Marilyn, Carol, Susan, Elaine, crafting a minute

Organization & Procedure is a guide to the structure and processes of Canadian Yearly Meeting. It is intended to serve as a practical and useful guide for individual, committees, and Clerks of constituent meetings, and to encourage continuity of practice among Friends across Canada. Organization & Procedure and Faith & Practice together comprise the Book of Discipline of Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Many similar books have been published by Yearly Meetings since the earliest days, when it was found that some regular arrangements were required for the preservation of good order among Quakers. The Advices and Queries of Britain Yearly Meeting are included in both our Organization & Procedure and Faith & Practice. Many examples of other disciplines of Yearly Meetings in North America are held in the Rendell Rhoades Collection of Quaker Disciplines, which forms part of the Archives of Canadian Yearly Meeting. Earlham College’s Quaker Information Centre also offers a list of online books of Faith & Practice. A PDF of the full text of Canadian Yearly Meeting’ Organization & Procedure (revised to approved changes, February 2020) is available here:

The full text is also available below. You can use the links in the Table of Contents to locate specific items and jump around in the text – look for the arrow pointing up to jump back to the top of the page (subject to your device and browser).

Detailed Table of Contents


Historical Outline

1.1     Early history of Friends

1.2     Friends in North America
1.3     Separation and Expansion
1.4     Peace Testimony
1.5     Steps toward unity, formation of Canadian Yearly Meeting
1.6     Development and growth of Canadian Yearly Meeting
1.7     Witness and Service
1.8     Canadian Friends Service Committee
1.9     Association with Other Bodies
1.10   Summing Up

2    General Procedures for Meetings for Business

Reaching Decisions

2.1     Conduct of members
2.2     Sense of the meeting
2.3     Differences of opinion, the meaning of unity, and laying down of business
2.4     Presence of attenders
2.5     Financial assistance for attendance
2.6     Authority of meetings

Order of Business

2.7     Agendas
2.8     Minutes
2.9     Minute books
2.10   Reports

2.12   Correspondence
2.13   New concerns


2.14   Clerks
2.15   Assistant clerks
2.16   Treasurer
2.17   Trustees


2.18   Distribution of work, size of committees, and appointment of members
2.19   Nominations and service by members
2.20   Duties and terms of reference
2.21   Order of business, reports and minutes

3       Membership

3.1     The meaning of membership
3.2     Advice to committees visiting with applicants
3.3     Acquisition of membership
3.4     Admission of children
3.5     Admission by application
3.6     Transfer of membership
3.7     Sojourning members
3.8     Termination of membership

4      The Monthly Meeting

4.1     Meetings for Business
4.2     Committees and officers
4.3     Clerk of Monthly Meeting
4.4     Meetings of Ministry and Counsel
4.5     Pastoral care
4.6     Distant members
4.7     Advices and Queries
4.8     Statistical reports
4.9     Travelling minutes
4.10   Travelling letters
4.11   Libraries
4.12   Use of meetinghouses
4.13   Advice on outward affairs
4.14   Delegates to Yearly Meeting

Rise and Recognition of New Meetings

4.15   Worship Groups
4.16   Allowed Meetings

4.17   Preparative Meetings
4.18   Becoming a Monthly Meeting
4.19   Executive Meetings
4.20   Quarterly Meetings
4.21   Regional Gatherings
4.22   Discontinuance of meetings

5      The Half-Yearly Meeting

5.1     Gatherings of Half-Yearly Meetings
5.2     Ministry and oversight functions
5.3     Formation and laying down of Half-Yearly Meetings
5.4     Representatives from Quarterly and Half-Yearly Meetings
5.5     Delegates from Quarterly and Half-Yearly Meetings

6      The Yearly Meeting

6.1     Introduction
6.2     Clerks of Yearly Meeting
6.3     General Secretary
6.4     Representative Meeting
6.5     Meeting of Delegates
6.6     Trustees
6.7     Finance Committee
6.8     Policy   Personnel Committee
6.9     Epistle Summarizing Committee

Standing Committees of Yearly Meeting

6.10   Camp NeeKauNis Committee
6.11   Canadian Friends Foreign Missionary Board
6.12   Canadian Friends Service Committee
6.13   Contributions Committee
6.14   Discipline Review Committee
6.15   Education and Outreach Committee
6.16   Nominating Committee
6.17   Archives Committee
6.18   Publications & Communications Committee

Yearly Meeting Sessional Committees

6.19   Agenda Committee
6.20   Naming Committee
6.21   Program Committee

Yearly Meeting Archives

6.22   Archives

     Meetings of Ministry & Counsel

7.1     Appointment of members


7.2     Spiritual care and counselling
7.3     Vocal ministry
7.4     Visitation
7.5     Weddings and funerals
7.6     Care of the young
7.7     Frequency of meetings
7.8     Report on the State of the Society
7.9     Recording gifts in the ministry

Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel

7.10   The body
7.11   Responsibilities

8      Clearness Committees, Committees of Care, & Oversight Committees

8.1     Introduction
8.2     Discernment and clearness

General Guidelines for Committees

8.3     Formation
8.4     Function
8.5     Membership
8.6     Clerk
8.7     Resources
8.8     Conduct of meetings
8.9     Records

Special Guidelines

8.10   Clearness Committees
8.11   Committees of Care
8.12   Oversight Committees

9      Service under Concern

9.1     The ministry of chaplaincy
9.2     An overview of the process

10    Marriage

10.1   Friends’ view of marriage


10.2   Summary
10.3   Application to Monthly Meeting
10.4   Advice to the marriage clearness committee
10.5   Marriage arrangements committee
10.6   The Meeting for Marriage
10.7   Certificate of marriage
10.8   Registration of marriages
10.9   Nurture of marriage
10.10 Separation and divorce

11    Birth or Adoption of a Child

11.1   Birth and adoption

12    Death, Dying, and Care of the Bereaved

12.1   Memorial Meetings
12.2   Care for the dying and bereaved
12.3   Records
12.4   Designation forms


Appendix A                     Advices and Queries

Appendix B                     A Selected Quaker bibliography

Appendix C                     Changes to Organization and Procedure since 1991

Appendix D                    Name Changes

Index to Chapters 2 to 12



Organization and Procedure and Faith and Practice together comprise the Book of Discipline of Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. This book of discipline is one of many similar books published by the various Yearly Meetings since the earliest days when it was found that some regular arrangement was required for the preservation of good order. The present text derives from many sources but particularly from the respective disciplines of Canada Yearly Meeting (Five Years Meeting – now Friends United Meeting), Canada Yearly Meeting (Conservative) and Genesee Yearly Meeting (Friends General Conference) which united in 1955 to form Canadian Yearly Meeting.

The first chapter of this volume outlines the history and development of the Religious Society of Friends and Canadian Yearly Meeting. Chapters 2 to 12 on Organization and Procedure provide a practical foundation by describing procedures for the guidance of Canadian Friends in the conduct of their business. It is hoped that this book of discipline will serve as a practical and useful guide for individuals, committees and clerks of constituent meetings of Canadian Yearly Meeting and will encourage a continuity of practice among Friends across the country. Our discipline includes Advices and Queries (Britain Yearly Meeting 1995) which is reprinted in Appendix A. A second appendix gives a selected Quaker bibliography.

The sections on Organization and Procedure reflect the movement in the life and spirit of Friends in Canadian Yearly Meeting and therefore are subject to change. Monthly Meetings and Yearly Meeting Standing Committees are encouraged to consider possible alterations or additions to these sections when a change in practice is needed. Proposed revisions must be presented in writing to the Yearly Meeting for the process of final revision and approval (see Section 6.14).

The text of Organization and Procedure of Canadian Yearly Meeting is available on the Internet at

It is possible to download and print out a copy in a larger print size if desired:
2020 Organization & Procedure (PDF, right-click or command-click to download

A postscript to a letter from a meeting of elders at Balby, near Doncaster, 1656 gives the earliest advice on Christian practice issued by any general body of Friends. It continues to be relevant to our belief that above all it is God’s light that we seek.

“Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided: and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”

CHAPTER 1: Historical Outline

1.1 Early history of Friends

The middle of the seventeenth century in England was a period of religious questioning and social upheaval. Like many other restless Christian seekers, George Fox (1624-1691), the founder of the Society of Friends, became dissatisfied with the ceremonials, creeds and practices of the existing churches. After growing up in a devout family, Fox left home at nineteen and wandered for several years, questioning his Bible, ministers, and anyone who would listen, but remained unsatisfied. Finally, as he later recorded in his Journal:

“when all my hopes in … all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could tell what to do, Oh then, I heard a voice which said, ‘there is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition’, and when I heard it my heart did leap for joy.”

The faith of John’s gospel he “knew experimentally”—that “the true light which enlightens every man was coming into the world”—even in his day.

To him this was a new revelation. Yet his finding re-emphasized Luther’s priesthood of all believers, and drew unconsciously from the accumulated experience of saints and mystics. Although the Puritans also re-emphasized the power of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of people, Fox believed that his contemporaries were unwilling to trust the Seed, which was another name he used for the indwelling light. He knew from experience, confirmed by intensive study of his Bible, that this Light or Spirit is the source of unity, joining the good in each of us to our neighbour’s good, and also identifying the evil revealed by hypocrisy.

In supreme confidence, simplicity, and strength of youth, George Fox began in 1647 to “proclaim the day of the Lord” in the Midland counties near his Leicestershire home. He attracted a group of men and women who, once convinced that “Christ has come to teach his people himself” joined the joyous work as Publishers of Truth or as Friends of the Truth, Children of the Light, or simply Friends. Perhaps they remembered John 15:12-17, where Jesus called his followers friends. The unconvinced, however, derisively called them Quakers, perhaps because they professed to tremble before the Lord or because of the actual physical effect of the overpowering intensity of their message. To find the Light they listened in silence for the voice of the Spirit. The silence continued in meetings for worship until, prompted by the Light Within, a worshipper might rise and speak in the meeting.

After five years Fox went to Northwestern England where he found whole congregations already meeting in silence without appointed ministers. He won over the household of Judge Fell. There the sympathetic and influential judge, although remaining apart from the movement, protected the Quakers from the prevailing hostility against Dissenters, and Swarthmore Hall became the centre of the movement. Margaret Fell, who later married George Fox, organized relief funds for persecuted Friends and bound them together through the encouragement of letters. The Society of Friends was born in 1652, although membership was not fixed for some eighty years, and no Quaker has been found to have used the name “Society of Friends” in print prior to 1793.

Their numbers had increased past 40,000 by 1660, and many needs arose that required action by Friends as a community. While breadwinners were off on missions, families had to be provided for. Likewise, sustenance had to be supplied when property was seized through legal exactions or for non-payment of tithes. Friends’ marriages without the office of a priest, which was against statute but in accordance with common law, had to be arranged.

In 1653 William Dewsbury advised Friends to hold “a general meeting… once in two or three weeks, as the Lord makes way, to see that order be kept.” This was what later became the Monthly Meeting. The 1656 advice of a meeting of elders at Balby, with which our discipline still begins (see Preface), asserted the pre-eminence of “a measure of the light”, which should guide all business transactions.

During the last years of Cromwell’s rule, Friends emerged from sparsely populated northern England. They focused on London and other major cities in southern England, but also took their message into Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Quakers travelled abroad on missionary journeys, one such Friend being Mary Fisher, a maidservant, who addressed her ministry to the Sultan of Turkey and his court. Their first gathered following in America was in 1655 among the Puritans of Barbados.

George Fox was the informal, acknowledged leader of the movement at this stage, but the behaviour of James Nayler brought him to realise that personal guidance is not enough. The eloquent sad saintly Nayler (1616-1660) was left in charge of the London mission in 1655. He became the focus for a potential schism and came near to discrediting the movement when he allowed himself “as a sign” to be led into Bristol by a following of enthusiasts in the manner of Christ entering Jerusalem. For this he was tortured and imprisoned as a blasphemer under the authority of a special act of Parliament. Nayler later freely acknowledged his error and became reconciled to Fox and to the movement. His last words beginning “There is a spirit which I feel that delights to do no evil…” (see Extract 1.6 of Faith and Practice of Canadian Yearly Meeting) continue to be cherished and are deeply meaningful to Friends.

The fate of Nayler taught Friends the importance of group discipline as a guard against those they called Ranters. The London Morning Meeting and the Meeting for Sufferings dealt with the problems of meetings for worship or caring for Quakers in courts and prisons. From these, and similar gatherings in the north, emerged a constellation of monthly, quarterly and yearly meetings. London became the centre but there was no formal bond between yearly meetings for over two centuries.

Friends spoke both with their words and with their lives. To a degree unusual for their times they practised equality of the sexes, equality of status, equality of ages; simplicity of clothing, speech and way of life; peace, in withdrawing from the army and in settling disputes among themselves. Suspected by the Stuarts as subversives, they published their first peace testimony in 1660, at the Restoration. These testimonies, inherited chiefly from the Anabaptist wing of Protestantism, they defended by quoting from the Bible. For this behaviour large numbers were jailed, whipped, branded, fined and deported. Penalties were uneven according to the temper of the judges and the locality, and more severe after the Church of England was re-established under Charles II.

1.2 Friends in North America

The sharpest conflict in these years occurred in Massachusetts Bay. Here laws were enacted by the Puritan legislature stating that “every person of the cursed sect of Quakers” should be banished with the threat of hanging if they returned. Yet in obeying what they thought to be a Divine requirement, William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson did return in 1659 and paid that penalty; as did Mary Dyer in 1660 and William Leddra in 1661. “If God calls us”, said Catherine Scott of Providence, “woe to us if we come not.” Finally, a Quaker brought orders from Charles II to stop the hanging of Quakers. Twenty-eight Friends were in prison when the release came. England was inching toward toleration and becoming less and less sure of the effectiveness or value of enforcing conformity; and Quaker steadfastness under persecution helped in persuading officials to permit dissenting practices.

In America, the first general or Yearly Meeting gathered in 1661 in relatively tolerant Rhode Island. It is apparently the oldest continuous Yearly Meeting of Friends. More new meetings started after George Fox and a dozen English Friends visited in 1671-1672. They spent nearly five months strengthening meetings in Barbados and Jamaica, landed in Maryland and passed through the wilderness to Friends in East Jersey, Long Island and Newport. In 1682 William Penn established a colony in Pennsylvania as a “holy experiment.” One of his first acts was to meet with the Leni Lenape First Nation at Shackamaxon where a famous treaty of peace and friendship was signed. Because of their mutual respect, Quakers and Aboriginals lived in peace in Pennsylvania for over 70 years. Colonial Rhode Island Friends, with William Penn and the Quaker leaders in the Jerseys and Pennsylvania, represent the best of political Quakerism. They were willing to hold power in order to move the state nearer to the Truth. Penn advised: “Keep the helm through the storm if you would steer the ship toward the harbour.”

During the eighteenth century, Friends were only one of many religious communities that settled in America. Following Friends’ testimonies such as simplicity, refusal to take oaths, and the peace testimony became difficult while mixing with the “world’s people” and the “world’s governments.” To counteract this, Friends partially withdrew from participation in government, some Quaker magistrates resigned rather than administer oaths, and Pennsylvania Friends resigned from government in 1756 rather than administer tax money for use in the French and Indian War.

Contact with Aboriginal peoples and African peoples held in slavery in America led to the development of the first new testimonies based on the principle of equality. Progress was uneven and slow until the 1750’s, when John Woolman began his mission to Aboriginal peoples and more especially to Quaker slaveholders and slave traders. With Anthony Benezet and others he aroused Friends’ conscience until slavery and the slave trade were abolished in the Society in 1787. These concerns have continued, although broadening awareness of new implications has been painfully slow.

Education has been important to Friends. The William Penn Charter School was established in 1689, followed by other Friends schools in the next hundred years in Rhode Island, New York and Pennsylvania. Surrounded by different Protestant and Catholic sects, Friends tried to maintain their identity by laying down strict rules for their members, discouraging fashionable dress, rejecting activities in arts and music, and forbidding Quakers to “marry out.” Unlike the seventeenth century when there were energetic activities to convince the wider population of Friends’ beliefs, in the eighteenth century Friends were content to leave the rest of the world alone, to be separate.

1.3 Separation and expansion

By the opening of the nineteenth century, two divergent tendencies became apparent among American Friends. Both had roots in early Quaker thought but had subsisted together without seriously disturbing the unity of the Society. One, eventually identified with the followers of Elias Hicks (1747-1830), was associated with ideas of political democracy and stressed the Inward Light as the basis of salvation rather than the atonement made by Christ on the cross. Accordingly, when Hicksites referred to Christ as their saviour, they meant the Christ within rather than the Christ of history. The other was a renewed interest in Evangelical Christianity, which centres upon the meaning and influence of events in Christian history and rests heavily on Biblical authority as understood by leading ministers. Both reformist and evangelical trends reflected influences dominant in contemporary Protestant thought. Fortunately in England these tendencies produced only the small Beaconite separation. The tension between the two American Quaker groups, however, grew steadily more severe until in 1827 a separation took place in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Similar separations followed in some of the American meetings, all the groups continuing to claim the title of Religious Society of Friends.

During the first half of the nineteenth century there was a westward and northward movement of Quakers from the east coast to the Old North West, Ontario, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon and California. Arthur Garratt Dorland, the historian of the Religious Society of Friends in Canada, has written: “The migration of Friends to Upper Canada was simply the fringe of this great westward movement of which those who came to this Province constituted the merest fragment.” The establishment of Quaker settlements in Canada was by pioneering emigrants from America but not, as is often assumed, by loyalists in the sense of United Empire Loyalists. The latter were active in their support and allegiance to the King’s party while the former, as was indicated above, must necessarily have been neutral as they remained accredited members of their parent Meetings. While earlier attempts at settlement had been made in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and at Farnham in Quebec, these were not lasting. However permanent communities were realised at Adolphustown on the Bay of Quinte and in the Niagara District and before the close of the eighteenth century the first Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends in Canada were organized in Adolphustown and Pelham.

These first settlements of Canadian Quakers continued in attachment to the parent New York and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings from whence they had come and, consequently, the separations which affected the Society in America produced similar results among the meetings in Canada, culminating in the great Schism of 1828. One group of Hicksite Friends was first organized as Genesee Yearly Meeting in 1834. It later became affiliated with Friends General Conference, the latter having headquarters in Philadelphia. A second group called Orthodox Friends of Canada Yearly Meeting claimed, as their name implied, to be the continuing body of Friends after the separation of 1828. It was first organized as an independent Yearly Meeting in 1867 by authority of New York Yearly Meeting, of which it was originally a part. It later became affiliated with the Five Years Meeting of Friends (now Friends United Meeting) which has headquarters in Richmond, Indiana. The third group, called the Conservative Friends of Canada Yearly Meeting was organized in 1885 following the so-called Wilburite Separation.[1] This group was associated with similar Conservative Meetings in the United States, of which the principal centre was in Ohio, but was supported by and recognised by a majority of Philadelphia Friends. Terms referring to the three Yearly Meetings in Canada can be confusing but those used hereafter, and which were used consistently through Yearly Meeting minutes prior to union are: Canada Yearly Meeting (Five Years Meeting), Canada Yearly Meeting (Conservative) and Genesee Yearly Meeting (General Conference).

1.4 Peace Testimony

Friends’ adherence to the Peace Testimony has always been challenged by the presence of conflict, such as the civil wars in England in the seventeenth century and, in the United States in the nineteenth century, the conflict between colonists and Aboriginal peoples during the Pequod Wars, King Philip’s War, the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

In Pennsylvania, the enlightened policies of William Penn towards the Aboriginal peoples took away occasion for most conflict, and peace was maintained for over 70 years. When the majority of inhabitants demanded protection against threats from the French and their native allies, Quakers held to their testimony, giving up their political power rather than engage in war. In Rhode Island, the Quaker governors took a different course. They had no scruples about arming their colony against the Dutch or raising militia and appointing officers to defend the colony. During the American Revolution, most Friends did not take up arms, but some did participate in the Continental Army. Among these was Nathaniel Greene of Rhode Island who became one of Washington’s most effective generals. Greene and others who fought faced disownment by their meetings. In the American Civil War, many Friends were torn between the desire to end slavery and the wish to hold firm to the Peace Testimony. While most refused service, many Quakers did join the Union Army. Among the Hicksites, many of these soldier-Friends were welcomed back into their meetings after the war, being understood to have followed their consciences.

In the two World Wars larger numbers of Friends have accepted military service, but the Meetings have consistently upheld the traditional testimony of clearness from war preparation and participation. As war has become more comprehensive in its impact on citizens, individual testimonies have included tax refusal, non-registration, alternative civilian service and non-combatant military service.

Howard Brinton has written that, “Relief work undertaken to repair damages caused by war or conflict is a natural corollary of the peace principle.” His book Friends for 300 Years describes how relief work outside the Society seems to have first occurred during the Irish War in 1690 when Quakers supplied prisoners of war with food and clothing. In 1755 the Acadians, banished from Canada, were aided by Friends of Philadelphia and, during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the red and black Quaker Star was first used as a distinguishing mark. Today this Quaker Star designates Quaker service of all kinds all over the world. In 1914 the substitution of relief work for military service began in England with the Emergency Committee for the Assistance of Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, and Turks in Distress, the War Victims Relief Committee, and the Friends Ambulance Unit which took care of men wounded in battle. This Unit was too closely tied to the war effort to receive the official endorsement of the Society of Friends but most of its members were Friends. These organizations were joined by the Friends Service Council, now incorporated into the Quaker Peace and Social Witness department of London Yearly Meeting. Soon after the United States entered the war in 1917, the American Friends Service Committee was formed to assist conscientious objectors and send relief workers abroad. In 1931, the three Yearly Meetings in Canada decided to appoint representatives to a united Canadian Friends Service Committee (see Section 1.8). A chain of emergencies has perpetuated some of these institutions until they have become principal agencies uniting all Friends in world-wide work among those suffering in the wake of war. Gradually, however, purely relief functions have been subordinated to the goal of reconciliation.

1.5 Steps toward unity and formation of Canadian Yearly Meeting

Rufus M. Jones (1863–1948) threw the whole weight of his winning personality into the reconciliation movement within twentieth century society. He interpreted modern trends in Christian thought through his inspirational and philosophical writings, and his research on the history of Quakerism connected the Society with its mystical background. Through diplomacy and dedication he was instrumental in the organization of the Five Years Meeting (now Friends United Meeting), the Young Friends movement, and the series of World Conferences held since 1920. Canadian Yearly Meeting continues to participate in these organizations as well as in Friends General Conference and in Friends World Committee for Consultation. These broad organizations do not draw every variety of Quaker, but they have extended the bonds of unity.

Another result of the conciliatory trend of the twentieth century has been the reunion of branches in the same areas. This movement reached formal completion in New England in 1945, just a century after the separation of the Gurneyites and the Wilburites. New York and Philadelphia re-united soon after and the two Baltimore Yearly Meetings re-united in 1967. In Canada, too, the desire for re-union had been taken to heart by some Canadian Friends prior to 1921 and it grew concurrently with the movement in America. For a number of years prior to 1928, fraternal delegates had been appointed to attend Yearly Meetings of the three branches of the Society of Friends in Canada. In this connection, fully a decade before this date, little delegations of Elders from Genesee Yearly Meeting were making exploratory visits to those groups from which they had been cut off. There were some return visits and a real step forward came when Fred Ryon, pastor of Pelham Brick Church Meeting, and his congregation, invited Genesee Yearly Meeting to hold its sessions in their Meetinghouse in 1921. Business sessions were open to both memberships and Meetings for Worship were shared.

The desire for unity was also stimulated in 1928 when Genesee Yearly Meeting (General Conference) and Canada Yearly Meeting (Five Years Meeting) held their annual meeting in joint and concurrent sessions to coincide with a similar joint meeting held at the same time by the two parent branches of the New York Meetings on the one hundredth anniversary of the Great Separation of 1828. Meanwhile other straws in the current gave clear indication of the direction in which Canadian Friends were going. In 1933 a number of Conservative Young Friends attended Camp NeeKauNis for the first time. From that time on Young Friends began to take an increasingly important part in the movement towards union. Young Friends, having worshipped, worked and played together at Camp NeeKauNis over the years, were not aware of any significant differences which should keep them apart. While the Second World War was grinding slowly toward its final phase, an important step was taken toward an organic union of Canadian Friends when, in 1944, the Canada Yearly Meeting (Conservative) decided to join the other two Yearly Meetings at Pickering College in joint and concurrent sessions. A Committee on Closer Affiliation appointed to consider the question reported in 1954 that, since “unity has been a growing power over the years of our meeting together, we now accept the desire of Friends for a United Yearly Meeting in Canada….We are now prepared to proceed with ways and means whereby this may be accomplished.” When the minute recording this decision was accepted, the Committee was further charged “to bring recommendations the following year for a basis on which to proceed as one Yearly Meeting.”

