Part IV. Appendices
A. Advices for Clerks1
You, as clerk, are the Meeting's servant, not its master. The Meeting is likely to repose great trust in you and will usually help you cheerfully if you find yourself at a loss.
You, in turn, can help the Meeting. Your attitude may help set the pattern of worshipful listening which should characterize our meetings for business. If all should come with heart and mind prepared, how much more the clerk?
Do not leave preparation to the last minute. A clerk who comes with facts checked out in advance may help the Meeting avoid fruitless and time-wasting speculation. Consultation with the recording clerk and preparation in advance of draft minutes covering routine and factual items of the proposed agenda can save time.
When introducing business try to provide a brief but sufficient outline of needed background to set the Meeting purposefully on its course. While you may need to advise the Meeting on procedure or to make an occasional suggestion, your main task is to discern the Meeting's united mind. This is harder to do if you also try to participate in the discussion. You may find that the discipline of detachment leads to a new and deeper relationship with your fellow members. If you are deeply involved in a decision to be reached, the Meeting should be invited to ask another Friend to act as clerk for the occasion.
Though decisions should not normally be made on the strength of numbers, there are mundane matters such as the date or time of a meeting on which the convenience of the greatest number should prevail.
The weightiest Friend is not necessarily weighty in all matters: seek to assess the value of individual contributions. Do not forget that the silence of some is often of greater significance than the speech of others.
When strong division of opinion seems to threaten the worshipful basis of the business meeting, a period of silent and prayerful waiting on the will of God may have a calming and unifying effect.
In matters where the wording of the minute is especially important, do not be afraid to ask the Meeting to wait while the minute is prepared. In some cases you may need to have time for reflection or consultation and to bring in a minute after an interval in the meeting. Make sure that each minute covers all required points in a decision with a view to the possible need to consult it in future. All minutes, except on the most routine matters, should be written out in full and presented before the close of the meeting for business during which the matters were considered. (In the case of Quarterly or Yearly Meeting sessions which are adjourned from time to time over a day or a few days, minutes covering all but the most important issues may be read at the start of the next session, but all should be approved before final adjournment of the sessions.)
When a Friend from outside comes to your Meeting to speak by invitation or under concern, try to ensure that the agenda is arranged to allow adequate time for the matter when the Meeting is not fatigued or overburdened with other business.
Your office gives you some authority to act or speak for the Meeting. Beware of exceeding your authority. Use discretion and consult Friends of experience in deciding which matters may conveniently be handled by yourself and which need reference to the Meeting.
In the meeting for business deal courteously but firmly with those who speak too long or stray from the point. It is well to permit no side discussion but to insist that all who wish to speak address the clerk. The proper exercise of the clerk's authority is of great service to the Meeting's smooth handling of its business.
Try to keep a sense of proportion and a sense of humor. Do not be overly brisk or allow the meeting to drag. Be alert to those who need encouragement to speak.
Think affectionately between meetings of the needs of the community which has appointed you and how they can best be met. Ask God's guidance continually in the performance of your task.
B. Suggested Formats for Transfers
1. Transfer to Another Meeting
In transferring a membership to another Meeting, a Monthly Meeting may use a letter or a standard form with blanks, which may be called a Certificate of Transfer or Certificate of Removal. Wording may vary, but it is suggested that all of the information contained in the suggested format below be included. The letter or form should be on the letterhead of the Meeting, if available, and should contain a full mailing address for reply.
(Name of receiving Meeting)
At our Monthly Meeting held on (date), we approved the request of the following full member(s) in good standing of our Meeting for transfer of membership to your Monthly Meeting:
(full name or names)[This request for transfer also includes the following child(ren) of the full member(s) who is/are (a) junior (associate) member(s) of our Meeting:
(full name or names)]We commend him/her/them to your loving care. We enclose the appropriate Recorder's information for your records.
We would appreciate receiving your acknowledgment of this request and notice of your action upon it.
On behalf of (name of Meeting),
(Typed or printed name of signer)
Clerk (Recording Clerk/Corresponding Clerk/Recorder)
2. Acknowledgment of Transfer
When the transfer is approved by the receiving Meeting, the Meeting requesting the transfer should be promptly notified. The member(s) remain(s) on the rolls of the requesting Meeting until the transfer is completed. The following format may be used:
(Name of receiving Meeting)
In accordance with your request, the following was/were accepted as (a) full member(s) of our Monthly Meeting by transfer from your Meeting on (date):
(full name or names)[Also accepted at that time as (a) junior (associate) member(s) was/ were the following child(ren) of the full member(s):
(full name or names)]
On behalf of (name of Meeting),
(Typed or printed name of signer)
Clerk (Recording Clerk/ Corresponding Clerk/Recorder)
C. Suggested Formats for Letters of Introduction, Travel Minutes and Endorsements
The Monthly Meeting should make appropriate alterations to fit individual situations.
