Friends Practice, The Form of Government
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Friends as a Denomination
Friends recognize and emphasize that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, that He dwells in the midst of His people as well as in their hearts, and that He guides the understanding of believers, thus enabling them individually and corporately to obey His will. Friends believe that Christ confers upon each believer some special gift or gifts to be exercised faithfully according to ability. In the church, members have equal rights and privileges varying only in accordance with the nature of their gifts and their faithfulness in exercising them. There are no distinctions in the rights, privileges, or responsibilities of members because of gender, color, or race. Friends polity is connectional, rather than congregational or episcopal; therefore the yearly meeting represents the highest court of appeal in matters of faith and practice.
The business of the church is transacted in regular, announced sessions, in which every active member has a right to participate. Deliberations are aimed at determining the will of God rather than collecting majority opinions. It is expected, therefore, that worship shall surround business deliberations and that policies and practices shall reflect Christian unity.
Friends of Northwest Yearly Meeting
Admission to Membership
The churches of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends welcome into membership all who make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, whose lives testify to their union with Him, and who accept Christian beliefs as held by Friends (see “What Friends Believe”).
A Friends Church
A congregation of Friends fully established is called a local church (or meeting). Its organization consists of all persons recorded on its list of members. Clerks, elders, and pastors provide spiritual and moral guidance. It is through official recognition of spiritual gifts and qualities in certain persons that positions of leadership in public ministry are filled. Appointments are made to other positions.
Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends is committed to the spread of the Gospel through proclamation, fellowship, and service. The underlying purpose of each office, department, and activity of the local church and the Yearly Meeting is to exalt Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and to so witness the Gospel that persons will be converted and brought into Christ’s Kingdom.
Local churches are organized into regional Areas, which sponsor rallies and conferences of various kinds for the common good of the churches. Business matters are minimal.
Yearly Meeting Sessions
Yearly Meeting sessions occur annually, providing opportunity for inspiration, fellowship, and edification, as well as for the transaction of business. Local churches send official representatives (See Representatives). Various boards and committees submit their reports and hold their meetings.
Leadership: nomenclature and terms of office
The word “clerk” is used uniformly to designate presiding officers of the Yearly Meeting, its constituent bodies, and its local churches. The term “secretary” especially for committees, may be an accepted alternative to “Recording Clerk.” Instead of “vice-chairman,” “Assistant Clerk” is used. Descriptively, the terms “preside over” and “Presiding Clerk” are appropriate. In case of absence or incapacity, leadership passes from Presiding Clerk to Assistant Clerk to Recording Clerk. For related organizations connected with Northwest Yearly Meeting, these terms need not apply. For them, “director” or “president” may be appropriate alternatives to “chairman” or “clerk.”
In order to develop spiritual and administrative leadership, it is recommended that local and Area appointments and the internal appointments of the Yearly Meeting generally should not extend beyond six to ten continuous years in any particular responsibility. At the Yearly Meeting level, where some organizations have representation named from different sources, a combined period of up to ten years continuous service may be considered adequate.
Only active members may serve the local church as officers, elders, ministers, trustees, or clerks of standing committees; only active members may serve on the Nominating Committee or as representatives to Yearly Meeting.
Organization of the Local Church
Structure and Function
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.
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; to consider, adopt, and carry out measures in the interest of the church and of the community at large.
Use of Local Church Property
While worship and education are primary purposes, local church property may be used for many other ministry purposes including, but not limited to, social functions, playgrounds, sports facilities, walking/bike trails and meditation/contemplation. Such uses may be either for the primary benefit of the local church attendees or for the community. Use of such property for commercial purposes may subject that portion of the property to assessment of real property taxes.
Local churches are encouraged to secure legal incorporation, in harmony with the Faith and Practice of Northwest Yearly Meeting and state laws.
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”).
Representation in the Area
Each local church is a member of an Area (see “Organization of Areas”), 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.
Communication with the Yearly Meeting
A local church or ministry point will send carefully discerned concerns and proposals as a minute from their business meeting to their Area meeting for wider discernment and clarification. The Area will take action on the concern as specified by Faith and Practice (see Organization of Areas section 4.03, Area Minutes to the Yearly Meeting). When time and/or function of the Area does not allow a local church’s minute to be brought, concerns and proposals may be sent directly to the presiding clerk of the Yearly Meeting. When a minute is sent directly to the presiding clerk, the clerk will help discern where it can best be addressed, whether by one of the boards or by the Yearly Meeting as a whole.
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.
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.
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.
Committees of the Local Church
Committees are appointed by the church to oversee departmental interests and activities. Every church will appoint Elders, Nominating, and Stewardship committees. Churches will appoint Education, Missions, and Peace and Social Concerns committees or address these concerns in other ways. Additional committees such as Fine Arts or Administrative may be appointed as needed. Except as otherwise provided, each committee organizes itself by appointing a Presiding Clerk, an Assistant Clerk, and a Recording Clerk (or secretary). Other officers may be appointed as needed. Clerks of committees should determine that the various areas of interest and concern are responsibly represented.
The Committee of Elders is composed of three or more active members of the church (men and women) who are collectively responsible to the church for its pastoral leadership and for the oversight of its spiritual and moral welfare. Elders should be recognized for lives guided by the Holy Spirit and for spiritual discernment and maturity. They should be experienced in Friends practices and committed to Friends beliefs as set forth in this book of Faith and Practice. They serve for terms of three years, the terms of one-third expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. When circumstances require, subcommittees or individuals may be appointed for special responsibilities, such as counseling, pastoral relations, evangelism, and fine arts if there is no separate committee; and some tasks may be delegated to the Administrative Committee. Although the Committee of Elders is to maintain oversight of the church generally, it is specifically charged with the following responsibilities:
- Uphold the Christian beliefs of Friends as set forth in this Faith and Practice and see that officers, ministers, missionaries, and teachers affirm them.
- Determine policies concerning worship and Christian fellowship; encourage members of the church to attend these meetings faithfully; appoint and supervise ushers and greeters for all regular church meetings.
- Recommend to the church the calling of pastors and other ministers, with their terms of service, after consulting the general superintendent of the Yearly Meeting.
- Support the pastoral ministries through cooperation and counsel.
- Oversee programs of evangelism, discipleship, and community outreach; arrange for special and supply ministry in consultation with the pastor.
- Seek out those whom God may be calling into ministry or missionary service, nurturing their spiritual growth, discerning and fostering their gifts, and, as appropriate, facilitating their process of recording if they are in harmony with the Faith and Practice of the Yearly Meeting.
