It is earnestly recommended that, as Friends tend to
the affairs of our Society, we bear in mind always that we are about God’s
work. We should endeavor humbly and reverently to conduct ourselves and our
meetings in the wisdom and peaceable spirit of Jesus, with dignity,
forbearance, honesty, and, above all, love.
Source unknown, as quoted in
Meeting Faith and Practice (1978), p. 175
Where and How Decisions Are Made
In the beginning, the Religious Society of Friends
mistrusted church hierarchies, believing that the path to the Divine is inward
for each individual and worshiping group. Friends have kept the power of
decision in religious matters as close as possible to the primary worship group
and the individual. The monthly meeting, accordingly, has a freedom of action
and responsibility in matters of membership not given to the yearly or regional
meetings, with some exceptions. On the other hand, there are some matters on
which a degree of uniformity among neighboring monthly meetings is essential to
the good order of the Society.
By virtue of membership in a monthly meeting, Friends
also become members of a regional and a yearly meeting. All members have the
privilege and responsibility to participate in decision making within each
body. All members are welcomed and encouraged to attend their regional and yearly
Within its own area of responsibility, each body is
autonomous. Friends attend regional or yearly meetings not as instructed
delegates of their monthly meetings but as their representatives. They join others
in worship and in decision making that responds to the movements of the Spirit
at that time and place.
Reporting, Oversight, and Guidance
Monthly, regional, and yearly meetings prepare and
disseminate various reports, either to each other or to Friends everywhere. In
Intermountain Yearly Meeting, each monthly meeting prepares an annual state of
the society report , for presentation to the regional
meeting and subsequently the yearly meeting. The purpose of these reports is to
enable monthly meetings, regional meetings, and the yearly meeting to offer
support, guidance, or oversight to monthly meetings as needed.
The Monthly Meeting
I was moved to recommend the setting up of Monthly
Meetings throughout the nation. And the Lord opened to me what I must do...
George Fox, Journal (1667)
The meeting for worship is the heart of the monthly meeting
and the Society of Friends. It is in this corporate fellowship that Friends
experience the most profound realities of life: birth and death, marriage and
family, community of Spirit, and concern for other people. A meeting in the
Quaker sense is a gathering of people whose intention is
to encounter God. So far as this divine/human interaction takes place, there is
order, unity, and power. Should this connection break down, Friends wait and
pray that “way may open” once more; the good order of Friends is based on this
conception of a meeting. Meetings for worship are held at established
times—usually once a week but also more often as occasion arises.
The name monthly meeting reflects the practice of
coming together for meeting for worship for business once each month. The term monthly
meeting has two meanings. Primarily, it refers to the fundamental unit of
the Society of Friends; it also applies to the occasion for conducting
business, which usually occurs once a month.
The purpose of organization is to provide orderly and
effective means for handling corporate business essential to the meeting’s
functioning with a maximum of freedom, participation, and responsibility. A
meeting for business takes place in the same expectant waiting for the Spirit’s
guidance as does a meeting for worship. Friends’ manner of conducting business
is an expression of our faith that the Light, which is in all, when heeded,
draws all into unity in our common affairs. It is an expression of our
commitment to follow that Light.
A monthly meeting has many functions: it receives,
records, and terminates memberships; provides spiritual and material aid to
those in its fellowship; oversees marriages; gives care at the time of death;
and counsels with members in troubled circumstances. It collects and
administers funds for its maintenance and work, and it may hold property of a
fiduciary nature as well as titles to real property. Meetings witness to
Friends’ testimonies and relate to other Quaker organizations as well as groups
who share common concerns.
Organization evolves with a meeting’s needs. Early in its
history, a small meeting may be able to act as a committee of the whole. As it
gains strength and experience, it may be appropriate to select persons and
committees to carry out specific responsibilities. As long as an organizational
structure proves useful, it is not changed unless there is good reason to do so;
if a structure no longer serves a vital function, it is laid down. If a meeting
holds title to real property, it may be advisable for that meeting to
The organization of monthly meetings within Intermountain
Yearly Meeting can vary, sometimes in the name of an office or committee,
but also in some cases by function.
Ministry in word and act, responsibility for the good order and material
needs of the meeting, visitation, authenticity of the testimonies—all these are
the responsibilities of persons in the meeting as they are guided by the Light.
For practical reasons, monthly meetings appoint individuals to serve as
officers and to carry out specific functions, including presiding over
meetings, keeping records of business meetings and membership, maintaining
stewardship of property and funds, and nurturing the community. They are
appointed for defined terms of service using the nomination process described
below. The names for the offices may vary, but it is important that responsibility
for all necessary functions be assumed by willing and capable individuals.
