Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Sections
You are here: Home / Meeting Documents / Worship Groups, Preparative Meetings, and Monthly Meetings

Worship Groups, Preparative Meetings, and Monthly Meetings

YEARLY MEETING Intermountain Yearly Meeting Pacific Yearly Meeting North Pacific Yearly Meeting Philadelphia Yearly Meeting





MONTHLY MEETING



Character "The meeting for worship is the heart of the monthly meeting and Society of Friends. It is in this corporate fellowship that Friends experience the most profound realities of life: birth and death, marriage and family, community of the Holy Spirit, and concern for other people."  "The Monthly Meeting is the basic unit of organization of the Religious Society of Friends. Individuals hold membership in the Monthly Meeting, and that is where the responsibility resides for pastoral care, religious education, and worship." "The Monthly Meeting is the fundamental unit of the Religious Society of Friends. It consists of a group of Friends who meet together at regular intervals to wait upon God in Meeting for Worship and Meeting for Business." The monthly meeting is the fundamental spiritual community in the Religious Society friendsIt is so called because its members meet monthly to conduct its business. "
Structure "The term monthly meeting has two meanings. Primarily, it refers to the fundamental unit of the Society of Friends; it also reflects the practice of coming together for worship with a concern for business, which usually occurs once a month." "Meetings for Worship and Business are the center of our spiritual community. There, as we come to know each other in the Spirit, we build the 'beloved community.'" "Care must be taken to distinguish between the Monthly Meeting, the fundamental unit of the Society of Friends, and the monthly meeting, the occasion for conducting business." "It conducts meetings for worship weekly or more often, and is a caring community as responsive as it can be spiritual, social, educational, and material needs of its members."
Functions "It receives, records, and terminates memberships; provide spiritual and material aid to those in its fellowship; oversees marriages; gives care at the time of death; and counsels with members in troubled circumstances.It collects and administers funds for its maintenance and work, and it may hold property ofa fiduciary nature as well as titles to real property. Meetings witness to Friend's testimonies relate to other Quaker organizations as well as groups who share common concerns." "It receives, records and terminates memberships. It provides spiritual and material aid to those in its fellowship. It oversees marriages, gives care at the time of death, and counsels with members in troubled circumstances. It collects and administers funds for its maintenance and work. Meetings hold titles to property, witness to Friends’ testimonies, and relate to other bodies of Friends and to other organizations with common concerns." "It receives and records new members; terminates membership when necessary; provides spiritual and, if need be, material aid to those in its fellowship; councils with members in troubled circumstances; oversees marriages; gives care at the time of death; collects and dispenses funds for its maintenance and work; witnesses to Friends' testimony; relates itself to its Quarterly and Yearly Meeting, to other bodies of Friends and to other organizations with common concerns; and carries on any work or assumes any function consistent with the faith of Friends and not specifically referred to some other Friends body. Good records are kept of all its proceedings." "It may own and manage property, engage in significant social action, and operate schools or other institutions. It has sole authority to enroll or release members and to oversee marriages. It may undertake any action or assume any function consistent with the practices and principles of the Villages Society of Friends and not specifically the responsibility of some other body."
Officers "The most commonly appointed officers [in IMYM monthly meetings] include a clerk, a recording clerk, a treasurer, and the clerk of the Committee on Ministry and Oversight or Ministry and Counsel." Presiding clerk, recording clerk, treasurer, recorder (or recorder/archivist). Presiding clerk, Assistant/alternate/recording clerk, corresponding clerk, treasurer, recorder.
Committees "Most meetings [in IMYM] find a Ministry and Oversight or Ministry and Counsel Committees essential….Other common committees include Nominating, Peace and Social Order (or Peace and Social Concerns), Finance, Religious Education, Property, and Hospitality." "Most Monthly Meetings find a Ministry and Oversight Committee and a Nominating Committee essential. Other standing committees often include Religious Education, Finance and Budget, Peace and Social Order, Property, and Hospitality. Ad hoc committees are sometimes useful for a particular project or concern. When a committee no longer serves its purpose, it should be laid down." "There is no obligation to create a committee, although most Monthly Meetings find a Committee on Ministry and Oversight and a Nominating Committee essential. Understanding committees often found in Meetings are those on Religious Education, Finance and Budget, Fees and Social Order, Property, and Social. Ad hoc committees are sometimes useful for a particular project or concern. When a committeen no longer serves its purpose, it should be laid down."










