The Sessions Committee is responsible for planning the program and related activities of the Annual Sessions of New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM). Within this scope, the Presiding Clerk has special care of the business sessions.
The purpose of NEYM Annual Sessions is to conduct the business of the Yearly Meeting, to worship together, to deepen the fellowship and service among Friends in New England and strengthen the bonds of our beloved community. Members of the committee work with other committees and with staff to promote participation in Annual Sessions and make the event welcoming and inclusive.
The committee works closely with and provides guidance and support to the professional staff of NEYM who work under the direction of the Yearly Meeting (YM) Secretary. The YM Secretary has ultimate responsibility for and oversight of implementation, logistics, financial management, liability, legal and safety concerns for Annual Sessions.
The committee usually meets three or four times during the 12-month period between Annual Sessions to evaluate the previous year and to plan the overall schedule and program for the forthcoming year’s event.
The committee may form sub-committees and working groups charged with planning specific elements of the program, working closely with NEYM staff who are under the supervision of the Yearly Meeting Secretary.
As of 2017, current working groups include: (1) Speakers and Program and (2) Workshops and Opportunities. When in the judgment of Annual Sessions or Permanent Board a new site is deemed necessary, the committee will participate in and inform the site selection process.
The budget for Annual Sessions is prepared by the YM Secretary and Treasurer, and reviewed for input by Sessions Committee. It is incorporated in the annual budget process for the NEYM Operating Division under the care of the Finance Committee.
The clerk of Sessions Committee, Presiding Clerk, Events Coordinator and YM Secretary meet regularly to ensure effective communication, planning, coordination and implementation of all aspects of Sessions.
The Committee includes:
- The Presiding Clerk, reading clerks and recording clerks of the Yearly Meeting. The Presiding Clerk clerks the Speakers and Program subcommittee, which includes the rest of the clerks’ table and is responsible for discerning the theme and inviting speakers to Sessions
- Five At-Large members nominated by Nominating Committee and approved by Annual Sessions, including the Sessions Clerk, who will be nominated by Nominating Committee and approved by Sessions or the Permanent Board
- A liaison from each of the following NEYM standing committees and constituent groups: Ministry and Counsel, Youth Ministries, Permanent Board, and Young Adult Friends
- In preparing for Annual Sessions, the Clerk of Sessions Committee, YM Presiding Clerk, Events Coordinator, and YM Secretary will consult and coordinate with people serving in key roles related to specific areas of work for Sessions. As of 2017, these include: General Bookstore Manager, Children & Family Bookstore Manager, Access Needs Coordinator, JYM Coordinator, JHYM Coordinator (NEYM staff role), Young Friends Coordinator (NEYM staff role), Young Adult Friends Coordinator (NEYM staff role), Childcare Coordinator, Accounts Manager (NEYM staff role), Office Manager (NEYM staff role), Events Coordinator (NEYM staff role), Registrar, Housing Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, Anchor Group Coordinator, Pastoral Care Response Team Coordinator, Plenary & Display Coordinator, A/V Coordinator, Family Neighborhood Coordinator (NEYM staff role)
- The Events Coordinator serves as the primary liaison between the NEYM Staff and the Sessions Committee. NEYM staff with significant responsibilities for Annual Sessions will be represented at Sessions Committee meetings, and will plan their participation in the Committee’s work in consultation with the clerk of Sessions Committee, Yearly Meeting Secretary, and Presiding Clerk.