Larger meetings may appoint a number of officers to share the work of their
meetings. The most commonly appointed officers include a clerk, a recording
clerk, a treasurer, and a clerk of the Committee on Ministry and Oversight or
Ministry and Counsel.
A good officer is one who, while assuming a
particular responsibility, is committed to the leading of the Spirit in
discerning what needs to be done and who seeks to engage the resources of the
meeting, matching people to the task.
The clerk (also called presiding clerk ) presides at meetings for
business, gathers the sense of the meeting, formulates the minutes of the
proceedings, speaks for the meeting when so directed, and carries out the
instructions of the meeting to accomplish its business. Some larger meetings
also appoint an assistant clerk or associate clerk to help with
these functions. Although sometimes a faithful attender, the clerk is most
often a member of the meeting, one who has the confidence and respect of the
membership and the capability of serving the meeting with warmth and spiritual
sensitivity. An effective clerk listens receptively, comprehends readily,
evaluates rightly, and states clearly and concisely the sense of the meeting
regarding a business item or concern. The clerk may ask any experienced Friend
to preside in his or her absence.
Most meetings appoint a recording clerk to make
faithful, concise, and accurate records of the minutes of action, as discerned
and stated by the presiding clerk. It is the recording clerk who puts the
meeting’s insights and minutes into written words, but it is the clerk who
bears ultimate responsibility for the completeness and accuracy of the minutes.
The meeting may also appoint a recorder to prepare the census report as
required by the yearly meeting; to file in the appropriate archives the minutes
and reports collected by the recording clerk; and to maintain the records of
births, marriages, and deaths, and the formal records of membership. In smaller
meetings, these matters may be undertaken by the recording clerk. Some meetings
appoint an assistant recording clerk, recorder/archivist,
librarian/archivist, correspondence clerk, records clerk, or minute clerk
to handle these duties.
Maintaining and disbursing the meeting’s funds and giving
regular reports to the meeting are the responsibility of the treasurer.
Some meetings choose to incorporate when they begin to hold property in order
to have some of the protections provided by the state in which they are
incorporated. When drawing up such a charter and by-laws, special attention
needs to be paid to the relationships between the officers of the meeting and
its corporation. It is convenient to designate the treasurer of the meeting
also as treasurer of the corporation. It is well that the meeting’s accounts be
reviewed occasionally by a financial professional or by a few persons appointed
by the meeting.
Committees constitute an effective means of facilitating the
monthly meeting’s business because much of the work can be done more
appropriately in small groups than in the meeting for business or by
individuals. Each meeting decides which committees are necessary to carry out
its concerns and business. Most meetings find a Ministry and Oversight
(or Ministry and Counsel) Committee essential; Ministry and Oversight
is responsible for the spiritual health of the meeting and maintaining a
general purview of the right ordering of the affairs of the meeting. Other commmon committees include Nominating, Peace and
Social Order (or Peace and Social Concerns), Finance, Religious
Education, Property, and Hospitality. Although the names of
committees vary among meetings, it is important that the functions of each
committee be clear to all within the meeting. Ad hoc committees are
sometimes useful for addressing particular projects or concerns. A committee no
longer serving a purpose is laid down by the meeting for business.
Committees conduct business in the same manner as the
monthly meeting does, waiting on the Spirit for direction in their work and
unity in their decisions. It is important that committee clerks and members of
committees attend meeting for business regularly to ensure regular
communication of information and smooth coordination between the committee and
the meeting. A written charge to each committee clarifies what is expected of
it and of its clerk as well as the limits of authority delegated to it. Such
clarity and communication promotes an atmosphere of trust, allowing meetings,
their officers, clerks, and committees to fulfill their respective tasks
without wasteful duplication or frustration.
Committee members should be selected according to their
abilities and concerns. Meetings customarily appoint an experienced and capable
member of the Religious Society of Friends to clerk the Ministry and
Oversight (or similar) Committee, and each meeting
determines the necessary qualifications for its committee members and clerks.
