Community Agreement for Canadian Yearly Meeting 2023

As a Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Canadian Yearly Meeting is more than community.

Deborah E. Haight said it in her 1987 Sunderland P. Gardener lecture: “Meeting” is a richer word than ‘community’ and a richer experience … Being a Quaker Meeting carries a sense of belonging, of belonging to one another, and of having a sense of our ultimate belonging to spirit.”1

If you are a member in a Monthly or Half-Yearly Meeting in Canada you are a member here. If you are an attender, regular or otherwise, in choosing to join us this week you are choosing the company of those who carry this sense of belonging to one another and to the spirit.

As we gather – in-person and online – we seek to maintain the faith, love, unity, life, and practice of Friends. This is our privilege and responsibility.

In joining us this week, this is your privilege and responsibility.

We ask that each of us reflect on our individual and collective call to be a Meeting, and to commit to those practices that create and maintain a safe and loving community. Throughout all sessions — social and business — during Yearly Meeting in Session:

  • Respect the diversity among us in our lives, relationships, experiences, opinions.
  • Listen patiently and seek the truth that other people’s opinions may contain for you.
  • Allow silence before and after each person speaks, so that there is time for the speaking, the listening, and the spirit
  • Use inclusive language.
  • As much as possible speak from your own experience. Speak on your own behalf. Avoid presenting your own view if called upon to speak on behalf of others
  • Respect, cooperate with, and uphold the processes and ordering of Yearly Meeting-in-Session. Discern right words and right timing when raising concerns. Remember that organizers and servants of Meeting-in-Session have given of themselves generously and with best intention.
  • Follow the guidance on safeguarding and online security provided for the events

During Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

  • If you are led to speak, ask the clerk to recognize you by raising your hand. Acquaint yourself with the procedure in Zoom prior to the beginning of the meeting.
  • When recognized by the clerk, say your name and home meeting if you have one. Keep your comments plain and to the point.
  • Recognize the space for silence before and after each person speaks.
  • Expect to speak only once during consideration of a given item.
  • Please do not ask to be recognized by the clerk merely to restate in your own words something that someone has said. Consider using the Quaker affirmation “this Friend speaks my mind” if you are attending in person, or using a positive Zoom feedback icon.
  • When a person speaks in Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, receive the words as you receive vocal ministry in Meeting for Worship—with an open heart and a calm mind.

1 Haight, Deborah E. Meeting, Canadian Quaker Pamphlets. Vol. 26, Argenta Friends Press, 1987.