1. Sample Letter of Introduction
Meeting Letterhead and Date
Please welcome __________ as he/she travels among you. __________ is a member of our Meeting in good standing. We send you our loving greetings, and commend _________ to your loving care during his/her journey.
2. Sample Travel Minute
Meeting Letterhead and Date
_________, a beloved member of this Meeting, has opened to us his/her leading to travel among [New England's] Meetings [Insert brief indication of concern]. He/she anticipates that _________, a member of ________ Meeting, will join him/her and that they will travel in this ministry between ___ and ___, 20__.
This Meeting unites with ________'s leading. We trust that you will benefit as we have from sharing his/her insights and quiet faith. We commend him/her/them to your care and hospitality.
Approved and minuted at our meeting for business held ___, 20__.
3. Sample Endorsement
__________ was present with us during meeting for [worship, business] today. His/her ministry here was appreciated. We are holding him/ her in the Light as he/she continues this journey.
Date ________ ____________ Clerk, _________ Monthly Meeting
D. Advices on Counseling2
In helping one another, Friends can be instruments of the all-encompassing love of God. All Friends should help one another as they are able, but particular responsibility for care and counseling lies with Overseers. This committee should choose counselors fitted for particular needs from among themselves and other qualified persons in the Meeting. Qualifications of a good counselor include approachability, warmth, sympathy, spiritual insight without doctrinaire assumptions, ability to listen without judgment, ability to keep confidences, and practical resourcefulness. The following suggestions are made as guidelines for those entrusted with counseling:
- Overseers should come to know the families and individuals in the Meeting. The Meeting should have a program of systematic visitation in which the Overseers and the Ministry and Counsel Committee cooperate. Information concerning particular needs should be passed to the Clerk of Overseers. The Meeting may arrange for a definite time and place in which persons may confer with an appointed counselor.
- One or at most two persons should be assigned to counsel in a given situation, and other members of Overseers should leave the matter to them in order to avoid members being played off one against another. One need not have faced the same problems to be helpful; having faced a problem does not make one an authority on it. Each situation is new and the counselor can learn with the member(s) seeking help. Everything said should be held in confidence.
- Listening is a key part of the process. To listen helpfully and creatively involves unswerving faith in the person, patience, a desire to understand, and avoidance of giving advice.
- Decisions: The counselor may suggest new ways of looking at the situation and possible solutions which may appeal to the person(s) needing help, but decision should be left to the principal(s). Catering to wishes which do not answer the basic problem is no solution and should be avoided. Growth, independence, standing on one's own feet, are to be encouraged. Emotional support in a hard decision can be most helpful.
- A problem may be too serious for the Meeting to handle, in which case outside help should be sought. A professional opinion may give needed guidance. Members of Overseers need to have knowledge of resources in a wider community for counseling assistance, such as clinics, family and social services, physicians, psychiatrists. Baltimore Yearly Meeting has a panel of professional counselors, who are Friends, available for such assistance. The names may be secured from the Yearly Meeting office.
- The Meeting may be helpful at the same time that professional help is required. It may help in practical ways, such as child care, meals, transportation, temporary housing, companionship. Standing by, listening, helping to plan, can be of great assistance in a critical time.
- The meeting for worship is a basic resource. Through corporate worship the strength and power of God's Love may be opened up in a way that reaches to the hidden depth of our personal problems. In worship, all seek to grow in spiritual and emotional maturity and in understanding of our common human weaknesses and our common recourse to Divine Love. As members of the Ministry and Counsel Committee are concerned to nurture and strengthen the meeting for worship, they are expressing also their concern for the welfare of the members.
- Membership and personal problems: Persons are sometimes drawn to the Meeting because it promises help in personal problems, and such help is a proper function of the Meeting. A Meeting, however, should be aware that a person's difficulties may be deeper than the Meeting's resources for help. The Meeting should not seem to offer solutions or aid beyond its powers. Acceptance of membership by a Meeting should be considered on its own grounds, not as a presumed solution to a personal problem.