Because committee work enables Friends to engage in the life of the meeting, it
provides familiarity with Friends’ faith and business practices, especially our
decision-making process. Service on a committee also offers Friends an
opportunity to use their particular gifts and to deepen friendships among the
Committees serve the monthly meeting not only by carrying
on their usual functions but also by doing background work for the monthly
meeting for business—examining particular matters in depth, identifying issues,
gathering useful information, and preparing seasoned recommendations. When this
work is done well, the monthly meeting session is able to focus quickly on the
matter at hand. It is important that committees keep minutes of their meetings
and that they report regularly to the monthly meeting. In bringing a matter
before the meeting for business, it is important that the committee describe
concisely the work it has done in support of its recommendation and offer,
where appropriate, a draft of a possible minute. Mutual trust between the
meeting and a committee as well as faith in the power of Truth over all
will help achieve the proper balance between the discernment of a committee and
that of the monthly meeting. All actions of committees
in the name of the meeting are subject to approval by the monthly meeting.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties
of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each
is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given
through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom and to another acts of compassion;
according to the same Spirit, some will receive the gift of teaching in the
children’s program, to others the gift of building maintenance or hospitality;
the same Spirit to another gives the clerking of a committee, and yet to
others, even the registration of those coming to yearly meeting....
Adapted from I Corinthians, 12:4–7 RSV
The Nominating Committee is representative of the
meeting and familiar with its members and attenders. Usually, a small ad hoc
committee (sometimes called the Naming Committee) nominates individuals
to serve on the Nominating Committee. Those serving need to be discerning in
judgment and tactful in manner and at the same time be forward-looking in
considering for service younger Friends and newer members and encouraging those
who may underestimate their own potential. The responsibility of this committee
cannot be too strongly stressed.
Nominating committees are concerned with how the gifts of
members and attenders may best serve the meeting's needs for clerks, committee members,
and other responsible positions. The committee seeks the best‑qualified
persons from among the whole membership, the younger and newer as well as the
older and more experienced. The Nominating Committee considers the qualities
appropriate to each appointment as well as how the members of a given committee
will function together. It is important that the desire to fill all vacancies
not distract the committee from its task of discerning the right person for a
It is well to the extent practicable to rotate meeting
responsibilities or jobs among Friends to enable individuals to practice
different approaches and to offer different gifts. It is equally important to
recognize when a Friend is serving beyond his or her capacity and experience.
The Nominating Committee is also charged with discerning the right time to ask
a particular Friend to take up or to lay down a particular task. The committee
explains clearly the term and scope of each appointment to those Friends asked
to accept nomination as well as the need for the nomination to be brought to
the monthly meeting for approval. Sometimes a Friend may request a clearness
committee to help him or her reach clearness about accepting a position. In
some larger meetings, the Committee on Ministry and Oversight serves as a
clearness committee for the Nominating Committee. Nominating Committees should
not feel unduly concerned to fill vacancies that remain after the committee has
exercised its use of spiritual discernment.
Nominating Committees do not appoint. Nominations are
made by the committee, not by individual members of the committee. Generally
nominations are laid over for one month to enable both nominees and members of
the meeting to express to the committee any concerns they may have about the
nominations while carefully recognizing that of God in each person. If after
thoughtful consideration unity is not reached, the committee attempts to find
another person to fill the position. With any appointment, the meeting, having
been fully involved in approving the nominations, extends loving support to
those who take on a position.
Sometimes, following thoughtful consultation with the
Ministry and Oversight Committee (or its equivalent), a need arises
for bringing an appointment to a close before the end of a term or a Friend may
request release from service. Loving tenderness is essential in considering
reasons for early release and in finding another person. Nominating Committees
should not hesitate to bring problems back to the monthly meeting for guidance
and practical help.
The Nominating Committee may also from time to time ask
the Ministry and Oversight committee to consider whether a committee
should be laid down and to forward its recommendation to the meeting for
Ministry and Oversight / Ministry and Worship Committee
In some meetings, the functions of the Ministry and
Oversight Committee (under various names) are the charge of one committee,
and in others, because of the many responsibilities, these functions are
divided between two committees—Worship and Ministry focusing on the
spiritual well being of the meeting as a whole, and Oversight and Counsel
focusing on the care of individual Friends. The committee ideally consists of
members of varied ages, genders, and gifts who are faithful in worship and
sensitive to the life of the spirit—Friends both young and old looked to as
spiritual elders and as having experience, empathy, good judgment, and
Care for the Meeting for Worship. The first
responsibility of the Ministry and Oversight (or, where divided into two
committees, Ministry and Worship) Committee's members is to deepen their own
spiritual lives and their preparation for worship. When they are grounded in
the Spirit, committee members are reminded that they are but vessels of the
Light among many other vessels. Then they can better trust that the power of
God may work through all persons in the meeting and beyond. Committee members'
concern for the meeting throughout the week, their prompt arrival at and reverence
for meeting for worship, and their faithfulness to the guidance of the Spirit
are ways they can deepen the quality of worship.
