Principles of Organization
Since the seventeenth century the Religious Society of Friends has followed the same basic principles of organization, principles unique among Christian groups. To early Friends the term Society meant a fellowship held together by spiritual forces operating through each individual. The Society of Friends was to be a community in which there would be no intermediary affecting any individual's relationship to God and but one Guide at the head of all meetings, whether for worship or business.
In the transaction of Friends' business, therefore, the same attentive waiting prevails as in the meeting for worship. Since it . cannot be predicted through whom the Spirit of God may speak, unhurried and sympathetic consideration is given to all proposals and expressions of opinion.
Friends recognize that God has endowed members with varying gifts and capacities. The common source of these varied talents makes them all valued and respected and precludes the investing of any meeting appointment with special status or with arbitrary or final authority. To insure the full development of the talents within a meeting, Friends seek to distribute responsibility widely among members, taking care that few do not carry the burdens of many and that final authority for decisions rests in the meeting as a whole.