Though the decision in favour of organic union had seemed unanimous in 1954, when the Committee brought in its report the following year it met with the first openly expressed objection, principally on the ground that there could be no organic union except on some common doctrinal basis. However, the overwhelming body of opinion favoured implementing the decision of the previous year for a unified organization. The recommendations of the Joint Committee on Closer Affiliation were accordingly accepted, and The Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religions Society of Friends was adopted as the name for the united Yearly Meeting. Pelham Quarterly Meeting comprising two rural Meetings in which the Evangelical-Revivalist tradition of the 1890’s was still strong, decided for the time being to stand aside from the united Yearly Meeting.

A fitting climax to the consummation of union in June 1955 was the Meeting for Worship held on First Day morning in the Conservative Friends’ Meetinghouse on Yonge Street near the town of Newmarket. (From Arthur G. Dorland, Recent Developments in Canadian Quakerism).

Growth of affection and familiarity among members working on common projects makes it hard to recall today the nineteenth century divisions. The accepted variety of outlook in the Canadian Yearly Meeting is the outward embodiment of inner unity. As Friends draw closer to each other they are drawn closer to God.

 1.6 Development and growth of Canadian Yearly Meeting

In 1955, Friends in Canada took the momentous step of becoming a unified Canadian Yearly Meeting born out of the desire to start life together as one family of Friends. They had lived in the tradition of the separations which took place in North American Quakerism from 1826 to 1881. By 1955, these divisions had been in place for 129 years, for many generations. Work together on a unified Yearly Meeting Discipline (Organization and Procedure) was a starting point for Canadian Friends as they began life as one spiritual family. (The introduction of revised disciplines from parent Yearly Meetings had been a cause of disunity in the past.) However, at the time of union, Friends recorded that finding a common expression of their Quaker faith was still unresolved, and that seeking this expression of faith would be the underlying longing and searching of Friends as they worshipped, witnessed and worked together in the growing fellowship of the Yearly Meeting.

The administration set up for the unified Yearly Meeting shortly after 1955 gave the new forward-looking spirit a practical foundation for the work of the expanding Yearly Meeting. The devotion and service contributed by members who came from the three Yearly Meetings which united was strengthened and encouraged by the fresh experience and conviction brought by post-war immigrant Friends and new members. In spite of great geographical distances, Friends from the three traditions came to appreciate one another as members of the Religious Society of Friends as they worked together in meetings and committees. This helped Friends to become a nation-wide Quaker community.

Individual membership in Canadian Yearly Meeting has increased slowly from about 600 at the time of union, to roughly twice this number in 2002, including Friends who are inactive or non-resident. Originally, in 1955, three quarters of the members were from Monthly Meetings in Ontario: Lobo, Pelham, Pelham Executive, Toronto, Wooler, West Lake, West Lake Executive, Kingston, Newmarket, Rockwood, Yonge Street, Yonge Street Executive and Norwich. The remainder were from Meetings in Argenta, Vancouver, Victoria, Halcyonia in Saskatchewan, and Montreal, and from smaller Worship Groups in Calgary, Edmonton, Kootenay, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Halifax.

In 1955 rural Meetings, principally in Ontario and made up of longstanding Quaker families, had been declining and some closed as Canadian Yearly Meeting was being formed. At the same time new Meetings and Worship Groups developed, mostly near large urban centres. These attracted seekers who would increasingly make up the majority of members of Canadian Yearly Meeting as Friends by convincement. Over the years, Meetings in Ottawa, Hamilton, Calgary, Halifax, Prairie, Kitchener Area, Thousand Islands, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vernon, Simcoe-Muskoka, New Brunswick and Wolfville, together with numerous Worship Groups under their care, added to the membership of Canadian Yearly Meeting. The most recently established Meeting (2001) is Peninsula Monthly Meeting on Vancouver Island.

In 2002, a little over half the members of Canadian Yearly Meeting are from Ontario, a quarter are from British Columbia, and about a tenth are from the Maritime provinces, with smaller numbers from Alberta, the Prairies and Montreal. There are also about 20 “isolated” Friends under the care of Home Mission and Advancement Committee. About one third of active members serve on Yearly Meeting committees, and approximately 30 requests for new memberships are made each year. Worship in all Meetings which form Canadian Yearly Meeting is unprogramed and based on silent expectant waiting on God.

Until 1970 the annual sessions of Canadian Yearly Meeting were held in Ontario, usually at Pickering College, Newmarket, a school founded by Quakers in the middle of the nineteenth century. Since 1970 Yearly Meeting has rotated between facilities in the Maritimes, Central Canada and the West. This has made it easier for Friends from all parts of Canada to be engaged in the life of Yearly Meeting. The Sunderland P. Gardner Lecture continues as a focal point at the annual sessions of Canadian Yearly Meeting. It was originally founded by Genesee Yearly Meeting in memory of Sunderland P. Gardner (1802 – 1893) who was a recorded minister and a preacher in the prophetic tradition of the Society of Friends. In these lectures, speakers have helped Friends to gain deeper insight into the faith which inspires the life, witness and service of individual Friends and of the Society of Friends.

Distance has always been a challenge for Friends in Canada. When Victoria Monthly Meeting was first formally established in 1908 it was under the care of Yonge Street Quarterly Meeting 4000 kms away. The first British Columbia Quarterly Meeting (in 1912) was formed by the Meetings in Victoria, Vancouver and Calgary. Today Victoria Monthly Meeting has under its care Worship Groups spread widely across Vancouver Island. Western Half-Yearly Meeting includes Friends in half of Canada: from Manitoba to British Columbia.

On the east coast, there were some early Quaker communities in the eighteenth century, but these did not last. The first Monthly Meeting was established in Halifax in 1964. As this Meeting grew and included members from other Maritime provinces, it split off two other Monthly Meetings: New Brunswick in 1980 and Wolfville in 1986. New Brunswick Monthly Meeting consists of five widely-scattered Worship Groups, meeting separately but with a common Monthly Meeting for Worship for Business. Friends from Halifax, Wolfville and New Brunswick Meetings meet annually at Atlantic Friends Gathering, and join with New England Friends in Gatherings held alternately in Maine and the Maritimes.

Concerns were raised in the late 1980s about aspects of the structure and operation of Canadian Yearly Meeting. One perceived problem was a sense of a lack of community: some Friends in the east and west felt alienated from the concentration of Friends in Ontario, and other individual Friends felt isolated from their Yearly Meeting. A second problem was a concern that human and financial resources were strained. After several years of looking at ways to revitalize and restructure itself, Yearly Meeting established a working group examine the organization of Yearly Meeting, the regionalization of meetings, and the role of Representative Meeting. The working group made its report in 1998. Although Yearly Meeting found that it could not accept all of the proposed changes, it did adopt some of the recommendations. The position of General Secretary which had been established early in the history of the united Canadian Yearly Meeting has not been filled since 1998, and the central office support is supervised by a Yearly Meeting Office Review Committee. At the same time more responsibilities have devolved onto committee clerks and Clerks of Yearly Meeting. Home Mission and Advancement Committee appointed a Field Secretary in 1999 for a 3-year pilot project to visit Meetings and to support their spiritual nurture in a practical way, but this project has not been extended.

As noted earlier, Young Friends played an important role in the decades before 1955 in helping to bring together Friends from the three Yearly Meetings which united to form Canadian Yearly Meeting. Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting continues to enrich Yearly Meeting. Young Friends engage in the life of Yearly Meeting in many ways: through retreats, as representatives to committees (in particular, Home Mission and Advancement Committee and Canadian Friends Service Committee), by work on special projects (most recently on guidelines on Sexual Abuse and Harassment), and by challenging the complacency of older Friends. Individual young Friends have taken part in the Quaker Youth Pilgrimages organized by Friends World Committee for Consultation, and they have represented Canadian Friends at international Quaker meetings. For six weeks in the summer of 1994 a caravan of Young Friends of North America including three Canadian young Friends travelled to meetings in Canada and the United States to present a program facilitating discussion of gender issues. Canadian Young Friends issue a news-sheet Sporadical on an irregular basis.

1.7 Witness and service

As Canadian Friends have worshipped together in their local Meetings, they have given expression to their many and varied concerns. Argenta Meeting established a small Quaker high school in 1959 which reported to Yearly Meeting until the school closed in 1982. Argenta Friends Press, which prints The Canadian Friend and the Canadian Quaker Pamphlets, was established in 1960 (it came under the care of Argenta Monthly Meeting in 1975). Ottawa Meeting has taken responsibility for the Quaker Book Service since 1979, reporting to Home Mission and Advancement Committee, providing an annual catalogue and making Quaker literature more easily available to Canadian Friends. Friends in Victoria Monthly Meeting in the 1970’s witnessed against the establishment of the Trident nuclear submarine base in Bangor, Washington, and in 1978 established the Peace Tax proposal (individuals paid the part of their Federal taxes which would have been spent on military purposes into a “Peace Tax Fund”). Halifax Monthly Meeting worked with U.S. draft resisters and conscientious objectors during the war in Vietnam and has supported pioneering work on alternatives to nuclear energy. New Brunswick Monthly Meeting has supported work in prisons and First Nations concerns for Aboriginal rights. Toronto Monthly Meeting’s Refugee Committee has continued to support a large number of refugees. In 1946 Toronto Monthly Meeting purchased Friends House which, as well as serving activities of the local meeting, provides an office for Canadian Friends Service Committee, facilities for Canadian Yearly Meeting committee meetings, and overnight accommodation for visiting Friends. The Canadian Yearly Meeting office was based in Friends House until it moved to Ottawa in 1989. Individual Friends, following the leadings of the Spirit, have made witness and have initiated concerns which Yearly Meeting has discussed or taken action upon. Members of Yonge Street Half-Yearly Meeting developed the FoxFell Friends’ Residential Community which was opened in Orillia in 2001.

In 1931 Toronto Monthly Meeting established Camp NeeKauNis on a large wooded property on Georgian Bay as a summer camp for inner city children. Shortly thereafter, Canadian Friends Service Committee took over the camp until 1959 when it became the responsibility of the Camp NeeKauNis Committee of Yearly Meeting. Each year Camp NeeKauNis offers lively and interesting camps: work camps, children’s camps, community and family camps, a seniors camp, young Friends gatherings and special seminars. It plays an important role in the life of many Canadian Friends.

Home Mission and Advancement Committee has provided opportunities for travelling Friends to visit Meetings and Worship Groups across Canada. It has responsibility for the Quaker Book Service, and for publication of the periodical The Canadian Friend and the Canadian Quaker Pamphlets. It also provides information to inquirers seeking to learn more about our faith, and oversees isolated Friends who live too far from a Meeting to be able to participate regularly in local Quaker affairs. In 2001 Home Mission and Advancement Committee set up a subcommittee to explore ways in which Yearly Meeting might benefit from further use of electronic communication. With so few Friends in such a large country this mode of communication can be effective and efficient; but we are mindful that some Friends do not use computers and need to be informed in traditional ways.

In 1984 Religious Education Committee was set apart from Home Mission and Advancement Committee as a separate Yearly Meeting committee. Its purpose is to facilitate and encourage religious education for all ages in Meetings across Canadian Yearly Meeting and at Yearly Meeting sessions. Increasing interest in Bible study has led to a regular series of Bible studies at Yearly Meeting. The Committee has a lending library of curricula and books available to all Friends.

Canadian Friends Foreign Missionary Board which was founded by women Friends in 1884 continues as a standing Committee of Canadian Yearly Meeting. It disburses funds, mainly from trust funds established by Friends prior to 1955.

Canadian Friends Historical Association was founded in 1972. It is not a committee of Canadian Yearly Meeting, but is supported by many Friends who have a concern that the Quaker heritage in Canada should not be lost. The Association encourages research, study, recording and writing of Quaker history in Canada since the time when Quakers first settled in Canada in the late eighteenth century. It facilitates the collection and preservation of Quaker records in the Yearly Meeting Archives in Pickering College, Newmarket (see Section 6.22). The Association publishes a regular newsletter, Canadian Quaker History Journal, and supports the Arthur Garratt Dorland Friends’ Historical Collection, a reference library also located at Pickering College. Since 1984 Canadian Yearly Meeting has appointed a volunteer Archivist to work with these collections.

During the nearly 50 years since unification, work has continued on revisions to Organization and Procedure, reflecting our changing processes. The Discipline (Church government) of Canadian Yearly Meeting consists of Organization and Procedure, Advices and Queries (see Appendix A), and the volume Christian Faith and Practice in the Experience of the Society of Friends of London Yearly Meeting. In 2000, realizing the wealth of individual and collective experience in the short history of Canadian Yearly Meeting, Yearly Meeting appointed a Faith and Practice Development Committee to co-ordinate development of its own Faith and Practice. Faith and Practice of Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends was published in 2010.

Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel of Canadian Yearly Meeting is charged with spiritual nurture of meetings and pastoral care of members. It has also tackled contemporary ethical problems with which Meetings and individuals are faced. In recent years, Continuing Meeting has helped guide Yearly Meeting in its deliberations on appointment of ministers and chaplains, has visited the topic of marriage (in particular, the still unresolved question of same sex unions), and recently has put a great deal of energy into development of guidelines addressing the issues of sexual harassment and protection of children. An ad hoc Committee Addressing Issues of Child Abuse presented a draft document “Saving Children from Harm” to Yearly Meeting in 1998. For many years Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel has organized a pre-Yearly Meeting retreat in response to a desire among Friends to continue their search for deeper meaning.

1.8 Canadian Friends Service Committee

Canadian Friends Service Committee is a standing committee of Canadian Yearly Meeting. The Service Committee was established in 1931 before union and represented service work of Friends in Canada across the divisions. In 1955, it became the peace and social justice committee of the new Canadian Yearly Meeting, incorporating projects already in existence. The strength and experience which came from participation in Friends’ wartime and post-war relief and witness brought fresh impetus to the work of the Committee. Younger Friends and newcomers who had done Quaker service abroad as conscientious objectors in relief, reconstruction and ambulance work, along with Friends from other Yearly Meetings, participated in the work with concern and enthusiasm.

For more than 70 years, the concerns, witness and projects of the Service Committee, along with their inherent challenges, have enriched the life of Yearly Meeting. Because Quakers recognize that a concern is “that leading of the Holy Spirit which may not be denied”, they have supported service projects, peace witness and education. The projects supported are not solely philanthropic or humanitarian, but work which expresses a religiously-based approach to the life of our times.

In the decade beginning in 1963, the Service Committee operated a Friends Peace Education Centre on Grindstone Island, south of Ottawa, providing imaginative peace and reconciliation programs for Canadian Friends and many others concerned about working for peace. Programs included training in non-violence, French-English dialogue, conferences for diplomats and Quaker-UNESCO seminars organized by the Canadian Peace Research Institute. During the Vietnam war many war and draft resisters came to Canada from the United States. Some of these participated in Grindstone Island programs; some were assisted by Quaker Meetings, individual Friends and families; and some settled in Canada and became Friends.

At this time, the Service Committee sent medical aid to Vietnam to be used by victims on all sides of the conflict in accordance with Friends’ tradition of relief work which cuts across the boundaries of war and conflict. Many American Friends knowingly contravened U.S. law by contributing to this work through Canadian Friends. For some the program was controversial, but for many it was a labour of love in war-time. It provided considerable aid to the sufferers and served as a witness against war.

During the 1950s and 1960s, two families of Canadian Friends served at the Friends Rural Centre, Rasulia, India. This project, supported by Canadian Friends Service Committee and Friends Service Council (now Quaker Peace and Social Witness) in London, was important for the growing sense of family among Friends in Canada. By the 1970s the development work that Canadian Friends had done personally in Rasulia changed to financial support for a larger number of small projects in collaboration with other development agencies, later including the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Through its International Committee, Service Committee now supports small but imaginative projects in keeping with Friends’ testimonies and values in Asia, Latin America and Africa. A recent project supports local Quaker agencies in Africa working on post-conflict peacebuilding and alternatives to violence.

Friends have traditionally had a concern for the rights of Aboriginal peoples. In 1974 individual Friends at Yearly Meeting were led to go to Kenora in Northern Ontario to attempt reconciliation in a confrontation over mercury contamination of the waterways. Shortly afterwards, a Friend who was a physician went there to treat Aboriginal people suffering from mercury poisoning and to document the problem. The Quaker Committee on Native Concerns (now Quaker Aboriginal Affairs Committee) was born out of this work and other concerns, especially amongst Friends in western Canada. Since then the Committee has supported Aboriginal community building initiatives, and urged governments to live up to their legal commitments to Aboriginal communities including Esgenoopetitj (Burnt Church) in New Brunswick, Pimicikamac Cree Nation in northern Manitoba and the Lubicon in northern Alberta. Much of the work of this Committee has been done in collaboration with the Aboriginal Rights Coalition which is now part of KAIROS (see Section 1.9). More recently, the Quaker Aboriginal Affairs Committee has been working with others at the United Nations to develop international standards for Aboriginal Rights.

In 1972, with strong support of Toronto Friends, the Service Committee established the Quaker Committee on Jails and Justice which over the years has worked to encourage prison visiting, sought alternatives to prisons and fostered awareness of the roots of crime and violence in society. This committee has worked hard in promoting restorative justice and has supported the Alternatives to Violence Project. In 1981 Canadian Yearly Meeting minuted: “… Prison abolition is both a process and a long-term goal. In the interim there is a great need for Friends to reach out and to support all those affected: guards, prisoners, victims, and families. We recognize a need for restraint of those few who are exhibiting dangerous behaviour. The kind of restraint used and the help offered during that time must reflect our concern for that of God in every person.”

In 2001 Canadian Friends Service Committee became legally incorporated. This step was driven in part by the realization that individual employees were otherwise unprotected from serious legal liability and by the desire to continue partnerships with other organizations (such as the Canadian International Development Agency) which require incorporation if they are to support Canadian Friends Service Committee projects. A great deal of care was taken to ensure that the legal obligations of incorporation do not conflict with the spiritual understanding and practices of Friends or the position of Canadian Friends Service Committee as a committee of Canadian Yearly Meeting.

Service Committee structure and staffing has evolved to reflect its work. In addition to its committee of 22 volunteers, the Service Committee has six paid employees Its four standing committees are: International Committee, Quaker Committee on Jails and Justice, Quaker Aboriginal Affairs Committee and Peace and National Concerns Committee. There are branch offices located in the homes of Friends in Calgary (QCJJ), Guelph (QAAC) and Ottawa (IC). In 2001 a Quaker International Affairs Program was established in Ottawa, building on earlier work in facilitating dialogue in international affairs, such as Quaker Peacemakers and the diplomats’ conferences held at Grindstone in the 1960’s. It works in collaboration with the Quaker United Nations Offices based in Geneva and New York and relates to diplomats, government officials, and international nongovernmental organizations based in Ottawa.

1.9 Association with other bodies

The Yearly Meeting has continued its historic association with the wider Quaker community through affiliation with Friends General Conference and Friends United Meeting which represent two of the main streams of Quakerism in the United States. The three streams which united in Canada in 1955 remain separate in some areas of the United States; their member meetings include pastoral meetings with varying theological emphases as well as traditional meetings based on silent worship. Evangelical Friends Alliance (now Evangelical Friends International) which was established in the United States in 1965 has several Friends meetings in Canada but these are not part of Canadian Yearly Meeting.

Canadian Yearly Meeting is also a member of Friends World Committee for Consultation (Section of the Americas). FWCC is an international organization whose goal is “to facilitate loving understanding of diversities among Friends while we discover together, with God’s help, our common spiritual ground; and to facilitate full expression of our Friends’ testimonies in the world.” The participation of Canadian Friends brings an enrichment of spirit and of life, and at times challenges Friends’ understanding of the Quaker faith. Canadian Friends have been represented at FWCC since it was established in the 1930’s and helped to organize the Triennial held in Hamilton, Ontario in 1976. Friends in Canada also took part in the Faith and Life Movement of the Section of the Americas during the 1980’s, and young Friends from Canada have participated in Quaker Youth Pilgrimages.

Friends Committee on Unity with Nature was established in the United States in 1987 as a spiritually-centred organization of Quakers and likeminded people seeking to integrate their concern for the environment with Friends’ longstanding testimonies of simplicity, peace and equality. Friends in Canada were associated with its early development and Canadian Yearly Meeting became formally affiliated with FCUN in 1998. This interest in the environment has also led to establishment of a Canadian Yearly Meeting Ecology Working Group (now called the Quaker Ecology Action Network).

Canada Yearly Meeting (Five Years Meeting) was a founding member of the World Council of Churches and the Canadian Council of Churches through the Canadian Committee for a World Council of Churches in 1944. Canadian Yearly Meeting has retained membership in these bodies and currently is one of only three Yearly Meetings in the world in full membership with the WCC (Friends World Committee for Consultation also takes part in WCC). When the Canadian Council of Churches revised its constitution in 1965, Canadian Yearly Meeting was required to re-affirm its membership by assenting to a short Statement of Faith. While affirming its desire to continue to serve as a Christian body in association with the Canadian Council of Churches, Yearly Meeting stated that “the Religious Society of Friends does not require its members to accept a written formula of belief.” When the General Secretary of Canadian Yearly Meeting reported this decision to the Executive of the Canadian Council of Churches he read the first Advice from the Advices and Queries (London Yearly Meeting, 1964) which the Council accepted “as being simply and profoundly a statement of the Christian faith … so admirably embodied in the life and witness of Friends.” Canadian Yearly Meeting has continued in full membership and its representatives make a Quaker contribution to the ecumenical work of the Council. Canadian Friends, largely through the Canadian Friends Service Committee, participate in the inter-church coalitions concerned with human rights, refugees, justice and peace (now incorporated into a single organization called KAIROS). They find strength from the shared commitment and the expertise that the representatives of other churches bring to these issues, and use these unique opportunities to contribute with distinctive Quaker insights and experience.

Many Friends contributed to and attended the World Council of Churches 6th Assembly in Vancouver in 1983. More recently Friends have taken part in the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative, part of a worldwide movement Jubilee 2000 urging primarily governments to forgive debts of the poorest countries.

The Ecumenical Committee of Yearly Meeting supports the work of representatives to both wider Quaker bodies and inter-faith organizations.

1.10 Summing up

This short history of the life of Friends and the development of Canadian Yearly Meeting since 1955 reminds us that the same God that Jesus exemplified and taught us to know is our centre, as it was with Friends who have gone before. As we have joined to bring our divisions together, we have grown into one faithful body, the Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Among us there is a diverse understanding of the divine expressed in both Christian and non-Christian ways. We seek the will of God together and “to hear where words come from.”[2] We find guidance through the presence of God in our worship and through the inward experiences of others shared in the fellowship of the Meeting for Worship. This guidance is our empowerment to live a life in the Spirit and to work in the world for justice, peace and love.

There are many books on Quaker history. For a selection of well-known titles see the bibliograhy in Appendix B.

CHAPTER 2: General Procedure in Meetings for Business

Reaching Decisions

2.1 Conduct of members

Since Friends believe that God reveals his presence and gives guidance to all who seek Him, it behooves them in their Meetings to hear with attentive and open minds the messages and views of any members present. This is applicable no less in Meetings for Business than in Meetings for Worship. It is earnestly recommended that in conducting the affairs of the Society, we bear in mind always that it is the Lord’s work. Friends should endeavour humbly and reverently to conduct their Meetings in the peaceable spirit and wisdom of Jesus; with dignity, forbearance and love to one another.

Meetings both as individual members and occasionally when gathered together should resort to the reading and study of the relevant paragraphs dealing with Meetings for Business in Faith and Practice of Canadian Yearly Meeting.

2.2 Sense of the meeting

The Religious Society of Friends believes that any right and satisfactory decision depends upon the full understanding and general agreement of the members present. Therefore, it transacts business by a united decision without undue influence by either a majority or a minority. Meetings for Business, at any level, should be Meetings for Worship centred upon specific matters.

All members who feel concerned to express a judgment should be heard. In making such expressions, Friends have the obligation to discipline themselves by speaking as briefly as may be necessary to make their judgment clear and to the point under discussion.

When it appears to the Clerk that the Meeting has reached a decision, the Clerk shall state clearly what appears to be the sense of the Meeting. There is no decision made by a majority which overrides opposition. Action is taken only when the group can proceed in substantial unity.

2.3 Differences of opinion, the meaning of unity, and laying down of business

If there are serious differences of opinion, it is frequently possible to find unity by recourse to a period of silent prayer. It may happen that objections are then withdrawn or some new way opens which has not been observed before. Such a way transcends compromise; it is the discovery, at a deeper level, of what all really desire. If, however, unity is not manifest then the Clerk must lay the matter down, or lay it over to the next Meeting if this seems required, and those who sponsored the concern should accept this decision in good spirit and perhaps as an encouragement to make further research. While this approach to decision making may seem irritatingly slow to some, we believe it has been proved to be the only reliable way to right and loving decisions. It should also be remembered by all Friends at times when unity is not present that the concept of the Meeting being united in spirit does not mean that the members must all necessarily conform to one particular opinion, no matter how compelling such a view may appear to some. Indeed, the imposition of conformity becomes a censorship which is quite contrary to the teaching of Friends; the Society, itself, is a testament by those who have cherished the right to dissent from majority opinion.

