Manual of Procedure

VII. Affiliation with Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting, and Friends World Committee for Consultation

Baltimore Yearly Meeting is affiliated with three larger bodies of Friends: Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting and Friends World Committee for Consultation. Any member of Baltimore Yearly Meeting may be considered for appointment to the various agencies of each of these organizations. Appointments of the appropriate number of persons are made annually to serve three-year terms as members of the Central Committee of Friends General Conference and as representatives to Friends World Committee for Consultation, Section of the Americas. Appointments of the appropriate number of representatives and alternates to Friends United Meeting are made every three years at the Yearly Meeting sessions immediately preceding the Friends United Meeting Triennial sessions. Appointments to such responsibilities are made by the Yearly Meeting, upon nomination by the Nominating Committee, in accordance with the procedures and requests of the respective bodies.

Friends General Conference

Friends General Conference, established in 1900, is an association of 15 Yearly Meetings and 12 Monthly Meetings as of 2015. Its coordinating body is its Central Committee, to which member groups make appointments in proportion to the number of persons in their fellowship.

Central Committee members are expected to participate in one long weekend annually, and to serve on one of the program or administrative committees. This may involve several other meetings annually. In addition they are expected to communicate to Friends General Conference the needs and hopes of their parent bodies, and to interpret to their own groups the needs and programs of Friends General Conference.

All Friends are encouraged to attend the annual week-long Friends General Conference Gathering of Friends each summer. Information about FGC resources may be found on their web site, www.FGCQuaker.org. Details of the procedures of Friends General Conference can be found in the Friends General Conference Organizational Blue Book available from Friends General Conference, 1216 Arch Street, 2B, Philadelphia Pennsylvania 19107.

Friends United Meeting

Friends United Meeting was formed in 1902 as the Five Years Meeting of Friends, changing its name to Friends United Meeting in 1960. As of 2015, it is composed of 12 North American Yearly Meetings, and 22 Yearly Meetings from the Caribbean, East Africa, and the Middle East. It meets triennially and publishes a complete record of its proceedings. It has jurisdiction over matters delegated to it by the constituent Yearly Meetings. Friends United Meeting may provide Yearly Meetings with advice and counsel.

Each Yearly Meeting in Friends United Meeting is entitled to appoint five representatives to the Triennial Sessions, plus one additional representative for each 1,000 members or major fraction thereof. (According to FUM procedures, if an appointed representative does not attend the Triennial, those representatives present may select a replacement representative from those members of Baltimore Yearly Meeting attending the Triennial. This is to be reported to the Yearly Meeting in session.) Representatives form the Representative Body. Major matters and proposals are considered by the Representative Body and the plenary sessions. Routine procedural matters may be acted upon by the Representative Body and reported to the Plenary Session which reserves the right to approve, disapprove, or reconsider.

At the time representatives are nominated, each Yearly Meeting names one of its representatives to serve on the Triennial Nominating Committee and another to serve on the Triennial New Business Committee. Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s representatives, including those persons named to the General Board, serve also for the three years following the Triennial sessions to which they were appointed as a support group for the relationship between Baltimore Yearly Meeting and Friends United Meeting.

Between Triennial Sessions, the General Board is the responsible body and legal representative of Friends United Meeting. Each Yearly Meeting makes appointments to the General Board during the year preceding the Triennial Sessions. The formula for determining the number of appointments is: membership of 3,000 or less, maximum of 2 appointees; 3,001 to 10,000, maximum of 3 appointees; 10,001 and over, maximum of 4 appointees. One of the General Board members is designated to serve on the General Board Nominating Committee.

The General Board has four regular administrative Committees: Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Nominating Committee, and Program Coordinating and Priorities Committee. The Nominating Committee of the General Board includes one appointee from each Yearly Meeting, designated by the Yearly Meeting, from among those who are its General Board representatives. The General Board also appoints from its members such program committees as are necessary to give continuity and support to the work of Friends United Meeting. Every member of the General Board serves on at least one of its committees.

Practice has been for each Yearly Meeting to name one representative to the Triennial Planning Committee for the upcoming Triennial.

Yearly Meetings contribute to a travel pool, administered by the General Board, to cover expenses of the designated number of representatives traveling to and from the Triennial sessions.

All Friends are encouraged to attend the Friends United Meeting Triennial sessions. Information about Friends United Meeting resources may be found on their web site, www.fum.org.

Details of the procedures of Friends United Meeting can be found in the pamphlet, Friends United Meeting Organization and Procedure, 1996, available from Friends United Meeting, 101 Quaker Hill Drive, Richmond Indiana 47374.

Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), formed in 1937, is a worldwide association of Yearly Meetings and affiliated groups. It is a consultative body whose purpose is to provide links between Friends who may be separated by geography, culture, or practices that emphasize different aspects of Quakerism. It aims to facilitate loving understanding of diversity among Friends; to discover together, with God’s help, our common spiritual ground; and to facilitate full expression of Friends’ testimonies in the world.

All Yearly Meetings and groups affiliated with FWCC worldwide meet together once every three years. In an effort to keep these gatherings to a workable size, attendance is restricted to Yearly Meeting representatives and other appointed delegates and observers. Representation of Yearly Meetings at the triennial sessions is based on a formula of two persons for any Yearly Meeting or group, three persons for Yearly Meetings with between 1001 and 3000 members, four representatives for Yearly Meetings with between 3001 and 5000 members, and one additional representative for each additional 5000 members or fraction thereof. The Yearly Meeting’s representatives are selected by the Interim Meeting from among the representatives to the Section of the Americas. Those attending the FWCC triennial sessions are encouraged to report to as many groups within the Yearly Meeting as possible.

Friends World Committee for Consultation is organized into four geographical sections. Baltimore Yearly Meeting is in the Section of the Americas, which covers the entire western hemisphere. The Section, in turn, is divided into smaller geographical regions, of which Baltimore Yearly Meeting is in the Southeastern region. Some activities of the Section of the Americas are the Quaker Youth Pilgrimage (in collaboration with the Europe and Middle East Section), Wider Quaker Fellowship, and Comité de los Amigos Latin-americanos (Committee of Latin American Friends). The principal function of the regions within the Section is to provide opportunities for as many Friends as possible within a particular geographical region to come to know Friends outside of their own Yearly Meeting.

Each Yearly Meeting in the Section appoints representatives to the Section based on a formula of four persons for the first 1000 members of the Yearly Meeting and one for each additional 2500 members or fraction thereof. Baltimore Yearly Meeting representatives are nominated by the Nominating Committee and appointed by the Yearly Meeting for terms of three years, not all representatives being appointed in the same year. As with other Yearly Meeting appointments, service as a representative will generally not exceed six consecutive years. The representatives are expected to be committed to openness and learning from Friends representing other traditions of worship, theology, and culture.

These representatives attend Sectional and regional meetings (usually an annual meeting for each) and are eligible to serve on the various committees of the Section. All Friends are welcome at Sectional and regional meetings. The representatives help keep the Yearly Meeting informed about the activities of the organization.