- Counsel members in respect to their spiritual welfare and maturity, possibly providing a loving discipline of members whose conduct is unbecoming the Gospel (see pp. 66 for guidance in dealing with offenses).
- Review, prepare, and recommend applicants for membership.
- Encourage private devotions and the practice of Bible reading and prayer in families.
- Encourage the formation and maintenance of Bible study groups.
- Foster a concern for ministry points and ministry points, and help secure persons for such outreach ministry.
- Nominate members to serve on the church Nominating Committee.
- Keep in touch with nonresident members.
- Consider a member’s request for short-term service within the Yearly Meeting.
The Education Committee is composed of three or more persons appointed for terms of three years, the terms of onethird expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. The Committee initiates and supervises the education of children, youth, and adults. Its concerns include Sunday school, day school, Friends Youth, vacation Bible school, clubs, camping and retreats, and the church library. With subcommittees or individuals appointed for special areas, the Committee carries these responsibilities:
- Coordinate church education ministries, to avoid overlap and conflict either in schedule or personnel, and provide leadership training.
- Appoint personnel involved in these ministries and nominate to the church the general superintendent of the Sunday school.
- Cooperate with the elders in calling and appointing youth ministers or directors.
- Select suitable curricula for all educational activities, using approved Yearly Meeting or Evangelical Friends International programs.
- Recommend improvements in physical facilities and equipment.
- Make sure that Friends beliefs are understood and taught.
- Provide for nursery care and children’s worship.
- Encourage the youth of the church to attend a Friends school or college; admonish all, especially those who attend secular schools, to maintain a consistent Christian witness.
- Promote individual and church support for the schools sponsored by Northwest Yearly Meeting, such as George Fox University and local church-sponsored schools such as Greenleaf Friends Academy.
- Encourage members to participate in local school organizations.
The Missions Committee is composed of three or more persons appointed for terms of three years, the terms of onethird expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. Using subcommittees or individuals for special duties, the Committee carries these responsibilities:
- Keep the church informed about missions and encourage prayer and financial support.
- Cooperate with other churches in planning and conducting Area missions conferences.
- Nurture the spiritual growth and gifts of those interested in missionary service, encouraging them to seek appropriate education and cross-cultural preparation.
- Promote intercultural communication, visitation, and activities.
Peace and Social Concerns
The Peace and Social Concerns Committee is composed of three or more persons appointed for terms of three years, the terms of one-third expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. Using subcommittees or individuals for special duties, the Committee carries the following responsibilities:
- Provide programs of physical assistance to those in need, whether members or not.
- Recommend and promote special relief and development projects, local and world-wide, giving priority to those sponsored by the Yearly Meeting Board of Peace and Social Concerns.
- Foster throughout the church the Friends peace testimony.
- Counsel youth about conscientious objection to military service.
- Encourage careful preparation for marriage and promote programs that foster successful family living.
- Provide instruction about dangers in the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- Encourage the church to support legislation conducive to sound moral principles and to protest morally destructive legislation or policies.
- Support suitable sex education.
- Provide guidance in respect to the popular media.
The Stewardship Committee is composed of three or more persons appointed for terms of three years, the terms of one- third expiring each year. Of these, three or more active members of the church are appointed to serve as trustees for terms of three years, the terms of one-third expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. The Committee includes the church treasurer in its membership. Using subcommittees or individuals for special duties, the Committee with advice and assistance from the pastor carries the following responsibilities:
- Prepare an annual budget in consultation with other committees, and present it for approval to the church in business session.
- Consider and approve proposals for special offerings and non-budget expenditures.
- Supervise the treasurer and provide for an audit of the books.
- Plan budget funding in cooperation with the church.
- Promote education in the stewardship of time, talents, and money.
- Give guidance in estate planning.
- Provide adequate retirement coverage for ministers, in cooperation with other churches.
The duties of the trustees as legal agents of the church are as follows:
- Hold and care for all church properties.
- Receive and administer all proceeds from wills, endowments, and other gifts as directed by the donors and the church.
- Provide archival custody of all except current church records.
- Transact real estate purchases and sales and execute mortgages and other legal instruments as directed by the church.
- Secure and maintain adequate insurance.
- Budget payable taxes and insurance premiums.
- Employ and supervise custodial services.
- Establish policies about the use of church facilities.
The Nominating Committee is appointed by the church upon nomination by the elders. It is composed of three or more active members of the church, the terms of one-third expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. The Committee retains its identity throughout the year in order to act when there is a vacancy in any office under its jurisdiction. By the last business session of the church year, the committee with advice and assistance from the pastor presents nominations to the church for all offices and committee memberships, having endeavored to secure the best information possible regarding capabilities appropriate to the different offices. If so instructed, it designates by name the clerks of the main committees.
The Administrative Committee (optional)
Some local or ministry points may find it useful to appoint an Administrative Committee. This committee is accountable to the church, and it reports its actions to the business sessions. It consists of the pastor, the presiding and Recording Clerks, the Presiding Clerks of the main committees, and at least one of the representatives to the Yearly Meeting. Other active members may be included at the discretion of the church. If the business sessions of the church are held quarterly, the Administrative Committee meets each month in the interim between sessions. Additional meetings may be called by the Presiding Clerk and/or the pastor, either of whom may be designated by the church to preside over the meetings of the Committee.
Fine Arts (optional)
The Fine Arts Committee is composed of three or more persons appointed for terms of three years, the terms of onethird expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. The Committee is accountable to the elders, but if no such committee is appointed, the duties devolve upon the elders. Using special subcommittees or individuals, the Committee carries the following responsibilities:
- Plan music appropriate for worship.
- Plan and implement musical programs for social occasions.
- Encourage development and use of gifts in the arts.
- Encourage programs utilizing drama for Christian purposes.
- Foster an appreciation of the arts on a high moral and cultural level.
- Plan exhibits of arts and crafts.
A new church planting effort may be initiated by the elders of an existing local church, by several churches working together in their Area, or by the NWYM Board of Local Outreach (BoLO) in cooperation with the local Area. When a group desires to be recognized within NWYM as an official church plant, the people involved will work with the BoLO, or its church planting subcommittee, to discern their readiness and sense of fit as a Friends church within NWYM. All recognized church plants and their sponsoring groups agree to work under the support and guidance of the BoLO.