2.4 Presence of attenders

Meetings may, according to their discretion, allow those not in membership to be present at Meetings for Business, having regard to the nature of the business under consideration. Matters to do with membership, for instance, are usually considered in closed meetings.

2.5 Financial assistance re attendance

Meetings shall have care of the membership in making available financial help, should a lack of money prevent Friends from attending Meetings for Business or fulfilling appointments connected therewith.

2.6 Authority of meetings

It should be borne in mind that the basic or fundamental working unit of the Society is the Monthly Meeting. Any controlling authority in the Society originates from and rests in the Monthly Meeting. The authority residing in any “superior” Meeting, (Half-Yearly, Yearly) shall be only to the extent required to keep the Society a united body. Each such “superior” Meeting should extend a kind, tender Christian care over the component Meetings.

Order of Business

2.7 Agendas

Meetings are scheduled at regular dates and times. In order to cover all business without undue waste of time, the clerk should prepare an agenda ahead of time. Although it should not be an unvarying rule, it is helpful if the Clerk is given notice well in advance of concerns to be presented at the Meeting; it being understood that business not on the agenda can be laid over to the next Meeting or session if it is not of an emergency nature. Business laid over or unfinished from a previous Meeting will receive precedence over new business in preparing the agenda of the current Meeting. The following is a sample agenda:

  1. Silent worship.
  2. Minutes of previous meetings (correction made and approval given).
  3. Business arising from the minutes.
  4. Reports from committees and delegates.
  5. Correspondence received.
  6. New concerns.
  7. Closed meeting on membership.
  8. Period of worship and adjournment.

2.8 Minutes [under revision: new text on “minute of record”]

When the members present have given approval to the Clerk’s statement of the sense of the Meeting, a minute should be prepared and read before the conclusion of the Meeting or, if more practicable, clearly outlined for careful composition and presentation at the next stated session or Meeting. The Clerk should have authority to make editorial changes in a minute if after more careful consideration such changes seem needed. However, attention should be called to such changes at the next Meeting. When approved in its original or modified form, the minute becomes a part of the Meeting’s permanent record and should be accepted by the members as final unless called up for reconsideration, in which case a second minute would be recorded appropriately, but leaving the first unchanged.

On the recurrence of an item of business concerning which a decision was taken by a previous Meeting, Friends should be mindful that the minute recorded on the earlier occasion cannot be ignored, since it remains in full effect. It should be turned to if refreshment of memory is needed, after which an amending decision can be taken, in the foregoing manner, if this is required; due reference being made in a new minute to the minute which had previously been made. Any member may offer a substitute minute in exactly the same manner as if it had been submitted by the Clerk. In the case of minutes which record exercises of the Meeting involving no action or decision, the Clerk may complete the record after adjournment of the Meeting and read the minutes at the next Meeting.

It should be remembered that these minutes are intended as an accurate and full record of events as they occurred at the time and will be a record to which future meetings, as well as future generations, may refer. They should be clear and as full as is necessary to convey the whole intention. Authority for specific appointments and for the expenditure of funds and the scope given for specific committee work should be definitely and concisely recorded. Likewise, information about changes in membership should be promptly entered.

A copy of the appropriate minute should be given to the convener of new committees.

2.9 Minute books

Permanency of minutes and the records of membership, associated members, births, adoptions, marriages and deaths is expected.

Regardless of the media utilized for recording minutes, two copies should be written or printed on acid‑free paper using only permanent ink. One copy will go at once to the Yearly Meeting Office, the other to the Clerk of the Meeting or committee to enter into the Minute/Record Book. Minute books no longer in use, although still the property of the Meeting, should be sent to the CYM Archives for safe‑keeping and future reference. In writing minutes, a heading with the subject of each item should be set apart for easier location, either made bold, capitalized, underlined or noted in the margin. Indexing if appropriate is also helpful.

2.10 Reports

Allowed (Preparative) Meetings report to Monthly Meetings, Monthly Meetings to Half-Yearly Meetings, and Half-Yearly Meetings to Yearly Meeting. Likewise all Meetings will receive reports from their committees, persons undertaking special assignments, and delegates to other bodies. Standing committees and delegates to other organizations should be required to report at least annually or whenever there is a need to do so. Special committees should carry out the purpose for which they are appointed and report as promptly as possible. The submission of a written report contributes to a clear and succinct message and assists the Clerk in making a concise minute, even if delivered orally by the chairperson to seek better attention from the members.

2.11 Statistical reports — See Section 4.8

2.12 Correspondence

Clerks are obliged to bring to the attention of the members all correspondence which is addressed to the Clerk or to the Meeting. However, the Clerk should assume discretion in the treatment of trivial material, and the simple announcement of events or acceptable advertising can often be handled with least expenditure of time by posting on a notice board. Acknowledgment of letters received, when required, should be attended to promptly.

2.13 New concerns

Concerns will arise from representations made by members and through correspondence. Although it cannot always be so, Friends are strongly advised to put their concerns in writing to the Clerk rather than relying on an extemporaneous presentation at the Meeting. By this means considerable time can be preserved by the saving of unnecessary words, and the concern is more likely to receive careful attention if, in the process of writing, the members clarify the full nature of their concern both for their own benefit and for clear understanding by the Meeting. Care should be taken not to request action by the Meeting on a matter concerning which action is impossible or where the type of action required is vague. Friends should also be careful not to make a request which will mean that the task will be delegated to another. Friends should normally expect to forward their own concerns. On occasions, the Meeting may feel it right to act collectively on them.

Meetings and the Clerks also have the responsibility of remembering and reminding members when certain committees or delegations have been appointed under terms which may already encompass the proposed activity. Likewise, Meetings should not hesitate to examine critically requests involving expenditures or suggested activities which may seem to be on the fringe of legitimate concerns for an essentially religious body.


Meetings for Business are cared for by the presiding officers (i.e. Clerk and Assistant Clerk) and any other officers and committees that may be appointed by the Meeting. All officers and committees appointed by a Meeting shall hold their positions until their successors are appointed or until the office or committee is laid down.

2.14 Clerks

Clerks should be chosen with special reference to their sound judgment and gift of discernment and their ability to determine what is the sense of the Meeting. The Clerk should be familiar with Friends’ work and procedures. The Clerk prepares the agenda and the business to be presented to the Meeting for its consideration. He or she presides at the business sessions and sees that a faithful record of the proceedings is kept in a minute book. Clerks carry out the instructions of Meetings on all matters pertaining to the accomplishment of their business. The Clerk shall sign on behalf of the Meeting all correspondence, epistles and official documents put forth by it including certificates of ministers and others liberated for service abroad. If a visiting Friend presents a travelling minute (see Section 4.2) it should be endorsed with a suitable return minute signed by the Clerk. Clerks should acknowledge correspondence promptly. The Clerk should see that a Friend appointed to care for a particular item of business, or delegated to another body, is notified accordingly.

Clerks of Monthly Meetings have additional responsibilities, which are described in Chapter 4: The Monthly Meeting.

2.15 Assistant clerks

Such assistant Clerks may be appointed as are found advisable. They may be assigned some of the responsibilities of the Clerk, to act as Recording Clerk, Correspondence Clerk, etc. (in some Meetings the terms Recording Clerk, Correspondence Clerk, Secretary, etc., are used). In the absence of the Clerk, an assistant Clerk may act as Clerk or, if none is present, the Meeting may appoint a Temporary Clerk.

2.16 Treasurer

The treasurer shall receive and disburse funds as directed by the Meeting, keep an accurate account of the money received and paid out and make an annual financial report to the Meeting or at shorter intervals as required by the Meeting. These books and accounts shall be audited annually and, in the case of Yearly Meeting, this should be done before the last session of the Representative Meeting prior to the Yearly Meeting.

2.17 Trustees [This text is under revision]

Meetings shall appoint members to serve as trustees of any property owned by the Meeting, in accordance with the Religious Institutions Act or other statute of the provinces. Trustees and their successors will be appointed in such manner as may be specified in the conveyance, or other instrument creating the trust, and the Meeting may, by resolution and in the manner set forth in the conveyance, increase or decrease the number of trustees.

The duties of the trustees are set forth in the statutes but in general shall be: to hold title to all real estate and other property belonging to the Meeting and to manage it on behalf of the Meeting; to keep property in repair; to guard property from injury or improper use; to keep all deeds legally recorded; to preserve all records and documents dealing with such properties and to make a detailed annual report to Meetings of all their holdings and actions as trustees. Trustees shall invest all funds and other personal property whether received by bequest, donations or otherwise and administer the same according to the direction of the donors.

The Meeting must approve of any action proposed by the trustees concerning the sale or lease of property owned by the Meeting. It is suggested that Monthly Meetings consult with the Yearly Meeting Trustees in relation to the transfer of any property.

Trustees of Yearly Meeting have additional functions which are described in Section 6.6.


2.18 Distribution of work, size of committees, and appointment of members

Committees may be appointed for specific tasks or for long-term programs. Committees appointed by a Meeting shall hold their positions until their successors are appointed or until the committee is laid down. In appointing committees, Meetings should strive to distribute work and responsibility widely among members and rotate duties so that all may have opportunity for growth which comes with service. Likewise, Meetings should have care that there is no fruitless duplication or overlapping of the duties of committees. A general nominating committee for the appointment of other committees is necessary for all but ad hoc committees. Consideration should be given to the number of persons on committees. Small committees as a rule are desirable, and will be found workable if those nominated serve conscientiously.

2.19 Nominations and service by members

Great care should be taken in nominations to committees in order that suitable persons may be appointed to the service of the Society. Those Friends who hesitate to become members of committees should be reminded that the organization of the Society of Friends is based upon voluntary individual service and that members ought to contribute by use of such abilities as God has given them. All should be willing to dedicate themselves to the service of the Meeting. While Friends have a duty to carry out their appointments if appointed to a committee with their concurrence, they should also take care not to permit themselves to be overly burdened by allowing their names to stand for so many obligations that few of them can be attended to adequately.

It is both a privilege and a responsibility to serve the Meeting. Should changed circumstances make it difficult for a person to discharge the service for which the Meeting has appointed her or him, that person should write to the Clerk of the Committee requesting release and giving the reason for the request. The Committee Clerk may then take the request to the Meeting of which the Committee is a constituent part. On releasing the Friend from further service, the Meeting should ask its Nominating Committee to suggest a suitable replacement. Attendance at Committee meetings is part of the obligation incurred by acceptance of service on a committee. If unable to attend, members should give their regrets, with explanation, to the Clerk of the Committee orally or in writing. The Clerk should contact any member who has been absent three times without explanation to find out if the person will serve in the future or whether a replacement must be found so that the work of the Committee may not be hindered.

2.20 Duties and terms of reference

The duties and terms of reference of committees should be clearly defined at the time of appointment. Further details concerning the duties of some specific committees will be found in subsequent chapters dealing respectively with Monthly, Half-Yearly and Yearly Meetings. Members of committees should duly consider the importance of their appointment, acquaint themselves with their responsibilities, and faithfully discharge their trust.

It should be the endeavour of committees to relieve the burden of work on their Meetings and to facilitate the making of decisions. To this end committees should be allowed discretion to act within their terms of reference with a minimum of reference back to the Meeting except to report on their activities or to seek authority for major undertakings.

2.21 Order of business, reports, and minutes

All committees should begin promptly at the appointed hour and aim to complete the business at a specified time. Committees meet for business initially at the call of a convener who is usually considered the first name on the list of members on the committee. The business of the committee is thereafter cared for by a Clerk appointed by the committee for that purpose. Committees may also appoint recorders for the keeping of minutes and attending to correspondence. However, such minutes need not be considered as part of the permanent record of the Meeting; the committee’s reports to the Meeting will be the permanent record in the minutes of the Meeting, either in full if necessary or by abbreviated reference.

Standing committees of the Meeting, such as Finance, Religious Education, etc., should meet regularly and keep their own minutes, and they should report when necessary or as directed by the Meeting – but in any event, annually. Reports from Meetings of Ministry and Counsel are often helpful. Special committees should carry out the purpose for which they are appointed and report as promptly as possible. Reports should usually be made in writing as this assists the Clerk in making a concise minute and encourages lucidity.

CHAPTER 3: Membership

3.1 The meaning of membership

It is recommended that the whole of this section should be carefully studied by those who may be contemplating membership both for the sake of the applicant and for the sake of the Meeting.

Membership implies a desire to enter joyfully into the activities of the Society, to attend its Meetings for Worship and Business, and to give service through its committees and otherwise as the way opens, and to share financially in an appropriate degree. Those who desire to join the Society of Friends are advised to read Christian Faith and Practice and other writings of Friends. By this means, and by discussion with members, they may gain a sympathetic understanding of Friends’ mode of worship, the transaction of business and a knowledge of Friends’ historic testimonies. It is especially important that they regularly attend the Meeting for Worship, which is the centre of Friends’ religious life. This will give them familiarity with the group search for divine guidance and establish their personal interest in sharing that search, a responsibility that must continue if membership is to be fruitful both to themselves and to the group.

Suitability for membership is not determined by tests of creed or practice, nor by the profession of conversion. Nevertheless, there are certain broad principles of faith and practice which afford a basis for association. Unity is essential upon the spiritual and practical nature of Christianity, the reality of direct divine communion in worship, and the presence of the Inner Light, or that of God, in everyone.

We encourage applications for membership from those who, after a reasonable period of attendance and study, desire to join the Society. The procedure to be followed is described below under Acquisition of Membership.

3.2 Advice to committees visiting with applicants

To enable the Monthly Meeting to come to a right judgment as to the suitability of an applicant for membership, the chief conditions to be looked for are that the applicant is a humble learner in the school of Christ and an active seeker who finds spiritual help in our Meetings for Worship, notwithstanding the absence of outward forms.

We are convinced that our distinguishing testimonies arise directly out of the experience of Friends, but complete agreement with us, whether of formal belief or practice, need not be asked for. Care should be taken, nevertheless, to ascertain how far the applicant unites with the views and practices of Friends, not only from an intellectual standpoint but from the realization that these are based on faith in the Spirit of God as manifested in the life and teachings of Jesus and as a light in the hearts of everyone. The applicant who is well informed in theory may have slight knowledge of Quakerism in practice. Some may be drawn to the Society through appreciation of the ministry, and of personal attenders, and others may be attracted by one of our testimonies, without realizing that these are outward expressions of a deeper underlying spiritual experience. Therefore, besides inquiring into the attitude of the applicant towards our distinguishing testimonies, the visitors should inform themselves of the applicant’s own views on Christian discipleship and their expression in conduct.

Stress should be laid on the importance of attendance at Meetings for Worship, both for the applicant’s sake and for the sake of the Meeting, realizing that the guidance of the Spirit is to be sought and shared in a harmonious relationship of the members, one with another, and is not merely an individual matter. Visitors should seek to learn how our way of worship has been helpful to the applicant. One reason for doing this is so that the visitors may consider with applicants whether the Society of Friends is the most appropriate channel for their spiritual needs. The method of holding our Meetings for Business, under a sense of divine guidance, should be carefully explained to the applicant together with our concern that Friends should work with one another in a humble and loving spirit, giving credit for purity of motive, notwithstanding differences of opinion and being ready to abide by the decisions of the Meeting. The applicant should be informed of the responsibilities involved in membership and of the work of the Society. It should be made clear to the applicants that they will be able to give and receive all that true membership entails only through regular attendance at the Meetings for Business and by taking an appropriate share in the activities of the Society. It should be pointed out that there is scope for every gift exercised in ways that will become open.

3.3 Acquisition of membership

Membership in the Society of Friends is held through the Monthly Meeting. Action concerning membership in the Society shall be taken in a session of the Monthly Meeting, and membership recorded there shall include membership in any Meeting of which the Monthly Meeting forms a part.

There are three ways of acquiring membership in the Society of Friends:

By right of birth

By admission on the application of parents

By admission on personal application

3.4 Admission of children

Friends have a particular responsibility to bring under the loving care of the Meeting, children who are members by birth or adoption. Friends should be sensitive to the needs of these young members, telling them of their Quaker heritage, nurturing their spiritual well-being, and helping them to grow into mature and concerned members of our Society. If both parents are members, their children are enrolled as members by right of birth in the Monthly Meeting to which the parents belong.

If a Monthly Meeting requires, however, or if the parents prefer, children can be registered on a temporary list of members.[3] Children whose parents have been admitted to membership can be registered on either the temporary list or on the ordinary list at the request of the parents and at the discretion of the Monthly Meeting.

Children enrolled on the ordinary list of members may confirm their membership if they wish to do so when they have reached maturity. Those enrolled on the temporary list should ask the Monthly Meeting for a transfer to the ordinary list upon reaching maturity.

If by that time this request has not been made, the Monthly Meeting has the obligation to inquire what the person’s wishes are. (It is suggested that Monthly Meetings define maturity as befits the individual, to be between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five years.)

If after reaching maturity a person enrolled on the temporary list does not wish to be transferred to the ordinary list of members, he/she should henceforth be regarded as an attender, with encouragement being given to apply for membership at some future time. In this case, the name is removed from the list of members.

Young persons whose names are on the temporary list of members are in full and active membership in the Society within the period designated and such members should consider themselves members of the Society in every sense, and in their relationships with the community at large, so that their religion may be known to themselves and to others. The temporary designation should be confined to the Monthly Meeting record only and need not be used in any statistical or other reference concerning such members.

Members who are parents of a child whose name is on the temporary membership list may request a transfer of such child’s name to the ordinary list.

Monthly Meetings should exercise care for the children and young persons who, though not in membership, come under the influence of the Society.

3.5 Admission by application

It is recommended that the applicant study the whole of Section 3.1 on the meaning of membership.

An applicant should address a letter to the Clerk of the Monthly Meeting which he or she wishes to join. On receiving an application for membership, the Monthly Meeting shall appoint a small committee to visit the applicant in order to discuss her or his reasons for wishing to join the Society, and to explain further, if necessary, its principles and practices. It is recommended that the whole of Section 3.2 on advice to committees visiting with applicants should be read by the visiting committee before meeting with the applicant.

The opinion of the visiting committee regarding the applicant shall be placed before the Monthly Meeting, and the Monthly Meeting shall then act according to its best judgment in the matter. The Clerk of the Monthly Meeting shall inform the applicant in writing of reception into membership, or the reverse as the case may be, and this decision should be conveyed to the applicant in a suitable manner. When an applicant is received into membership, an announcement may be made at a Meeting for Worship when the new member is present so that all members may extend their welcome. It is important that a new member should, after admission, be welcomed warmly by the members, and it is desirable that those who visited the new member on the application should continue their interest after membership has been granted.

3.6 Transfer of membership

3.6.1 Individual Transfers

Friends wishing to transfer their membership to another Monthly Meeting usually join in the life of the Meeting prior to requesting a transfer. When ready, they initiate the process by writing to both Monthly Meetings. The Clerk of the Monthly Meeting where they hold membership writes to the receiving Monthly Meeting to confirm that the person is a member in good standing of that community. The receiving Monthly Meeting follows its own process for considering transfers.

Membership via transfer should be recorded in the Minutes of a Meeting for Business of the receiving Monthly Meeting. This Minute is then sent to the Monthly Meeting where the membership was held, which then records in their Minutes that the transfer has occurred.

Monthly Meeting Clerks are responsible to see that the Friend and the other Monthly Meeting are kept informed as to the status of the transfer request and to see that the Minute recording the transfer of membership is sent to the Yearly Meeting.

3.6.2 Group Transfers

Initial membership in a newly forming Monthly Meeting is done as a group transfer. A list of those Friends wishing to transfer their membership is prepared by the new group and sent to the Monthly Meeting(s) where membership is currently held, the Half-Yearly Meeting, if applicable, and the Yearly Meeting. The Half-Yearly or Yearly Meeting Minute recognizing the new Monthly Meeting records this list of names. The Monthly Meeting(s) where membership was held record in their minutes the names of their members that have transferred to the new meeting. The new meeting records the list of initial Members in the Minutes of their first Business Meeting. After this initial transfer, membership is under the care of the new Monthly Meeting.

3.7 Sojourning members

A Monthly Meeting may accept as a sojourning member a person maintaining membership in another Friends Meeting who wishes to be associated with the local Monthly Meeting while residing temporarily within its limits. The member’s wishes in this connection should be set forth by minute from the home Meeting. Such membership should not be counted in statistical reports. The sojourning membership terminates when the member leaves the limits of the Meeting, whose Clerk should then inform the original Monthly Meeting.

3.8 Termination of membership

When a member of a Monthly Meeting offers resignation of membership, it is advised that the Monthly Meeting appoint a committee to visit her or him in love to inquire into the cause of such resignation. If her/his purpose continues unchanged, a minute may be made stating that he or she is released at her/his own request. He or she should be informed of this action and will no longer be considered a member unless received again according to the regular procedure.

Should no reply to communications be received from members over a period of five years, or when an individual disregards the obligations of membership, the member may be removed from the list and so notified by the Clerk of the Meeting. Before such action is taken, however, the Monthly Meeting through its Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, or a special committee, should try in tender understanding and affection to restore the person concerned to such an attitude of mind and spirit that will enable a return once more into religious fellowship in the Society. (See also Section 6.15 on Home Mission and Advancement Committee.)

CHAPTER 4: The Monthly Meeting

The Monthly Meeting is the fundamental working unit in the organization of the Society of Friends; it consists of all those persons who are recorded upon its list of members, and who have joined together for worship and for business and to foster their spiritual interests. The Monthly Meeting receives and records members; it extends spiritual care and, if necessary, material aid to its members; its members are exhorted to live and deal with one another in a Christian spirit of restoring love, and they endeavour to abide by the principles and testimonies of the Society; funds are collected as required to carry on the work of the Monthly Meeting and the larger Friends’ Meetings of which it is a component; it appoints trustees if required by statute for the holding of title to properties and the administration of trust funds; it provides for the oversight of marriages and funerals; witnesses to Friends’ testimonies; relates itself to its Half-Yearly and Yearly Meetings, to other bodies of Friends, and to other bodies 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 Meeting.

4.1 Meetings for Business

Meetings for Business are held once each month at a regularly scheduled time. The conduct of these meetings will be in the manner of described in Chapter 2 (General Procedure in Meetings for Business) dealing with general procedure.

Special Monthly Meetings will be called by the Clerk if a matter of business appears sufficiently urgent to require it, or if requested by at least five members to do so. Notice of such a Special Meeting shall be given to all members; it shall specify the business to be considered and will name the persons calling for the Special Meeting. No business shall be considered at a Special Meeting other than the business for which it was called. The minutes of such Special Meetings will be recorded and read in the usual way at the next regularly scheduled Business Meeting.

4.2 Committees and officers

Much of the work of Monthly Meetings will be conducted through committees and appointed officers or other persons delegated to specific tasks (see Chapter 2: General Procedure in Meetings for Business). Among the committees should be a Nominating Committee appointed annually to bring in the names of officers as required by the Meeting. A Finance Committee may be appointed to advise and to serve the Meeting in the matter of raising and expenditure of funds. The Finance Committee should recommend the amount of money required for the use of the Meeting and propose the budgeting of such funds as are available.

 4.3 Clerk of Monthly Meeting

In addition to the regular function of Clerks as described in Chapter 2 (General Procedure in Meetings for Business) Clerks of Monthly Meetings shall also see that a record of membership, births, marriages, deaths and transfers is kept, and shall see that the Half-Yearly or Yearly Meeting, as the case may be, is annually furnished with the Statistical Report. The Clerk of Monthly Meeting may also be responsible under Friends’ marriage procedure for the signing and filing of the Statement of Marriage form and completion of the marriage register as described in Chapter 10 dealing with marriage procedure.

4.4 Meetings of Ministry and Counsel

The Meeting of Ministry and Counsel is appointed by the Monthly Meeting with particular responsibility for the Meeting for Worship and the pastoral care of its members. Further details concerning the duties of this Meeting are given in Chapter 7.

4.5 Pastoral care

Monthly Meetings are reminded of their collective responsibility for the oversight and pastoral care of their members and the religious training of the children and young people of their Meetings. That this responsibility may be more fully realized, they are recommended to give consideration from time to time to the state of their Meeting and the needs of their congregation. The annual State of Society Report may be prepared for the Meeting by the Meeting of Ministry and Counsel and is dealt with fully in Section 7.8.

4.6 Distant members

The Monthly Meeting should keep in touch with all of its members. A letter should be sent at least once a year to those of its members who reside at a distance, and particularly to those who are separated from Friendly associations, inquiring as to their religious life and activities and general welfare.

4.7 Advices and Queries

Advices and Queries of Britain Yearly Meeting (see Appendix A) has been adopted for use by Canadian Yearly Meeting. The advices and queries are not meant to be rules to walk by but are designed as a help to members and are directed to arouse the thought and conscience of the listener. They are to be read and considered periodically, but at least once a year, in such order and distribution as may seem suitable, in Meeting for Worship and Meeting for Business.

