What is a meeting?
For Quakers, a “meeting” has several layers of meaning.
At first glance, it is our gathering for worship. (In other denominations, the equivalent may be called the service or the mass.) Quaker worship can be programmed, with prepared sermons and music, or unprogrammed, relying on the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit for guidance and vocal ministry.
Secondly, a meeting is the group of people that gathers weekly (or more often) for worship and monthly to conduct business. A Monthly Meeting is the local decision-making body holding authority for memberships and marriages. In many places, this is equivalent to a Friends Church. Some Meetings have more than one worship group under their care.
A Yearly Meeting is a regional grouping of Monthly Meetings, is sometimes divided into Quarterly Meetings, and has varying amounts of power and authority over Monthly Meetings. This authority varies by Yearly Meeting and by the century.
A directory of worship groups, Monthly Meetings, Friends Churches, Quarterly and Yearly Meetings in the Americas can be found online at www.fwccamericas.org.
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