraged to seek and accept the support of the Meeting?

 Do we take care that each member of our community is held in sensitive awareness, with respect for personal dignity and privacy? Are we tender of one another’s feelings? Do we maintain confidentiality, avoid gossip and refrain from unnecessary and inappropriate exchange of information?

 As we offer pastoral care, do we each maintain awareness of our own needs and motivations and the effect these may have on our own care giving? Are we careful to distinguish personal feelings about individuals — positive or negative — from our charge to care for them? In striving to help others, do we seek the Spirit through prayer and silence?

 Are we sensitive to the limits of our capacities and the limits of our responsibilities? Do we, in our caring, hold those to whom we minister firmly in the light? Do we as Overseers hold ourselves mutually accountable to the spirit of these queries?

[Adapted from material developed by Strawberry Creek Meeting.]