- The nature of the emotional life: We all have positive and negative feelings about ourselves, about life, about one another. We need to face and accept these feelings in others and in ourselves and to see them in the light of the Love which transcends our human limitations. Friends who undertake to give counseling should not be deterred from accepting this responsibility because of their own human weaknesses. They will make mistakes; their insight and understanding will be defective. They must be willing and able to accept criticism and hurt with humility and without retaliation. This is part of their function. They will learn from their mistakes, from one another, and especially from the people they are called upon to help.
- Young Friends: Parents are often unable to communicate effectively with their own adolescent children at the time in which they are detaching themselves from home and parental ties. Thus questions concerning basic truths and values may go unanswered during a period when they are of great importance. Young Friends are likely to broach such questions most freely in their own meetings and discussions. Overseers may be able to find persons who relate readily to young people whether through participation in their meetings or through personal conversations. The time of decision about adult membership in the Meeting offers an opportunity for communicating on a meaningful level with a young person.
E. Guidelines for Considering Applications for Membership
To reach clearness together about the rightness of membership for the applicant, the committee and the applicant should discuss all the issues in a deliberate fashion. The committee should:
- Ask about the spiritual journey of the applicant and listen attentively and prayerfully to the applicant's response. Does the applicant seem to be genuinely led by the Holy Spirit in seeking membership and willing to respond to Divine guidance in making other decisions?
- Inquire as to the applicant's understanding of Quaker history and experience.
- Inquire whether the applicant finds harmony with Quaker testimonies and with the Meeting's expressions of these testimonies. The committee might also inquire how the applicant sees his or her life, including vocational choices and other associations, being affected by these testimonies.
- Consider whether the applicant is involved in the life of the Meeting and whether the applicant is prepared to make a commitment to the Meeting community and to the Society of Friends as a whole. Is the applicant prepared to seek clearness for individual leadings through the Meeting?
- Discuss the applicant's familiarity with Friends' decision making processes. Has the applicant had opportunity to observe the Meeting conducting its business in order to understand this aspect of the Meeting's life?
- Inquire as to other religious affiliations of the applicant and discuss whether they are to be terminated or continued.
- Inquire whether anything further is needed to help the applicant reach clarity about the decision.
F. Marriage under the Care of the Monthly Meeting
1. Questions to be Considered by the Couple before Application to the Monthly Meeting for Marriage under its Care
The covenant of marriage is solemn in its obligation and fundamental in its social significance. Therefore, the couple considering marriage under the care of a Friends' Meeting should discuss honestly and frankly with each other the duties and responsibilities assumed in marriage and in establishing a home. Questions such as the following may be helpful:
- Have we considered the traditional roles of husband and wife, our attitudes toward them and toward modern variations, and are we aware that one can impose a role expectation on another without being aware of it?
- Do we know each other's habits, likes and dislikes? Are we ready to make adjustments in our personal living to meet, with kindness and understanding, areas of possible conflict?
- Do we have the willingness to listen to each other and to seek openness of communication?
- Have we explored our attitudes and visions for family life including:
- Our attitudes toward sexuality?
- Whether we want children; and if so, how many?
- How we might jointly plan and take responsibility for our family's growth in size?
- Whether we might consider adoption or foster care?
- Our ideas about the sharing of family responsibilities?
- The availability of family, Meeting and community support?
- How our family might reflect Friends' testimony of simplicity and concerns for the environment and world population?
- Do we understand and have sympathy for, if not harmony with, one another's religious convictions?
- How do we feel about each other's economic and cultural background? How do we react to each other's parents, friends, and relatives? Have we discussed continuing friendships with members of the opposite sex following marriage?
- Do we share each other's attitudes on earning, spending and saving money, and the handling of finances?
- Do we share interests which we can enjoy together? Do we respect each other's individual interests?
- Have we considered together how we will work to reconcile inevitable differences? Are we willing to make a strong commitment to permanence in our marriage?
- Are we secure in the knowledge of the guidance of God in our lives and in our plans to establish a home?
- Do we know each other well enough to have considered all of the above questions frankly and openly? If not, should we wait -- six months, a year -- before proceeding with marriage?
When the couple has seriously considered the above questions and others arising from them, they may agree to ask the Monthly Meeting to have oversight of their marriage. The following additional questions should be considered in planning that step:
- Why are we asking the approval and oversight of the Meeting? Are we aware that oversight of our marriage by the Meeting involves a continuing concern for our life together and the values established in our home? Will we welcome the continuing concern of the Meeting?
- How significant to us are the promises made in the presence of God and of our family and friends as stated during the meeting for marriage?
2. Duties of Friends Appointed to Determine Clearness for Marriage
These Friends should meet privately with the couple in a spirit of loving concern:
- To learn whether both are clear of any other commitment inconsistent with the intended marriage and to determine how seriously they have considered the questions in Appendix F-1.
