The Yearly Meeting
The Yearly Meeting consists of the entire membership of its constituent monthly meetings. The purpose of its annual assemblies is to help order their affairs and to maintain and promote Christian faith, love, and practice. All members have both the privilege and the responsibility of attending sessions and participating in the deliberations.
The Yearly Meeting is a meeting for worship for the transaction of business. It exists principally to provide a larger group to undertake matters of concern which cannot be accomplished by the smaller bodies. It can engage in any activity or foster any work which the membership considers appropriate, including provision of funds and supervision for common projects. Among its numerous functions, the Yearly Meeting issues advices, queries, and reports of its proceedings to the monthly meetings. It exercises general oversight and care of quarterly and monthly meetings, aiding in the development of their concerns, providing inspiration and stimulation.
In order to assure attendance from all parts of the Yearly Meeting and to carry information and concerns to and from the local meetings, each monthly meeting should appoint representatives up to the number of five. These representatives should attend business sessions and report to their local meetings on the work and life of the Yearly Meeting.
Much of the Yearly Meeting's work is carried forward by committees, which the Yearly Meeting may establish and lay down as need arises. The Yearly Meeting defines the purpose of each committee.
The Yearly Meeting publishes and distributes its agenda prior to each session. Business properly comes through its standing committees, quarterly meetings, or the Yearly Meeting Program Committee. The Yearly Meeting receives reports from its committees and from its constituent meetings. It reviews the State of Society reports and considers communications addressed to it. It alone has authority to establish or change its book of Faith and Practice. It provides for participation in the work and financial support of wider Friends' organizations. It maintains contact with other yearly meetings and exchanges epistles with them. It considers minutes from other yearly meetings. At its discretion the Yearly Meeting may endorse travel minutes of Friends from other yearly meetings.
The Permanent Board
The Permanent Board represents the Yearly Meeting between annual sessions. It may act on behalf of the Yearly Meeting in cases where the interests of Friends may render action advisable.
The Yearly Meeting appoints the Permanent Board consisting of not more than fifty members with each quarterly meeting represented. One fifth of the Board is appointed each year to serve for a term of five years. Annually it appoints a clerk for the care of its business. The Board meets at such times and places as the Yearly Meeting may designate or upon its own adjournment. Special meetings may be called by the clerk and shall be called upon the request of five members. Ten days notice of special meetings must be given in writing to all members, and the business to come before the special meeting must be stated in the call. At least one fourth of the total number of members is required for the transaction of business. The Board keeps a record of its proceedings and annually presents a summary to the Yearly Meeting. During the sessions of Yearly Meeting the Board attends only to such business as that body may refer to it.
The Permanent Board shall nominate the Yearly Meeting clerks annually. The Yearly Meeting in session acts on these nominations. When approved by the Yearly Meeting, the clerks take office at the close of the Yearly Meeting session and hold office until their successors are appointed and assume office.
The Permanent Board makes recommendations to the Yearly Meeting for hiring staff and provides oversight of personnel as needed between Yearly Meeting sessions.
The Board inspects and perfects, when necessary, titles to lands and other estates belonging to any meeting. It attends to the appropriation of charitable legacies and donations except when these are cared for by persons appointed for the purpose.
It extends such advice and assistance to persons suffering for their Christian testimonies as their cases may require and may petition the government or persons in authority on behalf of such sufferers.
It considers appeals forwarded to it by the quarterly meetings. It examines memorials of deceased members transmitted to it from quarterly meetings and in exceptional cases may recommend them to the Yearly Meeting for publication.
A Friend with a concern to be carried beyond the Yearly Meeting limits shall present the concern to the Permanent Board. If the Permanent Board unites with the concern, it will provide a travel minute. (See Appendix 2, C.)
The Board may authorize the treasurer of the Yearly Meeting to pay the necessary expenses incurred in carrying out its duties.
The Executive Council
The Executive Council of the Yearly Meeting is appointed to serve as a coordinating agency for the committees, to supervise their work throughout the year, and to act as a program committee for the sessions of the Yearly Meeting. It reviews special concerns and passes these to the Yearly Meeting or the Permanent Board if Yearly Meeting action seems indicated.
The Yearly Meeting from time to time will determine the size, composition, and functions of the Executive Council.
The Committee on Ministry and Counsel
The Committee on Ministry and Counsel of the Yearly Meeting consists of those persons designated by the monthly meetings, recorded ministers, pastors, and such other persons as the Yearly Meeting may wish to add. The Committee should be responsive to leadings of the Spirit throughout the Yearly Meeting and endeavor to foster the spiritual growth and strengthen the religious life of the membership. Among its specific duties are the following: to nurture meetings, to arrange for intervisitation among meetings, to encourage and assist meetings in their witness and ministry to the wider community, to oversee the worship at Yearly Meeting sessions, to plan the session on ministry and counsel at Yearly Meeting, to receive reports on spiritual condition from monthly and quarterly meetings and report on them to the Yearly Meeting, and to care generally for the spiritual condition of the Society.
The Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee of the Yearly Meeting consists of those persons designated by the monthly meetings for the purpose, together with such other persons as the Yearly Meeting may wish to add. This Committee nominates to the Yearly Meeting Friends to serve on committees and boards and makes such other nominations as may be referred to it by the Yearly Meeting.
It is the policy of the Yearly Meeting that a committee member's consecutive, full terms of service shall be limited to two. In rare cases when the special competence of a member makes continued service on a Yearly Meeting committee desirable, the Executive Council may authorize the Nominating Committee to suggest a third term. A member who has completed service on a committee may be reappointed after an interval of one or more years.
The Finance Committee
The Finance Committee of the Yearly Meeting consists of 15 members nominated by the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee and appointed by the Yearly Meeting, together with such other persons as the Yearly Meeting may wish to add. A member serves a three year term and may be appointed to a second consecutive three year term. It annually considers proposals for appropriations and estimates what amounts the Yearly Meeting needs to raise for its budget. The proposed budget is presented to the Yearly Meeting for action. The Committee arranges for the audit of the accounts of the Treasurer and of the various boards and committees which have their own treasurers handling Yearly Meeting funds.
The Finance Committee should annually nominate to the Yearly Meeting a person to serve as Treasurer. The Treasurer shall receive and disburse the money of the Yearly Meeting as directed by the Yearly Meeting or the Permanent Board.
Young Friends and Junior Yearly Meeting
The Christian Education Committee and the Program Committee of the Yearly Meeting plan and provide for the meetings of the Young Friends and of Junior Yearly Meeting. These are similar in pattern to the adult Yearly Meeting, with which they coincide. A fourfold program of worship, education, work, and play is carried on.
These younger Friends appoint officers and committees from their own number and carry on their business according to the manner of Friends. They participate in meetings for worship and conduct discussion on Quaker concerns. Classes are provided for the study of the Bible and of the history, teaching, and practices of Friends. Reports are forwarded to the adult Yearly Meeting, and communications exchanged with other young Friends groups and junior yearly meetings.