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Organization of Local Churches

These are excerpts from our Faith and Practice.

Meetings for Worship

Sunday and midweek meetings for instruction, worship, evangelism, and discipleship are held as scheduled. Special meetings and changes of schedule should be given sufficient announcement.

Business Meetings

Regularly scheduled business sessions occur at intervals of not more than three months. If business must be continued at the call of the clerk, it shall be so announced in a regular Sunday morning meeting for worship prior to the session. A special business session may be called if it seems necessary in the judgment of the Presiding Clerk or the pastor and if similar provision is made for its advertisement. All active members are encouraged to participate in speaking to business and making decisions in these business meetings. A quorum consists of members in attendance at a regular meeting, or at a special meeting that has been properly called.

Responsibilities of the Local Church

The local church is a general policy‑making body. It has authority to call and contract pastoral services; to adopt the annual budget; to accept and dismiss members; to hold and administer real estate and other property for the use of the church; to initiate and sponsor an ministry point or mission congregation (see p. 27); to consider, adopt, and carry out measures in the interest of the church and of the community at large.


Local churches are encouraged to secure legal incorporation, in harmony with the Faith and Practice of Northwest Yearly Meeting and state laws (see p. 71).

Authority of the Yearly Meeting

As an affiliate of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church, each local church acknowledges that the Yearly Meeting has complete authority in all matters affecting the Yearly Meeting and its affiliated churches.  See also “Organization of the Yearly Meeting” 1.01 “Composition and Powers,” p. 35).

Representation in the Area

Each local church is a member of an Area (see “Organization of Areas,” p. 33), and is encouraged to participate actively in the life of its Area by attending and hosting Area gatherings, assisting with the Area nominating process, and submitting matters for Yearly Meeting attention to the Area for consideration.

Representation in the Yearly Meeting Sessions

The local church makes annual appointments to the Council of Representatives. It may appoint one person for each fifty resident active members or major fraction thereof as of the previous Yearly Meeting statistical report. Each local church is entitled to at least two representatives; each ministry point is entitled to one. If the church has an Administrative Committee, at least one of these representatives shall serve on it. An additional representative may be appointed by a ministry point at the discretion of the mother church or the Yearly Meeting. Alternates may be appointed at the discretion of the church (see p. 39).

Officers of the Local Church


A member of the church is appointed annually to preside over all business sessions. The Presiding Clerk, acting on behalf of the church, signs all of its official documents except those designated to the trustees. The clerk gives guidance to the committees and is an ex officio officer of them. Qualities desired in a clerk are sound judgment, spiritual discernment, and ability to determine the will of the body in business deliberations. The church also appoints annually a Recording Clerk to keep faithful records of all business proceedings and to provide copies to those authorized to request them. An Assistant Clerk and/or reading clerk also may be appointed.

Other Officers

Each church appoints one of its members to serve as treasurer; another person, perhaps the Recording Clerk, to serve as statistician for keeping accurate records of membership, births, deaths, marriages, and transfers; and other officers as needed. Each church selects a reporter to release items of interest to the NWYM Connection or Friends Voice and other media and to secure suitable memorials for deceased Friends and forward them to the Yearly Meeting sessions.


All officers, trustees, elders, and committee clerks, and all persons on the Nominating Committee and the Administrative Committee are to be resident active members of the church.