- To give them detailed information concerning the procedures of a
Quaker wedding. This should include:
- discussion of the marriage certificate, its purpose, wording and procurement (see following Sections 4 and 5); and
- discussion of the wording of the vows they will exchange, presenting the customary wording:
In the presence of God and of these our Friends, I ___________ take thee ___________ to be my husband/wife, promising with Divine assistance to be unto thee a loving and faithful wife/husband as long as we both shall live.
- To discuss the specific date of the wedding, as this will be included in the report to meeting for business.
- To explain the functions of the special committee of oversight for the marriage with whom the couple will discuss arrangements of the wedding itself and any reception following.
- To obtain from the couple suggestions of names for the special committee of oversight for the marriage. There should be no fewer than four persons, of whom at least half should be members of the sponsoring Meeting.
- To discuss the legal requirements of the local jurisdiction and to make sure that they are aware of the need to secure a marriage license and to meet any other legal requirements in timely fashion.
The clearness committee reports back to the standing committee that appointed it on the readiness of the couple for marriage, discussing any problems and any proposed substantive changes in the certificate or vows. A recommendation is presented to the meeting for business for approval. Some Monthly Meetings require that the request be held over for a month after the first presentation of the reporting committee to the business meeting.
3. Duties of the Special Committee of Oversight for the Marriage
- As soon as appointed, this committee should make clear to the couple
its availability before, during, and after the wedding to help them, and its responsibility to express the Meeting's continuing care for the marriage. They should meet with the couple to discuss:
- Who should sit at the head of the meeting to open and close it.
- Whether there will be many non-Friends at the wedding and, if so, what initial explanation of the meeting for worship would be appropriate and who should make it.
- Who should read the certificate. (This person need not be a member of the Meeting or of this committee.)
- The number of attendants and special seating arrangements, if desired, for families and friends of the couple.
The committee should also determine whether the couple have complied with the advice of the Friends who earlier discussed clearness for marriage with them. This includes:
- Review of the requirements, making sure that the marriage license and wedding certificate have been secured, that needed signatures can be obtained on the license and that all legal requirements will be met.
- Confirmation of the wording of the vows which the couple will repeat and the wording of the certificate.
- The committee will explain to the couple the Quaker regard for
reverence, dignity, and simplicity; request that photographs not be taken during the meeting for worship; and express the Meeting's hope that simplicity will also be observed at any reception held. They will remind the couple that any meeting held at the meeting house is open for all who wish to come and worship.
A rehearsal with the entire wedding company present is desirable and should be planned at the first meeting of the committee with the couple.
Additionally the special committee of oversight for the marriage will:
- Verify the availability of the meeting house (if the wedding is to be there) for the times selected for the rehearsal and the wedding.
- Ensure that weights for the certificate, pens with permanent ink, and a portable table are available and that someone is appointed to assist those present to sign the certificate after the wedding.
- Check the suitability of proposed decorations, music, or any arrangements desired by the couple which affect the basically unprogrammed nature of a Friends' meeting for worship.
- Verify that the person selected to read the certificate has had an opportunity to see and read it in advance.
- Attend the rehearsal.
- After the wedding the special committee of oversight will:
- Obtain the needed signatures to the marriage license.
- Deliver or mail the license to the proper authorities. If there is a copy for the Meeting records, deliver it to the Meeting's Recorder.
- Give the certificate to the Meeting's Recorder who will arrange for a photocopy for the Meeting records. After this is accomplished, transmit the original certificate to the couple.
- Report to the Monthly Meeting concerning the accomplishment of the marriage in good order, reverence and moderation; the legal requirements satisfied and the certificate properly recorded. If the wife has assumed the name of the husband (or any other name changes have been effected) these name changes are reported for entering in the minutes of the Monthly Meeting and into the Meeting records.
4. The Form of the Marriage Certificate
The form of the certificate shall be substantially as follows:
WHEREAS, A. B. of _____, son of S. B. and M. B. of _____, and D. E. of _____, daughter of F. E. and S. E. of _____, having declared their intentions of marriage with each other before __________ Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, held at ________, according to the good order used among them, their proposed marriage was allowed by that Meeting.
