What is a meeting?

Some time ago, I volunteered to write an answer to this question for a new website. It has to be accessible for people who know nothing about Quakers, and acceptable to the full range of Quakers in North America. This is my attempt. Any suggestions, edits, concerns?

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.

Labels: ,

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]


Anonymous Jay T. said...

If you can find it out, you might give some idea of the mean or median number of members in a Monthly or a Yearly Meeting. Also some info to show the range.

The problem I would have is not knowing that info. FWCC stats say about 359,000 Friends worldwide. How many meetings to divide into that number? I didn't find that in a quick look around fwccworld.org

1/17/2010 10:11 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

I have no idea either, Jay. And the off-blog feedback I've gotten suggests that's it's already too long. But that might be an interesting number for another page.

1/22/2010 12:25 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home