Church planting efforts within NWYM will seek to develop healthy, well-functioning local churches. These may be of varied form and expression and will reflect the values of Friends in ways that are appropriate to the local community in which they exist. Regardless of whether a local church is more traditional in form, is designed to be a network of house churches or takes on a more innovative or fluid expression, NWYM is committed to seeing our local churches grow to be mature communities of worship, fellowship and service.
A process for identifying, equipping and releasing church planters and establishing church plants is detailed in the BoLO policy manual.
From the time a church planting effort is officially recognized by the BoLO, it will be assigned “ministry point” status within NWYM. Generally, a ministry point is either a new church plant or an ongoing outreach effort that is attempting to establish a clear sense of mission, stability, functional structures, and appropriate autonomy. At times, a ministry point may meet infrequently, have very little organization, and meet in a variety of places.
Some ministry points may differ significantly from established NWYM churches in their leadership style, form of worship, and ministry function within their community. It is the desire of the BoLO to use this flexible approach of church planting to see otherwise unreached people evangelized and the ministry and impact of NWYM increased.
The process of becoming a recognized ministry point within NWYM is detailed in the BoLO policy manual. It includes an initial interview between leaders of the church plant and either the NWYM superintendent or representatives from the BoLO; education and orientation about NWYM Friends provided by the NWYM staff or board; and a commitment to work under the care and support of the BoLO. There must also be a primary pastoral contact or leadership group that will be accountable to and committed to the Faith and Practice of NWYM when the group is to be recognized as a ministry point. As a ministry point within NWYM, the group will receive the spiritual care, support and available resources of the NWYM Yearly Meeting and staff to help the ministry grow and mature.
After being approved by the BoLO as a ministry point, the church plant may receive financial support from either NWYM or a local church or Area churches, depending on the needs of the ministry point and availability of resources. General guidelines for financial support are detailed in the BoLO policy manual. Sources of financial support for ministry point leadership include bi-vocational employment, a multiple-church support network, BoLO funds and/or raising personal support. The BoLO will assist released ministers in developing a composite plan for raising adequate financial support.
In the event a fellowship undergoes a change in pastoral leadership, the ministry point will work with the BoLO church planting subcommittee to identify and approve a replacement. Other major decisions affecting the mission, direction or future of the ministry point will also be made in consultation with the BoLO church planting subcommittee.
A ministry point is responsible to contribute to the financial support of NWYM. Its proportionate share of the Yearly Meeting budget is considered the same as any NWYM local church. All property rights involved in connection with a ministry point are vested in the Yearly Meeting through its Trustees. Ministry Points normally will not be incorporated and most will not own real property. Exceptions might include local churches who have moved into ministry point status or existing congregations which have been adopted. Incorporation or ownership of real property in its own name by a ministry point shall be considered an exception which will require approval of the BoLO. (Also see the section on “Nomenclature”).
Each ministry point will be part of a NWYM Area as determined by the NWYM office. All ministry points may designate one member to serve as a representative to NWYM annual sessions.
A group may remain as a ministry point for an undetermined length of time. While most ministry points will be encouraged in steps toward being designated as a local church within NWYM, some types of outreach ministries may appropriately continue on as a ministry point.
From Ministry Point to Local Church
A ministry point may request the BoLO to take proper steps toward its establishment as a NWYM local church. Upon receiving notification of BoLO approval, the ministry point is authorized to proceed with full organization as a local church. A ministry point may petition the BoLO to become a local church when the following conditions are met:
- A historical statement has been written and approved by the participants. This statement should include the history of the group, the names of leaders and participants, and the founding purpose of the group.
- A written mission statement describing their current purpose and objectives.
- A written statement of agreement with Friends beliefs as recorded in the Faith and Practice and a stated desire to be actively involved in the common mission and fellowship of NWYM.
- Agreement between the BoLO, any sponsoring church, and the ministry point on pastoral leadership for the new local church.
- Evidence that an effective and adequate organizational structure is in place. At a minimum, the group will have identified officers (clerk, Recording Clerk, treasurer) and a committee of at least three elders. If property is owned or being rented by the group, at least three trustees will also be named. Other committee or task groups should be created and maintained as part of a functional structure that enables the church to carry out their ministry priorities.
- All property rights involved in connection with any new local church are vested in the Yearly Meeting or, at the discretion of the BoLO, in some incorporated NWYM church. When a change in status from ministry point to local church has been approved, the new local church is encouraged to incorporate in its respective state. (See “PROCEDURES AND FORMS. Incorporation of Local Churches”).
- A process of teaching and welcoming members into the local church. Membership records will be accurately kept and communicated to the NWYM office.
- The church is generally self-supporting financially, including adequate pastoral support when appropriate.
- The church demonstrates and is committed to continuing financial support of NWYM.
- The church has demonstrated the capacity to accomplish its goals and objectives without outside supervision beyond its normal relationship to the NWYM staff, boards and ministries.
- The local church will name and assign the appropriate number of representatives to the NWYM sessions.
Adopting an Existing Congregation
Occasionally an existing, independent church from outside NWYM will desire to become part of NWYM. In such a case, a process for discerning the appropriateness and timing of such a partnership will be governed by the following guidelines:
In the case of an independent, unaffiliated congregation:
- The church leadership will contact the NWYM superintendent for an initial meeting to discuss the reasons for interest, history of the church, compatibility with NWYM Faith and Practice, and other practical matters of possible affiliation.
- The superintendent (or delegate) will schedule a meeting to visit the church for worship (or another gathering) and talk with other members of the fellowship about a relationship with NWYM.
- After reviewing the NWYM Faith and Practice and agreeing to the steps necessary to become a ministry point within NWYM, the interested church will make formal application to the NWYM superintendent and the BoLO to be recognized as such.
- In the event that the church has a long history and well-developed structure, they may work with the BoLO on a process for becoming recognized as a local church within NWYM, using the same guidelines as other ministry points after one year of involvement in NWYM. Otherwise, movement toward local church status will proceed as the fellowship naturally matures and develops under the care of the BoLO.
- If the existing congregation is incorporated at the time it is accepted to become a part of NWYM, it shall file amended or restated articles of incorporation within its state of incorporation which comply with the provisions of Faith and Practice section “PROCEDURES AND FORMS. Incorporation of Local Churches”.
- This expectation will apply whether the congregation is accepted as a ministry point or a local church. The NWYM Trustees will provide assistance in filing amended or restated articles of incorporation.