4.8 Statistical reports

Statistical reports are sent by the Clerk once a year from Monthly Meeting to the Half-Yearly or the Yearly Meeting as the case may be, giving the names and addresses of new members, deaths, births, marriages, etc. Care should be exercised with reference to membership statistics so that the current report commences with the same number of members as closed the previous report.

4.9 Travelling minutes

Friends are encouraged to foster the concern for visiting in a way to help the cause of Truth. A Call to visit other Meetings may arise in any individual, whether or not a member of the Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, or it may arise in that Meeting itself. This service may include arranging public addresses, informal conferences, visiting in families or visiting other Meetings, prompted by a concern for deepening the religious life of our Society.

The Monthly Meeting, when it seems fitting, and after consideration has been given by its Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, may grant a minute to a Friend visiting under religious concern, but when the visit is beyond the Yearly Meeting, the minute should be forwarded to the Half-Yearly or Yearly Meeting for endorsement if time allows this. It is recommended that minutes to be used in other countries have very careful consideration and that they be endorsed either by the Meeting of Ministry and Counsel of Yearly Meeting or by the Representative Meeting. Persons who have been granted minutes should return them to the issuing Meeting within a reasonable time after the service has been completed.

A Clerk of a Meeting, on being presented with a travelling minute by a visiting Friend, should endorse it with a suitable return minute signed on behalf of the Meeting.

4.10 Travelling letters

Members proposing to travel may receive from their Monthly Meeting letters of introduction to the groups they propose to visit, but such letters should not be confused with the type of minute described in the preceding paragraph.

4.11 Libraries

Monthly Meetings should take steps to ensure the proper care of libraries belonging to them and shall consider the best means of increasing the usefulness of the collections and affording ready access to all, whether members of the Society or not, who may wish to read the books.

4.12 Use of meetinghouses

Monthly Meetings are advised to permit and encourage the use of their meetinghouses for educational or other suitable purposes which serve the needs of the people living in their neighbourhood.

4.13 Advice on outward affairs

Monthly Meetings should annually take such steps as may seem to them right for the purpose of reminding their members of the importance of keeping clear and correct accounts, and of making and revising their wills in time of health.

4.14 Delegates to Yearly Meeting

In an effort to assure attendance from all parts of the Yearly Meeting, each Monthly Meeting shall appoint delegates to attend the Yearly Meeting. The delegates should endeavour to attend all sessions of the Yearly Meeting and to report back later to their Monthly Meetings on their experience of the Yearly Meeting and on decisions taken there. Delegates should be prepared to speak to the business of their Monthly Meeting’s minutes which have been forwarded to Yearly Meeting for consideration. An important responsibility of the delegates is to attend the Meeting of Delegates held during the Yearly Meeting sessions (see Section 6.5).

The Rise and Recognition of New Meetings

Over time the Religious Society of Friends have devised a variety of ways to recognize Friends gathered together in worship. These designations are indicative of the responsibilities that they are expected to undertake. In Canadian Yearly Meeting, our practice is to recognize:

  • Worship Groups
  • Allowed Meetings (including Meetings currently named “Preparative Meetings”)
  • Monthly Meetings, as described in Chapter 4 (including Meetings currently named “Executive Meetings”)

We are grounded in these bodies.

4.15 Worship Groups

When several people have been drawn to Friends’ ways of worshipping God and to the Testimonies of the Religious Society of Friends, they may form a Friends Worship Group. Usually, at least one participant is a member of the Religious Society of Friends. Even if only two or three persons gather at the time appointed for an open Meeting for Worship, it is worthwhile to persevere so that all may grow spiritually and enjoy the blessings of worshipful fellowship.

The Worship Group, at its formation, relates itself to a Monthly Meeting which records its establishment and forwards this Minute to the Half-Yearly Meeting, if applicable, and the Yearly Meeting.

It is essential that both the Worship Group and its Monthly Meeting have a clear understanding of their relationship with regard to actions and responsibilities. Since the Monthly Meeting has care over what transpires within its community, the Worship Group needs to be aware that it may not present itself as an official body of the Religious Society of Friends or act in its name. Membership, marriages under the care of the Meeting, approval of Memorial Minutes, and the holding of property are the responsibility of the Monthly Meeting.

A Worship Group should name one of its members to serve as contact person to receive information which is provided to foster a feeling of fellowship in the Religious Society of Friends. It is the responsibility of the person so named to share information and materials with others in the Worship Group.

Although most Worship Groups do not conduct regular business meetings, they may do so as they feel led.

Each Worship Group arises and develops in unique circumstances. Support, nurture, and resources, sensitively offered by the Monthly Meeting are critical. Visitation provides encouragement, deepens the sense of community, and can be used as a time to share in the understanding of Friends’ faith and practice. A Worship group may at some point feel led to become an Allowed Meeting or Monthly Meeting (see Sections 4.16 Allowed Meetings and Section 4.18 Becoming a Monthly Meeting).

Because situations differ, some groups may not persist and, after a time of spiritual enrichment for their participants, may cease to meet. The decision to lay down a Worship Group is recorded through a minute of its Monthly Meeting and then forwarded to the Half-Yearly Meeting, if applicable, and the Yearly Meeting.

4.16 Allowed Meetings

In Canadian Yearly Meeting an Allowed Meeting is a small Quaker Meeting that holds regular public Meeting for Worship after the manner of Friends and regular Meetings for Business to look after its own local Quaker affairs. An Allowed Meeting only exists within the context of a Monthly Meeting. It does not carry the full responsibilities of a Monthly Meeting, such as acting on matters of membership in the Society of Friends, having care over marriages, and holding property. Memorial Minutes approved by the Allowed Meeting are to be sent to the Monthly Meeting for recording in the Minutes of the Monthly Meeting.

A Worship Group may apply to its Monthly Meeting for recognition as an Allowed Meeting. The Monthly Meeting will assist the group in discerning its readiness, and may establish a Clearness Committee for this purpose. A Minute recognizing the Allowed Meeting is made by the Monthly Meeting, which forwards the minute to the Half-Yearly Meeting, if applicable, and Yearly Meeting. At the request of the Allowed Meeting, a Committee of Care may be formed to support the new Meeting. The Allowed Meeting appoints a clerk, establishes committees, and fills any positions which it deems appropriate.

An Allowed Meeting may at some point feel led to become a Monthly Meeting (see Section 4.18: Becoming a Monthly Meeting).

4.17 Preparative Meetings

The designation “Preparative Meeting” has been replaced with “Allowed Meeting.”

4.18 Becoming a Monthly Meeting

Established Worship Groups or Allowed Meetings may seek recognition as a Monthly Meeting at a time they feel is appropriate.

The first step towards becoming a Monthly Meeting is to request a Clearness Committee from the Monthly Meeting. This Clearness Committee meets with the group seeking to become a Monthly Meeting and reports its recommendation back to that group, to the Monthly Meeting, and to the Clerks of Half-Yearly Meeting, if applicable, and Yearly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting also forwards the Minute regarding their consideration of the Clearness Committee recommendation to the Clerks of Half-Yearly Meeting, if applicable, and Yearly Meeting.

A new Monthly Meeting is recognized as such when it has been approved by the Half-Yearly Meeting or by Yearly Meeting, and the initial transfer of membership has occurred. (See Section 3.6: Transfer of Membership.) After the initial transfer of membership, others may join the new Monthly Meeting via the usual processes.

Once the new Monthly Meeting is established, a small committee comprised of Friends from both Monthly Meetings may be set up to assist with changes resulting from the creation of the new Meeting.

A Friends group which is not part of a Monthly Meeting must find a Monthly Meeting to affiliate with in order to undertake the process of becoming a Monthly Meeting.

4.19 Executive Meetings

In Canadian Yearly Meeting the term “Executive Meeting” has been used. Such Meetings, where they occur have the same function as a Monthly Meeting.

4.20 Quarterly Meetings

Within Canadian Yearly Meeting, the term Quarterly Meeting does not apply to Friends’ practice in the past several years, and such business is now usually undertaken by Monthly, Half-Yearly or Yearly Meetings. But the Quarterly Meeting may become a part of Friends’ practice at some future time, so we propose to keep the designation Quarterly Meeting available.

4.21 Regional Gatherings

In Canadian Yearly Meeting, it has been the practice from time to time to have regional gatherings of Friends for worship and fellowship. These groups normally do not conduct business and are to be distinguished from Half-Yearly Meetings or Quarterly Meetings.

4.22 Discontinuance of Meetings

If the members of a Monthly Meeting believe that it is desirable, either to discontinue or to unite with another Monthly Meeting, they should bring such a request to the Half-Yearly Meeting or Meetings of which they are constituent parts. If approval is granted, the Half-Yearly Meeting should appoint a committee to assist in making the necessary arrangements. Where a union of two Meetings occurs, the property of each Meeting becomes the property of the new Meeting. Meetings are cautioned to prepare minutes to take care of all legal matters involved in the transaction. Due care should be taken for the appropriate transfer of memberships.

In the case of a Meeting having declined in membership beyond the ability to operate, the Half-Yearly Meeting may initiate action for its discontinuance and transfer of membership, property and records.

CHAPTER 5: The Half-Yearly Meeting

The Half-Yearly Meetings of Canadian Yearly Meeting are composed of the members of the constituent Monthly Meetings, Worship Groups and individual Friends in a geographic area. They are designed to bring together Friends from a wider area in a bond of fellowship for inspiration and counsel, and to provide an opportunity for united consideration of matters that concern the Society. Their purpose is to strengthen the life and work of Meetings and Friends’ groups in the area and to facilitate communication between Friends in that area and the Yearly Meeting. In a country as large as Canada, the Half-Yearly Meetings perform a valuable function of creating and sustaining the bonds of fellowship. The foregoing does not preclude the possibility of regional gatherings.

5.1 Gatherings of the Half-Yearly Meeting

Generally meeting in the spring and autumn, the Half-Yearly Meetings will be presided over by a Clerk appointed by the Meeting for a fixed term. Other officers and committees may be appointed to perform particular tasks. Meetings will be conducted in the same manner as other Business Meetings of Friends (see Chapter 2: General Procedure in Meetings for Business). Business concerns will arise from the constituent Meetings, individual Friends, and the Yearly Meeting and its Committees. In all cases, however, matters to be considered should be forwarded to the Clerk well in advance of the Meeting so that business may be rightly ordered. Half-Yearly Meetings may undertake concerns and programs at their discretion. In some cases, the concerns may be forwarded to the Yearly Meeting; in other cases they may be sent back to the Monthly Meetings or Worship Groups for their consideration and action. Opportunities for spiritual nurture, sharing of concerns, recreation, and particularly worship may be part of the gatherings of Half-Yearly Meetings.

5.2 Ministry and oversight functions

A Half-Yearly Meeting is concerned for the condition of its constituent Meetings, strengthening and supporting them. It is also responsible for the nurture of new gatherings of Friends and of isolated Friends. It may assist in the establishment of new Meetings and the laying down of a Meeting. The annual State of Society Reports prepared by the Monthly Meetings should be considered by the Half-Yearly Meeting. Difficulties arising from State of Society Reports not dealt with by the Half-Yearly Meeting may be forwarded to the Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel. Epistles sent from the Half-Yearly Meeting to its constituent Meetings and members will help to forge a growth of members in the spirit and in truth. Yearly Meeting Clerks and Standing Committees of Yearly Meeting will do well to consider the opportunity of attending gatherings of Half-Yearly Meetings.

 5.3 Formation and Laying Down of Half-Yearly Meetings

Half-Yearly Meetings are established on the initiative of the Yearly Meeting acting in accordance with a request from two or more Monthly Meetings, or when a larger unit wishes to divide. In all such cases the Yearly Meeting will appoint an ad hoc committee to be present to assist in the organization.

Formation of a Half-Yearly Meeting

When two or more Monthly Meetings discern that they are ready to unite as a new Half-Yearly Meeting, each Monthly Meeting approves a minute to this effect. These minutes are forwarded to Canadian Yearly Meeting, which will appoint an Ad Hoc Committee to assist in this process.

Depending on the circumstances, the Ad Hoc Committee to Form a New Half-Yearly Meeting may choose to visit with each Monthly Meeting and/or individual members of the Monthly Meetings. When there is a clear intent to move forward, the following process may be followed.

1    Each Monthly Meeting names one person to serve on a Nominating and Support Committee. The task of this Committee is to discern a Friend willing to serve as Clerk of the new Half-Yearly Meeting, and to support that Friend until the Half-Yearly Meeting is established and a date set for its initial meeting (or a decision is made to lay the process down).

2    The initial meeting of the new Half-Yearly Meeting is conducted according to the normal format for a business meeting (see chapter 2). At this meeting the new clerk and the name of the new Half-Yearly Meeting are affirmed, and a process initiated to choose additional officers and committees. The clerk will send a letter containing this information to the Ad Hoc Committee on Forming a New Half-Yearly Meeting and to Canadian Yearly Meeting requesting recognition as a Half-Yearly Meeting.

3    When the Yearly Meeting receives both the report from the Ad Hoc Committee to form a new Half-Yearly Meeting affirming the readiness to proceed and the minute from the new Half-Yearly Meeting requesting recognition, a minute recording this recognition shall be recorded at either Canadian Yearly Meeting-in Session or at Representative Meeting.

4    Once recognized by Canadian Yearly Meeting, the new Half-Yearly Meeting will hold its first Meeting for Worship for Business. The establishing minute from this meeting will name the constituent Monthly Meetings and list the names of the clerk and other Friends serving the Half-Yearly Meeting with their terms. The minutes of this initial business meeting should also include the Canadian Yearly Meeting minute recognizing the new Half-Yearly Meeting.

Meetings may choose to add further levels of discernment and approval to any stage of this process.

Dissolution of a Half-Yearly Meeting

The dissolution of a Half-Yearly Meeting will similarly be arranged with the approval of the Yearly Meeting. Any rights and property vested in the Half-Yearly Meeting shall be transferred to the Yearly Meeting (see Section 6.6).”

5.4 Representatives from Quarterly and Half-Yearly Meetings

Each Quarterly Meeting and Half-Yearly Meeting is invited to name a representative to Representative Meeting. This would assist Half-Yearly Meetings and Quarterly Meetings to take on projects in support of the Yearly Meeting.

5.5 Delegates from Quarterly and Half-Yearly Meetings

Each Quarterly Meeting and Half-Yearly Meeting is invited to appoint delegates to Yearly Meeting. These delegates should be prepared to speak to the business of their Quarterly or Half-Yearly Meeting that is coming to the Yearly Meeting for consideration. They would report to their respective Meetings. They would also attend the Meeting of Delegates during the Yearly Meeting sessions.

CHAPTER 6: The Yearly Meeting

6.1 Introduction

The Yearly Meeting consists of the members of the Monthly and Half-Yearly Meetings. It meets annually for the purpose of generally coordinating the affairs of the component Meetings and the maintenance and promotion of Christian faith, love, unity, life and practice of Friends throughout the component Meetings. All members have the privilege and responsibility of attendance and participation in its sessions. Visiting Friends from other Yearly Meetings whose minutes or other credentials have been acknowledged by the Clerk are welcome to attend the general sessions and participate in the discussions. Other visitors may also participate on invitation of the Clerk.

The Yearly Meeting has authority to decide questions of administration and to inaugurate and carry on departments of religious and philanthropic work.

The Yearly Meeting receives annual reports from its standing committees. It also receives annual reports on the state of the Society from the Half-Yearly Meetings, either directly or through the Meetings of Ministry and Counsel, to which it should give prayerful consideration, and it should extend such counsel and advice in relation thereto as it may deem necessary. The Yearly Meeting should annually receive abstracts from the minutes of the Half-Yearly Meetings containing business for its consideration and action, and should give advice or instruction to the Half-Yearly Meetings when requested by them or when it is considered by Yearly Meeting to be necessary. Business may also be introduced to the Yearly Meeting from Representative Meeting, from the standing committees of Yearly Meeting, from the Friends United Meeting Boards, or from Friends General Conference, or from Friends World Committee for Consultation, or from other sources at the discretion of the Clerk. Business may also be laid before the Yearly Meeting by any of its members.

All documents to be presented to Yearly Meeting shall, so far as possible, be printed and circulated beforehand.

6.2 Clerks of Yearly Meeting

The Yearly Meeting shall be opened at the appointed time and place by the Clerk. In the absence of the Clerk, an assistant Clerk shall perform this service. If neither is present, the Meeting shall appoint a Temporary Clerk.

The duties of the Clerk of Yearly Meeting shall be as for Clerks of other Meetings for Business (see Section 2.14). The Clerks of Yearly Meeting also serve as Clerks for Representative Meeting.

The Clerk shall see that the business is properly prepared for presentation to the Meeting for its consideration, announce decisions when made, sign all documents and epistles and other communications on behalf of the Meeting, countersign certificates of ministers and others liberated for service in other lands and sign such documents and transcripts of records as may require certification.

Yearly Meeting authorizes the Yearly Meeting Clerks together with the Yearly Meeting Treasurer and Clerk of Yearly Meeting Trustees to make decisions that need timely implementation between sessions of Yearly Meeting or Representative Meeting and are clearly in line with Quaker values and with our previous work. It is expected that this Committee of Clerks will consult with the Clerks of Monthly Meetings, other Yearly Meeting Committees, and the Clerk of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, as appropriate. Any decisions taken in this manner will be reported to the following meeting of either Yearly Meeting or Representative Meeting.

6.3 General Secretary

The Yearly Meeting may appoint a suitable person to serve in the capacity of General Secretary. Under the general supervision of the Representative Meeting, the Yearly Meeting General Secretary carries out certain of the policies of the Yearly Meeting as directed by the Yearly Meeting in session or Representative Meeting, with specific responsibilities for the Yearly Meeting office and for any clerical or administrative employees working there.

6.4 Representative Meeting

Representative Meeting is the body that is entrusted with the general care of those matters which affect the life of Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends between the full sessions of Yearly Meeting. Representative Meeting has the authority to approve one of the two readings of proposed changes to Organization and Procedure (see Section 6.14: Discipline Review Committee).

Representative Meeting is entrusted to take action and to make public statements on behalf of Canadian Yearly Meeting in light of the faith and practice of Yearly Meeting as determined by testimonies and procedures of Friends. It is not authorized to extend statements of faith. This matter is the responsibility of Yearly Meeting in session.

Representative Meeting extends advice and assistance to those Friends suffering on account of their witness to Friends’ testimonies.

Representative Meeting has responsibility for care and administration of financial and personnel matters within Canadian Yearly Meeting. It meets on such dates as Yearly Meeting or Representative Meeting may designate. It reports annually on its proceedings to Yearly Meeting and may ask Yearly Meeting to consider some matters in full session for specific action. The expenses incurred by Representative Meeting are paid from Yearly Meeting funds.

Each Monthly Meeting appoints a representative to Representative Meeting for a term of five years, so that approximately a fifth of these representatives are named each year at the rise of Yearly Meeting. Monthly Meetings may appoint an alternate if their representative is unable to attend. Quarterly and Half-Yearly Meetings may also appoint representatives (see section 5.4).

Representative Meeting consists of:

(a)    a representative from each Monthly Meeting of Canadian Yearly Meeting;

(b)   a representative from each Quarterly Meeting and Half-Yearly Meeting of Canadian Yearly Meeting, if they wish;

(c)    the Clerk(s) of Yearly Meeting, who serve as Clerks of Representative Meeting as well;

(d)   the Representative Meeting Recording Clerk(s);

(e)    the clerks, or a representative, of Yearly Meeting standing committees;

(f)    the clerks, or a representative, of other Yearly Meeting bodies (Trustees, Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel) and Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting;

(g)   the Treasurer of Yearly Meeting.

At least ten members must be present to hold a Representative Meeting.

6.5 Meeting of Delegates

The Meeting of Delegates consists of the delegates appointed annually by Monthly, Quarterly, and Half-Yearly Meetings to attend Yearly Meeting sessions. It has two responsibilities. Together with members of the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee, the delegates review the proposed nominations for Yearly Meeting appointments which will then be presented to Yearly Meeting. In addition, the delegates appoint Friends to serve as members of the Nominating Committee; these appointments include new members appointed for a three-year term and replacements required to fill vacancies that may have occurred.

The Meeting of Delegates is convened by the Clerk of Yearly Meeting and clerked by a Friend chosen from among the delegates present.

6.6 Trustees [This text is under revision]

The status and duties of Trustees are detailed in Section 2.17: Trustees. Trustees of Yearly Meeting may have the additional function of inspecting and perfecting, where necessary and if permitted by the Provincial statute, the titles to lands and other estates belonging to constituent Meetings of the Yearly Meeting, including the properties of Meetings that have been discontinued.

6.7 Finance Committee [This text is under revision]

The Finance Committee is appointed by Representative Meeting and shall annually estimate the amounts of grants made by the Yearly Meeting to meet the financial obligations of Yearly Meeting to the various branches of the work of Yearly Meeting and towards the work of Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting, Friends World Committee for Consultation, and towards interdenominational and other activities. These amounts will be approved by the Yearly Meeting general session. The Financial Committee shall recommend the amount of money required for the use of Yearly Meeting, and shall allocate it by quota among the constituent Meetings.

Auditors will be appointed annually by Representative Meeting, to whom will be submitted the books of account as required.

6.8 Personnel Policy Committee

Personnel Policy Committee is a committee of representative meeting. Its membership is described in Section 5 of the Canadian Yearly Meeting Personnel Policy. The role of the committee is:

1    to review the Canadian Yearly Meeting Personnel Policy and to recommend changes to Representative Meeting;

2    to bring the policy to the attention of CYM and Monthly Meeting committees that employ, hire, or supervise employees and to the attention of all the employees of Yearly and Monthly Meetings;

3    to maintain updated resource materials on employment issues and to make them available;

4    to provide a forum for employees and the employing committees to share information about employment issues;

5    to provide advice on employment issues when asked.

6.9 Epistle Summarizing Committee

This committee annually summarizes the Epistles received by Canadian Yearly Meeting from other Yearly Meetings around the world and presents the summary to the Yearly Meeting session.

Standing Committees of Yearly Meeting

The functions of the standing committees of Yearly Meeting are laid out below as shown in their terms of reference, but it will be expected that some committees may undertake other functions from time to time or be asked to do so by the Yearly Meeting, As for the other Friends’ Meetings and Committees, Chapter 2 (General Procedure in Meetings for Business) will be a guide to general procedures in the transaction of business by these committees.

6.10 Camp NeeKauNis Committee

The terms of reference of the Camp NeeKauNis Committee are:

1  To nurture the spiritual life of all attenders through its programs and the various activities undertaken.

2  To arrange needed programs as are advisable and desirable and find the necessary personnel to make these programs effective and influential.

3  To be conscious of the interpretative influence of Camp NeeKauNis for those who are not members of the Religious Society of Friends.

4  To cooperate with other Yearly Meeting and other Quaker bodies when NeeKauNis facilities are needed in carrying out their mutual endeavours.

5  To work with Canadian Yearly Meeting committees that have shared responsibilities and policies, including Finance, Personnel, and Education and Outreach.

6  To work with Canadian Yearly Meeting Trustees on common concerns including negotiating insurance, preparing annual risk assessments, and advising on policies and procedures (for example, “Safe Nurture of Vulnerable Persons in Our Care”)

7  To maintain the physical facilities in a state of good repair and to develop facilities as need arises.

8  To be aware, in all of its activities, of the Committee’s responsibilities to the natural environment.

9  To adhere to relevant provincial regulations regarding the running of a residential camp.

6.11 Canadian Friends Foreign Missionary Board

The Canadian Friends Foreign Missionary Board was originally set up to take care of missionary efforts of Canada Yearly Meeting (Five Years Meeting). After the amalgamation of the three Yearly Meetings in 1955, it became one of the standing committees of Canadian Yearly Meeting. In recent years the concept of missionary work has changed and with it the emphasis of the Board. The Board maintains interest and support of the work of Friends in foreign lands insofar as these projects minister to the whole person, both the physical and spiritual condition.

Income of the Board consists of the income from several bequests made to the Board in the past, and more recently from capital from the sale of the Botsford Street Meetinghouse in Newmarket, Ontario, and contributions from Friends. Projects under the care of wider Friends’ bodies and other overseas projects are supported by the Board at its discretion. At the present time the Board does not initiate projects.

6.12 Canadian Friends Service Committee

The Canadian Friends Service Committee exists to unify and expand the concerns of Friends in Canada for peace witness and peace education, international services, and social concerns in Canada. It cooperates with such bodies as the American Friends Service Committee and Quaker Peace and Social Witness of London Yearly Meeting to work abroad in relief and medical aid work and services to persons in need in many nations.

6.13 Contributions Committee

Contributions from individuals are both necessary and in right order for our Society. Canadian Yearly Meeting receives annual contributions from the monthly meetings, but this support is not sufficient. Individual members also have a responsibility to support the Yearly Meeting.