Committee members try to discern promising gifts among
Friends as well as to guide in a loving manner those who speak unacceptably in
meeting for worship (such as those who speak too often or for too long). They
endeavor to open the way for those who are timid and inexperienced in vocal
ministry and to encourage all Friends to listen with tenderness. In trying to
be helpful, they do not assume superior wisdom but rather trust that all are
sharing in the search for guidance.
Care for the Meeting for Business.
The responsibilities of the Ministry and Oversight Committee (or,
where divided into two committees, Ministry and Worship) include nurturing
business sessions of the monthly meeting. The importance of the presence of
committee members at meeting for business cannot be overemphasized. The
committee considers prayerfully how to contribute to the meeting's discernment
of Truth and works with the presiding clerk to develop his or her skills
in fostering a worshipful and faithful business meeting.
Care for Individual Lives.
Ministry and Oversight Committee (or, where divided into two
committees, Oversight and Counsel) attends to the spiritual lives of those in
the meeting by helping discern and develop varied gifts for ministry and
service as well as encouraging vocal ministry; teaching; counseling; aesthetic,
social, and practical modes of expression; and regular spiritual disciplines.
The committee may support individual spiritual growth by circulating
appropriate literature in addition to arranging for study groups, retreats, and
worship-sharing groups. Members are personally concerned with the spiritual and
physical welfare of each member of the meeting. They encourage visitation and
fellowship within the meeting and try to ensure that those who are ill,
troubled, or in need receive visits, spiritual help, and practical assistance
as may be needed.
This committee considers requests for initiation,
transfer, or withdrawal of membership; requests from persons who wish to be
married under the care of the meeting; and requests for clearness committees to
address individual concerns. It offers spiritual care and practical assistance
at the time of death in a family. It tries to be of help in reconciling
differences among people in the meeting. It endeavors to respond to inquiries
about Friends and welcomes newcomers and attenders, including making clear to
them ways of participating in meeting fellowship or joining the meeting as a
member. It encourages Friends to attend regional and yearly meeting sessions
and other gatherings of Friends, and provides information about possible
financial assistance for this purpose. It keeps in touch with committees with
related concerns and may form subcommittees charged with specific
responsibilities (e.g., marriage clearness or a fund for special needs)
The Ministry and Oversight Committee (or two
committees) should report its activities and concerns regularly to the monthly
meeting. In consultation with the meeting community, this committee oversees
the preparation of an annual State of the Meeting Report to the regional and yearly meetings, for they and the clerk share oversight of other committees of
the meeting, with a special concern for good order.
Sometimes a problem facing an individual is too complex
for the meeting to handle. When this arises, the Ministry and Oversight
Committee may turn to regional or yearly meeting Ministry and Oversight
Committees for assistance. In some cases, professional help needs to be sought.
Committee members need to have knowledge of available professional resources.
Even when it is clear that professional help is needed, the meeting may still
offer such practical assistance as meals, childcare, or transportation.
Peace and Social Order Committee
That the Peace and Social Order Committee (variously
named Peace and Social Concerns, Social Action, Peace and Justice, Faith in
Action, and so on) is one of the first committees formed in many monthly
meetings bears witness to the commitment of Friends to make their lives speak
their faith. This committee may plan and carry out service projects as
activities of the meeting, recommend particular action on issues of interest to
Friends, encourage members to participate in the work for social change as part
of larger groups or independently according to individual leadings, support
Friends in forwarding a concern to the regional or yearly meeting, and
contribute services or money to help free a member of the meeting to pursue a
social action as a “released Friend.” This committee also may provide valuable
help in seasoning concerns of an individual or group that prompt social action
or service, testing concerns, and recommending courses of action.
Monthly meetings must have income to pay for rent or
maintenance of space, communication, outreach, insurance, educational
materials, and other expenses. The treasurer, with advice from
Ministry and Oversight or a separate Finance Committee, oversees funds.
The procedures for securing income are generally unobtrusive. It is not
uncommon for the Finance Committee to send an annual letter to members and
attenders describing the meeting’s broad
budgetary picture and suggesting common practice in giving to the meeting. Such
a letter typically explains that contributions may be less for some and more
for others, depending on personal circumstances. One of the responsibilities of
membership is the financial support of the meeting and other Friends
Other duties of the Finance Committee are to oversee
the maintenance of orderly accounts and expenditure procedures, and to advise
the monthly meeting on the financial aspects of its affairs. In meetings
without a Finance Committee, the treasurer may carry these responsibilities. In
larger meetings, it may be worthwhile to hire a professional accountant and to
appoint an assistant to the treasurer.