Merger of Churches
When two or more local churches or ministry points propose to unite into one new local church, each fellowship must give careful consideration to the merger. After they have consulted the superintendent and after each has taken official action to approve the merger, the superintendent will carry their request to the NWYM Board of Elders. When sanction by this Board has been secured, the churches proceed to unify their business sessions, their officers and committees, their services, and their holdings. They will consult the Yearly Meeting Trustees about proper handling of real estate and other assets and meeting state corporation department requirements. The united church will select its official name and choose the site and facilities appropriate to its need. Membership of merging churches will be transferred en bloc to the new church. If the constituent churches are located in different Areas, the new church will petition the NWYM office for affiliation with the Area of its choice.
Local churches may petition the Yearly Meeting to establish, discontinue, divide, or redefine an Area, or to unite two or more Areas (see below). They may also request transfer of their affiliation from one Area to another.
New Yearly Meetings
Areas whose members wish to be set off and established as a new yearly meeting should inform the Yearly Meeting of that desire and of the concurrence of the constituent churches in the proposal. The Yearly Meeting then considers the proposal and makes a decision. If action is favorable and a new yearly meeting is to be established, the Yearly Meeting appoints a committee, not to exceed ten in number, to attend the opening of the new yearly meeting and to present the authorizing minute and inaugurate sessions in accordance with Friends form of government.
Under the Care of the NWYM Board of Elders
When a NWYM local church is experiencing a significant crisis, loss of spiritual vitality and impact or another serious impediment to ministry, the church may request to come under the care of the NWYM Board of Elders (BoE).
When a local church comes under the care of the BoE, the goal will be to strengthen and equip the church to spiritual vitality, effective ministry and loving fellowship. Being under the care of the BoE is never punitive but rather restorative.
At the time a local church comes under their care, the BoE will appoint a Local Church Care Committee (LCCC) to assess the situation within the local church. The LCCC may include skilled and gifted individuals not serving on the BoE. It will include at least one member of the NWYM staff and at least one member of the local church pastoral staff (if one is present). Expenses related to the service of these individuals will be met by the local church. The BoE may provide financial assistance if necessary.
After assessing the situation and determining areas of need, the LCCC will discern a plan for restoration and redevelopment. This may include a reorganization of the local church structure, conflict resolution and mediation, a revised budget proposal, initiating a long-range planning process, etc. The plan will be appropriate to the particular needs and circumstances of the local church. Engaging the professional services of others may be considered at this point, if it is determined they would be useful. Expenses related to the service of these individuals will be met by the local church. The BoE may provide financial assistance if necessary.
While under the care of the BoE, decision-making authority in the church will be shared between the LCCC and selected members of the local church. Those members of the local church will be named by the LCCC after their period of assessment is complete.
The church will remain under the official care of the BoE until, upon recommendation by the LCCC, it is discerned by the Board of Elders that the church is ready to return to independence. Such a recommendation will generally come to the BoE after the local church has completed work and/or changes outlined in the initial plan for reconciliation and redevelopment. Until then, the leadership team will make regular reports to the BoE regarding progress in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the effort.
While the decision to come under the care of the Elders is usually initiated by the local church, there are times when the BoE may choose to propose such an arrangement first. Exceptional cases where the church is in severe decline, is experiencing unresolved conflict, or is out of compliance with Faith and Practice in a way that is shattering to the local church or Yearly Meeting community, may prompt the BoE to intervene and place the local church under their care. In these instances, as in cases where the local church invites help from the BoE, the LCCC that is established will seek to work closely with leaders from the local church to establish a mutually agreed upon plan of action.
In situations in which a ministry point or local church continues to deteriorate, remains ineffective or out of unity with NWYM Faith and Practice, the BoE, acting for the Yearly Meeting, may discontinue the church or the association of the church with Northwest Yearly Meeting, or it may effect a union with another Friends church. It will then transfer the membership en bloc. Upon discontinuance of a church or the discontinuance of its association with Northwest Yearly Meeting any owned real or personal property shall be transferred to the Yearly Meeting. The Trustees, the Elders, and the Administrative Council may consider an arrangement in which the property would be transferred to the continuing church.
Local churches and ministry points within NWYM are joined together in a covenantal relationship. Spiritually, we are connected to each other in the common bond of fellowship and united by the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Organizationally, we agree to be united in purpose, through our joint identity and mission, and by our willingness to affirm and be guided by our Faith and Practice. We are committed to mutual support, accountability, and to being a people who love one another as we have been commanded by Jesus. In doing so, we witness to the world that we are, indeed, His people.
As NWYM Friends, we expect all of our local churches and ministry points to closely identify with the work of our Yearly Meeting. We believe it is important to speak the truth and have integrity as we communicate who we are to the world around us. At the same time, we recognize there is value in being flexible about how each local church communicates within their immediate context. Therefore, in regard to the matter of nomenclature, we believe there are three expressions of the name of a local church that should be considered and selected using the following, common guidelines:
1) The legal name is the name which will be shown in the articles of incorporation of incorporated local churches and in the names of other local churches and ministry points which are registered with the respective states. The legal
name should be carefully chosen and it is strongly encouraged that the legal name be used for all other purposes. Anything else may cause problems and additional cost. If the legal name is significantly different from the published
name or common name, it may be necessary to register the published and common names with the respective state as an “assumed” or “trade” name. All three states in which we operate require such registration and it may protect the name from use by others.
Legal names of incorporated local churches are registered through the incorporation process. Legal names of unincorporated ministry points should be registered with the applicable state by the Yearly Meeting or by another sponsoring incorporated local church. Unincorporated local churches should register their name with the applicable state, or preferably incorporate in accordance with Faith and Practice section “Incorporation of Local Churches” (see Procedures and Forms). Whenever a legal name is changed, the change must be registered with the applicable state. Proper registration will identify the group as a part of Northwest Yearly Meeting.