Contributions Committee is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to request financial support from members and attenders. The Committee’s role, in conjunction with Canadian Yearly Meeting Finance Committee and the Canadian Yearly Meeting Board of Trustees, is to establish procedures and approaches that will place and maintain CYM on solid financial footing.

Contributions Committee meets and conducts business primarily by telephone or other electronic means. The Committee’s mandate is to:

  • Help Friends recognize how their contributions support and strengthen links throughout CYM to create a stronger sense of community;
  • Ensure donation practices comply with relevant privacy legislation and are convenient and respectful of the needs of members and their varying abilities to contribute;
  • Propose, implement, and publicize new strategies for making approaches for donations, maintaining relevance as technology and membership change;
  • Work with the CYM Clerks and other Friends serving Canadian Yearly Meeting to develop fund-raising strategies and produce supporting educational materials;
  • Ensure that contributors are appropriately thanked on a regular basis;
  • Report to Representative Meeting and Canadian Yearly Meeting as required.

6.14 Discipline Review Committee

Discipline Review Committee is responsible for maintaining Organization and Procedure, which is one-half of our Book of Discipline. The other half is Faith and Practice: Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Advices and Queries can be found in both books. Organization and Procedure is a guide to Canadian Yearly Meeting’s structure and processes.

When a Monthly Meeting, Yearly Meeting Committee, or other Yearly Meeting entity identifies that a change to Organization and Procedure is needed, a proposal in writing is brought before either the Yearly Meeting or Representative Meeting. If it is approved that a change is needed, Discipline Review Committee is charged with drafting the change.

When Discipline Review Committee has created a draft amendment, it is published and read (“First Reading”) at either Yearly Meeting in session (preferable) or Representative Meeting. Once approved, it may then proceed to Representative Meeting or Yearly Meeting in session for “Second Reading” and final approval. To ensure broad consideration of changes, Yearly Meeting in session must do at least one of these approvals, and second reading cannot be done at the same gathering as first reading.

If non-substantive changes are suggested at the time of a reading, the draft amendment may be approved with corrections. When there is not approval of the draft amendment, it is returned to Discipline Review Committee for continued discernment. If substantive changes are brought back it may be necessary to consider that this is a new “First Reading.”

Once a change has received final approval from the Yearly Meeting or Representative Meeting, Discipline Review Committee is responsible to see that these changes are published.

6.15 Education and Outreach Committee

Education and Outreach Committee provides resources for Friends and others who wish to understand Friends’ ways and explore where the Spirit may be leading us.

Education and Outreach Committee:

1    Facilitates life-long religious education:

  • Makes available and encourages the use of materials and resources.
  • Makes Friends ways and Canadian Yearly Meeting better known to Friends in Canada.
  • Administers financial support for Friends undertaking Quaker studies and other Quaker related activities.

2  Makes our Society known to seekers:

  • Answers enquiries, maintains a supply of materials suitable for the purpose, and arranges contact, on request, with local Meetings.
  • Encourages and facilitates outreach by local meetings.

3    Is a resource for programming at Friends’ gatherings.

4    Encourages and facilitates visitation and Travelling in the Ministry.

This committee, formerly known as Home Mission and Advancement Committee also carries out the work of the Religious Education Committee, which has been laid down.

6.16 Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee, which is named by the Monthly Meetings’ delegates to Yearly Meeting, has the responsibility of bringing forward names for the positions in Yearly Meeting listed below. It shall consult during the year between sessions of the Yearly Meeting. After approval of its proposals by the delegates to Yearly Meeting, it shall recommend to the Yearly Meeting in session the names of Friends for the following positions:

  • Clerk and Assistant Clerk.
  • Members of Yearly Meeting standing committees as may be required.
  • Representatives of Yearly Meeting on other Quaker bodies and on interdenominational boards, committees, and bodies.
  • Other nominations for other positions as directed by Yearly Meeting.

Nominating Committee will receive and discern names for members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel. These names are submitted to Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel for their discernment and approval. To fill vacancies that arise between Yearly Meeting sessions, Nominating Committee discerns names for Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel’s approval. Friends approved by Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel serve until the rise of the next Yearly Meeting.

Nominating Committee does not consider names for ad hoc committees and other task groups. These are directly appointed by Yearly Meeting or Representative Meeting. Yearly Meeting might request that Nominating Committee provide names in special instances.

It should be noted that Monthly Meetings appoint Friends to serve on their behalf on Representative Meeting.

The clerk of Nominating Committee initiates the consultation process by sending to all clerks of Monthly Meetings, Allowed (Preparative) Meetings, Half-Yearly Meetings, Home Mission and Advancement Committee and standing committees of Yearly Meeting, a list of positions to be filled at Yearly Meeting, requesting that names of suitable Friends be sent forward to fill these positions. Monthly Meetings are requested to consider names of members in Worship Groups and Allowed Meetings under their care., and Home Mission and Advancement Committee may send forward names of Friends whose membership it holds.

Nominating Committee is not required to accept all the names put forward, and it may put forward other names it deems appropriate.

Although it is desirable that Nominating Committee receive a supporting minute from the Meeting where a nominee holds membership, this is not an absolute requirement if the committee is otherwise convinced of the person’s qualification to serve. Nevertheless, consultation with that Friend’s Meeting would be in right ordering.

Nominations may also be made by Yearly Meeting members when the Nominating Committee reports to Yearly Meeting. However, it is preferable that nominations by individuals be submitted in writing to the Nominating Committee prior to the committee’s report to Yearly Meeting.

Representatives of Yearly Meeting to outside bodies must be members. Nominees for standing committees shall also be members, but in exceptional circumstances a Monthly Meeting may propose the name of an attender for service on a Yearly Meeting standing committee. A minute explaining these circumstances must accompany such a proposal. If Nominating Committee accepts the proposed name, the clerk of Nominating Committee shall forward the nomination, along with the explanatory minute, to the meeting of delegates and the Yearly Meeting.

Consent to serve must be obtained, or be forthcoming, from the nominee before Yearly Meeting approves any appointment. The appointment process is completed when Yearly Meeting approves the nominations.

6.17 Archives Committee (formerly Records Committee)

Archives Committee is responsible for the receiving, oversight, preservation, inventory and indexing of records and documents of Canadian Yearly Meeting, its constituent meetings, its standing committees and other related bodies which entrust their records to its care. These include records and documents from the three Yearly Meetings which united in 1955 to become Canadian Yearly Meeting. These Archives are currently located at Pickering College, Newmarket, Ontario (see Section 6.22).

Archives Committee acts as a resource for Canadian Yearly Meeting. It guides and assists the Yearly Meeting and its constituent bodies in the creation, care, and preservation of their records, encouraging them to deposit their records, or duplicates of them, in the Archives.

Archives Committee also develops and maintains the Arthur Garratt Dorland Friends Historical Collection which is a comprehensive reference library of Quaker publications and the Rendell Rhoades Collection of Quaker Disciplines. Both of these collections are presently located in the Dorland Room of Pickering College Library.

The Archivist is appointed by and accountable to the Archives Committee. The Archivist is responsible for the general operation of and access to the Archives and the Collections. The position may be either volunteer or paid. When the Archivist is a paid position the Canadian Yearly Meeting guidelines on Personnel Policy shall apply.

Archives Committee in cooperation with the Canadian Friends Historical Association works to foster interest in and knowledge of the heritage of Canadian Friends. Where relevant it works with other Quaker-related and regional archival and historical associations.

The Religious Education Committee [6.18] has been laid down. Its work is now carried out by Education and Outreach Committee and Program Committee.

6.18 Publications and Communications Committee

Publications and Communications Committee has responsibility for publications (such as The Canadian Friend and the Canadian Quaker Learning Series) and the maintenance and development of the Canadian Yearly Meeting on-line presence (such as the website). This committee also works to aid our understanding and use of emerging technologies as they may meet Friends’ needs for communication and Quaker education.

These responsibilities were formerly under the care of Home Mission and Advancement Committee.

Yearly Meeting Sessional Committees

6.19 Agenda Committee

Agenda Committee assists the Clerk(s) of Yearly Meeting to ensure that agenda items are well prepared and presented in an orderly manner to the sessions of Yearly Meeting, so that informed and prayerful discernment may take place in a spirit of worship.

Prior to the Yearly Meeting sessions, the Clerks of Yearly Meeting and Representative Meeting and the General Secretary will have reviewed the previous minutes of Yearly Meeting and Representative Meeting, as well as the Reports for Canadian Yearly Meeting, in order to present a proposed agenda to Yearly Meeting for approval. The Agenda Committee then organizes the agenda, seeking to discern the right timing and ordering of the matters to be considered by Yearly Meeting. Early in the week of Yearly Meeting it posts the proposed agenda, and continues to post a daily updated agenda.

All requests to present items for consideration by Yearly Meeting are to be referred to the Agenda Committee, preferably in writing. The committee will be open to providing an opportunity for Yearly Meeting to hear and consider a spiritual leading that arises as Friends meet and worship together during the week of Yearly Meeting.

Agenda Committee commences its work at the start of each Yearly Meeting session and functions during the week of that Yearly Meeting. The committee consists of the Clerk(s) and Recording Clerk(s) of Yearly Meeting, the Clerk of Representative Meeting, the General Secretary, and one member named by Representative Meeting. In addition, up to two members will be named by the Yearly Meeting in session. The Clerk of Agenda Committee may invite other Friends to participate in meetings of the committee.

6.20 Naming Committee

Many Friends contribute to the richness and orderly procedure of Yearly Meeting in session by performing a wide variety of necessary tasks. Appointing individuals responsible for most of these tasks is done in advance by Program Committee or by other designated groups. A Naming Committee brings forward names for certain appointments to be made from among those present at Yearly Meeting. Such appointments include an individual to serve on Agenda Committee, one or more Reading Clerks, an Epistle Committee, a Minute Review Committee, and a Gleanings Committee; several Friends are also appointed to prepare greetings to be sent to absent Friends and to prepare reports to Quaker periodicals. Descriptions of the work of these committees are kept up to date by the Yearly Meeting office.

Information from both the CYM office and Program Committee is needed in order to propose suitable appointments for the tasks that need to be done. Naming Committee is appointed by Nominating Committee at its spring meeting, and will contact the Yearly Meeting office regarding the job descriptions for these positions and the numbers of Friends needed. The office will provide a list of Friends registered for Yearly Meeting. Naming Committee will also contact Program Committee to make sure that there is no duplication of efforts and there are no gaps in planning. In seeking individuals prepared to serve, the Committee strives to include Young Friends and first-time attenders.

Naming Committee presents its report during the first session of Yearly Meeting; Friends may add other names to the list, and approval is given for all Friends asked to serve. Naming Committee will provide the first-named in each committee with the relevant job description. These Friends will arrange a meeting with their newly formed committees as soon as possible so that they can become familiar with the task at hand, and develop a plan of action. Frequently the first item on the Committees’ agenda will be to choose a task coordinator.

6.21 Program Committee

Program Committee has two major functions: to serve as a planning and oversight committee for the annual sessions of Canadian Yearly Meeting; and to act as a coordinating body for the different groups who have responsibility for the various aspects of the Yearly Meeting sessions. The committee responds to direction from Canadian Yearly Meeting and Representative Meeting.

Program Committee planning and oversight responsibilities include site selection and liaison with the site administrators, local arrangements, publicity, scheduling of daily events, and financial oversight in collaboration with the Office Administrator. Planning as far as three years in advance is required for selection and arrangements for the site (with consideration of the needs of campers and the food coop), the Children and Youth Program, the Sunderland P. Gardner lecture, and the Bible/Quaker Studies. All these tasks will take into account evaluations of previous Yearly Meeting programs.

Program Committee collaborates with Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (responsible for worship and the spiritual nurture of the Yearly Meeting), Agenda Committee (responsible for planning business sessions) and the Yearly Meeting office. Program Committee also works with Publications and Communications Committee to facilitate communications with Friends before and during Yearly Meeting, and publication of the Sunderland P. Gardner lecture and the Bible/Quaker Studies through electronic and print media.

The seven nominated members of Program Committee are appointed with regard for appropriate geographical representation in order to facilitate liaison with the local arrangements committees close to the sites chosen for the Yearly Meeting gatherings. CYM Nominations Committee should ensure that one of the seven positions on Program Committee is filled by a Friend responsible for coordinating the Children and Youth Program. The Clerk(s) of Yearly Meeting and the Office Administrator sit on Program Committee ex officio, in addition to the nominated members. Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel and Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting each appoint a representative to ensure effective collaboration.

Yearly Meeting Archives

6.22 Archives

The Archives of Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Canadian Quaker Archives) is located at Pickering College, Newmarket, Ontario, by agreement with the Corporation of the College. It is under the care of the Canadian Yearly Meeting Archives Committee with the oversight of the Yearly Meeting Archivist. The Archives holds, in the vault, the records of the three Yearly Meetings which united in 1955. The Archives receives and cares for minutes, records and related materials of the Yearly Meeting and its committees, and the constituent Monthly Meetings. The Canadian Quaker Archives also includes the Arthur Garrett Dorland Friends Historical Research Library with the Rendell Rhoades Quaker Discipline Collection as its core. The Archivist is appointed by and accountable to the Archives Committee. The position may be either volunteer or paid. When the Archivist is a paid position, the Canadian Yearly Meeting Guidelines on Personnel Policy apply.

Other acquisitions to be held in the Archives include the Canadian Quaker Biography file, a photograph file, oral history tapes and transcripts, and other media items deposited by Meetings and individuals.

The Archives is available for Yearly Meeting, academic, genealogical, and other research use by appointment. Materials are accessible under the Freedom of Information Act, the “30-year rule,” the ‘lifetime of the individuals involved rule’, or restrictions made at the request of the donors as applicable. Monthly Meetings and the Yearly Meeting, (which includes its various committees) own their records; the Archives is their custodian. The Archivist will provide researchers with more current records under special circumstances, but only with the permission of the originating committee or body.

Original archival records will only be used when no other form is available. The care and use of archival holdings will follow accepted archival principles. It is the obligation of the researcher to document the CYM Archives as the holder of items referenced.

The Archives provides safe keeping and backup for original minutes, records and other documents. Acid-free paper copies of current records, now usually computerized, should be forwarded to the Archives when a clerk changes, or at timely intervals, with the understanding that copies may be requested at any time, a protection should records be lost or destroyed. All Meetings are responsible for the records of their constituent Meetings, and should forward these records to the Archives should such a member Meeting be laid down.

CHAPTER 7: Meeting of Ministry and Counsel

Each Monthly Meeting should appoint suitable Friends to form its Meeting of Ministry and Counsel. Members of Monthly Meetings of Ministry and Counsel automatically compose the respective Half-Yearly and Yearly Meetings of Ministry and Counsel.

Where a Meeting has no Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, or finds that none of its Ministry and Counsel are able to attend Yearly Meeting, it may, if it wishes, appoint a suitable Friend (see Section 7.10) who is able to attend Yearly Meeting, to attend Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel sessions on its behalf and should notify the Clerk of Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel of the appointment.

7.1 Appointment of members

Appointments to the Meetings of Ministry and Counsel should be given prayerful consideration, since it means the acceptance of greater responsibility. It should be an encouragement to humility of spirit and consecration of life and effort. Realizing that the individual may not feel qualified in this sense, nevertheless, the judgment of the Monthly Meeting should have influence.

Appointments may be made by the Monthly Meeting on recommendation from the Nominating Committee or a special committee named by the Monthly Meeting for that purpose. It is suggested that appointments be made on a temporary basis for a definite period of time, probably three years, with one-third of the number being appointed each year. It is not to be considered a permanent appointment, and neither does the position transfer with membership. Meetings are advised to continue in this office only those persons who endeavour to strengthen the spiritual life of the Meeting.

A number of Meetings continue to use the terms Elder or Overseer for those who are appointed to their Meetings of Ministry and Counsel. It is optional whether this practice be maintained, but in any event, the responsibilities of those who are appointed to this Meeting will be the same.


Valuable advice concerning the duties of the members of Meetings of Ministry and Counsel will be found in Christian Faith and Practice, particularly under the headings of “Elders” and “Pastoral Care.” It is recommended that members of Meetings of Ministry and Counsel, both individually and occasionally together, might review these sections; and this would be a good practice for Nominating Committees charged with recommending persons for appointment to the Meeting of Ministry and Counsel.

 7.2 Spiritual care and counselling

It is advisable for clerks of Meetings of Ministry and Counsel to bear in mind that the Monthly Meeting for Business is organized to attend to temporal affairs. It is the responsibility of the Meeting of Ministry and Counsel to nurture the spiritual life of the Society, to care for Meetings for Worship, to encourage a way of life consistent with Christian Scriptures and the ancient testimonies of Friends, and to counsel with persons in time of need.

7.3 Vocal ministry

This Meeting is also charged with the encouragement of suitable vocal ministry as well as silent communion. There may be times when it is necessary by loving counsel to restrain unacceptable speaking, as well as to encourage participation. Differences in ability should be carefully considered, and care taken not to give offence in counselling.

7.4 Visitation

Members of Ministry and Counsel should be concerned to visit the sick, the aged, the troubled, the sorrowing, and others in time of need. It is both a privilege and a responsibility to share the joys and sorrows of life. This Meeting is also responsible for communication with members living beyond the bounds of the local Meeting.

7.5 Weddings and funerals

The responsibility for the care of weddings and of funerals and for the counselling of Friends at such times rests in large measure on members of Ministry and Counsel.

7.6 Care of the young

Meetings of Ministry and Counsel should exercise loving care over attenders and over the young and particular attention should be given to regular oversight of First Day School and similar activities which are of such importance both to the individuals concerned and to the future welfare of the Society.

7.7 Frequency of meetings

Meetings of Ministry and Counsel should meet as often as may be thought necessary, but it is recommended practice to meet at least monthly.

7.8 Report on the State of the Society

Once each year the Monthly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel shall prepare a report on the State of Society. This report should include reports from any Worship Group or Meeting under the care of the Monthly Meeting. The report, after approval of the Monthly Meeting, shall be forwarded to Yearly Meeting for inclusion in Reports for Canadian Yearly Meeting. Where applicable, it should also be sent to the Half-Yearly Meeting for reading and consideration.

The report should be a searching self-examination by the Meeting and its members of their spiritual strengths and weaknesses and of the efforts made to foster growth in the spiritual life. Reports may cover the full range of interest and concerns, but should emphasize those indicative of the spiritual health of the Meeting. Meetings may wish to consider one or more of the following:

  • Quality of worship and ministry.
  • Efforts to foster spiritual growth.
  • Stand taken on Friends’ principles.
  • Personal and family relations.
  • Relations with community and other religious groups.
  • Participation in general activities of Friends.
  • Significant activities or concerns of the local Meeting.
  • Regard for familiarity with the scriptures and other relevant writings.

7.9 Recording gifts in the ministry

Historically, Friends have had the practice of officially recognizing a gift in the ministry whenever a member has spoken to the edification and spiritual help of the Meeting and has rendered service to such extent as to afford a basis for judgment of the nature of this gift and calling. Although in recent years it has been uncommon for Canadian Meetings to record ministers, it is optional for Monthly Meetings to do so, and all Meetings seek to encourage such gifts when they appear. Meetings wishing to record gifts in the ministry should use the following traditional procedure. (It should be noted that a Recorded Minister in this sense is to be differentiated from ministers or other persons who may be registered by a Meeting under the statutes of a Province for recording vital statistics, etc.)

When the Monthly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel is satisfied that a member has a sustained gift in the ministry, this may be reported to the Monthly Meeting. If the Monthly Meeting approves, the Monthly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel should prepare a minute for consideration of the Half-Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, which will appoint a committee to appraise the general fitness of the individual under consideration, and to report at a subsequent session of the Half-Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel. If the committee reports favourably, the matter should be brought before the Half-Yearly Meeting by an extract from the minutes of the Half-Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel.

When the Half-Yearly Meeting has acted favourably upon the matter, the recording is thereby completed and the Clerk should furnish a copy of the minute to the Monthly Meeting of which the individual is a member. The latter should enter this minute in its book of record. The action should also be reported to the Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel.

In case a member who has been recorded as a minister appears to have lost the gift or usefulness in the ministry, a proposal to rescind the action recording the name as a minister may originate in the Meeting of Ministry and Counsel of either the Monthly Meeting or Half-Yearly Meeting of which he or she is a member. In every case the final action should rest with the Half-Yearly Meeting. The individual concerned and the Monthly Meeting to which he or she belongs should be notified before final action is taken.

Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel

7.10 The body

The Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel is composed of all members of Monthly Meetings of Ministry and Counsel who are present at the Yearly Meeting, or those asked to serve their Monthly Meetings in this capacity at Yearly Meeting. Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel is a smaller body composed of [six] members from throughout Yearly Meeting, with the responsibility of assuming the role of Ministry and Counsel for the Yearly Meeting. Names of Friends to serve on Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel are discerned by Nominating Committee (see Section 6.16: Nominating Committee) and brought to Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel for approval.

Members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel choose a clerk from within their number. This clerk also serves as clerk of Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel.

Neither the Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel nor its Continuing Meeting is a decision-making body for the Yearly Meeting. Worship, prayerful seeking, and loving care help the Meeting of Ministry and Counsel to grow in its ability to be useful and to make the body of Friends more supportive of one another. The Continuing Meeting should be in close communication with local Meetings of Ministry and Counsel. An awareness of needs in one Meeting may help Friends in addressing similar concerns in another Meeting. It is also helpful for members of Ministry and Counsel to be aware of the overall needs and concerns within the Society and to strive to meet these as stated in Sections 7.2–7.9, as we seek right and effective patterns for growth and outreach.

7.11 Responsibilities

Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel through its Continuing Meeting provides care and support for all Meetings for Worship across Canada. During sessions of Yearly Meeting it offers care and support for the worship which underlies all business sessions of the Yearly Meeting, for all Meetings for Worship held during Yearly Meeting, and for those in attendance. It appoints listening committees and committees of care as requested during Yearly Meeting. On behalf of Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel receives and considers concerns arising from Meetings or individuals in matters relating to worship or the living out of our faith and testimonies as Friends. When appropriate, these concerns may be channelled to other bodies of the Yearly Meeting.

Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel meets as a body at least once during sessions of Yearly Meeting. At that Meeting, Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel approves the names of new members, or of members nominated for a second term, for Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel. It receives the State of Society Reports from the constituent Meetings. It also receives and considers the draft statement prepared by the Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel on the state of the spiritual life of the whole Yearly Meeting based on the Monthly Meetings’ State of Society Reports. Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel then prepares a final version of this statement to be received by Canadian Yearly Meeting.

CHAPTER 8: Clearness Committees, Committes of Care, and Oversight Committees

8.1 Introduction

Faced with difficult decisions, or imperative concerns, Friends have often asked others to help them to discern the will of God and the leading of the Spirit in their lives. Friends in difficult situations have also asked others for help and encouragement to enable them to carry out their tasks rightly. Sometimes these arrangements are informal; sometimes the Meeting itself takes the initiative. Friends are then found who will meet those in need and offer their presence, prayers, love and support.

There are three types of committees on which Friends may draw. These are: Clearness Committees, Committees of Care, and Oversight Committees. In the work of all of these committees, the qualities of clearness and discernment are paramount.

Historically, Friends came to Meeting for help in discerning whether their concerns were spiritually based leadings, or based on their own will. The following paragraphs stem from such a background. They are relevant to the work of today’s committees, which often must struggle through the more profane world of day-to-day life, and its personal problems, which Friends still seek to illumine with a spark of the Divine. In his 1984 pamphlet, Introduction to Quaker Spirituality, Douglas Steere writes:

“Concerns and the process of discernment require further scrutiny to understand their central place in Quaker practice. The Book of Acts in the New Testament sparkles with vivid concerns and the following of divine guidance, no matter at what cost. Believing that we are still in the Apostolic age and that we do not work alone, Quakers have experienced in their corporate Meetings for Worship and in their private devotions leadings to which they have sought to be attentive. The small inner nudges … may be swiftly cared for, but concerns that may involve changes of career or that involve others in their unfolding call for more deliberate care. How such guidance is to be regarded and how it is to be followed raises the whole question of discernment. In what ways may individual Friends be helped to test the authenticity of a concern and how may they be assisted in what this may demand of them? Here again the strong corporate side of Quakerism has been able to furnish spiritual assistance … The traditional procedure is to call together a small committee of clearness” (pp. 42–43).

8.2 Discernment and clearness

Some individuals are blessed with a gift for discernment – they seem to know what to do. Others must come by this skill with more effort. The key to this in the religious area is prayer. In doing this we bring ourselves into the Light; we also bring our understandings and our confusions; we bring our hopes and fears, our ambitions and desires. With divine help we may lay them all down, and be left with clarity and thanksgiving. Getting from here to there requires testing our thoughts and our feelings by the Light.