Now these are to certify to whom it may concern, that, for the accomplishment of their intentions, this ___ day of _____ month, in the year ____, they, the said A. B. and D. E., appeared in a public meeting* of the Religious Society of Friends, held at ; and A. B., taking D. E. by the hand, did on this solemn occasion, declare that he took her, D. E., to be his wife, promising with Divine assistance to be unto her a loving and faithful husband as long as they both should live; and then, in the same assembly, D. E. did in like manner declare that she took A. B. to be her husband, promising with Divine assistance to be unto him a loving and faithful wife as long as they both should live. And moreover, they, the said A. B. and D. E., [she, according to the custom of marriage, assuming the surname of her husband,] did, as a further confirmation thereof, then and there, to these presents set their hands.
A. B. D. B.
We, whose names are also hereunto subscribed, being present at the said marriage have, as witnesses thereto, set our hands the day and year above written.
_________________ _________________ _________________
_________________ _________________ _________________
_________________ _________________ _________________
*When the marriage is accomplished at a private house, instead of the words "in a public ... Friends, held at __________", write "at a meeting held in the home of ____________ in the ___________ of __________."
5. Procurement of the Marriage Certificate
A Friends' Marriage Certificate is often prepared by hand by a friend of the couple or member of the Meeting with calligraphic skills. Alternatively, a certificate may be ordered from the Friends' Book Store in Philadelphia or a commercial firm. It is advisable to use sturdy parchment and permanent ink.
A couple wishing a certificate with different wording from the standard form contained in this appendix should make this known as early as possible to the clearness committee or committee of oversight. If this committee feels the changes are substantive, they should be brought to the attention of the appropriate standing committee of the Monthly Meeting for approval.
6. The Customary Sequence of Events at a Quaker Wedding
Although a meeting for marriage is a meeting for worship and when held at the meeting house is public, there are elements of "program" to such a meeting. The usual sequence of events on such occasions (subject to change by consent of the couple and the special committee of oversight) is as follows:
- If music is desired, it may be played or sung during the period when Friends are gathering.
- At the hour appointed for the start of the meeting, the special committee of oversight and the wedding company enter and take their seats.
- After a few moments of settling, the appointed person rises and briefly explains, for the benefit of non-Friends present, the purpose of the meeting, its nature as a Quaker meeting for worship, and the events which will follow.
- The meeting then settles into silent worship. After an appropriate interval, the couple rise, face each other and join hands. In sequence, each recites to the other the vows.
- If there are rings, the couple exchange these after their vows. A kiss is often exchanged at this point.
- The couple resume their seats; the certificate on its table is placed before them for their signatures.
- The table is moved and the certificate given to the person appointed to read it. It is read aloud in its entirety, down to and including the signatures just appended, and returned to the table.
- The meeting settles again into worship, during which those moved to speak may do so, until the meeting is closed by the person designated.
- The wedding company withdraws, after which all wedding guests sign the certificate under the supervision of a designated person, reserving spaces, if desired, for the subsequent signature of the company, overseers and family.
G. A Suggested Procedure for Establishing a Preparative Meeting
NOTE: The procedures below apply to those Preparative Meetings that are established under the care of a separate Monthly Meeting, not those which are formed as equal parts constituting one Monthly Meeting. See section III-A-3.
When Friends are ready to establish a Preparative Meeting under the care of a Monthly Meeting, an ad hoc committee may be established by the Monthly Meeting to consider details and to bring forward a proposed Minute to Establish the  Preparative Meeting for the consideration of the Monthly Meeting. This committee should include Friends from both the proposed Preparative Meeting and the sponsoring Monthly Meeting. It is helpful to have Friends on the committee experienced with Friends' business procedures.
The committee should consider such matters as the place of meeting for worship of the new group, what officers and committees are necessary for the Preparative Meeting, and what the relationship will be to the Monthly Meeting regarding finances, membership, marriages, property, business, and similar concerns. Care in recording and documenting these deliberations is needful, and these records should be preserved with Monthly Meeting records.
When the committee has formulated a minute, has presented it to the Monthly Meeting, and the minute has been approved, the committee is laid down. Upon approval of the minute by the Monthly Meeting in session, the Monthly Meeting should name a temporary nominating committee to seek Friends to serve the new Preparative Meeting as a Nominating Committee. This Nominating Committee then will seek to fill the positions required by the Preparative Meeting. Upon approval by the Preparative Meeting, these names will be recorded by the Monthly Meeting. The new Preparative Meeting is then in being.
Close liaison between committees of similar responsibilities from Preparative and Monthly Meetings will be helpful. A regular report (annual or semi-annual) should be made by the Preparative Meeting to the Monthly Meeting.
1. Sample Minute to Establish a Preparative Meeting
[Name] Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, held at [place (city/town, state)], hereby establishes as a Preparative Meeting under its care the [Name] Preparative Meeting to be held at [place (city/town, state)].