The legal name of any local church or ministry point must identify it as a Friends organization. Examples may include:
- Flowing Water Friends Church
- Flowing Water Friends Meeting
- Flowing Water Community Friends Church
- Flowing Water Community Church, a ministry of Friends
- Flowing Water Fellowship, a ministry of Friends
2) The published name is applicable to local churches and ministry points, and will be used on bulletins, stationary, fliers, brochures, and websites. It should in some form associate the worshipping community with Friends or Quakers. Examples may include:
- Flowing Water Friends Church
- Flowing Water Friends Meeting
- Flowing Water Community Friends Church
- Flowing Water Community Church, a ministry of Friends
- Flowing Water Fellowship, a ministry of Friends
3) The common name is applicable to local churches and ministry points and will be used on the sign and in conversation. It may be shorter than the legal and published names but should include the first words of the legal
name. Identification with Friends is strongly encouraged. Examples may include:
- Flowing Water Friends Church
- Flowing Water Friends Meeting
- Flowing Water Community Friends Church
- Flowing Water Community Church
- Flowing Water Fellowship
Obviously, there are many possible combinations. What is required is that the legal and published names include a phrase of association with Friends/Quakers. The published name would be used on all promotional material or bulletins in order to authentically represent ourselves to our community. It is also encouraged that a reference be made to the association with Northwest Yearly Meeting someplace in the published materials.
A local church may apply to the Board of Local Outreach for an exception to the requirement that the published name include a phrase of association with Friends/Quakers, if the church discerns that its outreach and relationship with its community would thereby be improved.
Organization of Areas
The Yearly Meeting may authorize the grouping of new or existing local churches and ministry points into Areas. The Areas provide a means to encourage community, corporate worship and service, and facilitate business affecting the Yearly Meeting. Division into Areas is made on the basis of geographical proximity or accessibility, with consideration given to local preferences.
An Area consists of all the local churches and ministry points within its limits and all their listed members.
The Area officers, active resident members appointed annually, are as follows: the Area Clerk, Area Recording Clerk and Area Treasurer.
3.01 Appointment of officers. All officers are nominated to the Area in business session by a task force composed of the named Yearly Meeting Representatives from each local church. The Area Clerk will convene and instruct the Representatives in this task, presiding until the Representatives select a member of their group to serve in a clerking role during the nominating process. The Area Clerk may assist the Representatives in the nomination process, but will be excused during discussions regarding the annual appointment of the Area Clerk.
3.02 Clerk. The Area Clerk serves as a primary organizer for Area gatherings and presides over the business agenda and discernment process. Additionally, this person functions as a primary connection to the Yearly Meeting office and NWYM Presiding Clerk for matters related to Area functioning.
3.03 Recording Clerk. The Recording Clerk takes and maintains minutes from Area meetings, and distributes them to local church clerks.
3.04 Treasurer. If an Area chooses to maintain its own funds and bank account, the Area should appoint an Area treasurer who will be responsible for maintaining that account and providing periodic reports to the Area. The Area treasurer is responsible to follow proper procedures in the handling of Area funds. The Area is encouraged to require two signatures on all checks written out of the Area bank account. The Yearly Meeting Treasurer is available to assist the Area in setting up proper guidelines and procedures for handling Area funds.
3.05 Area member of NWYM Nominating Committee. The Representatives from each local church are responsible to recommend to their Area an individual from their region who will serve a three-year term of service on the NWYM Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee member cannot be a member of any Yearly Meeting board or standing committee. The Area will consider this recommendation at their Spring gathering and report the name of their appointee to NWYM at its annual sessions. (See “ORGANIZATION OF THE YEARLY MEETING” 8.10, for further description of this position)
4. Area Gatherings
Each Area will hold at least two gatherings each year, in the fall (October/November) and spring (May/June). Area gatherings are intended to provide opportunity for worship, communication, fellowship, consideration of business, and support of special programs of the Yearly Meeting.
4.01 Responsibilities. Area gatherings are planned and supervised by the Area officers or an Area task force charged with these responsibilities. The Communication Board and NWYM office will work in cooperation with the Yearly Meeting boards and Area Clerks to provide information, resources and programming to support these events. Area Clerks are encouraged to contact the Yearly Meeting office regarding program elements or training opportunities that might be offered during the gathering. Yearly Meeting Representatives from each of the constituent churches will attend the Area gatherings, in order to give reports from their local churches and to consider business that may be considered at the upcoming NWYM annual sessions.
4.02 Area business. The Spring Area Gathering must incorporate a business session in order to elect officers, appoint a person for the NWYM Nominating Committee, consider and approve concerns to be forwarded from local meetings to the boards or the Yearly Meeting, and if applicable, hear the financial report and approve an annual budget. Special business sessions may be called by the Area Clerk at the request of two or more clerks of local churches or the Yearly Meeting Superintendent. Notification and agenda for such meetings will be sent to the clerks of local and ministry points at least two weeks in advance of a special meeting.
4.03 Area minutes to the Yearly Meeting. In addition to minutes that arise from Area discussions, an Area may receive minutes of concern or minutes of support from the clerk of a local church, raising questions or proposing challenges beyond the scope of the local meeting. After publishing the concern for consideration among the Area churches, the Area gathering will meet for worship, to seek the leading of Christ in responding to the question or challenge. This process is intended to allow individual or corporate leadings to be checked and affirmed by both the local meeting and the Area, to build awareness and support on the local level, and give weight to items before consideration on the floor of the Yearly Meeting. Several possible actions may result from the Area’s consideration of such minutes:
- The question or concern may be validated and given weight, possibly in a revised form, then be referred via the YM Clerk to the Yearly Meeting Representatives or the appropriate board.
- Even without agreement about the minute at the Area level, the gathered body may still approve forwarding the question or concern to the Yearly Meeting for consideration. It would then be referred via the YM Clerk to the Yearly Meeting Representatives or the appropriate board.
- The gathered body may discern that the question or challenge is not to be forwarded at this time, but will be returned to the local meeting for their continued consideration and prayer.
Such minutes would be considered at the spring Area gathering, following any monthly meetings that occurred after the YM agenda was released to Representatives in late April. If a concern arises after that time and a specially called Area meeting cannot be arranged, the Representatives, gathered on the first day of Yearly Meeting sessions, will act on behalf of the Area gathering.
Organization of the Yearly Meeting
1. General Organization
1.01 Composition and powers. The Yearly Meeting consists of the members of the local churches and Areas. In its meetings for business it consists of the Council of Representatives and any other members in attendance. It possesses complete legislative, judicial, and administrative authority. It has the authority to counsel, admonish, and discipline its constituent churches; to institute measures and provide means for the promotion of truth and righteousness; to inaugurate and maintain departments of evangelistic outreach and philanthropic work. It may review the proceedings of any church and give advice and instruction to the churches when requested or when considered necessary by the Yearly Meeting. Its officers and all persons serving its internal organizations are resident active members of Northwest Yearly Meeting. Any exceptions must be approved by the Yearly Meeting or its Administrative Council.
