The responsibilities for Ministry and Counsel of the meeting traditionally belonged to elders and ministers, who met as an independent Meeting on Ministry and Counsel. In recent years these responsibilities in many meetings have been shared more widely among members of the meeting, and Ministry and Counsel has functioned as a committee of the meeting rather than as an independent meeting. Both forms of organization are currently used in New England.
Each monthly meeting should ordinarily appoint at least six members to Ministry and Counsel. Appointments to Ministry and Counsel should be carefully considered by the monthly meeting after proposal by the nominating committee. Long time appointments may lead to sterile ministry and counseling. Too frequent change may leave the meeting without the depth of spirit that is nurtured through service. Term of office is three years with one third of the members appointed each year. In some cases where previously appointed Friends manifest special ability and concern, the meeting may find it desirable to reappoint them to a second successive term. They may be reappointed beyond a second successive term after an interval of one or more years. Pastors, meeting secretaries, and monthly meeting clerks may be members of this body ex officio. Resident recorded ministers may be members of this body only as they are appointed by the monthly meeting.
When the monthly meeting comprises several preparative meetings, it is important that each preparative meeting have adequate representation. The membership of Ministry and Counsel should be sub-divided, with each group assigned to a particular preparative meeting, but it is expected that the entire Ministry and Counsel of the monthly meeting will also meet and act jointly.
Ministry and Counsel should annually appoint one of its members as clerk to preside at its meetings and to keep minutes of its proceedings.
Ministry and Counsel should hold regular sessions preferably each month but not less frequently than once in three months. Special meetings may be called by the clerk on request of three members.
To coordinate and strengthen the work of the monthly meeting, Ministry and Counsel may call in for consultation other persons or committees of the meeting or appoint an ad hoc group as needed.
Ministry and Counsel of the monthly meeting should appoint two or more of its members as representatives to attend and report on each session of Ministry and Counsel of the quarterly meeting. The appointment of representatives does not limit the responsibility of any other member of Ministry and Counsel to attend and take part in the work of the larger body.