Meeting Processes and Procedures

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Nominating Committee
  2. Social Concerns Account
  3. Budget
  4. Year End Giving
  5. State of the Meeting Report
  6. Periodic Financial Audits
  7. Hosting Special Events
  8. Clearness Committees
  9. Loss of Members of Our Meeting Community
  10. Children in the Life of the Meeting
  11. Same Sex Vows
  12. Afterthoughts
  13. Business Meeting during Summer Months
  14. Meeting Officers and Committees

 

1. Nominating Committee

Process for Selecting the Nominating Committee:

The Clerk of the Meeting, in consultation with the Ministry and Counsel Committee, will propose to the Meeting for approval three Friends to serve on the Nominating Committee for the following year. The Clerk would serve as an ex officio member of the committee. Those proposed for membership in the Nominating Committee should be Friends with a commitment to the Meeting and to Friend’s practices. Of these three Friends, at least one should be a Friend with long-term association with the Meeting.

Process Recommendations:

Members of the Nominating Committee should review materials in Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice on the role of nominating committees and the roles and qualifications of officers and committees of the Meeting. A discussion of these materials and the nominating process should take place at the beginning of the committee’s work, so that all members are acquainted with relevant information about Friend’s practices.

The new clerk of the committee should consult with the nominating committee clerk from the previous year to gain any information relevant to the process (persons who indicated in the past a willingness to serve in a, particular office. or committee in the future, etc.).

The committee should discuss the needs of the Meeting, soliciting views from the Clerk of the Meeting. The committee should consider the talents and leadings of individuals in the Meeting, soliciting such. information from members of the Meeting as:

What are your interests and concerns in relation to new officers and committees?

How would you like to contribute to the work of the Meeting?

Do you have time for service to the Meeting?

May we propose your name for [a particular office or committee]?

Timeline:

Before the end of the first quarter of the year: Clerk introduce subject and discuss potential/recommended members for the nominating committee with Ministry and Counsel members. Establish committee, with approval of the Meeting. Committee will be available, as required, through the remainder of the year.

October Meeting for Business: Nominating Committee review annual nomination process and request assistance from Meeting membership, as required.

November Meeting for Business: Nominating Committee present proposed slate of officers and committees for coming year. Hold over for further requirements and final consideration at December meeting.

December Meeting for Business: Nominating Committee present final slate of officers and committees for coming year. Final discussion and approval (upon unity).

January Meeting: New officers and committees assume their roles within the life of the Meeting.

 

2. Social Concerns Account

Composition of Social Outreach Account:

The Social Outreach Account is comprised of contributions to the Meeting specifically designated for social outreach to needy individuals and families with time sensitive or emergency requirements. This find in no way limits the overall social outreach of the Meeting, as the Meeting also may allocate further funds from the general Meeting funds.

Purpose of Social Outreach Account:

The purpose of the Social Outreach Account is to enable Patuxent Friends to take advantage of opportunities to assist individuals and families in meeting special needs that cannot be met by other resources. Grants from this find may be used to assist with food, shelter, clothing, utilities, legal, medical, educational, recreational, and other special needs. The intent of the find is not to create a financial dependence on the Meeting or provide a source of supplemental income, but to be one means for the Meeting to show loving concern for the surrounding community.

Eligibility to Receive a Social Outreach Grant:

A member or attender of the Meeting may identify a need which an individual or family has which is pressing and unmet by other sources, either because

Usual charity organizations or social service agencies do not grant assistance for such needs (for example, a musical instrument for a child, a consultation with an attorney, money for a car part) or;

The sum needed is larger than any one charity or agency can provide (for example, a needed portion of a mortgage or car payment which neither the individual in need nor any organization can cover).

Administration:

Approval of recommendations from members or attenders for Social Outreach grants will normally rest with the Outreach Committee.

Upon receipt of a request for a grant, the clerk of the Outreach Committee will complete an application form which will include the name, address, telephone number of the potential grantee; the purpose of and need for the grant; the name, address and telephone number of the vendor to whom the check will be written, and the name of the member of meeting making the recommendation.

The clerk of the Outreach Committee will consult with one other member of the committee, and these two, together with the clerk of the meeting will be empowered to approve grants of $150 or less to individuals brought to the attention of the Outreach Committee. If any of these individuals are unavailable, any member of the Ministry and Counsel Committee will be empowered to act on their behalf.

Upon approval, the clerk of the Outreach Committee will inform the Meeting treasurer, who will write a check for the amount approved. Checks may not be made payable to the person in need directly, but must be paid to a vendor (for example, the mortgage company, the car dealership, etc.). A photocopy of the check, receipts and application form will be kept as a part of the financial records.

If any of the above representatives are uncomfortable with a proposal, it may be referred to a regularly scheduled or specially called Meeting for Business.