As a meeting grows, it will be necessary to add other
committees to do the work described above and to meet other needs that arise.
Some of the other committees currently identified within Intermountain Yearly
Religious Education (both for children and for
Building and Grounds
Board of Trustees/Corporation Board of Directors
As mentioned above, membership in the Religious Society of
Friends by individuals is obtained through the monthly meeting. Such membership
also constitutes membership in the regional meeting and the yearly meeting with
which the monthly meeting is affiliated. Currently, there are four smaller
bodies within Intermountain Yearly Meeting: Arizona Half-Yearly Meeting,
Colorado Regional Meeting, New Mexico Regional Meeting, and Utah Friends
The monthly meetings and worship groups were the creators
of Intermountain Yearly Meeting and have direct access in communicating
their concerns to the yearly meeting. Each regional meeting was also separately
created by, and may be laid down by, its participating monthly meetings and
worship groups without application to the yearly meeting. A monthly meeting may
elect to obtain broader seasoning of its concerns by applying to its regional
meeting and requesting that it consider such concerns before forwarding them to
the yearly meeting as appropriately decided in the regional meeting. The
organization and appointments of the regional meetings generally follow those
of the monthly meeting.
The yearly meeting uses the regional meetings because
they are convenient, efficient sources of information about shared views. The
yearly meeting and the monthly meeting must be prepared to alter their
relations with a regional meeting should it change its mode of operation,
including becoming inactive.
A regional meeting is a cooperative association of two or
more monthly meetings in a particular geographical area and is composed of all
the members of its constituent monthly meetings, preparative meetings, and
worship groups as well as interested persons within its area who are isolated
from any established Friends group.
A regional meeting may be established upon yearly meeting
approval of a request from two or more monthly meetings or a request from a
regional meeting that wishes to be divided into two such meetings. A regional
meeting also may be set up upon the initiative of the yearly meeting. In any
such instance, the yearly meeting appoints a committee to assist in the
organization and receives the recommendation of that committee before
recognizing the regional meeting. Where geographical expanses or other
circumstances warrant, the formation of associations or gatherings other than
regional meetings may prove helpful.
To carry out its responsibilities, a regional meeting
meets regularly, appoints necessary officers and committees,
and conducts its business in the usual manner of Friends. It collects and
administers funds as needed. It may appoint an Interim, Planning or Continuing
Committee to help plan its sessions and to act for it between sessions,
within agreed-upon limits. Information regarding the appointment of yearly
meeting positions by the regional meeting is found in the “Guide to
Operations of Intermountain Yearly Meeting.”
Each regional meeting prepares an annual budget, which is
presented to business sessions of the regional meeting once a year.
Customarily, the budget is based on an annual assessment contributed by each of
its constituent monthly meetings of a per-capita amount based on the number of
adult members reported by the monthly meeting in its most recent census. The per
capita assessment rate is considered and approved by the regional meeting in
its annual sessions as part of the review of the budget. Out of these
funds, the regional meeting pays for items agreed upon as necessary to its
operations. The adult members include both resident and nonresident members.
Members sojourning by minute to other monthly meetings are counted by their
home monthly meeting. Members of other monthly meetings and attenders are not
In Intermountain Yearly Meeting, regional meetings
usually hold sessions biannually. Traditionally among Friends, a regional
meeting which met twice a year was called a "half-yearly meeting.” In this
yearly meeting, some regional meetings call themselves “half-yearly meetings or
Friends fellowships. For simplicity in reference within the purpose of this
document, the term regional meeting will be used inclusively.
The purpose of a regional meeting is to strengthen the
life and fellowship of monthly meetings and other Friends groups in the area
and to provide a link in transmitting business and other information to and
from Intermountain Yearly Meeting. Regional meetings contribute to the growth
of the spiritual life and fellowship of its constituent monthly meetings and
other Friends groups, including children and young Friends, in various ways.
The sessions of the regional meeting provide religious fellowship, a wider
variety of ministry during worship than individual meetings usually experience,
and programs that address the deeper interests of the Religious Society of
Friends. Outside its regular sessions, the regional meeting may develop
programs for its young people, arrange for retreats and other gatherings, and
encourage and coordinate inter-meeting visitation.
