Presiding Clerk

The clerk of yearly meeting is appointed to serve through annual sessions, though the term officially ends on June 30. The clerk is invited to serve a three-year, non-renewable term. The presiding clerk is an ex officio member of both the Administrative and Quaker Life Councils, and is invited to attend Nominating Council meetings.


The Clerk must have a broad historical perspective of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and an understanding of the issues which confront it. Wide contacts throughout the membership, commitment to Friends’ decision-making process, familiarity with the servant leader approach to leadership, mediation skills, and spiritual depth are all essential qualifications for this position. Experience in clerking large gatherings is desirable.


  • Interprets the purpose and mission of the yearly meeting to its members;
  • Interprets the purpose and mission to the larger body of Friends and to the larger community throughout the year;
  • Presides at annual sessions and continuing sessions and shares some responsibilities with the alternate clerks, including clerking some of the sessions;
  • Works closely with the process for planning annual and continuing sessions or appoints an alternate clerk to serve that role.
  • Consults regularly with the General Secretary of the yearly meeting, and receives minutes and relevant correspondence for attention;
  • May call special sessions of yearly meeting;
  • Participates in the annual review of the General Secretary along with members of the committee to evaluate the General Secretary;
  • Follows personal leadings for additional involvement as issues arise.

Rising Clerk

The Rising Clerk is appointed one year before the expiration of the clerk’s term to provide a year of seasoning before assuming the role of clerk. The rising clerk is invited to serve a one-year, nonrenewable term.


Qualifications are similar to those required for the clerk.


The rising clerk will work closely with the clerk to learn the role.