Guidelines for

Meeting and Committee Clerks

Welcome to being a clerk at Patuxent Friends Meeting. Whether you are clerk at Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business or for one of our Meeting’s committees, several common principles apply:

Clerks act as servants of the meeting. Members endow the clerk with a special trust. They are never alone. All members of the meeting or committee help with clerking…it is everyone’s responsibility to help discern the leadings of the Spirit.

Clerks will benefit from focusing more on being faithful and showing love to their fellow members than on being “successful”. They may then come to measure how well they are doing in terms of peace—in helping to nourish one-another in the Spirit.

If we work together, Clerks will have the opportunity to experience real joy in their roles.

It will help clerks to: With Meeting’s help, clerks will learn they need not:
Remember that they serve the members of the meeting or committee. Feel they are “in charge of” the meeting or committee.
Prepare an agenda for consideration. Come with a personal agenda.
Maintain a worshipful environment that helps members discern the will of God.
Feel pressure to achieve consensus.
Be open to the will of the members. Try to impose personal preferences.
Allow time for important or controversial issues.
Get bogged down in crossing every “t” and dotting every “i”.
Ask the membership for help if unsure. Feel responsible for outcomes.
Take the time required for worshipful consideration. Be driven by the clock or calendar.
Pose questions relevant to issues being discussed. Help silent Friends be heard.
Listen for the Sense of the Meeting. Try to “guide” the Meeting to a solution.
Work with the Recording Clerk, allowing time to write and review minutes. Put minutes off until a later date.
Allow difficult issues to lie over to the next meeting if further reflection will be helpful. Delay action on issues that are ripe for decision.
Test for individual leadings. Try to do all the work themselves.
Work with Ministry and Counsel to look for group spiritual discernment on the best way to assist individuals. Take it upon themselves to “elder” individuals on Friendly practice.
Remember they are never alone.

Avoid asking for help when needed.



Almost everyone who accepts the call to serve as a clerk discovers a special sense of service and belonging that no other experience can match. As clerks learn and grow into their roles, they help us to build a sense of community and let our lives speak in a positive way.

“Service to the Meeting is a gift that repays you time and time again as you come to work with other Friends, appreciate their gifts, and relearn the strengths of the Spirit working through our business affairs.”

Grant Phelps Thompson, Presiding Clerk, FMW