A regional meeting can also provide a forum for
considering and acting upon concerns from individuals and meetings and
forwarding approved minutes to the Steering Committee or annual session of the
yearly meeting. It also may provide services or address issues that pertain to
all Friends but for which there may not be sufficient concern or energy in any
one individual meeting. A regional meeting is concerned for the condition of
its constituent groups, strengthening and supporting them. It is responsible
for the nurture of new gatherings of Friends, and when the time comes, it
reports their establishment as monthly meetings to the yearly meeting. The
regional meeting would also be the appropriate body to consider a request from
the members of a monthly meeting that their meeting be laid down or united with
The Yearly Meeting
Intermountain Yearly Meeting was created by monthly
meetings and worship groups then in Pacific Yearly Meeting and nearby. The
regional meetings were created separately by their constituent monthly
meetings. Both the yearly meeting and the regional meetings exist at the
pleasure of the monthly meetings and their worship groups. Intermountain Yearly
Meeting and North Pacific Yearly Meeting were set off from Pacific
Yearly Meeting in 1974 and 1975, respectively. These three western unprogrammed
meetings are known as independent yearly meetings because they are not
affiliated with an umbrella group such as Friends General Conference, Friends
United Meeting, or Evangelical Friends International. Intermountain Yearly
Meeting has come to be organized and administered in ways that reflect the
status of the monthly meeting as the fundamental organizational unit and the
source of unity in all decisions. Annual sessions are structured so as to
minimize business and emphasize spiritual fellowship among Friends and others
Intermountain Yearly Meeting is a member of Friends
World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) and actively affiliates
with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) and the American
Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The yearly meeting
becomes a member of or affiliated with another Friends organization only after
several monthly meetings have become active in the affairs of that organization
and bring to the yearly meeting a request for membership or affiliation.
Members of the yearly meeting’s monthly meetings are also
members of the regional meeting, the yearly meeting, those Friends
organizations of which the yearly meeting is a member,
and the Religious Society of Friends worldwide. Members are responsible for the
decisions and actions of their yearly meeting. Rather than exercising these
responsibilities through the monthly meeting holding their memberships, worship
groups and preparative meetings in Intermountain Yearly Meeting do so
directly with the yearly meeting. Responsibilities of a worship group for
yearly meeting affairs continue as they become a preparative meeting or a
The annual gathering of Intermountain Yearly Meeting is
a spiritually enriching occasion as Friends seek guidance from the Light Within
and share their diverse insights and concerns for service in the larger world.
This gathering is held at a time and place determined by the yearly meeting on
the recommendation of the Continuing Committee, which has responsibility for
overseeing all details of the planning. Yearly meeting attenders consider ways
in which spiritual guidance, truth, witness, and friendship have been expressed
over the past year and how these expressions may be extended in greater measure
to those who come to us as seekers. The annual business sessions of
Intermountain Yearly Meeting are held during the annual gathering. During
these plenary sessions, the work of the appointees, committees, and officers of
the yearly meeting are reported. The yearly meeting clerk, with the assistance
of the Continuing Committee, develops the agenda for the annual business
meetings. Between annual gatherings, the Continuing Committee and the Executive
Committee carry on the work of the yearly meeting, based on guidance provided
at the annual business sessions and in accordance with the “Guide to
Operations of Intermountain Yearly Meeting.”
Relationships of Monthly Meetings, Preparative
Meetings, and Worship Groups with the Yearly Meeting
Monthly meetings, preparative meetings, and worship groups
are directly affiliated with Intermountain Yearly Meeting upon the
acceptance of their written request.
A new monthly meeting, preparative meeting, or worship
group may be established with the assistance and oversight usually of the
nearest existing monthly meeting of Intermountain Yearly Meeting. The regional
meeting may assist the applying meeting or group in determining the appropriate
monthly meeting for this purpose. A worship group or preparative meeting may
transfer from the care of one monthly meeting to another using the same
procedures as for an individual transferring membership. Should a worship group
or a preparative meeting be laid down, any residual responsibilities and real
or fiduciary property and records are transferred to the Monthly Meeting having
its care or to one or more other monthly meetings, as may be agreed with the
responsible monthly meeting. Similarly, should a monthly meeting be laid down,
the disposition of its remaining responsibilities and any property, real or
fiduciary, becomes the responsibility of the regional meeting unless it is
inactive, in which case they would go to the yearly meeting.
Monthly Meetings affiliated with another yearly meeting
may also become associated with Intermountain
Yearly Meeting upon acceptance of a written request. Meetings should clear
such action with their yearly meeting before requesting such association. Mexico
City Monthly Meeting of Pacific Yearly Meeting has been associated
with Intermountain Yearly Meeting since
Intermountain Yearly Meeting's beginnings.