PREPARATIVE MEETING



Character
"A Preparative Meeting conducts its Meetings for Worship and Business under the care of a Monthly Meeting to which it reports regularly, while it is preparing to become a Monthly Meeting." "A Preparative Meeting is a Meeting for Worship and Business which is under the care of, and reports regularly to, a Monthly Meeting, and which ordinarily looks forward to becoming a Monthly Meeting. A Preparative Meeting may be recognized by a Monthly Meeting when a Worship Group asks to be established as such or with a group of experienced Friends, desiring to organize as a Preparative Meeting, asks for this recognition." "Status as a preparative meeting serves as an intermediate step between that of a worship group and an established monthly meeting. It also serves the needs of a group wishing to have membership in the; Society of Friends but not ready to assume the full responsibilities of a monthly meeting."
Structure and Functions "Monthly meetings, preparative meetings, and worship groups are directly affiliated with Intermountain Yearly Meeting upon the acceptance of their request." "The step of becoming a Preparative Meeting provides opportunity for members to gain experience as a Friends community. There may be circumstances in which it is desirable for a Worship Group or a Preparative Meeting to continue indefinitely as such." "A Preparative Meeting has the continuing care and counsel of a Committee of Oversight appointed by the Monthly Meeting and including a member of the Monthly Meeting Committee on Ministry and Oversight." "A preparative meeting is a Meeting under the care of a monthly meeting, reporting regularly to it, it holding its own meetings for worship and having its own officers and meetings for business."
Officers and Committees
"A Preparative Meeting requires a Clerk, a Treasurer, and a Ministry and Oversight Committee. Other committees may evolve in the manner of a Monthly Meeting. It should hold a Meeting for Business regularly and should regularly send a copy of its minutes to the overseeing committee." "A Preparative Meeting has officers and committees as needed, after the manner of a Monthly Meeting, holds a Meeting for Business once a month, and may receive and distribute funds on behalf of its constituents. It regularly sends a copy of the minutes of its Meeting for Business to its Committee of Oversight. The Preparative Meeting may not receive members, hold weddings, or otherwise act formally as an established Meeting; such actions are brought to and carried out through the Monthly Meeting to which it is related. Friends participating in a Preparative Meeting are encouraged to hold their membership in the overseeing Monthly Meeting. Friends who already are members of other Meetings should request transfer of their membership to the overseeing Monthly Meeting until the Preparative Meeting becomes a Monthly Meeting." "Insofar as it wishes, it may have its own committees and financial structure and its own programs and activities, including the holding of memorial meetings or funerals. It may own property and trust funds. A preparative meeting may not admit members or conduct marriages under its care or in other ways act as an established monthly meeting."


Note "A worship group or preparative meeting may transfer from the care of one monthly meeting to another using the same procedures as for an individual transferring membership. Should a worship group or preparative meeting be laid down, any residual responsibilities and real or fiduciary property and records are transferred to the monthly meeting having its care or to one or more monthly meetings, as may be agreed with the responsible monthly meeting." "A Preparative Meeting may not receive members, hold weddings, or otherwise act formally as an established Meeting. Such actions are brought to and carried out through the Monthly Meeting to which it is related. Friends participating in a Preparative Meeting are urged to hold their membership in the overseeing Monthly Meeting." "In a Meeting which has both a Committee on Worship and Ministry and a Committee on Oversight, these committees share certain responsibility. These committees are sometimes asked by a Monthly Meeting to share in the nurture of Worship Groups and Preparative Meetings under its care, although a separate committee specially appointed for this is a more satisfactory arrangement." "When a monthly meeting, with quarterly meeting approval, accepts the request of a worship group for status as a preparative meeting of that monthly meeting, it enrolls as its members those individuals in the group who apply and are accepted. Thereby the monthly meeting affirms its role as nurturer of these additional members of this new Meeting and appoints a committee of oversight composed of Friends experienced in worship and business after the manner of Friends. The monthly meeting should promptly inform the yearly meeting of this change in status and of the names of the members involved. Given that there may well be experienced Friends and different but valid customs in the new preparative meeting, an established Meeting has much to learn as well as to offer when called upon to assist a worship group. A tender and sensitive spirit must prevail in this process and consultations should be grounded in worship."










