Our Structure

The Parts of Our Structure


Monthly Meeting

Local Meetings are often referred to as Monthly Meetings. These congregations worship weekly. Once a month, a “meeting for business” is held to make decisions about the local meeting’s management, pastoral care, membership, property and social concerns of interest to the local group. Find your local Quaker meeting.

Quarterly Meeting

Area Meetings are often referred to as “Quarterly Meetings” because they usually meet once a quarter to make decisions about issues and concerns that affect the area group. Quarterly Meetings A-Z.

Yearly Meeting

Regional Meetings are often referred to as “Yearly Meetings” because historically they would meet at least once a year to make decisions about issues and concerns that affect the regional group. Currently Philadelphia Yearly Meeting convenes the 100+ monthly meetings under its care three times a year (learn more below).


Annual Sessions

Any fundamental decisions regarding the structure, and business of the yearly meeting are made by the yearly meeting in annual or continuing sessions. Annual Sessions is usually a 5 day event held once a year during the summer months. Find out more about Annual Sessions.

Continuing Sessions

Meets twice a year, Includes worship, business sessions, & fellowship. Offers opportunities to share information from members, meetings, committees, and other Friends’ organizations. Continuing Sessions is usually a 1 day event held twice a year during the fall and spring months. Find out more about Continuing Sessions.



There are three standing councils; each accountable to Yearly Meeting. Quakers from meetings throughout the yearly meeting are appointed to serve on them. The councils determine priorities, monitor and evaluate the work within their areas of responsibility.


The work of Quaker meetings is done by members and attenders working together on Committees. Being in community with one another is essential to our spiritual beliefs. Committees are formed by councils or members appointed by councils.

  • Under the care of the Administrative Council
    • Administrative Council Governance Committee
    • Finance Committee
    • Property Committee
    • Personnel Committee
    • Multicultural Audit Steering Committee
  • Under the care of the Quaker Life Council
    • Quaker Life Council Governance Committee
    • Program Committee
    • Sessions Coordinating Committee
    • Youth Programs Advisory Committee
    • Friends Counseling Service Advisory Panel

Working Together


Threads relate to information & gatherings along important themes. Thread communications and gatherings are organized by staff in collaboration with Friends in the yearly meeting. They are in the care of the Quaker Life Council and the staff contact is the Associate Secretary for Program and Religious Life.


Collaboratives unite individuals across the yearly meeting (PYM) into a dynamic, “community organized” yearly meeting. Collaboratives group Friends with similar ideas and interests into committees that help launch PYM projects or activities. There are currently 7 formed collaboratives:


Sprints allow our community to respond to leadings at the moment. They provide agility in addressing a specific need as soon as it arises and helps to get the job done quickly. They last no longer than 1-6 months; the shorter the better. They can be under the care of any other structure, such as councils, committees, and collaboratives.

Resource Friends

Resource Friends help our community be healthy and thrive, by providing expert support in areas of need in our monthly meetings and on the yearly meeting level. Find out more about Resource Friends.

Bridge Contacts

Bridge Contacts help us connect with the movement of Spirit across our extended community. They keep current with the news, events, leadings, and activities in our yearly meeting network, and connect their constituencies to it. Bridge Contacts proactively identify opportunities for collaboration and make introductions. Find out more about Bridge Contacts.

Granting Groups

Granting Groups are the basic building block of PYM’s grant making. Each Granting Group is made up of volunteer members of PYM’s constituent Monthly Meetings, appointed by PYM’s Granting Committee; Membership changes over time. These Friends distribute grants on behalf of all of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s members. Find out more about Granting Groups.