The yearly meeting provides guidance and discipline in
faith and practice for its monthly and regional meetings and worship groups
regarding their affairs and relationships with the yearly meeting and with
Friends everywhere. In all matters, such guidance is descriptive and not
prescriptive. The yearly meeting endeavors to maintain inclusive practices and procedures,
always knowing that the monthly meeting is the fundamental unit in the affairs
of the Religious Society of Friends.
Assisted by the treasurer, Intermountain Yearly Meeting’s
Finance Committee prepares two budgets: one for the annual gathering,
which is self-supporting through a registration fee and the other for the
general operations of the yearly meeting, which are supported by an assessment
on the monthly meetings based on the number of adult members according to the
latest census. These budgets are reviewed and approved by the Yearly
Meeting and again at its winter meeting, by the Continuing Committee.
The annual gathering budget provides adequate child care,
an inspirational program for young and adult Friends, and a smooth but simple
The general operating budget supports travel and related
· yearly meeting officers to attend meetings of the Executive
and Continuing Committees
· members of the Faith and Practice Committee
· representatives appointed by the yearly meeting to FWCC,
FCNL, and AFSC
· representatives appointed to meet with the
Brinton Memorial Visitor Committee during the annual sessions of Pacific
· representatives attending meetings of the Friends
Peace Teams Committee and meetings of the corporation board of Friends
Travel expenses to meetings of yearly meeting committees
are the responsibility of the meeting or group making the appointment, except
in cases where Intermountain Yearly Meeting makes other arrangements.
Rather than including support of FWCC, FCNL, and AFSC in
the yearly meeting’s budget, Intermountain Yearly Meeting calls on its
monthly meetings and worship groups to contribute directly to these
organizations. This helps avoid the need to increase the annual assessment.
Similarly, it leaves to the monthly meetings decisions about allocating from
their budgets financial and nonfinancial resources to
other worthy groups that might otherwise approach the yearly meeting for
Intermountain Yearly Meeting’s annual assessment is a
contribution from each of its affiliated monthly meetings of a per capita
amount based on the number of adult members reported by the monthly meeting in its
most recent census. The count of adult members includes both resident members
and nonresident members whose memberships are held by the monthly meeting.
Sojourning members are included in their home meeting’s count.
Attenders are not included in the assessment. This method of calculating
the assessment is designed to be an even-handed way of arriving at each monthly
meeting’s share of budget responsibility. The per-capita assessment rate, as
recommended by the Finance and Continuing Committees, is considered and
approved by the yearly meeting in its annual sessions as part of the review of
In addition to the assessment, contributions may be made
directly to the treasurer of Intermountain Yearly Meeting by meetings,
groups, and individuals at any time.
Bringing Concerns before the Yearly
Meeting for Consideration
There are four ways a concern may come before Intermountain
Yearly Meeting’s business sessions for consideration: by placement on the
agenda by the Clerk; by minute from a monthly or regional meeting; by minute
from a yearly meeting committee; or from the floor when recognized by the clerk.. All formal communications to the yearly
meeting regarding matters of substance are in the form of minutes adopted by
meetings or groups.
The clerk and the Continuing Committee, in their planning
process, develop an agenda including matters that need to be addressed at the
annual business session. It is expected that other concerns that may come
before the yearly meeting be considered and approved previously by a monthly or
regional meeting or the committee responsible for the concern. Such concerns
should be described in a written minute delivered to the yearly meeting clerk
in a timely fashion. The clerk, in consultation with Continuing Committee, then
places the concern on the agenda.
In considering concerns brought before them by their
members, monthly meetings should exercise care that their own discernment is
adequate and that, if forwarding the matter to another meeting, they are not
evading their own responsibility for reaching unity. This may involve
consideration at more than one sitting of monthly meeting for business. In
cases where urgent action is not called for, it might also be wise for a
monthly meeting to seek the counsel of its regional meeting before forwarding a
concern to Continuing Committee or the yearly meeting clerk. It is also
recommended that the resources, implications, and actions involved in carrying
out the concern be clarified early in the consideration process.
Committees of the yearly meeting may bring minutes either
to the clerk or directly to the floor of the annual business sessions.
Intermountain Yearly Meeting committees are advised that they also should
exercise care that their own consideration has been adequate and that their
members have reached unity before bringing the matter to yearly meeting. The
clerk and the Continuing Committee may place on the agenda all such
matters that reach them in a timely fashion.