WORSHIP GROUP



Character
"A Worship Group is a gathering of persons who meet regularly for worship after the manner of Friends and who desire to be identified with the principles and practices of the Religious Society of Friends."
"When a group of people have been drawn to Friends worship and testimonies find no organized Meeting nearby with them to worship, they may form a Friends' worship group."
Structure "Monthly meetings, preparative meetings, and worship groups are directly affiliated with Intermountain Yearly Meeting upon the acceptance of their request." "Each Worship Group need organize only to the degree that is right for it at a particular time. It should, however, organize sufficiently to nurture the interests and concerns of its participants, including children and to provide an avenue for contacts with other Friends groups and with the wider body of the Religious Society of Friends, both of which can enrich the life of a Worship Group."
"The worship group can be as formal or as informal as is desired and can assume as little or as much structure as it feels is rightly ordered…Some Friends' worship groups fulfill their purposes by remaining in a temporary state, meeting seasonally or only briefly. Those that have achieved some permanence may choose whether to remain informal or to seek a formal relationship with the Society of Friends. The latter choice requires individuals to decide whether to apply for membership in the Society of Friends or, for those already members, to apply for a transfer of membership. For the group, the issue, decided in consultation with the regional meeting within which they reside and with neighboring monthly meetings as appropriate, is whether to apply to the regional meeting for status as a preparative meeting or as a monthly." meeting
Functions
 "Such a group may organize independently or it may be set up with the encouragement of a Monthly Meeting and other nearby interested persons. Meeting for Worship may be their only activity for an indefinite period of time. Some Worship Groups are large from the beginning or they grow rapidly, and undertake additional activities such as shared meals, reading, study or discussion groups, service projects, religious education, public witness or worshipsharing groups....Applications for membership, requests for weddings, or other such formal actions must be taken to the Monthly Meeting to which the Worship Group is related. When a Worship Group feels it is ready to organize and conduct its own business in the manner of an established Meeting, it should consider requesting Preparative Meeting status."
"It may not however present itself as an official body of the Religious Society of Friends or act in its name."
Officers
"Usually a Correspondent serves as a convener of the group. Communications from Monthly and Quarterly Meetings and other Friends’ groups or organizations should be addressed to the Correspondent who is responsible for sharing them with the entire group."
"A facilitator or correspondence may help by maintaining contacts among worshipers, arranging for the time and place for worship sessions, and for issuing whatever publicity the group may wish. Such leadership is especially helpful when a group draws its members scattered communities, experiences allow in its activities, or decides to broaden its activities and relationships."
Committees
"Each Worship Group need organize only to the degree that is right for it at a particular time."

Note "A worship group or preparative meeting may transfer from the care of one monthly meeting to another using the same procedures as for an individual transferring membership. Should a worship group or preparative meeting be laid down, any residual responsibilities and real or fiduciary property and records are transferred to the monthly meeting having its care or to one or more monthly meetings, as may be agreed with the responsible monthly meeting." "Worship Groups need to be mindful of the danger of attempting too many things during their initial enthusiasm or of having a few individuals carry all the responsibility and thus risk exhaustion and disillusionment. Members of a Worship Group should be dedicated to the leadings of the Light and devoted to the growth of the Spirit."

Document Actions