Total grants made by this procedure may not exceed $1,000 per calendar year, or the amount in the Social Outreach find, whichever is the lesser amount.

The transaction will be reported at the next regular Meeting for Business.

 

3. Budget

In November/December of each year, the finance committee will meet to formulate a draft budget for the coming year to be presented to the Meeting. Specific issues that Friends will need to consider include:

Designation of funds for specific purposes, such as committee budgets, social concerns, or meeting place expenses.

Overall scope of contributions. It will sometimes be useful to list, without names, the ranking of household contributions, so that Friends might see where they fall in support of the Meeting. (Friend have previously agreed to this and found that this was appropriate and useful.)

Patuxent Friends Monthly Meeting is incorporated and has 501(c)3 status as a tax-exempt organization.

The proposed budget should be presented to Meeting in December for consideration and held over until January for final approval.

 

4. Year End Giving

Friends decided at Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business, Eleventh Month 2005, to discontinue the pro-forma practice of year-end giving in favor of responding to needs that Friends bring forward in a more substantial and timely manner throughout the year.

 

5. State of the Meeting Report

In January or February of each new year, Ministry and Counsel Committee will begin to consider the spiritual state of the meeting and plan to prepare a report to be forwarded to Baltimore Yearly Meeting. Many approaches have successfully been used to gather information for this effort, including discussion groups, individual interviews, and questionnaires, such as the one that follows:

"Please answer the following questions with regard to your feelings about any or all phases of the community life of Patuxent Friends Monthly Meeting (Meeting for Worship, Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business, Friday night discussions, religious education, adult religious education, etc.)

What activities in the life of our meeting do you find to be positive and fulfilling?

What activities in the life of our meeting do you feel need improvement and/or redirection?

What suggestions can you make for such improvement?"

The committee will bring their proposed report to the April meeting for worship with a concern for business, where it will be considered and held over to the May meeting for approval. The final report must be forwarded to BYM in early May, so that it may be considered with reports of other meetings as part of the yearly meeting process.

 

6. Periodic Financial Audits

Patuxent Friends will periodically conduct an audit of our financial records. It is desirable to do this annually, if practical, but at least every time there is a change in meeting treasurer. The audit will ensure that we are correct and consistent in our financial record keeping and provide a measure of support to the treasurer and reassurance to other members of the meeting. The audit may be conducted by another member of the meeting, if a knowledgeable person is willing and available, or it may be conducted by an independent party.

 

7. Hosting Special Events

Friends will periodically be required to host special events, such as retreats, memorial services or hosting Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting. These events have a number of common considerations, the pursuit of which will require the identification of responsible individuals or committees, including overall coordinator, event location, program, special activities, guest presenters, worship, meals, young friends’ activities, child care, and transportation.

 

8. Clearness Committees

Individual Friends will occasionally feel the need for support or loving assistance, as they try to find clearness about issues in their personal, spiritual or professional lives. The individual should normally approach the clerk or any member of the Ministry and Council Committee to discuss the formation of a clearness committee to assist them. A small group of Friends will be established in accordance with the wishes and needs of the requesting individual, to help him or her find clarity on the issue. These Friends should be active in the life of the Meeting, familiar with the individual concerned, and have appropriate depth of understanding of Quaker process. For members of the committee, this is largely an effort of listening, understanding and helping the individual work through their own thoughts and feelings. Committee members will be sensitive to the privacy concerns of the individual involved.

 

9. Loss of Members of Our Meeting Community

Patuxent Friends strive to offer support and comfort to those in the life of our meeting who lose friends or loved ones. Friends have valued the opportunity to present a living plant (azalea bush, shrub, tree, or other in accordance with the desires of the individuals) in memory of the loved one.

BYM Faith and Practice is particularly helpful in planning memorial services. Specific actions of concern include locating an appropriate place for the service (usually our place of worship), arranging for catering as necessary, writing a memorial statement in honor of the Friend’s life for the service and for providing to the BYM Interchange, and ongoing care and support of the bereaved.

 

10. Children in the Life of the Meeting

Patuxent Friends are committed to efforts which will nurture the spiritual life of all children of the Meeting. These efforts will include adherence to the following practices:

Welcoming a Child: At the request of the parents or guardian, a ceremony of welcome will be conducted when a new child is formally introduced to the Meeting. In this ceremony, those present at meeting for worship will offer their support for the child and their commitment to his or her spiritual growth.

First Day School: Patuxent Friends will operate a First Day School to teach Quaker values, beliefs, practices and testimonies, as well as other spiritual traditions.

Spiritual Growth: A ceremony of celebration will be conducted at the opening of teenage years, when the child and the family so desire. In this ceremony, those present at meeting for worship will share their joy for the young person’s spiritual growth and their continued support and confidence in his or her search for enlightenment.

