04 December 2010


We have a long tradition in our meeting, of holding each month's query in the Light, discussing it among our family, perhaps at meals, or at family prayer or worship time, and then, as it was raised at Meeting for Worship for Business, Friends who felt moved might rise and give a message that had been powerfully called out by Spirit moving among them in their time of consideration of the query, that it might be entered in the permanent record of the Monthly Meeting. By recording their voices, we understood what our ancestors believed, and how we passed down to each generation the continuing revelation of our beliefs as they evolved.

For members of the Religious Society of Friends, belief is not a static thing, to preserved forever in a block of stone, immovable and unchangeable. We believe that in the same way that God spoke to Moses and to Jesus, he still lives in us and speaks to us.Revelation is ongoing and it is the business of our lives to be listening at every moment, in every decision of our lives.

It is the responsibility of every member and attender of the Monthly Meeting to be at the Meeting for Worship for Business. Business is conducted in the manner of worship to allow all present to listen corporately for the voice of God as it is present. The more of the body of the Meeting who are present, the more likely we are to hear the voice of God as it is meant to be heard by our particular Meeting, in how we are meant to act. As Clerk of our Meeting, I don't take this lightly! We cannot function without YOUR HELP!

Please help us be a whole community by participating in your small portion as a member of that body, thereby contributing to the whole of the discernment of the Meeting. We cannot do it without you.!


  1. I think many, probably most, meetings of any size do not have the majority attend most meetings for business. There are probably a number of reasons for this.

    One reason, I think, is the general practice of covering most everything in Monthly Meeting. People feel much of that is a waste of their time, but they don't feel they can challenge it.

    But remember that even having business meetings of the whole monthly meeting didn't even start until the late 19th century, so people really shouldn't treat it as THE Quaker way. Rather there were multiple meetings at that level, none of them including everyone, with defined areas of responsibility. Some matters required consideration by more than one body, but still the matters under consideration were far less for any particular of the meetings and only ministers and elders - and overseers when that was separate - attended more than one of the 3-5 business meetings that were a part of the monthly meeting.

    Having now more experience in how other faith communities do things while respecting broad participation I don't think the way at least most "unprogrammed" monthly meetings do it is all that good for meetings with more than 25-30 members who actually attend worship regularly. Participation is actually less than in many faith communities which seem in theory not to provide for all members to be actively involved in decision making.

    Friends need to be experimenting with some adjustments with the practice that has developed in the last century, which I think only works well for pretty small meetings.

  2. Friend Bill, thank you for your comments. I don't know much about how business was conducted before these times. I do understand that when we let our committees do their work, then bring that work before the Meeting, things go generally well.
    I'm not sure how that would work out in the case of larger issues brought before the Meeting, such as same gender marriage, or a change in the way a Meeting is being run, or a large addition being added to the Meeting.
    I think I shall have to research more about the history of business meetings.