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Manual of Procedure

V. Committees of the Yearly Meeting

The Yearly Meeting establishes committees for the carrying out of its purposes. All committees are expected to meet at least once annually, either in person or using modern technology such as voice- or video-teleconferencing and are expected to report annually. Each committee reports both on its activities and on those matters that are seen as needing attention, with some analysis of the health of the committee. If a committee sees no way in which it can carry out the concerns placed upon it, its members should request the Interim Meeting to re-examine the function and structure of the committee and make appropriate recommendations to the Yearly Meeting. Failure of a committee to report is also an indication that a review process is needed.

Baltimore Yearly Meeting has adopted policies that govern all committees. These policies include Whistle Blower (Appendix B to this Manual), Conflict of Interest (Appendix C to this Manual), and Youth Safety (Appendix D to this Manual) Policies. Committee review reinforces the Yearly Meeting’s intention that all committee members and corporate practices uphold these policies.

It is the policy of Baltimore Yearly Meeting that all committees acting on its behalf, including standing and ad hoc committees, will keep contemporaneous minutes of all committee meetings. These minutes are expected to be sent to the Yearly Meeting Office in a timely fashion for retention.

Concerned individuals desiring to establish a new committee or ad hoc committee take their idea to Interim Meeting, either themselves directly, through their Monthly Meeting(s), or through an appropriate committee if one already exists. If, after due consideration, there is approval, Interim Meeting recommends to the Yearly Meeting that such a committee or ad hoc committee be established. If the Yearly Meeting approves, the committee or ad hoc committee is established.

Any report, action, or statement of a committee is to be approved in the manner of Friends at a meeting of the committee of which all the members of the committee were given reasonable notice.

Unless otherwise provided, nominations of persons to serve on the committees of the Yearly Meeting are made by the Nominating Committee. Nominations of persons to serve on the Nominating Committee, however, are made by the Interim Meeting. In general, Friends are expected attempt to serve the Yearly Meeting on no more than one standing Committee at a time. However, the nomination of a particularly well qualified Friend as a representative to an outside body or as a member of an ad hoc Committee, after the Nominating Committee has given due consideration to other qualified Friends, is permitted. Nothing in this Manual is to be interpreted as barring any Friend from serving in a specific capacity when special circumstances warrant.

All appointments to committees are made by the Yearly Meeting in session, except that Interim Meeting may make appointments to fill vacancies or to meet other requirements arising between Yearly Meeting sessions.

The Yearly Meeting has a responsibility to reject unsuitable names as well as to approve those found acceptable.

Unless other terms are set, approximately one-third of the membership of each committee is appointed annually for terms of three years, such terms to begin at the end of the Yearly Meeting sessions at which the appointments are made. Generally, no one may serve on the same committee for more than six consecutive years, nor is it customary that Friends serve the Yearly Meeting on more than one standing committee at a time. An individual may again be appointed after a one-year break in service.

Any committee, except the Nominating Committee, may co-opt a limited number of Friends for membership for a period not extending beyond the following sessions of Yearly Meeting. Committees may invite other persons, Friends or non-Friends, to serve in a consultative capacity without becoming members of the committee.

Unless otherwise provided, each committee selects its own clerk. Committee clerks are selected from the members of Baltimore Yearly Meeting. Committees are encouraged to make careful provision for their ongoing work by selecting clerks in good time. Committee clerks usually take office at the close of Yearly Meeting’s Annual Session, to serve for the coming year. Since it is usually desirable that a clerk have some experience with the particular committee before becoming its clerk, committees may, prior to Yearly Meeting sessions, provide for selecting a prospective clerk from among their continuing members. Committees report the names of their clerks while the Yearly Meeting is still in session. Committee clerks attend Interim Meeting or delegate another member of the committee to attend.

Meetings of all Yearly Meeting committees, except the Nominating Committee, are open to all Friends. However, any committee reviewing sensitive matters may hold an executive session.

Yearly Meeting committees are empowered to raise or accept monies only with the prior approval of the Interim Meeting or the Yearly Meeting in session.

All administrative committees report their recommendations to the Yearly Meeting or to the Interim Meeting for approval, unless authority has previously been given such committees to act on their own proposals.

Functional Committees may act and issue statements on behalf of the Yearly Meeting:

  • when such actions or statements have the prior approval of the Yearly Meeting or the Interim Meeting.
  • when such actions or statements are clearly in accord with the policy of the Yearly Meeting as enunciated in its minutes or adopted statements.

Other actions or statements not meeting these qualifications will be clearly identified as being the actions or statements of the committee issuing them and not of the Yearly Meeting.

It is the duty of the functional committees from time to time, as the occasion demands, and with the approval of the committee members, to prepare position papers on matters of current interest and concern within their fields of interest and to present these position papers before the Yearly Meeting or the Interim Meeting for approval. If possible, these papers will be distributed to members of the Yearly Meeting along with Yearly Meeting committee reports prior to Yearly Meeting sessions at which they will be considered. These papers, as adopted by the Yearly Meeting, will then form the main part of the background of policy on the basis of which the functional committee may act on behalf of the Yearly Meeting.

The scope of authority possessed by an ad hoc committee is to be included in the charge to the committee; if not included, the committee is governed by the above provisions depending upon whether it is primarily of an administrative or functional character.

As a general practice, the Nominating Committee does not nominate members of an ad hoc committee or working group; the members select themselves. The names of members and the dates of establishment of ad hoc committees and working groups are listed in the Yearbook after committee rosters.

When an ad hoc committee is established, a time limit is set for its duration. At the end of that time, a decision is made by the Yearly Meeting as to whether the ad hoc committee is to be continued for another specified period of time, made a standing committee, or laid down. If no decision is made by the Yearly Meeting, the ad hoc committee automatically is laid down when the time limit expires.

Any other groups recognized by the Yearly Meeting which are not standing committees or ad hoc committees are either special groups or working groups. As provided in Section VI below, the former groups report to the Yearly Meeting, the latter to a sponsoring committee of the Yearly Meeting.

The Committees of Baltimore Yearly Meeting are:

Administrative Committees:

Camp Property Management Committee
Faith and Practice Committee
Manual of Procedure Committee
Nominating Committee
Program Committee
Stewardship and Finance Committee

Functional Committees:

Advancement and Outreach Committee
Camping Program Committee
Development Committee
Educational Grants Committee
Indian Affairs Committee
Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee
Peace and Social Concerns Committee
Religious Education Committee
Sue Thomas Turner Quaker Education Fund Committee
Unity with Nature Committee
Youth Programs Committee

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