Meeting for Business
Meeting for worship for business is generally held following meeting for worship on the 3rd Sunday of each month. Members and attenders are encouraged to attend meeting for business. Friends meet in a worshipful atmosphere to deal with the business of the Meeting, following a prepared agenda distributed before the meeting. The Clerk guides the meeting and eventually discerns the "sense of the meeting." (We do not vote.) Minutes are written by the recording clerk, reflecting the sense of the meeting, and noting actions or commitments decided upon, and who shall be carrying them out. Persons wishing to speak should wait to be recognized by the Clerk, and, if able, should rise to be heard. Meeting for business is a policy-making body, dealing with spiritual and outreach matters, and trusting the details of business to appointed committees who shall bring clear recommendations to the Meeting. The clerk should be informed in advance of all intended agenda items, with background information and details of responsibility, costs, and coordination with other committees.
Stewardship Of The Meeting
“As Christians, all we possess are the gifts of God. Now in distributing it to others we act as his steward, and it becomes our station to act agreeable to that divine wisdom which he graciously gives to his servants.” -- John Woolman
Stewardship nurtures the Meeting’s faith community, maintains the meetinghouse for the Monthly Meeting’s use and as a community resource, and assures that future generations will share the legacy of the Meeting’s heritage. Members and attenders support the Meeting in ways that suit their individual circumstances, with all contributions gratefully recognized as gifts of God. Contributions of time and financial resources are essential for the vibrancy of the Meeting. The Meeting is dependent on voluntary contributions to fund maintenance of the meetinghouse, pay its share to New England Yearly Meeting, pay its own bills, and provide support to other activities that express the Meeting’s concerns. Opportunities to contribute to the Meeting include regular monthly contributions, occasional, periodic or annual contributions, and bequests or gifts in memory of members. The Meeting can accept securities as well as cash payments. Members and regular attenders should be cognizant of the financial needs of the Meeting as expressed in its annual budget and participate as able in meeting those needs. Donations should be mailed to the assistant treasurer (see address on Home page) or online by clicking on the Donate tab.
Clearness Committees (not for marriage or membership)
When individuals find themselves facing major decisions or challenges, they may ask for a clearness committee. Pastoral Care will speak with that individual, and ask for a description of the issue, and whether there are specific people the individual would like to have on the clearness committee. Pastoral Care will then identify three to four individuals who will agree to be a part of the committee, meeting with the person individually, usually for one session, to listen to his/her concerns, but ongoing sessions may be held as needed. Clearness committees do not report on what happens in the committee meeting, they only report that the meeting occurred. The work of a clearness committee is not to give advice, but rather to help the individual to discern his/her way forward. In addition, Pastoral Care may also help convene a support committeefor an individual or family in particular need.
Membership—Becoming A Member
It is not necessary to wait to be invited to join a Friends meeting; people decide for themselves when they are ready to commit themselves to membership. A person who has been coming to meeting regularly, who has been learning more and more about Friends through reading Faith and Practiceand other Quaker literature, who is becoming active in the life of the meeting and attending meeting for worship for business, and who has come to feel at home among its members, may feel ready to apply for membership. This is the time to write a letter to the clerk outlining the feeling of being drawn into fellowship with Friends and of being in unity with Friends' principles and testimonies. The clerk forwards the letter to Worship and Ministry, which at its next meeting appoints a membership clearness committee to meet with the applicant. This committee reports back to Worship and Ministry, which then makes a recommendation at the next meeting for business. The applying member should not be present at that business meeting. When the request for membership is approved, a welcoming committee is appointed. See “Am I a Quaker,” included in this packet.
Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM)
Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting is a body of ten monthly meetings, including Hartford, which gathers every three months except in the summer. The winter and spring meetings are held on the first Sunday of February and the first Sunday of May at different meetinghouses. The fall gathering is a weekend retreat at Woolman Hill. There is a program of general interest to Friends and a business meeting, and an opportunity to meet and visit with Friends from other meetings.
NEYM is made up of eight quarterly meetings and approximately 80 monthly meetings in New England. It meets in August for its annual ‘Sessions,’ and is the oldest yearly meeting in the world. Annual Sessions last five days and are often a family vacation destination. In addition to the business meetings, which go on every day, Sessions provide a Bible half hour each day, workshops, worship sharing groups, committee meetings, special events and speakers, and an opportunity for both adults and children to connect with Quakers from throughout New England. Display space provides information on Quaker organizations throughout the country (including Quaker schools), and a bookstore offers books and crafts for browsers. Located upstairs at the Worcester meetinghouse, the Yearly Meeting’s office staff provides information and resources including the New England Friend (a quarterly newsletter), youth retreats (divided into three age groups), and organizational support for YM committees. Also affiliated with NEYM are: Friends Camp in China, Maine, a residential summer camp for children ages 7-17, and Woolman Hill, a rural retreat center in Massachusetts (woolmanhill.org). Hartford Friends serve on numerous NEYM committees and many children attend youth retreats. For more information visit neym.org