Is it time to get rid of Yearly Meetings?

In the preparations for our annual CYM gathering, a Friend sent me this link to a thought-provoking piece.

The author writes,

One of the most regular and consistent laments that I’ve heard from Quaker leaders is that the rank and file in their congregations don’t see the purpose of the yearly meeting structures. They say things like this:

“We can’t figure out how to help our people understand how important the Yearly Meeting really is. People ask us, What does the Yearly Meeting do for me?, but they’re missing the entire point! The Yearly Meeting is about being a body. It’s not about what the Yearly Meeting provides for the local churches; it’s how we’re called together as a people, the shared experience we have of God when we’re together. After all, how are we supposed to do the work of the church if we don’t gather and support one another?”

I’ve heard words like these so many times I’ve lost count. What’s more, I’ve said words like these on numerous occasions. As a person so dedicated to institutional Quakerism, the idea that many of our members no longer find the Yearly Meeting necessary was really threatening to me. After all, what is the Quaker community without our wider fellowship? How can we even exist without the Yearly Meeting?”

Image via Micah Bales

Image via Micah Bales

As a small (in numbers) yearly meeting that covers a vast geography, we are challenged to find ways to do the work of CYM with the resources (both volunteer labour and finances) we have.

This seems like an interesting blog to read in that context.

Enjoy the reading of this piece!


Chris Hitchcock

Hamilton MM