- Members of [Name] Monthly Meeting who worship with [Name] Preparative Meeting will retain their membership in the Monthly Meeting until the Preparative Meeting is established as an independent Monthly Meeting.
- Persons interested in the Preparative Meeting, who are now members of other Friends Meetings, should request transfer of their membership to the Monthly Meeting.
- Persons interested in the Preparative Meeting who desire membership in the Religious Society of Friends should apply for membership in the Monthly Meeting. Their applications for membership should initially be considered by the Preparative Meeting Committee on Ministry and Oversight and forwarded with its recommendations to the Committee of Overseers of the Monthly Meeting.
- As members of the Monthly Meeting, members of the Preparative Meeting are also members of the appropriate Quarterly Meeting and of Baltimore Yearly Meeting.
3. Finance and Property
- Any real and personal property acquired by the Preparative Meeting shall be legally held by the Trustees of the Monthly Meeting. When the Preparative Meeting becomes a Monthly Meeting, title to such property will be transferred to the Trustees of the new Monthly Meeting.
- The Monthly Meeting is responsible for the financial support of the activities of the Preparative Meeting. The Preparative Meeting will prepare an annual budget to be submitted to the Monthly Meeting for approval. Friends from the Preparative Meeting expect to contribute funds to meet these expenses. Preparative Meeting Friends also accept the responsibility to contribute to the Monthly Meeting budget, including its Baltimore Yearly Meeting apportionment.
- The Monthly Meeting may authorize separate bank accounts for the Preparative Meeting and may appoint, in consultation with the Preparative Meeting, an Assistant Treasurer authorized to handle such accounts. Funds and records should be handled according to procedures worked out by the Treasurer and the new Assistant Treasurer, with the approval of the Finance Committees of both the Preparative and Monthly Meetings.
4. Business, Officers, and Committees
- The Preparative Meeting should hold regularly scheduled business meetings. The business-handling procedures outlined in Faith and Practice of Baltimore Yearly Meeting apply.
- The Preparative Meeting may consider and act on business which concerns it alone. Copies of minutes of Preparative Meeting business meetings should be forwarded to the Clerk of the Monthly Meeting who may ask the Monthly Meeting to consider any of the items.
- The Preparative Meeting may consider other business and may forward recommendations to the Monthly Meeting.
- The Preparative Meeting should appoint a Clerk and Assistant (or Recording) Clerk and other officers as necessary. The Clerk and the Assistant Treasurer from the Preparative Meeting will be considered officers of the Monthly Meeting and will serve on the Monthly Meeting Executive Committee, if there is one.
- Preparative Meeting Friends may be considered for membership on the standing committees of the Monthly Meeting. The Preparative Meeting may establish committees, and also may consider Friends from the Monthly Meeting for membership on its committees.
- Weddings are held under the care of the Monthly Meeting. Friends from both the Preparative and Monthly Meetings should be appointed to the clearness committee to meet with Preparative Meeting Friends seeking marriage under the care of the Meeting.
- Memorial Meetings or other special occasions involving Friends from the Preparative Meeting should be jointly planned by committees from the two meetings.
- Careful records of committee and business meetings of the Preparative Meeting should be maintained with copies of business meeting minutes forwarded to the Clerk and Recorder of the Monthly Meeting.
H. Queries to Consider in Granting Monthly Meeting Status to Preparative Meetings
- Is a sense of community present among members and attenders of the Preparative Meeting? Is spiritual nurturing experienced within it?
- Are meetings for worship and business held regularly and attended appropriately?
- Is there a core group with the commitment to give permanence to the Meeting?
- Is contact maintained with organizations in the wider community of the Religious Society of Friends?
- Is witness for traditional social testimonies of Friends fostered?
- Does the Preparative Meeting maintain a library of Friends materials? Does it encourage its members and attenders to grow in the knowledge of the Society?
- Has the Preparative Meeting established relationships with other religious groups in its community?
I. Policies and Advices Regarding Estates and Bequests3
The Yearly Meeting and Monthly Meetings and affiliated institutions, are grateful for the generosity of spirit which has led to the receipt, over the years, of many gifts and bequests. Heretofore there has been no systematic guidance to individual members contemplating bequests, and little in the way of policy regarding the acceptance and use of money and property by corporate bodies of Friends. In the light of our actual experience in the administration of trust funds, and with rapid social change having a major effect on our sense of priorities among various Quaker concerns, it is timely to adopt appropriate policies and advices, as clear and comprehensive as possible, as far as our present insights lead us.