The yearly meeting clerk may entertain a minute or
concern from the floor of a plenary session. Before such a concern is laid
before the plenary session for its consideration, the clerk usually consults
with the clerk of the Continuing Committee about the impact or unintended
consequences that potentially could arise from the resulting action. The
concern may be acted upon or may be referred for study and consideration at
another annual gathering.
Prior to developing a Faith and Practice, the yearly meeting
created “The Guide to Operations of Intermountain Yearly Meeting,” which
contains detailed information about the functions of yearly meeting committees,
roles and responsibilities of officers, terms of service, nominating
procedures, and other matters. The Guide also covers qualifications of Friends
who serve the yearly meeting, detailed procedures for the nomination and
appointment of officers and committee members, and how travel to committee
functions is to be paid for. The Guide is considered a manual of procedures rather
than a statement of faith and practice. The Guide and special applications of
its topics may be found on the Web at www.imym.org.
Discernment of Clearness for Service to
the Yearly Meeting
Regarding discernment of clearness to serve the yearly meeting
in various capacities, Intermountain Yearly Meeting follows this process
Members of the Nominating Committee are responsible for
approaching Friends concerning possible service to the yearly meeting. They
make clear the duties involved in the position and explain the nominating
process. A written job description (from “The Guide to Operations of
Intermountain Yearly Meeting) is given to the prospective nominee. When two (or
more) persons are to work together closely on an assignment, they should be
consulted about the proposed arrangement. It is made clear that the yearly
meeting as constituted in its annual sessions, not the Nominating Committee,
Note: The Continuing
Committee can act for the yearly meeting when the latter is not in session
as described in the Guide. This makes it possible to make appointments at the
Continuing Committee’s mid-winter meeting when necessary.
Prior to accepting a yearly meeting nomination, nominees are
expected to request a clearness committee from their monthly meeting,
preparative meeting, or worship group to assist them in discerning the answers
to the following queries:
does the position relate to the nominee’s spiritual leading into service?
What spiritual support might the nominee need from his or her meeting?
the duties of the job and the nominee’s personal attributes and abilities,
is there a good match? How does it fit the nominee’s gifts? Does it offer
the nominee potential for personal growth?
circumstances might affect the nominee’s ability to serve? What are the
nominee’s commitments within and without his or her meeting? Will these
commitments interfere with the nominee’s ability to carry out the proposed
service to the yearly meeting?
assistance from his or her meeting will the nominee need to perform the
duties of the job? For example, will the nominee’s meeting need to host
committee gatherings? Does the nominee have duties within his or her
meeting that will need to be laid down or assumed by others? Might the
nominee need help from his or her meeting to meet childcare or other
domestic responsibilities if travel is involved in the committee work?
The functions and appointment procedures regarding the
following Intermountain Yearly Meeting committees are established and
described in “The Guide to Operations of Intermountain Yearly Meeting”
(see www.imym.org). However, the yearly meeting may create or lay down committees
as it sees fit. As of this printing, the committees are as follows:
Ministry and Counsel Committee
Long-Range Planning Committee (inactive)
Intermountain Yearly Meeting Faith and
Committee for Oversight of IMYM/AFSC Joint Service
Committee to Revise the Guide
Committee on American Friends Service Committee
Committee on Friends Committee on National Legislation
Committee on Friends World Committee for Consultation
Migrant and Border Concerns (no longer a committee, but still meeting as an
The roles and responsibilities of following officers and
appointees of the yearly meeting are also described in “The Guide to
Operations of Intermountain Yearly Meeting.” The yearly meeting may create
other offices and appointments as it sees fit to enable smooth administration.
Recording clerk of Intermountain Yearly Meeting
Continuing Committee clerk
Recording clerk of the Continuing Committee
Clerk of the Finance Committee
Clerk of the Nominating Committee
Clerk of the Faith and Practice Committee
Convener of worship sharing
Convener of interest groups
Coordinator of children's yearly meeting
Clerk of the Watching Committee
Coordinator of Senior Young Friends program
Coordinator of Junior Young Friends program
Coordinator of operations
Book sales support coordinator
Clerk of the Ministry and Counsel Committee
Friends with different abilities/kitchen liaison (may be split into two jobs as
Brinton Visitor Committee representative from
Intermountain Yearly Meeting
Members (3) of the corporation board for Friends
Representative to Friends Peace Teams Project
The term oversight can also refer to the management of property, but here
it is used in the context of pastoral care and counseling.
See Appendix 5 for a description of and advices on the State of the Meeting
Specific procedures vary among Regional Meetings. Regional Meetings’ manuals of
procedures or handbooks should be consulted.