1.02 Time and purpose of the annual sessions. The annual sessions of Northwest Yearly Meeting are held at Newberg, Oregon, at times determined by the Yearly Meeting or its Administrative Council. (See Yearly Meeting Minutes for current schedule.) Sessions may be held elsewhere by adjournment or action of the Meeting. The sessions are opened by the Presiding Clerk. If the Presiding Clerk is absent, the sessions are opened in turn by the Assistant Clerk or the Recording Clerk. These annual sessions are held in order for Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends to determine policies and procedures appropriate to its mission, to communicate them to members of the churches, and to find fellowship and unity through worship and instruction.
1.03 Business procedures
1.03.01 Business presented as an expression of concern is forwarded from Areas, from constituent bodies of the Yearly Meeting, or from other yearly meetings through official correspondence. Business originating from local churches will be reviewed by the Area gathering before being forwarded to the Yearly Meeting (see “Organization of Areas,” 4.03). In unusual circumstances, with the consent of the Presiding Clerk, business may be laid before the Yearly Meeting by any of its members. Information regarding anticipated items of business will be sent to local churches at least ninety days prior to annual Yearly Meeting sessions. The Council of Representatives approves the agenda and order of business at or prior to the first business meeting. A quorum consists of members in attendance at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Yearly Meeting, or at a special meeting that has been properly called.
1.03.02 The Meeting may take action in one of the following ways: a) The clerk may call for action by the Meeting. b) If the matter requires discussion or investigation beyond what can be handled in open session, the clerk may refer it to the Council of Representatives or to a special committee for consideration and recommendation before the Meeting takes formal action. c) The clerk may, with the approval of the Meeting, refer some matters to a separate meeting of the Council of Representatives for final decisions, which will be reported back to the Meeting.
1.03.03 Proposals from the churches or Areas are to be submitted in writing as excerpts from their minutes and are to be held over at least one day subsequent to their introduction in order to allow deliberation (see “Organization of Areas,” 4.03). All proposals for amendment to this Faith and Practice must be submitted in writing and referred after preliminary approval to the Revision Committee before final action (see 8.09).
1.03.04 The Board of Elders reports to the Yearly Meeting in plenary session its summary of the state of the church, allowing time for prayerful consideration of issues raised by the report and by any attached judgments or interpretations offered by the Board of Elders.
2. General Regulations Pertaining to Organizations and Officers
2.01 All persons serving the Yearly Meeting on its councils, boards, and committees or as Yearly Meeting trustees shall be resident active members experienced in Friends practices and committed to the Christian principles set forth in this book of Faith and Practice.
2.02 The number of persons serving a Yearly Meeting organization varies according to its need (see sections 6.01.01, 8.03 and 8.10.01). The number on the Council of Representatives is determined by a formula based upon local church memberships.
2.03 Persons serving on councils, boards, commissions, and committees, and as trustees are appointed by the Yearly Meeting through appropriate nominating procedures. From its own number each organization nominates a person to serve as its Presiding Clerk and appoints other officers as needed. The Clerk of the Nominating Committee, however, is nominated by the Administrative Council and approved on the floor of the Yearly Meeting. Organizations receive their funding through annual appropriations by the Yearly Meeting.
2.04.01 Regular and special meetings. Organizations meet at scheduled midyear and Yearly Meetings sessions or otherwise as scheduled by the organization as regular meetings and recorded in the minutes of the organization. Such meetings are “regular meetings.” “Special meetings,” held at other times, may also be called by the organization’s Presiding Clerk. Notice is not required for regular meetings. For all special meetings, notice must be given not less than two (2) days or more than forty five (45) days prior to the meeting, describing the agenda for the meeting, or as may otherwise be described in the duties and responsibilities of a particular organization. Attendance in person or other participation in a meeting shall be considered a waiver of notice of that meeting.
2.04.02 Meeting in person. Meetings will normally be held with members of the organization present in person, with all participating members able to hear and participate in the discussion. A member may participate in a meeting by telephone provided that he or she can hear and participate in the discussion. A meeting may be held by a conference telephone call provided that all participating members may hear and participate. Meetings held by electronic means will qualify as meetings in person, provided that participating members are networked together in such a way that each one can send an electronic message which will be received simultaneously by the other participants, and each one may respond and all others may read the response at the same time. Quorum and approval procedures provided for each organization shall apply to all meetings held in this manner. When some or all of the participating members are in a meeting by telephone or electronically, they must be informed that it is a meeting at which action may be taken and not merely an informal discussion. (See also “Procedures and Forms: Conduct of Business”).
2.04.03 Action without meeting. When necessary or desirable, any action required or permitted to be taken by the Administrative Council or any board or committee, including the Trustees, may be taken without a meeting if approved by all members of the organization. Each one signs a written consent describing the action taken, and the consents are filed with the records of the organization. Actions taken by consent are effective when the last member signs the consent unless the consent specifies a different effective date. “Sign” shall include electronic signature defined as a sign, symbol or process which a person adopts to communicate his or her signature. A reply to an outgoing message which described the proposed action is one way to show to what the member is consenting; and stating “I approve,” with the member’s full name typed below will meet the requirements of a signed consent. Quorum rules do not apply in the approval of such actions without meeting; all members must approve an action taken in this way. A consent signed under this section has the effect of a meeting approval and may be so described in any document.
2.05 Each organization determines how statistics and other information about its work may best be presented to the Yearly Meeting in session. To this end it secures information from local churches and committees, Area clerks, or task forces. The Yearly Meeting may provide forms for such reporting. Scheduling is under direction of the Yearly Meeting clerks.
2.06 Vacancies. Vacancies are filled according to approved procedures. These vacancies may be caused by voluntary resignation, by Yearly Meeting appointment (in the case of boards) to another board or official position, by removal of residence from the Yearly Meeting, by disownment or deposition from the ministry, or by death. The vacancy may be filled provisionally by the organization concerned if it occurs before its last interim meeting. The Nominating Committee will bring a name to fill the vacancy at the next Yearly Meeting sessions or at the next mid-year Representatives meeting. Lack of interest, or failure to attend annual and midyear meetings, may result in suspension of membership in that organization after a year, provided the clerk of the organization gives ample notice of intent and sufficient opportunity to respond. If by the next scheduled meeting the one whose position is in question has failed to show cause for delinquency of interest or intention, a vacancy is declared and a new appointment secured according to approved procedures.