Associate Membership: At the request of the parent or guardian, a child may be accepted as an Associate Member of the meeting. As the child matures, he or she will have the same opportunity as others to determine if he or she is committed to the spiritual and practical responsibilities of full membership.

Membership: Friends will provide a young person encouragement to apply for formal membership in the Religious Society of Friends when, having gained maturity, he or she feels sufficiently convinced and ready to take this step. The procedure for application for full membership is outlined in Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice.

Gifts and Recognition: Friends have enjoyed presenting books to the children of our meeting for holiday presents. Friends have also adopted the practice of presenting books, with signed messages from members of the meeting, to mark significant events in the lives of young Friends, such as graduation from high school or college or marriage.

 

11. Same Sex Vows

Patuxent Friends believe in the Quaker testimony of equal treatment for all human beings and affirm the goodness of committed, loving relationships, regardless of sexual orientation. We offer recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into a permanent relationship. By tradition, the Meeting recognizes committed heterosexual union. The same loving care and consideration will be given by the meeting to the union of same-sex couples. In both cases, the ceremony will be called either marriage or celebration of commitment, according to the wishes of the couple involved.

 

12. Afterthoughts

Friends are encouraged to take advantage of the time at close of meeting to share thoughts that, for one reason or another, were not offered during silent worship. We have experienced rich sharing result from this practice.

 

13. Business Meeting during Summer Months

Friends have often decided to defer meeting for worship with a concern for business in the months of July or August, when many Friends are out of town, and there may be relatively little business to conduct. Special called meetings are always an option if particular items of emerging business need to be addressed.

 

14. Meeting Officers and Committees (See BYM Faith and Practice and specific paragraphs above for additional detail. PFMM committees should keep in touch with BYM committees for the purposes of coordination of activities and sharing of information. PFMM committee concerns and actions will naturally be shaped by the concerns and leadings of participating individuals, but should at the minimum include the following responsibilities.)

Clerk: The clerk is the servant of the meeting for the execution of its business affairs, convening regular or specially called meetings for business, guiding deliberations, and carrying out the meeting’s instructions for actions between business meetings. The clerk attends Ministry and Council meetings as an ex officio member.

Recording Clerk: The recording clerk records the minutes of those decisions made by the meeting. The recording clerk is responsible for the preparation of an accurate final copy of the minutes, which becomes a permanent record of the meeting.

Treasurer: The treasurer is responsible for the custody and disbursement of meeting funds, as directed by the meeting. The treasurer should keep accurate records and report to the meeting regularly or on reasonable request.

Historian: The historian maintains the permanent record of the meeting, including minutes, special events information, newspaper clippings, etc. The historian forwards copies of records to Quaker archives as required.

Calendar/Mailing: Responsible for gathering information for, preparation of and (e-)mailing the meeting monthly calendar.

Librarian: The librarian is responsible for maintaining the books, information and educational materials in the meeting library.

Quarterly Meeting Representative: Represents Patuxent Friends at Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting. Reports back on Quarterly Meeting issues, discussion and results.

Ministry and Counsel Committee: Helps to build and maintain a community which unites all in the meeting in a shared spiritual life, and which inspires all to walk in the Light. Concerned primarily with what happens when the meeting gathers for worship or for business. Also considers the needs of individuals within the meeting as necessary. Facilitates the formation of clearness committes as requested. Meets on a monthly basis. Welcomes newcomers and visitors to meeting. Drafts the yearly report on the spiritual state of the meeting.

Finance Committee: Advises, supports and assists the treasurer in the responsible stewardship of meeting resources. Coordinates periodic audits of meeting financial records as required. Prepares annual budgets and proposes year end giving for meeting’s consideration and approval. Periodically reviews the meeting’s corporate witness with respect to contributions to Quaker and other organizations which reflect Friend’s testimonies. The treasurer is ex officio a member of this committee.

Peace and Social Action Committee: Brings issues of regional, national and international concern to the attention of the meeting. When appropriate, proposes specific action to be undertaken by Patuxent Friends MM to meet community or humanitarian needs.

Religious Education Committee: Charged with the guidance and conducting of the formal religious education programs of the meeting. Includes both First Day School and Adult Religious Education programs.

Building and Grounds Committee: Coordinates upkeep, maintenance and planned improvements of the meetinghouse, annex, property and the Patuxent Friends Cemetery in Hughesville, MD.

Outreach Committee: Looks for opportunities to extend Quaker fellowship to our wider community, and bring opportunities for social action to the attention of the meeting. Carry the message of Quakerism into the community, to those who are seekers but who have not yet heard of Friends. Checks the answering machine for messages and passes the information onto the appropriate person. The outreach committee also has care of the Social Concerns Fund process.