We may be granted a vision of clarity directly; but more often we must look for examples of discernment reflected in the lives and decisions of others. The Bible being a record of the work of the Spirit through history is a most valuable source for such vicarious experiences. Friends may also make use of the Journals kept by the great ministers of our Society – George Fox, John Woolman, Elizabeth Fry, Stephen Grellet, Elias Hicks, et al. We may also look to more recent records and the experience of those we know, and should not neglect our own journals. It is all too easy to forget an experience of divine guidance that we may have been blessed with in the past when we are overwhelmed with a dilemma in the present. The practice of thanksgiving helps to banish forgetfulness and allows us to grow throughout our lives. Prayer and study usefully undergird the work of committees as well as individuals if they are to discern way forward. Where individuals feel too inexperienced to feel that they can rightly discern God’s will alone in prayer, they may consult more experienced Friends – not to make their decision for them but to help them with the process of discerning it.

The most commonly used consultative process, and often the best, is for the perplexed individual to go to a number of people informally and hear what they have to say on the matter – to personal friends, colleagues, professionals and members of the Meeting and then to meditate over what they have learned and then act as the way opens.

Clearness is a deep inner certainty based on spiritual discernment. Clearness takes time. It cannot be achieved for a Meeting or an individual while there is an impediment or stop in the mind. Friends’ testimony is that with Divine assistance and others’ help, the liberation and assurance of true clearness will come.

General Guidelines For Committees

8.3 Formation

These committees are under the care of Monthly, Half-Yearly, or Yearly Meetings, or their Meetings of Ministry and Counsel. Their initiation, however, differs:

  • Clearness Committees are initiated by the individual, who approaches the relevant Meeting with a concern or problem that necessitates a decision. When the decision is reached, the work of the Committee ceases.
  • Committees of Oversight are initiated by Meetings, which feel that right ordering in carrying out something must be safeguarded.
  • Committees of Care may be initiated by either the individual or the Meeting to give continuing support to the person in an undertaking, or because the person needs help.

The latter two kinds of committees last much longer than a Clearness Committee.

8.4 Function

Committees of Care and Clearness Committees are concerned primarily with people; Committees of Oversight are concerned primarily with tasks. Thus, those Friends serving Meetings may have both an Oversight Committee to which they are accountable and a Committee of Care which supports them personally.

Committees should not change their functions without reference to the authorizing body. For example, Committees of Clearness should not allow themselves to become ongoing Committees of Care, and Oversight Committees should not allow themselves to become Committees of Care while still functioning as Oversight Committees.

8.5 Membership

A membership of two to four persons is recommended. In the case of Clearness Committees, and Committees of Care, the person concerned is consulted about the choice of members. In the case of Committees of Oversight, the person is not consulted.

Service on these committees can be very demanding, and Meetings should be mindful that they cannot always supply the right members for such committees. If that is so, they should be prepared to reach out to other Meetings, or refer to appropriate resources in the community. It is essential that members work as a team, and do not work as individuals with the Friend concerned, without the knowledge and approval of the other members.

8.6 Clerk

The first choice for Clerk would be a Committee member who is also a member of the Meeting’s Ministry and Counsel. The Clerk is responsible to see that all members are clear as to their duties, their terms of reference, and the length of service expected of them. The Clerk should oversee the sharing of expectations of one another on the part of all participants, including the Friend(s) asking assistance.

The Clerk either is, or appoints, a recorder. It is the Clerk’s responsibility to see that any notes are disposed of properly, according to the type of Committee. This is particularly important because documents may, on occasion, be subpoenaed by a court of law.

The Clerk should consult with the Friend concerned as to how the Committee can best work with the Friend. For example, does the Friend function best in a structured, or informal situation?

8.7 Resources

Committee members will find it useful to know of helpful agencies and support services, groups and individuals outside the Meeting community.

Time given to reading and prayerful preparation in advance will help to generate an atmosphere of trust and care. Only rarely will a committee have only one meeting. A reasonable interval between meetings allows for reflection, prayer, and growth for all concerned.

8.8 Conduct of meetings

The location of meetings is important; there needs to be an atmosphere of privacy, comfort, and concern for the reputations of others. Meetings should be conducted in the manner of Friends. In all cases, the committees will maintain careful sensitivity to the privacy of the Friend(s) concerned.

In an atmosphere of support and caring, the person(s) will be free to say what they think and feel. To listen creatively involves faith in Friends’ patience, a desire to understand, and help to clarify problems and needs. During meetings, the committee will raise questions, suggest options and share experiences where appropriate. Time should be allowed for prayer.

An immediate solution is not always possible in the situations which come before us, and the seeking for Divine guidance may bear fruit much later in the lives of all concerned. These committees are one way of providing friendship and assistance within the Meeting family. In all exchanges based on love we are both givers and receivers of Divine blessings. The use/operation of these committees helps not only the Friends involved, but greatly strengthens the Meeting as a whole.

8.9 Records

The recorder may make notes of the discussion and decisions. These confidential notes should be read back and copies given to the concerned Friend(s) and Clerk of the committee. Because notes could be evidence in a court of law, when the committee is laid down, all notes and minutes should be handed over to the concerned Friend(s), to be kept or destroyed as desired. No copies should be retained by the Meeting. The committee should report to the Meeting that it has met, and, if appropriate, its decisions.

Special Guidelines

8.10 Clearness Committees

Purpose and function:

  • To help Friend(s) discern the will of God as well as her or himself in making a difficult decision.
  • To help Friend(s) test the genuineness and ramifications of a concern that involves the Meeting.

The Friends with whom they consult will not make their decisions for them, but will help them in the process of discerning God’s will.

Clearness Committees are set up for a limited time only, until the purpose is completed. They report to their appointing Meeting at least the dates of their meetings, and when their task is completed, so that the committee can be laid down.

Clearness Committees for marriage are discussed in Section 10.4.

Appointment: Suitability of committee members should be considered with care by the Meeting concerned, as often sensitive issues are being considered. The acceptability of suggested members should first be cleared with the Friend(s) concerned, before final appointment.

 8.11 Committees of Care

Purpose and function:

  • To provide help, both practical and spiritual, during times of stress in the lives of members of the Meeting, for example, bereavement, separation, illness, or career changes
  • To sustain Friend(s) engaged in demanding Meeting work over a long period.

Care must be taken not to create a dependency, but to enable Friends to be independent, and to make their own choices.

Appointment: A wider choice of people is needed for Committees of Care than for Clearness Committees, as the life of the Committee is so much longer, and the people may need to be rotated. The choice of members should be approved by the Friend(s) in need. The need for the Committee should be reviewed periodically by the appointing Meeting, and the Committee should be laid down when its job is done.

8.12 Oversight Committees

Purpose and function: An Oversight Committee is accountable to its appointing Meeting for the execution of the responsibilities of the Friend being overseen; the oversight is of the proper fulfilment of the task, and not of the person concerned. Care for the person, if necessary, is the responsibility of a Committee of Care. Membership in the two, if needed, should not overlap.

The Oversight Committee and the designated Friend(s) should meet with the Clerk of the appointing Meeting to clarify expectations, including terms of reference, responsibilities, and a clear job description, at the outset. The terms of reference should be reviewed periodically, as well as the need for the program, task, or office itself.

It is essential that an Oversight Committee function as a whole, and that its members not work independently. The Oversight Committee serves the Meeting as a two-way channel for messages and comments on the program, task, or office being supervised. This procedure avoids the creation of tensions in the Meeting. Otherwise, a hardworking Friend serves too many masters.

Appointment: The person overseen need not be consulted on membership of the Committee. The members should have skills appropriate to what is overseen. Membership may be changed periodically by the appointing Meeting, because this committee’s duration tends to be long.

CHAPTER 9: Opportunities for Service Under Concern

9.1 The ministry of chaplaincy

A sense of call comes directly from the Holy Spirit. In the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), this is discerned, affirmed and supported by the worshipping community. In past years, Friends recorded those whose public ministry was found to be of spiritual help. Although it has been uncommon in recent years for Canadian Meetings to record ministers, this process is still in our discipline, and the process of recording Friends in the ministry of chaplaincy is based on this practice.

Chaplains are persons who are called to a professional ministry of pastoral and spiritual care in places such as prisons, penitentiaries, hospitals, schools, long-term care homes, psychiatric facilities, community centres, universities, the street, or elsewhere.

As volunteers, Friends have long offered spiritual care to those in institutions, arising originally from their own experience in the jails of seventeen-century England. The work of Elizabeth Fry, Muriel Bishop, Ruth Morris, and Fred Franklin, among others, are examples of ministry to prisoners.

The call to a ministry of chaplaincy is a call to a professional ministry with its attendant opportunities and responsibilities. Institutions expect chaplains to have appropriate training and to be recognized by their denomination; these expectations may vary from one institution to another.

A Friend called to a ministry of spiritual support with a concern to serve as a chaplain will usually need endorsement by the Yearly Meeting to fulfil this leading. Time to discern and minute this in the manner of Friends will be needed.

It is unlikely that a person recognized by Canadian Yearly Meeting as a Quaker chaplain will be employed in a position that uses this terminology, but will generally be employed by an institution as a Protestant or Ecumenical Chaplain, and be expected to offer spiritual and pastoral care to people with a wide range of religious backgrounds.

Reaffirming other aspects of our ministry in prisons, and the goal of restorative justice, we support the work of volunteers, the Alternatives to Violence Project, and the commitment of our minuted unity to abolish prisons and replace them with … non-punitive, life-affirming and reconciling responses … Prison abolition is both a process and a long-term goal. In the interim, there is a great need for Friends to reach out and support all those affected: guards, prisoners, victims and families (CYM 1981 Minute 93).

Canadian Yearly Meeting has established a standing body to oversee requests from Friends to be recognized as chaplains. This body consists of two Elders with a concern for chaplaincy.

Their duties are summarized in supporting documents for Organization and Procedure. Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel names two Elders with a concern for chaplaincy, chosen from different geographical areas, with a term of five years, renewable and staggered, so that one of the experienced Elders will always be available. Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel has oversight of the Elders with a concern for chaplaincy. The Elders send copies of all reports to the Clerk of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel.

Friends are called to strongly and faithfully support those who have followed their leadings into this ministry to serve as Friends chaplains.

9.2 An overview of the process

A Friend who feels called to the ministry of chaplaincy should explore the call with close/seasoned Friends and, if encouraged, bring the call to the Monthly Meeting for business. The Monthly Meeting appoints a Clearness Committee and informs the Elders with a concern for chaplaincy that the process has been initiated.

If the Monthly Meeting Clearness Committee recommends the called Friend as a chaplain and this is confirmed and minuted by the Meeting for Business, the Monthly Meeting notifies the Clerk of Canadian Yearly Meeting and the Elders with a concern for chaplaincy.

At this time, the Elders with a concern for chaplaincy appoint a Yearly Meeting Clearness Committee.

Depending on the time of year, the Clerk of Canadian Yearly Meeting informs the Yearly Meeting in session or the members of Representative Meeting, that the Friend has requested a Yearly Meeting Clearness Committee for chaplaincy.

The Yearly Meeting Clearness Committee meets, both with and without the called Friend, and determines whether a Minute of Call should be recommended.

The Yearly Meeting Clearness Committee informs the Elders with a concern for chaplaincy of their recommendation. If a minute of call is recommended, the Elders report to the Yearly Meeting in session or Representative Meeting.

Yearly Meeting in session or Representative Meeting discerns its response to the Minute of Call to Chaplaincy for the called Friend.

The steps of this process, as approved by Canadian Yearly Meeting, are detailed in supporting documents of Organization and Procedure, which can be obtained from the Elders with a concern for chaplaincy.

CHAPTER 10: Marriage

For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests or magistrates; for it is God’s ordinance and not Man’s; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together; for we marry none; it is the Lord’s work, and we are but witnesses.

George Fox (1669)

10.1 Friends’ view of marriage

Friends have always regarded marriage as a religious, not a mere civil compact. Those contemplating marriage are exhorted to seek Divine guidance in making their decision and throughout their subsequent married life. Attention is directed to Christian Faith and Practice, extracts 272 and 481–510, where valuable guidance and counsel may be found.

Early Friends realized the importance of recording marriages which had taken place in Meetings for Worship and requested that the civil authorities recognize these marriages. They fervently maintained, however, that the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only; it could not be done by priest, magistrate, or other appointed person, nor is it the act simply of the parties themselves. Marriage is a solemn contract made in the presence of God.

From the very early days of the Society stress has been laid on the need for serious consideration prior to marriage, the clearness of the parties from all other engagements, the publicity given to the intention of marriage, and the value of the Meeting for Worship in which the declarations are made by the parties in the presence of a number of fellow members of the Society.

Witnesses are required, partly to confirm that the declarations of marriage have been made by the parties, but principally to join with them in an act of worship. Thomas Ellwood, recalling his own marriage in 1669, wrote of the value of the Meeting for Worship: “We sensibly felt the Lord with us and joining us, the sense whereof remained with us all our lifetime, and was of good service and very comfortable to us on all occasions.”

The Society of Friends has established certain procedures for the conduct of a marriage to be solemnized in a Friends’ Meeting for Worship. This is partly to ensure that proper records are kept and that legal requirements are observed. Far more important, however, is the value of the procedure in emphasizing to those being married the solemn nature of their undertaking; to Monthly Meeting the need to uphold the parties concerned, both during the Meeting for Worship and after; and to all those concerned, their corporate responsibility for the Meeting for Worship to be rightly held.

In these times of social flux, many Friends are questioning marriage as we have traditionally understood it. In the search for new meanings and expressions of commitments, we may find that we have no clear guidance for couples. However, we reaffirm our testimony that a committed relationship should be entered into only under a sense of Divine leading, with due care to avoid impulsive decisions which later can lead to much hurt. We also reaffirm that marriage is a life-long, living process; it is a vocation and a commitment to be loving and nurturing of one another. The wedding celebration is one specific occasion within that lengthy relationship. Notwithstanding the ideal, we recognize that divorced persons are welcomed for marriage in a Friends’ Meeting.

A Meeting for Worship for the solemnization of a marriage is held in the same form and spirit as a Friends’ Meeting for Worship at other times. It is an occasion when the parties to the marriage may gain inspiration and help from the Meeting, which may continue to be a source of strength to them during their married life. It is also an opportunity for those who attend the Meeting for Worship to ask God’s blessing on the marriage and to support the parties to it in their prayers.


10.2 Summary

The persons wishing to be married in a Friends’ Meeting for Worship must apply to the Monthly Meeting for the Meeting for Worship to be arranged. The Monthly Meeting must appoint a committee to visit with the parties, to ascertain that there are no obstacles to the proposed marriage and to ensure that both parties understand the nature of marriage as understood by Friends. If the committee reports that the way seems clear to proceed with the marriage and the Monthly Meeting approves, the Meeting for Worship is arranged. During the Meeting for Worship, both parties make their solemn promises. They sign the Certificate of Marriage either then or towards the close of the meeting. The certificate is then read to the whole Meeting by a person appointed for this task. At the end of the Meeting for Worship, usually, all present are invited to sign the certificate as witnesses.

Appropriate arrangements are made for notification of the civil authorities. Marriage will not be considered legal if a legal impediment exists.

10.3 Application to the Monthly Meeting

The persons who wish to have their marriage solemnized in a Friends’ Meeting for Worship should write a letter to the Clerk of the Monthly Meeting stating their intention to be married and their desire that the Monthly Meeting have oversight of the wedding. This letter should be delivered if possible three months before the desired date of the wedding to allow for the necessary approvals and arrangements.

If either person is a member of a different Monthly Meeting, a similar letter must be written to her/his own Monthly Meeting explaining the intention to marry and naming the Monthly Meeting which has been asked to have oversight of the wedding.

If neither person is in membership, the letter of application should be accompanied by a written recommendation from an adult member of the Society. This adult member is expected to have discussed the application with the parties; should be satisfied that the applicants are in unity with Friends’ testimony as to the nature of marriage and, if possible, have experience of our Meetings for Worship. He/she should not be a close relative of either party.

When a Monthly Meeting receives a letter of application for a marriage to be conducted under its care, it should appoint a clearness committee to meet with the two persons. It is suggested that two to four Friends be appointed. They should be familiar with our testimonies regarding marriage; close relatives of either party should be excluded from the committee. The committee should meet with the persons intending to marry. It should enquire to ascertain that there are no obstacles to the wedding, and ensure that both persons understand Friends’ beliefs regarding marriage. When the committee has met with the couple and has reached clearness on whether the marriage should be allowed, it should report its findings to the Monthly Meeting.

If the Monthly Meeting approves the conduct of the wedding, the same committee or a newly appointed committee of care will be responsible to advise the couple on procedure and to assist them with making the necessary arrangements.

When a Monthly Meeting receives a letter from a member advising that he/she wishes to marry under the care of another Monthly Meeting, a letter should be sent to the other Monthly Meeting certifying whether there is any known obstacle to the proposed marriage.

When a Monthly Meeting receives notice of intended marriage of one of its members or of an attender in its area, it shall arrange for a public notice of the intended marriage to be given at the close of the usual Meeting(s) for Worship of which the parties are members or which they attend. Any notice of objection should be delivered immediately to the Clerk of the Monthly Meeting in writing, who shall communicate it to the committee and to the parties without delay.

10.4 Advice to the marriage clearness committee

The committee is appointed by the Monthly Meeting which has been asked to have care of the marriage. It should meet with both parties if at all possible, both separately and together. The committee should enquire what understanding the persons have of Friends’ beliefs regarding marriage. The committee should interpret and explain those beliefs as necessary and give guidance for the couple’s consideration.

The couple should be counselled on the form of a Friends’ marriage. They should also be counselled prayerfully that marital bonds can be severely tried by unanticipated difficulties. God’s help should be sought at all times. The couple should also be assured of the continuing care for them that will be felt by the Meeting, even (and especially) if they move to live somewhere else.

It is recommended that the committee also meet with the parents of both parties, where appropriate, to include them in the deliberations.

Consideration should be given to asking the couple to take a course in preparation for marriage. Such courses may be available locally.

Special care should be exercised in the following cases:

  • where neither party attends Meeting for Worship regularly;
  • where neither party is a member; or
  • where either party has had a previous marriage dissolved.

10.5 Marriage arrangements committee

If the proposed marriage is approved by the Monthly Meeting, an appointed committee will advise and care for the couple in preparation for the ceremony. This committee, in consultation with the couple, will make arrangements to ensure that the wedding is accomplished with simplicity, dignity and reverence. All Friends should remember to show interest and give support for the couple during this time of preparation.

The committee is also responsible for advising the couple on the necessary formalities. This includes preparation of the Marriage Certificate, giving necessary public notice of the intended marriage, and the procedure for notifying the civil authorities of the marriage. If a couple applying for marriage under the care of a Meeting has an objection to complying with legal requirements, the Monthly Meeting must be clear that it is convinced of the depth of the couple’s objections before approving the proposed commitment. Moreover, in that case, the Meeting should ensure that there is a marriage contract.

10.6 The Meeting for Marriage

Friends are affectionately advised to take care that the occasion of the wedding ceremony be characterized by the simplicity and dignity becoming a Meeting for Worship after the manner of Friends.

The Monthly Meeting is responsible for appointing a Friend to take care of the Friends’ Marriage Certificate at the meeting for solemnization of the marriage. Before the meeting, the couple should deliver the Marriage Certificate to this Friend, ready for completion at the ceremony. This Friend must also be registered in advance with the authorities and he or she will be responsible for signing forms that record the marriage with the authorities.

The Monthly Meeting is recommended to appoint a sufficient number of suitable Friends to ensure that the Meeting for Worship is held in accordance with our practices. Where it is expected that many will be present who have no previous experience of Meeting for Worship, it may be desirable for a suitable Friend to explain briefly the nature of the Meeting for Worship and the procedure to be followed.

During the Meeting for Worship, the Friends gathered will uphold the couple and through prayer, spoken ministry and silent intervals, and celebrate the love of God of which the couple and we are a part. As well as celebrating the commitment of two people to one another, a wedding is also a time to acknowledge the commitment of the couple to their Meeting community and vice versa. The couple and the Meeting will gain from the strength and stability engendered by a new relationship being created in their midst. At a suitable time in the Meeting for Worship, the couple stand and, taking each other by the hand, make their declarations.

Acceptable variations of the declaration of the vows (as suggested in the following Certificate of Marriage) can be found in books of Friends’ discipline or modified somewhat to suit the couple. These declarations are made without the aid of any officiating minister. Since the union of two persons in marriage is an act of God, not of humans, it cannot be solemnized by any person appointed for that purpose.

If by reason of an impediment of speech or otherwise, either of the parties is unable to make the declaration distinctly, the Friend charged with the Marriage Certificate shall read the declaration audibly and the party shall indicate assent to its terms in some clear and unmistakable way.

The Friends’ Marriage Certificate, which is designed in consultation with the couple, is to be signed towards the end of the worship service by the couple with whatever names they used before the marriage, using their full names. Later, it is to be read audibly by a suitable Friend. Those present who have heard the declaration may sign the Certificate after the conclusion of the Meeting. It is recommended that the certificate be signed and read either immediately after the declarations have been made, or towards the close of the Meeting. The Certificate should be signed by at least two witnesses.

10.7 Certificate of marriage

One recommended form appears below. Other suitable forms of certificate may be found in the various disciplines published by Friends’ Meetings, or the couple may wish to compose their own certificate in keeping with the deep religious significance of marriage.

Certificates of Marriage, prepared by the couple in consultation with the marriage arrangements committee are a valuable record of the couple’s new vocation and venture in the life of the Meeting.

AB of ______ and CD of ______[4] having declared their intention of marrying to the ______ Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends held at ______ and having complied with the marriage procedure of Canadian Yearly Meeting, the proposed marriage was approved by that Monthly Meeting.

This is to certify that AB and CD appeared this ____ day of the ______ month of the year ____ in a Meeting for Worship of the Religious Society of Friends held at ________. And AB taking CD by the hand[5] on this solemn occasion declared that he took her, CD, to be his wife; promising with Divine Assistance to be unto her a loving and faithful husband so long as they both on earth shall live [or words to that effect]. Then in the same assembly CD in like manner declared that she took him, AB, to be her husband; promising with Divine Assistance to be unto him a loving and faithful wife so long as both on earth shall live (or words to that effect).

In confirmation of these declarations they have in this Meeting signed this Certificate of Marriage.



We having been present at the marriage have also as witnesses subscribed our names the day and year above written.

__________        ________         _________       _________

__________        ________         _________       _________

10.8 Registration of marriages

Care should be taken to record the marriage in the minutes of the Monthly Meeting. These entries should be indexed (see Section 4.3).

Each Province and Territory has established its own procedure for registering the marriage. The committee of care appointed for the marriage should normally assist the couple in seeing that all registration requirements are met. The Statement of Marriage form should be signed by the appropriate persons, and the appointed Friend must attend to the filing of that form at the appropriate government office, and to the completion of the Register of Marriages maintained by the Monthly Meeting.

In some provinces, Monthly Meetings have a Friend appointed to register marriages carried out according to the manner of Friends. Notwithstanding the legal form of authorization accorded by the provinces such persons may register only such marriages carried out under the care of the Monthly Meeting.

If the couple maintains a conscientious objection to the completion of civil registration of their marriage, the Monthly Meeting must be clear that it is in unity with the couple’s plans before proceeding with the worship ceremony of commitment.

10.9 Nurture of marriage

Ideally marriage is a life-long process; the preparations and celebration are only part of that lengthy relationship. Friends need to enrich their marriages continually and to support one another in many personal changes which are inevitable.

We advise Friends to review Chapter 10 of Christian Faith and Practice especially during times of stress for any of the families in the Meeting. When a couple first seeks clearness to marry, the possibilities of future difficulties, and approaches to solving them, should be considered. When conflicts arise, they may be met by seeking God’s help, by patience, by mutual forbearance, by a sense of humour and proportion, and by a common will to create a true home. Friends should also be aware that others in the Meeting care for them, and can offer support and comfort in distress. Those in difficulty might also seek trained counselling. The guiding and healing power of God’s love can be found acting through many channels if it is sought.

If a marriage runs into serious difficulties, we should cherish the spirit of understanding and forgiveness to which Christ calls us.

10.10 Separation and divorce

In each breakdown of marriage, the individuals or family members involved will have their own unique needs. General suggestions can be made, but it will be important for Friends in the Meeting to be sensitive, caring and spontaneous in their responses to those concerned. Meetings should recognize their limitations in providing help, and encourage those involved to seek trained counselling, while offering Friendly acceptance and reassurance that they remain valuable human beings. The primary focus will be on the support of each person and not just saving the relationship.

Those who are separating or divorcing may be conscious of pain and loss, and can experience overwhelming emotions of grief, uncertainty or loneliness. They may also feel freedom in release from a situation which they had found intolerable. There will be a need to search for spiritual strength and growth as changes occur in our lives.

Couples or individuals may request a committee of clearness, to be appointed by the Meeting of Ministry and Counsel in consultation with them, to assist in trying to reach agreement. Friends from outside the local Meeting may also be included. This may lead to reconciliation, or if separation is decided upon, the committee may assist in deciding on division of assets, arrangements for care and custody of children, and so on. It may be a real aid in providing a context wherein potentially embittered partners can communicate over essentials and start building a new way of relating to each other. Sufficient legal advice may be needed to ensure right ordering of the separation.

