Guidance of Meeting Affairs—Named Roles

Each monthly meeting appoints individuals to serve as clerk, recording clerk, treasurer, and recorder of members. Other delegated functions are normally given to committees rather than individuals.

Meetings clearly express their expectations and define the scope of authority of those given responsibility for guidance of meeting affairs. When this happens in a trusting atmosphere, the meeting’s officers and committees can accomplish their tasks without duplication or frustration. Likewise, in an atmosphere of trust the meeting can honor the work of those who serve it.

Clerk The clerk sees to the good management of the affairs of the meeting. The clerk prepares the agenda and conducts meetings for business. The clerk provides background information, reminds the meeting of previous decisions, asks committees to prepare and present reports and recommendations, and ensures that the decisions of the meeting are carried out. In addition, the clerk may be in the best position to identify weaknesses or failings in the committee structure and function, and work with the meeting’s nominating committee to initiate corrective action. The preparation of regular self-evaluations is supervised by the clerk and provides an opportunity for assessment and correction as needed. (See Section VII. Guidelines for a Spiritual Self-assessment of the Meeting and the Meeting Checklist.) Some meetings also appoint an assistant clerk or meeting secretary to assist in the work of the clerk.

The clerk is both servant and leader. The clerk ensures that meetings for business are also meetings for worship in which spiritual unity is paramount. The clerk encourages those who are reluctant to speak, and in like manner gently discourages those who tend to speak at undue length or too often. The clerk, often working with the recording clerk, attempts to discern the sense of the meeting. When the direction seems clear, the clerk tests it with the meeting. If there are reservations, the clerk notes them and opens the way for further seeking and refinement. When the sense of the meeting is elusive, the clerk might suggest deferring the matter to a later time or referring it to a different forum, such as a threshing session or ad hoc group, for further consideration and preparation. When there is agreement and the direction is clear, the clerk directs that the sense of the meeting be so recorded in the minutes.  The body of the meeting approves the written minutes. (See Section II. Corporate Discernment and Decision-making.)

The clerk avoids opinionated participation in the discussion. If the clerk has strong personal views on a matter before the meeting, the clerk may ask the meeting to appoint someone else to clerk a portion of the meeting for business.  At times, the clerk may prepare a “minute of exercise,” an expression of a clerk’s insights and concerns at the close of a meeting for business.

Recording Clerk The recording clerk prepares the written minutes of the meeting, which reflect its inspiration, discussion and decisions. These minutes need to be clear and accurate to avoid future confusion. The recording clerk may consult the clerk in advance of the meeting regarding the more significant names, dates and proposals on the agenda. The recording clerk may request help from the clerk or the meeting in formulating a minute of decision and may request a time of silence and supportive prayer until the task is complete.

Meetings follow a variety of practices when it comes to approval of the minutes. Some meetings approve all the minutes at the end of the meeting for business. Some approve sections as the meeting proceeds. Some approve the minutes at the next meeting for business. And some approve minutes of decision during the session when the decision is made and review the complete minutes at a future time. At times, the meeting may approve a minute in principle and not require the final refined version to come back to the meeting. Once approved, minutes retain their authority unless amended by a subsequent minute. All minutes are preserved in ways that will ensure their availability and permanence.

Treasurer The treasurer receives, holds, invests and disburses the meeting’s funds in accordance with the monthly meeting’s instructions. The treasurer maintains accurate accounts of the financial transactions of the meeting and reports regularly to the meeting. The treasurer works closely with the finance committee to prepare and monitor annual budgets and to assist in longer term financial planning for the meeting. The meeting appoints a committee, made up of those not involved in the preparation of the records, to review the treasurer’s accounts, submit a written report to the meeting, and guide the treasurer in good accounting practices as needed. This process generally occurs annually.

Recorder The recorder maintains the records of births, adoptions, deaths, marriages, divorces and changes in membership. The recorder, or another person or committee specially designated, periodically publishes a directory of members and other persons associated with the meeting. The recorder provides the yearly meeting with regular updates on membership information and reports membership statistics annually.