3. Officers and Staff of the Yearly Meeting
3.01 Presiding Clerk. The Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting is the presiding officer at the annual sessions. The Clerk also presides over the Council of Representatives and the Administrative Council, makes all needful preparations for presenting the business of the Meeting at the next annual sessions, and oversees the scheduling of board presentations at these sessions. The clerk’s interpretations of Faith and Practice are final unless overruled by Yearly Meeting action.
3.01.01 The Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting serves as correspondent receiving and answering official communications, signing epistles and other documents issued to yearly meetings or associations, endorsing official certificates for members liberated for service in foreign lands, and signing certain documents and transcripts of record that require official certification.
3.01.02 At an early business session, the Nominating Committee presents the nominations for Presiding Clerk, assistant Presiding Clerk, and Recording Clerk. To the extent possible the clerks will serve for a three year term, with one of the positions being considered each year for reappointment or replacement. The new terms will begin upon the close of the Yearly Meeting sessions.
3.02 Assistant Clerk and Recording Clerk. The Yearly Meeting also appoints on nomination by the Nominating Committee the following officers: an Assistant Clerk, who reads official communications to the Meeting, assists in the clerking process, and keeps sufficiently informed about the business agenda to take the place of an absent Presiding Clerk; and a Recording Clerk, who records and reads the minutes of the sessions.
3.03 Superintendent. On nomination by the Administrative Council the Yearly Meeting appoints a person to serve as Superintendent, one who is well qualified by maturity, experience, and executive ability to exercise general supervisory care over all work in the Yearly Meeting. The initial appointment is for a term of three years. Each year the Administrative Council will review the work of the Superintendent, giving encouragement and constructive suggestions. At the close of the second year and every two years thereafter as service proves to be satisfactory, effective, and in the will of the Lord, the Administrative Council may bring to the Yearly Meeting sessions a recommendation to extend the appointment for up to three additional years. This system of advance appointment permits long-range planning and a smooth transition to a successor. The Superintendent is authorized to convene any board or committee of the Yearly Meeting in case of a vacancy in the presiding office, and is an ex officio member of all administrative units. The Superintendent gives special administrative concern to:
- servant leadership, vision and strategic planning for NWYM
- oversight and coordination of NWYM staff and ministries
- recommendation of new staff appointments to the Administrative Council
- programs of evangelism and Christian discipleship
- placement, encouragement, and counsel of pastors, evangelists, and missionaries
- church and pastor visitation and support
- promotion of conferences leading to spiritual renewal and nurture
- church planting
- leadership development
- connection with NWYM-related organizations and ministries
3.04 Other ministry and support staff positions. All other employees of the YM are designated as either ministry staff or support staff, and report directly to the Superintendent. All staff positions will be funded through the Yearly Meeting’s Annual Budget. A list of all positions, along with their descriptions, will be published in the Yearly Meeting minutes. Each year, all NWYM ministry staff will develop a ministry plan, in conjunction with the Superintendent, based on their prayerful discernment, job description and needs within the organization. This ministry plan will also serve as the basis of an annual evaluation. Every NWYM staff person will serve as a primary contact for one or more NWYM board, including the Nominating Committee.
3.04.01 Ministry staff positions. Ministry staff other than the Superintendent will be approved for hire by the NWYM Administrative Council at the recommendation of the Superintendent. As ministry staff positions become vacant, the Superintendent will assemble a search team of appropriate and relevant persons to assist in the search and recommendation process. Ministry staff will be assigned liaison and support roles for specific boards that are closely related to their areas of ministry.
3.04.01.01 Associate superintendents. Associate superintendents have responsibility for overseeing major ministries of the Yearly Meeting. Their number and specific areas of responsibility may change from time to time.
3.04.01.02 Director of Finance and Development. A full-time position within the NWYM ministry staff, the Director of Finance and Development serves as treasurer of NWYM, responsible for overseeing and directing NWYM finances and development. As NWYM Treasurer, the Director is authorized to receive and issue official receipts for all legacies, donations, or other funds requiring formal acknowledgment, and to submit annual reports. This position reports to the NWYM Superintendent. Duties include, but are not limited to:
- Serving as Executive Director of the NWYM Foundation
- Working closely with several finance committees within NWYM
- Assisting all NWYM boards in finance and budget matters
- Helping local churches address budgeting, finance and staff insurance needs
- Representing the Yearly Meeting in relationships with brokers, auditors, and other financial managers
- Supervising the NWYM bookkeeper and administrative secretary
- Assisting with day-to-day oversight of NWYM support staff
3.04.01.03 Other ministry staff. Other ministry staff positions may be created as needed to support specific areas of ministry.
3.04.02 Support staff positions. All NWYM support staff positions will be filled by the Superintendent, assisted by the Director of Finance and Development. These appointments will be reported to the Administrative Council, but do not require its approval.
3.04.02.01 Administrative Secretary. The Administrative secretary provides secretarial and office support for the Yearly Meeting staff.
3.04.02.02 Other support staff positions may be created as needed to support the administrative, financial, clerical and communications work of the Yearly Meeting.
3.04.03 Archivist. On nomination by the Administrative Council, the Yearly Meeting appoints a person to serve as Yearly Meeting archivist, accountable to the Administrative Council. The term of office is two years, with reappointment subject to the discretion of the Yearly Meeting. The one selected must evidence an active interest in history and an understanding of the value of documents for the writing of history. The responsibilities of the archivist are to gather, evaluate, and preserve various documents of the past, and to make them conveniently available for scholars. The Archivist may advise Yearly Meeting bodies and local churches on the proper management, preservation, retention and disposition of their records. The Yearly Meeting provides a repository suitably located with conditions appropriate for preservation of perishable materials. The Yearly Meeting may enter into agreements with George Fox University, local churches, and other appropriate bodies and institutions, to accomplish the purposes of this section.
4. Council of Representatives
4.01 Composition. The Council of Representatives is composed of members of local faith communities who have been chosen, prayerfully, on the basis of spiritual maturity, respected judgment, and acceptance of Friends beliefs and procedures as set forth in this book of Faith and Practice. At their first meeting, roll call is taken and representatives are seated. Alternates may be seated in place of representatives to fill allowable quotas. Those approved and seated are the official Representatives. The Presiding Clerk and Recording Clerk of the Yearly Meeting also serve as Presiding Clerk and Recording Clerk of the Council of Representatives. The Superintendent is an ex officio member. The Representatives meet in open sessions to encourage wider understanding of church business. If a matter of seriously sensitive nature should arise, however, the Presiding Clerk with the concurrence of the Representatives may request other members and visitors to absent themselves.