1. Advice to Individual Friends
Individual Friends are advised and encouraged:
- To give careful thought to the making of wills, to arranging for insurance, and to reasonable provision against the needs of old age and the possibilities of serious illness, insofar as means will permit.
- To consider with great seriousness their role as stewards of a portion of the Lord's bounty, not endeavoring to accumulate large material estates.
- To consider wills and estate plans with children, it being expected that if they have been brought up to be self-reliant and resourceful, they will not be overly concerned about the amounts they may inherit.
- To consult a suitable person or persons in their Monthly Meeting, particularly with respect to intended charitable and religious donations but also with respect to general arrangements. Professional legal, investment, and accounting advice is often essential and is in fact usually sought when substantial amounts are involved. But if we are to be fully aware of our Christian responsibilities, counseling on more than a purely secular basis is also needed.
- To take into account, in planning donations and bequests, the spirit and intent of the Yearly Meeting policies noted below.
2. Advice to Monthly Meetings
Each Monthly Meeting is advised and encouraged:
- To make suitable arrangements for consultation as indicated above. Responsibility may be entrusted to a standing committee, or perhaps to one or more well-qualified individuals selected by the Ministry and Counsel and the Stewardship and Finance Committees. In the case of a small meeting, or where there are several meetings in an area, the resources of a group of meetings may be called on.
- To seek to develop a healthy attitude within the Meeting, and to encourage periodic open discussion, with respect to the Meeting's property, investments, and financial position generally. Trustees and other financial officers should seek to be as responsive as possible, within the limits of legally imposed restrictions, to the considered judgment of the whole Meeting on matters of policy. Care must always be taken that the Meeting's paramount role as a mutually supportive religious fellowship is not weakened by over-much concern for the custody of property or investments.
- To consider the degree to which it should be and is able to help members in case of financial emergency, relating this to the primary role of each family to meet its own needs as far as possible.
3 Yearly Meeting Policy
- Baltimore Yearly Meeting is, and must always strive to be primarily a religious fellowship whose work and program reflect the living concerns and the deepest insights of its active members, under Divine guidance seeking to make responsible decisions in the light of present conditions and of future needs. In this fellowship, past, present, and future generations are linked in a continuity of the spirit. The greatest heritage which any generation can leave to the next is the example of faithful lives. Causes to which such lives have been devoted should never be forgotten even though victories have been won or new conditions have created new priorities.
- Friends who have felt themselves a vital part of the Yearly Meeting fellowship, or who have supported worthwhile causes as an expression of Quaker concern, are often moved to donate or bequeath money or property to the Yearly Meeting. We express our gratitude for the generosity of spirit which motivates such action and invite active consideration of further gifts now and in the future. It is proper for the donor to be able to feel that a beneficial influence is extended in a direct and effective way beyond his or her lifetime. But such gifts need to be made with the full realization that their function is to enable each current generation of Friends to extend, and to be more effective in, the Quaker faith and its practical expression.
- To this end the Yearly Meeting welcomes, and wishes to accept, gifts whose terms are liberating rather than restrictive. Care must be taken not to allow us, or any future generation, to be dependent on bequests or on endowment income so as to relieve the current membership of a vital sense of responsibility for operating expenses, services, and wider outreach. At the same time attention should not be diverted from those concerns which are felt to be most central and to have the highest priority, by the existence of funds irrevocably committed to specific purposes which are no longer as relevant as when the gift was made. The following provisions are intended to guide both the Trustees of the Yearly Meeting, and prospective donors. They should be especially noted in the making of a will, since in the case of a living donor the terms of a gift can be discussed and altered until it is clear that full agreement has been reached.
- The interests and intentions of a donor should be expressed in broad terms. A will should contain the fewest possible legally binding restrictions, with preferences being expressed in terms of guidance. Detailed preferences as to the administration and use of funds are likely to be more appropriate for a supplemental letter than for the will itself.
- Even though the donor's wishes are stated as a matter of preference rather than as a legally binding restriction, the Yearly Meeting, in accepting a bequest, feels a moral obligation to comply with those wishes as far as and as long as it is possible to do so, consistent with this statement of policy. Not later than 15 years after the receipt of a bequest the Yearly Meeting wishes to be free to review the uses to which it is being put, and other relevant conditions. Changes would be made if they appeared necessary and desirable in the light of this policy. However, even if a modification were made, this would be done while adhering as closely as possible to the original intent; for example, from a narrow preference no longer relevant to a second area of preference.
