How We Conduct Business

Before we begin

  • Come in a spirit of trust that Meeting will be led to Truth and Right Action if it is faithful to Quaker practice. Seek your own willingness to be shown a Truth larger than your own.
  • Free yourself from the intention to speak…or not to speak. As you seek Unity with Meeting’s search for Truth, you’ll know if you need to speak.
  • Handouts on the clerk’s table will include a “Query.” We begin with a 20-30 minute “worship sharing” on it. All are invited to reflect aloud.

Coming to unity

  • Quaker decisions are made when the clerk discerns “unity” among those present. No vote is taken. Instead the clerk tests his/her “sense of the meeting” by framing it in words. Out of worship, Friends may:
  • affirm the clerk’s sense of unity,
  • offer a clarifying change,
  • “stand aside” despite misgivings, awaiting further Light as Meeting moves forward, or
  • ask to have their objections minuted, though Meeting may move forward in sober humility nevertheless.

During Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, follow these guidelines

  1. When you are led to speak, ask the clerk to recognize you by raising your hand.
  2. To affirm something someone has said, simply nod or use the phrase, “This Friend speaks my mind.” Please don’t ask to be recognized so that you may express the same thought in other words.
  3. When you speak, please stand, speak to the clerk’s table, and keep your comments to the point. address the clerk even if someone else has given the report to which you speak. The clerk holds the “container” in which we all participate.
  4. Friends will not generally be recognized to speak on any given issue more than once, except to acknowledge a personal change of perspective during the meeting. The clerk may not call on everyone if there is a clear sense of the meeting. We are seeking the sense of the meeting.
  5. When the recording clerk is developing a minute, sit in worship, and hold him/her in the Light. Please refrain from conversation with your neighbor.
  6. 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.
  7. If you feel that the gathering needs a break or a stretch, it is appropriate to ask to be recognized so that you may ask the clerk for one. However, if you personally need a break simply leave quietly when no one is speaking and return, waiting until no one is speaking to take your seat.
  8. The clerk may call for silence when needed to deepen the sense of reliance on Spirit. If you need silence, ask the clerk to call for it.

[adapted from Guidelines for Conduct in Meeting for Business, Lake Erie Yearly Meeting, 2009]