Clerking Quaker Business

Agreeing Upward: A Look at Quaker Business and the Role of the Clerk

By Darla Samuelson, RiversWay Community Friends, Portland, OR – 2007

“Agreeing upward” is the term one author used to describe the Quaker decision-making process. Unlike other forms of decision-making such as Robert’s Rules of Order or the parliamentary process, the Quaker’s decision-making process is a spiritual experience rooted in Quaker theology. It has been sought out by the World Council of Churches as a model to be considered for spiritual decision-making that is “less conflict-based and more spiritually grounded.” The Quaker Business Meeting is where this approach is demonstrated and it is through the official capacity of the clerk that this can be observed. This paper will first look at how business has been conducted in the Religious Society of Friends, what makes the decision-making process unique, and list its distinguishing characteristics. Secondly it will address the roles, responsibilities, and the qualities of a clerk.

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