Ministry and Counsel fosters the spiritual growth and strengthens the religious life of Friends in New England by:
- nurturing local meetings and individuals
- promoting intervisitation and communication among meetings
- supporting Friends traveling in the ministry and others in public ministry
- overseeing meetings for worship and nurturing worship at Annual Sessions
- receiving State of Society reports from local and quarterly meetings and crafting a yearly meeting State of Society report
- caring and praying for the spiritual condition of Friends in New England
Ministry & Counsel is a resource on spiritual matters and ministry. With an emphasis on waiting worship and prayer, it seeks to embody Spirit-led action as it responds to leadings and concerns from monthly and quarterly meetings.
To learn more about the work of this Committee, or to request minutes, contact the clerk.
The Ministry and Counsel Committee of New England Yearly Meeting works closely with the Presiding Clerk, the Yearly Meeting Secretary, and the Permanent Board to care for the spiritual condition and nourish the religious life of Friends and Friends meetings in New England.
The Committee seeks to be responsive to and to engage with the concerns and leadings of monthly meetings, quarterly meetings, and Annual Sessions. It is tasked with fostering spiritual growth, strengthening the religious life of Friends and Friends meetings, and serving as a resource on religious education, worship and ministry. The committee sponsors retreats, workshops or other opportunities for Friends in New England focused on topics of concern to Friends and Friends meetings.
Ministry & Counsel provides support for monthly meetings in their provision of pastoral care and their support of ministry.
Ministry & Counsel is responsible for maintaining contact with and supporting New England Friends serving in the ministry, including especially those with travel minutes, those recorded as ministers and Released Friends, and pastors.
Ministry & Counsel receives State of Society reports from monthly and quarterly meetings, prepares the State of Society report for the Yearly Meeting and presents this report to the Yearly Meeting.
During Annual Sessions of Yearly Meeting, Ministry & Counsel is responsible for care of the worship that is the foundation for our time together. It coordinates with Sessions Committee to provide pastoral care to attendees as needed.
Ministry & Counsel usually meets five times a year, including full-day meetings in February, May and September in various locations in New England, a weekend retreat in November, and a half-day on the first Saturday of August, at the beginning of Annual Sessions.
Committee meetings are an opportunity for the committee to check in on the progress of ongoing work, to hold the Religious Society of Friends in New England in prayer, and to assess what is presently needed to support spiritual growth and strengthen the religious life of Friends and Friends Meetings.
To guide its work, the Committee uses regular communication with local meetings and quarterly meeting leadership and insight from traveling Friends, with particular attention to those traveling in the ministry, along with insights from Yearly Meeting leadership and staff and the annual State of Society reports from monthly and quarterly meetings.
The concern for the spiritual condition and religious life of Friends in New England is held broadly. Ministry & Counsel seeks to connect with other committees, quarterly and monthly meetings and other groups of Friends in New England where the active concern for ministry and religious life is expressed, “helping us do together what we cannot do alone.”
To carry out its work, the committee may charge smaller working groups to focus on specific areas of detailed work. These groups may be created, changed or laid down in order to respond to the current work before the Committee.
As of January 2017, three working groups focus on (1) pastoral care, (2) supporting Friends serving in ministry, and (3) creating resources for Friends and meetings on necessary topics, skills, and issues relating to spiritual nurture.
The Ministry & Counsel Committee cares for and has oversight for the Ecumenical Relations Committee which comprises those Friends serving as representatives of the Yearly Meeting on state ecumenical councils.
The Ministry & Counsel Committee cares for and has oversight of the Support Across Generations for Elders (SAGE) program
The internal nominating committee of Ministry & Counsel appoints representatives to Sessions Committee and the ad-hoc Long Term Financial Planning Committee. M&C ensures that there is a liaison to Youth Ministry Committee and the Legacy Gift Committee.
The clerk of Ministry & Counsel prepares an annual report about the work of Ministry & Counsel throughout the year to be presented to the Yearly Meeting.
Ministry & Counsel consists of:
- Friends appointed by monthly meetings for 3-year terms. Monthly meeting representatives are expected to fully commit to the work of the committee.
- Between 7 and 12 members named by Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee and appointed by the Yearly Meeting for 3-year, staggered terms, renewable one time
- The Religious Education and Outreach Coordinator, Yearly Meeting Secretary and NEYM Presiding Clerk serve as ex-officio members of the committee
- Recorded ministers and pastors in NEYM, who are invited to share their insights and perspective, serve as resources for the committee, and participate its work as they are able.
- A clerk and recording clerk, named by the internal nominating committee of Ministry & Counsel, and approved by Ministry & Counsel and the Yearly Meeting. The clerk serves ex-officio on Coordinating and Advisory Committee.
As reflected in the Procedures above, Ministry & Counsel coordinates with and maintains linkages to Coordinating and Advisory Committee, Permanent Board, Youth Ministries Committee, the ad-hoc Long-Term Financial Planning Committee, Legacy Gift Committee, and Sessions Committee.