Although children will suffer with their separating parents, they may also be a source of joy and companionship. Parents should consider carefully how to explain the situation to their children, according to their level of understanding, without involving them in the dispute. It is important for the Meeting to provide continuity of loving care for the children.

The first year is particularly difficult, and frequent short visits, telephone calls, or letters are most helpful. Friends should continue to welcome all persons involved as active members of the Meeting if they remain so, and encourage the family to continue attendance at the Meeting and contributions to its life. In a small Meeting it could happen that one partner feels uncomfortable attending when the other is present. The clearness committee may be able to help them work through the difficulty, so that the openness of meetings for all to attend becomes a reality for each of them again.

If a divorcing couple wishes to hold a Meeting for Worship at which their marriage is laid down, this may be done at the discretion of the Meeting of Ministry and Counsel. Sensitive ministry at such a meeting may be a comfort to the individuals and to others close to them who are distressed.

CHAPTER 11: Birth or Adoption of a Child

11.1 Birth and adoption

The birth or adoption of a child is a momentous event that needs recognition and support. There are several aspects that can be addressed by the Meeting. The Meeting family wishes to share the joy of the child’s family, and there is a responsibility on the Meeting to provide spiritual support to the parents or parent in raising the child. This responsibility is even more necessary today when it is rare for parents to have the support of family members living nearby. As the child grows, the Meeting needs to do all possible to help the child feel a part of the Meeting, irrespective of whether the child has been brought into membership. Families fostering a child may also need the Meeting’s support for the special responsibilities that are being taken on.

There is no widely recognized way in which a newly born or adopted child is welcomed into the worshipping community, but it is recommended that some form of welcoming be arranged. In some Meetings a Meeting for Worship is specifically called, similar to Meetings held to celebrate a marriage or the life of a departed Friend. Sometimes it is the custom for designated Friends to visit the family at home on behalf of the Meeting. In other cases, an announcement is made at a regular First Day Meeting for Worship when the child is present for the first time. Often this is followed by a shared meal or other social event to celebrate such a happy occasion.

It is recommended that Monthly Meetings minute the names of all children adopted by or born to members of the Meeting.

CHAPTER 12: Death, Dying, and Care of the Bereaved

Friends’ approach to death is characteristic of our approach to life. We are seeking a way and truth made manifest in the life and death of Jesus Christ and of many others who have lived in that life and spirit. Friends are advised to prepare in advance for their own deaths and the deaths of those nearest them, spiritually, materially, and emotionally insofar as this is possible. These preparations will include the completion of wills and discussion of arrangements with family and executors.

Meetings can help in this process. They are advised to encourage members to make their basic decisions known and any special requests in connection with Memorial Meetings. A letter or form outlining these decisions should be kept on file by the Meeting. Friends are advised to make arrangements in advance with a funeral chapel or a local memorial society. Friends’ perspectives on death are included in Christian Faith and Practice under “Death and Funerals”, and in pamphlets such as The Conduct of Quaker Funerals (available from Quaker Book Service). We need each other’s support to grow and develop in all phases of our life experience.

12.1 Memorial Meetings

The Memorial Meeting is a Meeting for Worship after the manner of Friends, taking into account any personal requests of the individual and the family. Of these Meetings, Christian Faith and Practice (extract 529) says:

“The funerals of Friends should be held in a spirit of quiet peace and trust. Natural sorrow there will be, especially for friends taken away in youth and in the strength of their days, but often our thought may be one of great thankfulness for lives which have borne witness to the upholding power of Christ.”

An attitude of thanksgiving to God for the life of the deceased is characteristic of Memorial Meetings for Friends.

As well as giving support, comfort and assurance to the family, Memorial Meetings can be a time of spiritual enrichment and blessing for the Meeting as a whole. Those who did not know the deceased can, by their presence, contribute to the support offered by the Meeting. Care should be taken to inform visitors who may not be familiar with Friends’ manner of worship and to invite their participation. Near the beginning of the Meeting, it is helpful to have a brief statement read or written (or both) providing details of the person’s life. The written statement may be a treasured memory for family and friends. Other Meetings for Worship may also be arranged for those who cannot attend because of time or distance.

 12.2 Care for the dying and bereaved

Sensitive care is needed for the support of the dying and their families. The dying need to maintain a sense of dignity and personal value. Remembrances in visits, thoughts, and prayer will give needed comfort and support. Friends may encourage the dying person to talk about her or his oncoming death and to share life experiences and faith.

At the time of death, Ministry and Counsel will inform others and arrange for a visit with the immediate family to offer loving support and to assist in preparations for the Memorial Meeting. At this time, special care should be made to minister to children who are part of the family. After the Memorial Meeting, Friends should remember to visit with the bereaved and to uphold them in prayer. The first year is particularly difficult, and frequent short visits, telephone calls or letters are most helpful. Many books have been written on this ministry and Friends are advised to consider the truth and wisdom they contain. The services of community counselling centres may be particularly helpful in this period of grief.

12.3 Records

The date of death should be recorded in the Monthly Meeting’s minutes and in the Meeting’s record book, along with birth, marriage, and membership records. If the person is a member of the Religious Society of Friends, a memorial statement entitled Testimony to the Grace of God in the Life of AB may be prepared and sent to the Secretary of the Yearly Meeting. Notice should also be sent to The Canadian Friend (periodical) so that other persons can be informed and assist in ministering to the bereaved.

12.4 Designation forms

Meetings are encouraged to provide forms for members and attenders on which can be recorded each person’s wishes insofar as mode of funeral, type of Memorial Meeting, disposal of the body, and concerns of the immediate family. These forms should be kept on file by the Meeting, or with Ministry and Counsel, to be consulted at the time of death.

APPENDIX A: Advices and Queries

Advices and Queries from Britain Yearly Meeting

(1995, reprinted with permission)


Although the corporate use of advices and queries is governed by more flexible regulations than in the past, they should continue to be a challenge and inspiration to Friends in their personal lives and in their life as a religious community which knows the guidance of the universal spirit of Christ, witnessed to in the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

Advices and queries are not a call to increased activity by each individual Friend but a reminder of the insights of the Society. Within the community there is a diversity of gifts. We are all therefore asked to consider how far the advices and queries affect us personally and where our own service lies. There will also be diversity of experience, of belief and of language. Friends maintain that expressions of faith must be related to personal experience. Some find traditional Christian language full of meaning; some do not. Our understanding of our own religious tradition may sometimes be enhanced by insights of other faiths. The deeper realities of our faith are beyond precise verbal formulation and our way of worship based on silent waiting testifies to this.

Our diversity invites us both to speak what we know to be true in our lives and to learn from others. Friends are encouraged to listen to each other in humility and understanding, trusting in the Spirit that goes beyond our human effort and comprehension. So it is for the comfort and discomfort of Friends that these advices and queries are offered, with the hope that we may all be more faithful and find deeper joy in God’s service.

Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided; and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.

[Postscript to an epistle to ‘the brethren in the north’ issued by a meeting of elders at Balby, 1656]

1    Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life.

2    Bring the whole of your life under the ordering of the spirit of Christ. Are you open to the healing power of God’s love? Cherish that of God within you, so that this love may grow in you and guide you. Let your worship and your daily life enrich each other. Treasure your experience of God, however it comes to you. Remember that Christianity is not a notion but a way.

3    Do you try to set aside times of quiet for openness to the Holy Spirit? All of us need to find a way into silence which allows us to deepen our awareness of the divine and to find the inward source of our strength. Seek to know an inward stillness, even amid the activities of daily life. Do you encourage in yourself and in others a habit of dependence on God’s guidance for each day? Hold yourself and others in the Light, knowing that all are cherished by God.

4    The Religious Society of Friends is rooted in Christianity and has always found inspiration in the life and teachings of Jesus. How do you interpret your faith in the light of this heritage? How does Jesus speak to you today? Are you following Jesus’ example of love in action? Are you learning from his life the reality and cost of obedience to God? How does his relationship with God challenge and inspire you?

5    Take time to learn about other people’s experiences of the Light. Remember the importance of the Bible, the writings of Friends and all writings which reveal the ways of God. As you learn from others, can you in turn give freely from what you have gained? While respecting the experiences and opinions of others, do not be afraid to say what you have found and what you value. Appreciate that doubt and questioning can also lead to spiritual growth and to a greater awareness of the Light that is in us all.

6    Do you work gladly with other religious groups in the pursuit of common goals? While remaining faithful to Quaker insights, try to enter imaginatively into the life and witness of other communities of faith, creating together the bonds of friendship.

7    Be aware of the spirit of God at work in the ordinary activities and experience of your daily life. Spiritual learning continues throughout life, and often in unexpected ways. There is inspiration to be found all around us, in the natural world, in the sciences and arts, in our work and friendships, in our sorrows as well as in our joys. Are you open to new light, from whatever source it may come? Do you approach new ideas with discernment?

8    Worship is our response to an awareness of God. We can worship alone, but when we join with others in expectant waiting we may discover a deeper sense of God’s presence. We seek a gathered stillness in our meetings for worship so that all may feel the power of God’s love drawing us together and leading us.

9    In worship we enter with reverence into communion with God and respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Come to meeting for worship with heart and mind prepared. Yield yourself and all your outward concerns to God’s guidance so that you may find ‘the evil weakening in you and the good raised up.’

10  Come regularly to meeting for worship even when you are angry, depressed, tired or spiritually cold. In the silence ask for and accept the prayerful support of others joined with you in worship. Try to find a spiritual wholeness which encompasses suffering as well as thankfulness and joy. Prayer, springing from a deep place in the heart, may bring healing and unity as nothing else can. Let meeting for worship nourish your whole life.

11  Be honest with yourself. What unpalatable truths might you be evading? When you recognise your shortcomings, do not let that discourage you. In worship together we can find the assurance of God’s love and the strength to go on with renewed courage.

12  When you are preoccupied and distracted in meeting let wayward and disturbing thoughts give way quietly to your awareness of God’s presence among us and in the world. Receive the vocal ministry of others in a tender and creative spirit. Reach for the meaning deep within it, recognising that even if it is not God’s word for you, it may be so for others. Remember that we all share responsibility for the meeting for worship whether our ministry is in silence or through the spoken word.

13  Do not assume that vocal ministry is never to be your part. Faithfulness and sincerity in speaking, even very briefly, may open the way to fuller ministry from others. When prompted to speak, wait patiently to know that the leading and the time are right, but do not let a sense of your own unworthiness hold you back. Pray that your ministry may arise from deep experience, and trust that words will be given to you. Try to speak audibly and distinctly, and with sensitivity to the needs of others. Beware of speaking predictably or too often, and of making additions towards the end of a meeting when it was well left before.

14  Are your meetings for church affairs held in a spirit of worship and in dependence on the guidance of God? Remember that we do not seek a majority decision nor even consensus. As we wait patiently for divine guidance our experience is that the right way will open and we shall be led into unity.

15  Do you take part as often as you can in meetings for church affairs? Are you familiar enough with our church government to contribute to its disciplined processes? Do you consider difficult questions with an informed mind as well as a generous and loving spirit? Are you prepared to let your insights and personal wishes take their place alongside those of others or be set aside as the meeting seeks the right way forward? If you cannot attend, uphold the meeting prayerfully.

16  Do you welcome the diversity of culture, language and expressions of faith in our yearly meeting and in the world community of Friends? Seek to increase your understanding and to gain from this rich heritage and wide range of spiritual insights. Uphold your own and other yearly meetings in your prayers.

17  Do you respect that of God in everyone though it may be expressed in unfamiliar ways or be difficult to discern? Each of us has a particular experience of God and each must find the way to be true to it. When words are strange or disturbing to you, try to sense where they come from and what has nourished the lives of others. Listen patiently and seek the truth which other people’s opinions may contain for you. Avoid hurtful criticism and provocative language. Do not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue. Think it possible that you may be mistaken.

18  How can we make the meeting a community in which each person is accepted and nurtured, and strangers are welcome? Seek to know one another in the things which are eternal, bear the burden of each other’s failings and pray for one another. As we enter with tender sympathy into the joys and sorrows of each other’s lives, ready to give help and to receive it, our meeting can be a channel for God’s love and forgiveness.

19  Rejoice in the presence of children and young people in your meeting and recognise the gifts they bring. Remember that the meeting as a whole shares a responsibility for every child in its care. Seek for them as for yourself a full development of God’s gifts and the abundant life Jesus tells us can be ours. How do you share your deepest beliefs with them, while leaving them free to develop as the spirit of God may lead them? Do you invite them to share their insights with you? Are you ready both to learn from them and to accept your responsibilities towards them?

20  Do you give sufficient time to sharing with others in the meeting, both newcomers and long-time members, your understanding of worship, of service, and of commitment to the Society’s witness? Do you give a right proportion of your money to support Quaker work?

21  Do you cherish your friendships, so that they grow in depth and understanding and mutual respect? In close relationships we may risk pain as well as finding joy. When experiencing great happiness or great hurt we may be more open to the working of the Spirit.

22  Respect the wide diversity among us in our lives and relationships. Refrain from making prejudiced judgments about the life journeys of others. Do you foster the spirit of mutual understanding and forgiveness which our discipleship asks of us? Remember that each one of us is unique, precious, a child of God.

23  Marriage has always been regarded by Friends as a religious commitment rather than a merely civil contract. Both partners should offer with God’s help an intention to cherish one another for life. Remember that happiness depends on an understanding and steadfast love on both sides. In times of difficulty remind yourself of the value of prayer, of perseverance and of a sense of humour.

24  Children and young people need love and stability. Are we doing all we can to uphold and sustain parents and others who carry the responsibility for providing this care?

25  A long-term relationship brings tensions as well as fulfilment. If your relationship with your partner is under strain, seek help in understanding the other’s point of view and in exploring your own feelings, which may be powerful and destructive. Consider the wishes and feelings of any children involved, and remember their enduring need for love and security. Seek God’s guidance. If you undergo the distress of separation or divorce, try to maintain some compassionate communication so that arrangements can be made with the minimum of bitterness.

26  Do you recognise the needs and gifts of each member of your family and household, not forgetting your own? Try to make your home a place of loving friendship and enjoyment, where all who live or visit may find the peace and refreshment of God’s presence.

27  Live adventurously. When choices arise, do you take the way that offers the fullest opportunity for the use of your gifts in the service of God and the community? Let your life speak. When decisions have to be made, are you ready to join with others in seeking clearness, asking for God’s guidance and offering counsel to one another?

28  Every stage of our lives offers fresh opportunities. Responding to divine guidance, try to discern the right time to undertake or relinquish responsibilities without undue pride or guilt. Attend to what love requires of you, which may not be great busyness.

29  Approach old age with courage and hope. As far as possible, make arrangements for your care in good time, so that an undue burden does not fall on others. Although old age may bring increasing disability and loneliness, it can also bring serenity, detachment and wisdom. Pray that in your final years you may be enabled to find new ways of receiving and reflecting God’s love.

30  Are you able to contemplate your death and the death of those closest to you? Accepting the fact of death, we are freed to live more fully. In bereavement, give yourself time to grieve. When others mourn, let your love embrace them.

31  We are called to live ‘in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars.’ Do you faithfully maintain our testimony that war and the preparation for war are inconsistent with the spirit of Christ? Search out whatever in your own way of life may contain the seeds of war. Stand firm in our testimony, even when others commit or prepare to commit acts of violence, yet always remember that they too are children of God.

32  Bring into God’s light those emotions, attitudes and prejudices in yourself which lie at the root of destructive conflict, acknowledging your need for forgiveness and grace. In what ways are you involved in the work of reconciliation between individuals, groups and nations?

33  Are you alert to practices here and throughout the world which discriminate against people on the basis of who or what they are or because of their beliefs? Bear witness to the humanity of all people, including those who break society’s conventions or its laws. Try to discern new growing points in social and economic life. Seek to understand the causes of injustice, social unrest and fear. Are you working to bring about a just and compassionate society which allows everyone to develop their capacities and fosters the desire to serve?

34  Remember your responsibilities as a citizen for the conduct of local, national, and international affairs. Do not shrink from the time and effort your involvement may demand.

35  Respect the laws of the state but let your first loyalty be to God’s purposes. If you feel impelled by strong conviction to break the law, search your conscience deeply. Ask your meeting for the prayerful support which will give you strength as a right way becomes clear.

36  Do you uphold those who are acting under concern, even if their way is not yours? Can you lay aside your own wishes and prejudices while seeking with others to find God’s will for them?

37  Are you honest and truthful in all you say and do? Do you maintain strict integrity in business transactions and in your dealings with individuals and organisations? Do you use money and information entrusted to you with discretion and responsibility? Taking oaths implies a double standard of truth; in choosing to affirm instead, be aware of the claim to integrity that you are making.

38  If pressure is brought upon you to lower your standard of integrity, are you prepared to resist it? Our responsibilities to God and our neighbour may involve us in taking unpopular stands. Do not let the desire to be sociable, or the fear of seeming peculiar, determine your decisions.

39  Consider which of the ways to happiness offered by society are truly fulfilling and which are potentially corrupting and destructive. Be discriminating when choosing means of entertainment and information. Resist the desire to acquire possessions or income through unethical investment, speculation or games of chance.

40  In view of the harm done by the use of alcohol, tobacco and other habit-forming drugs, consider whether you should limit your use of them or refrain from using them altogether. Remember that any use of alcohol or drugs may impair judgment and put both the user and others in danger.

41  Try to live simply. A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength. Do not be persuaded into buying what you do not need or cannot afford. Do you keep yourself informed about the effects your style of living is having on the global economy and environment?

42  We do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will. Show a loving consideration for all creatures, and seek to maintain the beauty and variety of the world. Work to ensure that our increasing power over nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life. Rejoice in the splendour of God’s continuing creation.

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.


 Canadian Advices and Queries

[New Canadian Advices & Queries will be placed here when the texts  have been approved by Canadian Yearly Meeting]



APPENDIX B: A Selected Quaker Bibliography

There is a wealth of Quaker literature. The following publications represent a basic list of suggestions for further reading.

Books and pamphlets

The Discipline of Canadian Yearly Meeting consists of this volume (Organization and Procedure) and Christian Faith and Practice in the Experience of the Society of Friends. Selected passages of the latter are published in Foi et pratique du Christianisme dans la Société religieuse des Amis (Quakers).

The Amazing Fact of Quaker Worship, by George Gorman (1973).

Beyond Majority Rule, by Michael J. Sheeran (1983).

Encounter with Silence, by John Punshon (1987).

First among Friends: George Fox and the Creation of Quakerism, by H. Larry Ingle (1994).

Friends for 300 Years, by Howard Brinton (1965).

George Fox and the Valiant Sixty by Elfrida Vipont (1975).

Gospel Order: A Quaker Understanding of Faithful Church Community, by Sandra Cronk (1991).

Guide to Quaker Practice, by Howard Brinton, (1942; new edition 1955).

Introduction from Quaker Spirituality by Douglas Steere (1988).

Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman, ed. Phillips F. Moulton (1989).

Journal of George Fox, ed. John L. Nickalls (1994).

Lighting Candles in the Dark, [stories for young people], (1992).

Listening Spirituality, by Patricia Loring: Vol. 1: Personal Spiritual Practices among Friends (1997); Vol. 2: Corporate Spiritual Practices among Friends (1999).

Margaret Fell: Mother of Quakerism, by Isabel Ross (1984).

Portrait in Grey, by John Punshon (1984).

Quaker Faith and Practice (Discipline of Britain Yearly Meeting, 1995).

The Quaker Reader, with introductions by Jessamyn West (1962).

Les Quakers, par Edouard Dommen (1990).

The Quakers in Canada, by Arthur G. Dorland (1968).

The Religious Society of Friends: An Introduction, by Margaret Springer (1992).

Rufus Jones: Essential Writings, ed. Kerry Walters (2001).

A Testament of Devotion, by Thomas Kelly (1941).


Quaker Periodicals

The Canadian Friend (3 issues a year) —

Canadian Friends Historical Association (CHFA) – The CHFA no longer publishes a newsletter but there are excellent resources on their website:

The Friend (monthly) –

Friends Journal (monthly) –

Quaker Concern (three issues a year), the newsletter of Canadian Friends Service

Quaker Life (quarterly) – Friends United Meeting, 101 Quaker Hill Drive, Richmond, IN 47374 USD,

APPENDIX C: Changes to Organization & Procedure Since 1991

The first printing of Organization and Procedure was issued in 1969, followed by a second printing in 1981 and a third printing in 1991. Supplementary pages containing more recent changes were issued in 1994 and 1996. Until 2002 Organization and Procedure appeared as a loose-leaf binder in order that revisions could be made by extracting pages and replacing them with new material.

In the 2002 printing, there was an editorial reorganization of the material with the intention of making it easier to read. In addition, the following changes have been made since the 1991 printing (with dates of approval by CYM of amendments to organization and procedure):

  • The Preface has been rewritten.
  • Chapter 1 was extensively revised in 2002, and Sections 1.6-1.10 were updated. Sections 1.1, 1.10 (2012)
  • Chapter 2 — Section 2.9 (2006)
  • Chapter 3 — Section 3.6 (2016)
  • Chapter 4 — Sections 4.14 (1996), 4.15 (1996,2016), 4.16 (1999, 2016) and 4.17 (1999, 2016), 4.18 (2016)
  • Chapter 5 — Sections 5.1 (1996) and 5.2 (1999), Sections 5.4 (2014), 5.5 added (2012)
  • Chapter 6 — Sections 6.2 (2014), 6.4 (2000, 2012, 2016), 6.5 (1996, 2012), 6.8 (2004), 6.12 (1995), 6.13 (2016), 6.14 (1994), 6.16 (2000, 2012), 6.17 (1994), 6.18 (2000,2015) 6.20 (1995), 6.21 (1999) and 6.22 (2006)
  • Chapter 7 — Section 7.10 (2015), 7.11 (2012, 2015)
  • Chapter 9 (1996) — Sections 9.1 and 9.2 (2009)
  • Chapter 11 (1994)
  • Appendix A: the 1995 Advices and Queries replaces the 1964 version (1997 and 2001).
  • Appendix B: the reading list has been updated.
  • Appendix D: Added (2014)

APPENDIX D: Name Changes Not Reflected in All Sections

The following names have been changed. References to the old name will be updated when other changes are being made to those sections containing the reference.

  • “Christian Faith and Practice in the Experience of the Society of Friends of London Yearly Meeting” was replaced by our own “Faith and Practice: Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends” (2011).
  • “Home Mission and Advancement Committee” was changed to “Education and Outreach Committee.” (2012)



[1] John Wilbur (I774–1856), Rhode Island, and Joseph John Gurney (1788–1847) of Norwich, England, were not responsible for the separations, although they began the dialogue between the two groups. The Wilburites put their main emphasis on the leading of the spirit and were accused by Gurney of Mysticism. The Gurneyites emphasized as all-important the Bible and Bible teaching and written statements of doctrine. From the Gurneyite position developed Protestant forms of worship, including pastors and programed Meetings. Nevertheless, these were two high-minded and devoted Friends separated more by temperament than theology.

[2] Papunehang of the Lenni Lenape, as recorded in the Journal of John Woolman ca 1762

[3] Monthly meetings have adopted various terms to suit their own requirements, but which in essence imply a temporary form of membership. Such terms include Junior Membership and Associate Membership.

[4] Here insert parentage or other sufficient information.

[5] The order of declarations in the meeting can be with either party speaking first. The order in the Certificate should reflect this.

This index covers Chapters 2 to 12 of Organization and Procedure, revised to approved changes up to February 2020. The index does not include the Historical Outline (Chapter 1), for which a separate index is planned.