- Income from endowment funds is now, and for some time is likely to remain, an important and useful part of the resources available to the Yearly Meeting. If a preference is indicated in connection with a gift that the principal is to be invested and only the current income expended, it is reasonable to expect that this will be done for a number of years to come. Nevertheless the present members of the Yearly Meeting do not wish to tie the hands of their successors. It is therefore expected that in connection with the review mentioned above, a decision might be made after a period of 15 years that part of the principal of a gift might be used in addition to income. In like manner any physical property given to the Yearly Meeting would be subject to examination to determine whether its continued use as originally designated is compatible with current program and conditions.
- The Yearly Meeting recognizes that the ways in which capital funds are invested often have important implications in terms of Friends' testimonies and concerns. It reaffirms the right to give policy guidance to the Trustees from time to time in this respect. Taking such guidance into account, and considering social and moral factors, it is expected that the Trustees will on the one hand avoid certain types of investment regardless of the expected rate of monetary return, and will on the other hand have liberty to make some other investments involving a somewhat lower monetary return or a greater monetary risk than would be considered acceptable in a secular organization.
- In American society it has become common for educational buildings, philanthropic funds, and the like, to carry the name of a donor or of a person or family being memorialized. The Yearly Meeting hopes that bequests, while letting such an interest be known, will leave final decisions to the judgment of the Yearly Meeting.
- With respect to all endowment funds presently administered by the Yearly Meeting, stipulations which were binding at the time the gift or bequest was accepted will continue to be honored, unless and until some serious conflict arises and there needs to be some legal resolution of a restrictive situation.
- With respect to gifts which are offered to the Yearly Meeting in the future, during the lifetime and competence of the intended donor, the Trustees are directed, through an appropriate representative, to discuss the terms, and to accept the gift when these are in harmony with this policy of the Yearly Meeting.
- With respect to bequests which are being considered by members making their wills, it is expected that the Yearly Meeting Trustees will cooperate with and assist those seeking to serve as consultants referred to in section 2a and 3c above.
- With respect to bequests which may hereafter be offered to the Yearly Meeting, the Trustees are authorized to accept those whose terms are substantially in harmony with this statement of policy. If a bequest is offered with terms plainly out of harmony with the spirit and intent of this policy and without special extenuating circumstances, the Trustees are directed to notify the executor that the bequest cannot be accepted.
- With respect to a bequest which is offered in terms which are not entirely consistent with this policy, but which the Trustees feel for good reason ought to be accepted or at least considered by the Yearly Meeting, they are instructed to draw up an appropriate statement of the circumstances together with their recommendation and to present the same for action at the next annual sessions of the Yearly Meeting.
- Every effort shall be made to see that this policy is familiar to members, and that all possible encouragement and assistance is given to those who may contemplate making a gift or including a bequest in a will.
- The adoption of policies similar to the above is strongly commended for the consideration of our constituent meetings and affiliated institutions.
J. Planning a Memorial Meeting
1. The Memorial Meeting
- An introductory welcome and explanation of Quaker service is very helpful to those who have not been to a Quaker meeting previously. What is to be said? Who will say (or read) it? It is particularly helpful to include information about how to know when the service is over.
- Approximately how long should the service be, and who is to close the meeting?
- Is there a memorial minute? Who will read it? And when?
- Is there to be music? Who will arrange or perform it? (Is special equipment needed?) Should it be at a pre-arranged time or as the Spirit moves? (Adequate lighting should be assured for anyone needing to read music.)
- Are there any particular people to be asked to speak? Who will make the request?
2. Practical Considerations
- How many people might attend? Are facilities adequate? If not, what can be done or what other location may be used? (Possibilities should be considered in advance of need as much as possible, particularly for Meetings which do not have their own meetinghouses.)
- Parking for a large gathering may be a problem. It is helpful to designate someone (or two or three) to direct people where to park. Reserve a few spaces near the entrance for those who need this convenience.
- Is child care needed? Who can provide it and where will it be?
- Does the family wish to sit in a particular place? How are the places to be reserved?
- Are there to be flowers? Who will supply them? Remove? Transport? Obituaries and death notices may appropriately request donations to a chosen organization in lieu of flowers.
- Does the family want casket or ashes present? If so, where should they be placed? How and when will they be placed and removed?
- Will there be a guest book? Who will obtain it? Where will it be placed? See that a pen is available too.
- Are there to be refreshments afterwards? Who will provide, where will they be served, and who is responsible for cleaning up?
- Can members of meeting offer hospitality to friends and relatives from out of town?
- Should someone remain at the home while the family is at the memorial service? Is there some Meeting member not close to the family who might do this?