Functions and Organization of Quarterly Meetings

Thoughtfully planned sessions of a quarterly meeting can provide religious fellowship, spiritual enrichment, and a forum for cooperation and exchange of information and ideas among members of the constituent monthly meetings. Those gathered may develop plans to deal regionally with broader issues and special concerns, as well as review and respond to concerns that a meeting wishes to bring before the yearly meeting. Those named as monthly meeting representatives should be faithful in reporting the proceedings of such gatherings to their meeting.

Some quarterly meetings may have substantial institutions under their care, may be custodians of property, may employ paid staff, and may have active programs regarding ministry and worship, peace and social concerns, and youth.

Quarterly meetings maintain a structure of administrative officers and committees. The officers generally consist of a clerk, a recording clerk and a treasurer, with duties corresponding to those of officers in a monthly meeting. There may be committees to assist the clerk, to plan gatherings, to conduct routine business between sessions, to prepare the annual budget, and to provide sensitive oversight of programs and staff. Such committees may include:

  • A nominating committee to nominate quarterly meeting officers, monitor the process by which quarterly meeting committee members are selected, and appoint representatives from the quarterly meeting to the yearly meeting’s nominating committee.
  • A committee on worship and ministry to support the efforts of monthly meetings to enrich their worship and thereby enhance the spiritual lives of their members. It may also respond sensitively when a monthly meeting is in need of special nurture.
  • A committee appointed annually to examine the quarterly meeting treasurer’s accounts, submit a written report to the quarterly meeting, and guide the treasurer in sound accounting practices.
  • A committee to enable members of different monthly meetings to coordinate more effectively their public witness or service.
  • A committee to provide quarterly meeting programs such as retreats, service projects, and workshops for adults and youth.
  • A committee or trustees to assume responsibility for property such as meetinghouses or burial grounds under the care of the quarterly meeting.
  • A governing board for a school, senior living facility or other institution under the care of the quarterly meeting. The quarterly meeting appoints to the governing body dependable members with proven qualifications. The quarterly meeting entrusts operating responsibility to employed staff, and limits its liability through various means including insurance and separate incorporation. It has the obligation to offer encouragement and spiritual nurture to the governing body and to intervene if the viability of the institution is in question. It maintains a regular reporting process from the institution to the quarterly meeting to promote diligence in management, good stewardship and regular attention to maintaining the Quaker character of the institution in all aspects of its policies and operation.