The locators (for example, 2.18) refer to section numbers (not page numbers).

ad hoc (special) committees
appointment of, 2.18, 6.16
to form new a Half-Yearly Meeting, 5.3
reports from, 2.10, 2.21
adoption of a child. See under children and youth
Advices and Queries (Britain YM)
in CYM Discipline, 6.14
intention and use of, 4.7
text of, Appendix A
Agenda Committee (CYM in session), 6.19, 6.20, 6.21
agendas (for Business Meetings), 2.7
Clerks’ responsibility for, 2.7, 2.14, 6.19
format for, 2.7
Allowed (Preparative) Meetings
affiliation to Monthly Meetings, 2.10, 4.16
formed from Worship Groups, 4.15, 4.16
Meetings for Business in, 4.16
recognition as Monthly Meetings, 4.18
reports from, 2.10
terminology for, 4.17
American Friends Service Committee, 6.12
of ad hoc committees, 2.18, 6.16
of auditors, 6.7
authority and minutes for, 2.8
of Clearness Committees, 8.5, 8.10
of Clerks, 2.14
of committees, 2.18
of Committees of Care, 8.5, 8.11, 8.12
to Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, 6.16, 7.10, 7.11
to Finance Committee, 6.7
to Ministry and Counsel, 4.4, 6.16, 7.1
to Naming Committee (CYM), 6.20
of Oversight Committees, 8.5, 8.12
of representatives to Representative Meeting, 5.4, 6.4, 6.16
See also nominating committee(s)
Archives Committee (CYM), 6.17, 6.22
Archives of Canadian Yearly Meeting, 2.9, 6.17, 6.22
Archivist, 6.17, 6.22
Arthur Garratt Dorland Friends Historical Collection, 6.17. 6.22
assistant clerks, 2.15, 6.2, 6.16
associate membership. See under membership
designation forms for last wishes, 12.4
donations to Canadian Yearly Meeting, 6.13
Ministry and Counsel’s care for, 7.6
presence at Meetings for Business, 2.4
service on Yearly Meeting committees, 6.16
audits and auditors, 2.16, 6.7
for changes to Organization and Procedure, 6.4, 6.14
of Half-Yearly Meetings, 2.6
of Monthly Meetings, 2.6
of Representative Meeting, 6.4
of Yearly Meeting, 2.6, 6.1

bequests. See under financial matters
Bible Study at Yearly Meeting, 6.21
examples of discernment, 8.2
birthright membership. See under membership
Bishop, Muriel, 9.1
Book of Discipline, 6.14
Faith and Practice
extracts on death and bereavement, 12.1
extracts on marriage, 10.1, 10.9
extracts on Meetings for Business, 2.1
extracts on membership, 7.1
Organization and Procedure
process for changes to, 6.4, 6.14
Botsford Street Meetinghouse (Newmarket, Ontario), 6.11
Business Meetings. See Meetings for Business

calls, leadings, and concerns
arising from Monthly and Half-Yearly Meetings, 5.1
on Business Meeting agendas, 2.7
CFSC’s work on, 6.12
for chaplaincy, 9.1–9.2
clearness committees for, 8.1, 8.3, 8.10
considered by Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, 7.11
to form a Monthly Meeting, 4.16, 4.18
seasoning of new concerns, 2.13
spiritual basis for, 8.1
in State of Society Reports, 7.8
for visitation or travel in the ministry, 4.9
Camp NeeKauNis Committee (CYM), 6.10
Canada Yearly Meeting (Five Years Meeting), 6.11
The Canadian Friend, 5.2, 6.18, 12.3
Canadian Friends Foreign Missionary Board, 6.11
Canadian Friends Historical Association (CFHA), 6.17
Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC), 6.12
Canadian Quaker Archives. See Archives of Canadian Yearly Meeting
Canadian Quaker Biography File, 6.22
Canadian Quaker Learning Series, 6.18
Canadian Yearly Meeting (Yearly Meeting, CYM), 6.1–6.22
audit and auditors, 2.16, 6.7
authority and purpose, 2.6, 6.1
Clerks of (see under Clerks)
donations and financial support for, 2.17, 6.7, 6.13
formation of (1955), 6.17, 6.22
General Secretary, 6.3, 6.19
Office and Office Manager, 2.9, 6.3
representatives on other bodies, 6.16
sessional committees of, 6.19–6.21
staff and employees, 6.8
standing committees, 2.8, 5.2, 6.1, 6.10–6.18
statistical reports forwarded to, 3.6, 4.3, 4.8
treasurer, 2.16, 6.2, 6.4
use of Camp NeeKauNis facilities, 6.10
website (, 6.18
– CYM in session
agendas and Agenda Committee, 6.19, 6.20, 6.21
Bible Study, 6.21
Children and Youth Program, 6.21
Epistle Committee, 6.20
first-time attenders, 6.20
Friends registered for, 6.20
Gleanings Committee, 6.20
greetings to absent Friends, 6.20
Meeting of Delegates, 4.14, 5.5, 6.5, 6.16
members attendance at, 6.1
Naming Committee, 6.19, 6.20
Quaker Study, 6.21
reported in Quaker periodicals, 6.20
visitors at, 6.1
– CYM processes
for calls to chaplaincy, 9.1–9.2
for changes to Organization and Procedure, 6.4, 6.14
for formation of new Half-Yearly Meetings, 5.3
for new concerns, 2.13
for recognizing new Monthly Meetings, 4.16, 4.18
Canadian Yearly Meeting Personnel Policy, 6.8, 6.17, 6.22
Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting. See under Young Friends
Care Committees. See Committees of Care
CFHA. See Canadian Friends Historical Association (CFHA)
CFSC. See Canadian Friends Service Committee
chaplaincy and chaplains
Elders with concern for, 9.1–9.2
ministry of, 9.1
process for calls to chaplaincy, 9.2
children and youth
loving care for, 3.4, 4.5, 7.6, 10.10
Meeting’s welcome and responsibility for, 11.1
membership for, 3.3, 3.4
records of births and adoptions, 2.9, 11.1
religious training and education, 4.5
in separation or divorce of parents, 10.10
in times of death and bereavement, 12.2
        See also parents; Young Friends
Children and Youth Program (CYM in session), 6.21
basis for Friends’ testimonies, 3.2
spiritual and practical nature of, 3.1
clarity and detail
for committee duties and terms of reference, 2.8, 2.20
for minutes, 2.8, 2.10
for new concerns, 2.13
for reports, 2.10
clearness and discernment
for Clerks, 2.14
examples of, 8.1, 8.2
Clearness Committees
Clerks for, 8.6
to consider Allowed Meetings, 4.16
to consider calls to chaplaincy, 9.2
to consider marriages, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.10
to consider new Monthly Meetings, 4.18
to consider separation or divorce, 10.10
discernment for, 8.1–8.2
formation of, 8.3
function and purpose, 8.4, 8.10
historical background, 8.1
meetings of, 8.7
members appointed to, 8.5, 8.10
recorders and records, 8.6, 8.9
resources, 8.7
choice and appointment, 2.14
types of, 2.15, 6.2, 6.16
– duties and responsibilities
for agenda preparation, 2.7, 2.14, 6.19
for correspondence and epistles, 2.12, 2.14
for membership matters, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7
for minutes and minute books, 2.14
for new concerns, 2.13
for official documents, 2.14
for records and statistical reports, 4.3, 4.8
for sense of the meeting and unity, 2.2, 2.3, 2.8, 2.14
for special Meetings for Business, 4.1
for travelling minutes, 4.9
– of Allowed Meetings, 4.16
– of committees, 2.19, 2.20
– of Committees of Care, Clearness, or Oversight, 8.6
– of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, 6.2
– of Half-Yearly Meetings, 4.18, 5.1, 5.3
– of Monthly Meetings, 4.3, 4.8
– of Representative Meeting, 6.4
– of Trustees, 6.2
– of Yearly Meeting
appointment of, 6.16
duties and responsibilities of, 6.2
at Half-Yearly Meetings, 5.2
service for Representative Meeting, 6.2, 6.4
service on Agenda Committee, 6.19
service on Committee of Clerks, 6.2
service on Program Committee, 6.21
closed meetings, 2.4, 2.7
Committee of Clerks (CYM), 6.2
committees, 2.18–2.20
of Allowed Meetings, 4.16
appointment, size, and members, 2.18, 2.19
conduct of meetings, 2.21
of Half-Yearly Meetings, 5.1
mandates and terms of reference, 2.8, 2.20
for membership matters (see under membership)
of Monthly Meetings, 2.18–2.20, 4.2
nominations to (see nominating committees)
privilege and responsibility of service, 2.19
reports from, 2.10, 2.21
special committees (see ad hoc committees)
        See also standing committees
Committees of Care
Clerks for, 8.6
discernment and clearness for, 8.1–8.2
formation of, 8.3
for Friends with Oversight Committees, 8.4, 8.12
function and purpose, 8.4, 8.11
for marriage arrangements, 10.3, 10.8
meetings of, 8.7
members appointed to, 8.5, 8.11, 8.12
records of, 8.6, 8.9
resources for, 8.7
to support new meetings, 4.16, 4.18
at Yearly Meeting, 7.11
Committees of Clearness. See Clearness Committees
Committees of Oversight. See Oversight Committees
concerns. See calls, leadings, and concerns
Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel. See under Meetings of Ministry and Counsel
Contributions Committee (CYM), 6.13
Clerks’ responsibilities for, 2.12, 2.14
correspondence clerks, 2.15
in Meetings for Business, 2.7, 2.12

death and dying
care for dying and bereaved Friends, 12.2
designation (last wishes) forms, 12.4
funerals and Memorial Meetings for Worship, 7.5, 12.1, 12.2, 12.4
records of deaths, 12.3
Testimonies and Memorial Minutes, 4.15, 4.16, 12.3
wills and outward affairs, 4.13
to Canadian Yearly Meeting, 4.14, 5.5, 6.5, 6.16
reports and duties, 2.7, 2.10, 4.14
discernment. See clearness and discernment
Discipline. See Book of Discipline
Discipline Review Committee, 6.14
Disciplines, Rendell Rhodes Collection of Quaker, 6.17, 6.22
distant or isolated Friends
contact with Monthly Meeting, 4.6
Half-Yearly Meeting’s care for, 5.2
Ministry and Counsel’s care for, 7.4
divorce and separation, 10.1, 10.10
donations and fund-raising, 2.17, 6.13

Education and Outreach Committee (CYM), 6.10, 6.15
Elders. See under Meetings of Ministry and Counsel
Ellwood, Thomas, 10.1
employees (of CYM), 6.3, 6.8
Epistle Committee (CYM in session), 6.20
from CYM in session, 6.10
from Half-Yearly Meetings, 5.2
signed by Clerks, 2.14, 6.2
Epistle Summarizing Committee (CYM), 6.9
Executive Meetings, 4.19

finance committees
of Monthly Meetings, 4.2
of Yearly Meeting, 6.7, 6.10, 6.13
financial matters
annual audits, 2.16, 6.7
bequests, 2.17, 6.11
financial assistance for attending meetings, 2.5
financial assistance for Quaker studies, 6.15
financial support for CYM, 2.17, 6.13
minutes regarding, 2.8
under Representative Meeting, 2.16, 6.4, 6.7
treasurer’s responsibilities for, 2.16, 6.2, 6.4
trustees’ responsibilities for, 2.17, 6.6
        See also property and real estate
Franklin, Fred, 9.1
Friends General Conference (FGC), 6.1, 6.7
Friends United Meeting (FUM), 6.1, 6.7
Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), 6.1
Fry, Elizabeth, 8.2, 9.1
funerals. See under death and dying

General Secretary of CYM, 6.3, 6.19
Gleanings Committee (CYM in session), 6.20

Half-Yearly Meetings, 5.1–5.5
authority of, 2.6
care for discontinuance of Monthly Meetings, 4.22
care for group membership transfers, 3.6
care for isolated Friends, 5.2
Clerks and officers of, 5.1
delegates to Yearly Meeting, 5.5, 6.5
epistles from, 5.2
formation and dissolution of, 5.3
gatherings, 5.1, 5.2
ministry and oversight functions, 5.2
Monthly Meeting reports to, 2.10
new Worship Groups and Allowed Meetings reported to, 4.15, 4.16
recognition of new Monthly Meetings, 3.6, 4.18
and Recorded Ministers, 7.9
vs regional gatherings, 4.21
reports to Yearly Meeting, 2.10, 6.1
at Representative Meeting, 5.4, 6.4
State of Society reports forwarded to, 5.2, 7.8
statistical reports forwarded to, 4.3, 4.8
travelling minutes endorsed by, 4.9
and Yearly Meeting nominations, 6.16

isolated Friends. See distant or isolated Friends

junior membership. See under membership

legal matters
handled by trustees, 2.17
with Monthly Meeting discontinuance, 4.22
outward affairs, 4.13
records used in courts of law, 8.9
regarding Camp NeeKauNis, 6.10
regarding marriages, 10.1, 10.2, 10.5, 10.6, 10.8
with separation or divorce, 10.10
Arthur Garratt Dorland Friends Historical Collection, 6.17, 6.22
of Monthly Meetings, 4.11
Rendell Rhodes Collection of Quaker Disciplines, 6.17, 6.22
listening committees, 7.11

mandates (of committees). See terms of reference
marriage contracts, 10.5
marriages, 10.1–10.9
arrangements committee for, 10.3, 10.5
certificates for, 10.2, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7
clearness committees for, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4
Clerks’ role in, 4.3
declarations for, 10.1, 10.6, 10.7
divine leading for, 10.1
divorce and separation, 10.1, 10.10
legal registration and requirements, 10.1, 10.2, 10.5, 10.6, 10.8
letters of application for, 10.3
Ministry and Counsel’s care for, 7.5
Monthly Meetings’ care for, 4.15, 4.16, 10.2–10.3, 10.9
of non-members, 10.3
nurture of, 10.9
procedure for, 10.2–10.8
records of, 10.1, 10.8
witnesses to, 10.1, 10.2, 10.6, 10.7
meetinghouses. See under property and real estate
Meeting of Delegates (CYM in session), 4.14, 5.5, 6.5, 6.16
Meetings for Business, 2.1–2.21
        Advices and Queries read at, 4.7
agenda and order of business, 2.7–2.13, 6.19
attenders present at, 2.4
authority of, 2.6
Clerks’ responsibilities for, 2.14
closed meetings, 2.4, 2.7
committee meetings, 2.21
committee reports to, 2.10
committees appointed by, 2.18
concerns brought to, 2.13
focus on temporal affairs, 7.2
of Half-Yearly Meetings, 5.1
as Meetings for Worship, 2.2, 2.7, 3.2
members’ attendance and conduct at, 2.2, 2.5, 3.2
Ministry and Counsel reports to, 2.21
minutes for, 2.8–2.9
in Monthly Meetings, 4.1
officers for, 2.14–2.15
sense of the meeting and unity in, 2.2–2.3
special (specially-called) meetings, 4.1
of Worship Groups or Allowed Meetings, 4.15, 4.16
        See also Monthly Meetings
Meetings for Worship
        Advices and Queries read at, 4.7
centrality of, 3.1
for marriage, 10.2, 10.6, 10.10
Memorial Meetings, 12.1, 12.2, 12.4
Ministry and Counsel care for, 4.4, 7.2, 7.11
regular attendance at, 3.1, 3.2
to welcome newly born or adopted child, 11.1
of Worship Groups and Allowed Meetings, 4.15, 4.16
during Yearly Meeting, 7.11
Meetings for Worship for Business. See Meetings for Business
Meetings of Ministry and Counsel
care for children, youth, and attenders, 7.6
care for Committees of Clearness, Care, and Oversight, 8.3, 8.6
care for dying and bereaved, 12.2, 12.4
care for funerals and Memorial Meetings, 7.5, 12.2
care for marriages, 7.5, 10.10
care for Meetings for Worship, 4.4, 7.2, 7.11
care for visitation, 7.4
care for vocal ministry, 7.3
care for travelling minutes, 4.9
Elders and Overseers, 7.1, 9.1
frequency of meetings, 7.7
and Monthly Meetings, 2.21, 4.1, 4.4, 7.2, 7.10
nominations and appointments for, 4.4, 6.16, 7.1, 7.10
and Recorded Ministers, 7.9
responsibilities, 7.2–7.9
State of Society Reports, 4.5, 5.2, 6.1, 7.8
– Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (CYM)
body, 7.10
concerns and difficulties forwarded to, 5.2
Elders with concern for chaplaincy, 9.1–9.2
nominations and appointments, 6.16, 7.10, 7.11
Reports on the State of the Society, 7.11
at Representative Meeting, 6.5
responsibilities of, 6.21, 7.10, 7.11
– of Half-Yearly Meetings
recording of ministers, 7.9
– of Yearly Meeting
body, 7.10
and Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, 6.16, 7.10
recorded ministers reported to, 7.9
responsibilities at CYM in session, 7.11
travelling minutes endorsed by, 4.9
members (of the Religious Society of Friends)
attendance at Meetings for Business, 2.1
attendance at Yearly Meeting, 6.1
designation forms for last wishes, 12.4
distant or isolated Friends, 4.6
donations to Canadian Yearly Meeting, 6.13
outward affairs, 4.13
responsibility for work of the Society, 2.19, 3.2
membership, 3.1–3.8
acquisition of, 3.3
application procedure for, 3.1, 3.2, 3.5
of children, 3.3, 3.4
clearness committees for, 3.2, 3.5, 3.8
closed meetings for membership matters, 2.4, 2.7
held through Monthly Meeting, 3.3, 4.15
meaning and significance of, 3.1
for nominations to CYM committees and positions, 6.16
obligations and responsibilities of, 2.19, 3.2
records of, 4.3
by right of birth, 3.3, 3.4
sojourning members, 3.7
statistical reports on, 3.4, 3.7, 4.8
termination of, 3.8
transfers of, 3.6, 4.18, 4.22
welcoming of new members, 3.5
Memorial Meetings for Worship, 12.1, 12.2, 12.4
Memorial Minutes and Testimonies
Monthly Meetings’ responsibility for, 4.15, 12.3
prepared by Allowed Meetings, 4.16
calls to chaplaincy, 9.1–9.2
Recorded Ministers, 7.9
Ministry and Counsel. See Meetings of Ministry and Counsel
Minute Review Committee (CYM in session), 6.20
approval of, 2.7, 2.8
clarity and detail in, 2.8
for committee meetings, 2.21
headings for, 2.9
memorial minutes (minutes of remembrance), 4.15, 4.16
minute books, 2.9, 2.14
minutes of exercise, 2.8
permanence of, 2.8, 2.9
reconsideration of, 2.8
        See also Recording Clerks
Monthly Meetings, 4.1–4.22
advice on outward affairs, 4.13
archival records of, 6.22
authority of, 2.16
Clerks of (see under Clerks)
committees of, 2.18–2.20, 4.2
decline and discontinuance of, 4.22, 6.6
delegates to Yearly Meeting, 4.14. 6.5, 6.16
distant or isolated members of, 4.6
Executive Meetings, 4.19
financial support for Yearly Meeting, 6.7, 6.13
libraries, 4.11
marriages under care of (see marriages)
meetinghouses, 4.12
membership held through, 3.3, 4.15
membership matters (see under membership)
Ministry and Counsel (see Meetings of Ministry and Counsel)
new Monthly Meetings, 3.6, 4.15–4.22
officers, 2.15–2.17, 4.2
relation to Half-Yearly Meeting, 2.6, 2.10, 5.2, 5.3
relation to Yearly Meeting, 2.6, 6.1
representatives to Representative Meeting, 6.4, 6.16
role in CYM nominations, 6.16
travelling minutes and letters from, 4.9, 4.10
treasurers of, 2.16
trustees of, 2.17
Worship Groups and Allowed Meetings affiliated with, 4.15, 4.16, 4.18
        See also Meetings for Business
Morris, Ruth, 9.1

Naming Committee (CYM in session), 6.19, 6.20
NeeKauNis. See Camp NeeKauNis Committee
new concerns. See calls, leadings, and concerns
nominating committees
of Canadian Yearly Meeting, 6.5, 6.16, 6.20
membership issues for, 6.16
of Monthly Meetings, 4.2
need for, 2.18
responsibility of service, 6.19
        See also appointments

of Half-Yearly Meetings, 5.1, 5.3
of Meetings for Business, 2.15–2.17
of Monthly Meetings, 4.2
        See also specific officers (clerks, treasurers, etc.)
Organization and Procedure. See under Book of Discipline
outreach. see Education and Outreach Committee
outward affairs, 4.13
Overseers. See under Meetings of Ministry and Counsel
Oversight Committees
Clerks for, 8.6
conduct of meetings, 8.7
discernment and clearness, 8.1–8.2
function and purpose, 8.4, 8.12
members appointed to, 8.5, 8.12
recorders and records for, 8.6, 8.9
resources for, 8.7

and children’ membership, 3.3, 3.4
Monthly Meetings’ support for, 11.1
separation or divorce, 10.10
        See also children and youth
pastoral care
collective responsibility for, 4.5
Ministry and Counsel’s responsibility for, 4.4, 4.5
offered by chaplains, 9.1
Personnel Committee (CYM)
Canadian Yearly Meeting Personnel Policy, 6.8, 6.17, 6.22
under Representative Meeting, 6.4
terms of reference, 6.8
Pickering College (Newmarket, Ontario)
Archives of CYM at, 6.17, 6.22
for Committees of Clearness, Care, and Oversight, 8.8
and discernment, 8.1, 8.2
in Meetings for Business, 2.3
Preparative Meetings. See Allowed Meetings
Program Committee (CYM), 6.20, 6.21
property and real estate
Camp NeeKauNis, 6.10
meetinghouses, 4.12
of Monthly Meetings, 4.22
trustees responsibility for, 2.17, 6.6, 6.10
        See also financial matters
Publications and Communications Committee (CYM), 6.18, 6.21

Quaker chaplains, 9.1–9.2
Quaker literature, 8.2, Appendix B
Quaker periodicals, 6.20, Appendix B
Quaker Study (CYM in session), 6.21
Quaker testimonies, 3.2
Quarterly Meetings
delegates to Yearly Meeting, 5.5
designation of, 4.20, 4.21
at Representative Meeting, 5.4, 6 .4

reading clerks, 6.20
real estate. See property and real estate
Recorded Ministers, 7.9, 9.1
Recording Clerks (recorders)
assistant clerks as, 2.15
for committees, 2.21, 8.6, 8.9
for Monthly Meetings, 2.8
for Representative Meeting, 6.4
for Yearly Meeting, 6.19
        See also minute(s)
of births and adoptions, 11.1
Clerk’s responsibility for, 4.3
of Committees of Clearness, Care, and Oversight, 8.9
of deaths, 12.3
of marriages, 10.1
of membership, 2.9, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6
minutes as permanent records, 2.8, 2.9
Records Committee. See Archives Committee
regional gatherings, 4.21
religious education. See Education and Outreach Committee
Religious Institutions Act (Canada), 2.17
Rendell Rhodes Collection of Quaker Disciplines, 6.17, 6.22
of committees, 2.10, 2.20, 2.21, 6.1
of delegates, 2.7, 2.10, 4.14, 5.5
to Meetings for Business, 2.7, 2.10
        See also specific reports (State of Society, statistical, etc.)
Representative Meeting
Agenda Committee member named by, 6.19
authority for O&P changes, 6.4, 6.14
care for financial matters, 2.16, 6.4, 6.7
care for personnel matters, 6.3, 6.4
Clerks for, 6.2, 6.4
Monthly Meeting representatives to, 5.4, 6.4, 6.16
purpose of, 6.4

sense of the meeting and unity, 2.2, 2.3, 2.8, 2.14
Sessional Committees (CYM in session), 6.19–6.21
sojourning membership, 3.7
special committees. See ad hoc committees
special Meetings for Business, 4.1
spiritual care and counseling, 7.2
standing committees
meetings, reports and minutes, 2.10, 2.21, 6.1
membership required for, 6.16
nominations for, 4.2, 6.16
at Representative Meeting, 6.4
of Yearly Meeting, 2.8, 6.1. 5.2, 6.10–6.18
State of Society Reports
content, purpose, preparation, 7.8
forwarded to Half-Yearly Meetings, 5.2, 7.8
forwarded to Yearly Meeting, 6.1, 7.8, 7.11
Ministry and Counsel responsibility for, 4.5, 7.8
of Monthly Meetings, 4.5, 5.2, 7.11
of Yearly Meeting, 7.11
statistical reports
forwarded to Yearly Meeting, 3.4, 4.3
members counted for, 3.6, 3.7
preparation of, 4.8
Steere, Douglas, 8.1
Sunderland P. Gardner Lecture (CYM), 6.21

temporary clerks, 2.15, 6.2
temporary membership. See under membership
terms of reference (for committees), 2.8, 2.20
for deceased Friends, 12.3
spiritual and religious basis for, 3.2
travelling in the Ministry, 6.15
travelling letters, 4.10
travelling minutes, 4.9
for Monthly Meetings, 2.16
for Yearly Meeting, 2.16, 6.2, 6.4
trustees (boards of trustees)
duties and responsibilities, 2.17, 6.6
of Monthly Meetings, 2.17
at Representative Meeting, 6.4
work regarding Camp NeeKauNis, 6.10
work with Contributions Committee, 6.13
for Yearly Meeting, 2.17, 6.2, 6.4, 6.6, 6.13

unity. See sense of the meeting and unity

calls and travelling minutes for, 4.9
Education and Outreach Committee support for, 6.15
Ministry and Counsel responsibility for, 7.4
to support Worship Groups, 4.15
visiting Friends at Yearly Meeting, 6.1
vocal ministry, 7.3

website (, 6.18
Worship Groups
contact person for, 4.15
contribution to State of Society Reports, 7.8
formation and laying down, 4.15
Monthly Meetings related to, 4.15
recognition as Allowed Meetings, 4.15, 4.16, 4.18
role in Half-Yearly Meeting, 5.1
and Yearly Meeting nominations, 6.16

Yearly Meeting. See Canadian Yearly Meeting
Yearly Meeting Archives. See Archives of Canadian Yearly Meeting
Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel. See under Meetings of Ministry and Counsel
Young Friends
Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting, 6.4, 6.21
at CYM in session, 6.20
membership for, 3.4
on Program Committee, 6.21
at Representative Meeting, 6.4
        See also children and youth

[29 April 2020]