4.02 Meetings. The Council of Representatives meets in conjunction with the annual sessions of the Yearly Meeting but may be called to meet at times between the annual sessions with the concurrence of the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting, and the Superintendent of the Yearly Meeting. The Council of Representatives meets prior to the first business meeting for the purposes of seating Representatives and approving the agenda for the business meeting. All other scheduled Council of Representatives meetings are held during Yearly Meeting business session. A quorum consists of members in attendance at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Council of Representatives, or at a special meeting that has been properly called.
4.03 Term of office. Their local church appoints representatives for a term of not less than two years commencing with the start of the calendar year. Terms should last either two or three years, a proportionate number being replaced each year.
4.04 Duties. The Council of Representatives attends to any business that it initiates or that the Yearly Meeting organizations, Areas, or local churches refer to it. It is also specifically responsible to:
4.04.01 Serve as a primary link between the whole Yearly Meeting and the local church.
4.04.02 Communicate to the local church the work, decisions, concerns and vision of NWYM.
4.04.03 Convey concerns, actions, information and matters of business to the NWYM, either at the annual sessions, or through the Presiding Clerk at other times of the year.
4.04.04 Along with others gathered during Yearly Meeting, prayerfully discern matters of business.
4.04.05 Encourage the Presiding Clerk, when appropriate, to limit the discussion on the floor of the Yearly Meeting to representatives.
5. Administrative Council
5.01 Composition. The Administrative Council will have 12 members. Members will include the Presiding Clerk, the Assistant Presiding Clerk and the Superintendent. On nomination by the Board of Elders, the Yearly Meeting appoints nine others to serve on the Administrative Council. The Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting serves as Clerk of the Administrative Council. While not a member of the Administrative Council, the Director of Finance and Development attends meetings in an advisory capacity. A quorum consists of a majority of the members. When determining a quorum, members participating in a meeting by telephone will be counted as present. (See also 2.04.02)
5.02 Criteria for Appointment. The Board of Elders will nominate people to the Administrative Council, based upon the candidates’ spiritual maturity, gifts of discernment and demonstrated commitment to the entire ministry of NWYM. Nominees must be active members of a local NWYM church, experienced in Friends practices, and committed to the Christian principles as set forth in Faith and Practice. The Elders will strive to achieve geographic, age, cultural and gender diversity on the Administrative Council. No more than three of the nine at-large members may be named from any one Area within NWYM.
5.03 Terms of Service. Members will serve three-year rotating terms with approximately one third of the terms expiring each year. Council members who wish to continue serving must be re-nominated by the Board of Elders at the end of each three-year term and may serve up to three consecutive terms. Following the third three-year term, a member must remain off the Council at least one year before reappointment.
5.04 Meetings. The Administrative Council will announce its regular schedule of meeting times to the entire Yearly Meeting. The Council may meet at additional times, as needed. (See 2.04.01)
5.05 Responsibilities. The NWYM Administrative Council serves as a group of spiritually mature and discerning individuals who affirm the values, cradle the mission and help NWYM remain focused on its collective vision. It is given these specific responsibilities:
5.05.01 Oversee and assess the NWYM visioning process.
5.05.02 Review and evaluate the Annual Ministry Plan of each NWYM board, meeting frequently with board clerks to discuss ministry goals and budget requests for the coming year. In working with each board, the Administrative Council will strive to:
- ensure the annual Ministry Plan of each board is in harmony with the overall vision of NWYM;
- eliminate redundancy and foster cohesion in NWYM ministries;
- foster a prayerful, discernment-based environment for strategic planning.
5.05.03 Develop an annual budget proposal in concert with board clerks, based upon Annual Ministry Plans, the overall vision of NWYM, and anticipated resources for the coming year. The Administrative Council will present the annual budget and a summary of Annual Ministry Plans to the Yearly Meeting for approval.
5.05.04 Work with the Finance Committee to challenge local churches to fully fund the annual budget and meet long-term financial goals.
5.05.05 Evaluate any request by a NWYM organization for raising funds outside the normal budget process.
5.05.06 Manage the use of the NWYM Ministry Reserve Fund under the care of this Council.
5.05.07 Advise the Presiding Clerk on the establishment of an agenda for business during Yearly Meeting sessions.
- Disseminate information about items for discussion and the anticipated business schedule for Yearly Meeting sessions. This information will be sent to local churches through the Council of Representatives.
- Receive matters of business or concern arising from local churches, and requiring deliberation or action by the Yearly Meeting as a whole. These concerns should normally have been reviewed by the Area gathering, and forwarded by it to the Yearly Meeting.
- Appoint a task force or study group as needed.
5.05.08 Prepare recommendations whenever a NWYM board seeks the Council’s discernment about a matter prior to its consideration at Yearly Meeting for approval.
5.05.09 When the Yearly Meeting is not in session, and the matter under consideration is time sensitive, the Administrative Council is authorized to take action on behalf of the entire Yearly Meeting, reporting such action to the Yearly Meeting in a timely manner. The Administrative Council is always authorized to take action on matters within its designated areas of responsibility.
5.05.10 Provide primary oversight of the Superintendent. This includes providing the Superintendent with an annual evaluation and making recommendations to the Yearly Meeting regarding continuing the call of the Superintendent.
5.05.11 Oversee the development and ongoing revision of the NWYM staff policy manual.
5.05.12 Recommend salary and expense accounts for NWYM staff. The Administrative Council has the authority to determine the portion of staff salary that is designated as annual housing allowance.
5.05.13 Act on the Superintendent’s recommendations on all staff appointments and position changes.
5.05.14 Represent the Yearly Meeting whenever the interests or reputation of Friends requires immediate action or deliberation, reporting all such proceedings to the Yearly Meeting.
5.05.15 Consider and act upon questions regarding organization, policy or procedure raised by officers or bodies of NWYM.
5.05.16 Maintain relationships with NWYM-related organizations, such as Friendsview Retirement Community, NWYM-affiliated camps, George Fox University and other schools. In cooperation with NWYM staff, the Administrative Council will foster connection, cooperation, and appropriate partnerships for risk management.
5.05.17 Review nominees to the board of George Fox University and make recommendations to the Yearly Meeting. The Yearly Meeting will approve nominees to the board of GFU. In exceptional cases, the Administrative Council is authorized to approve a nominee if doing so will allow the new GFU board member to begin service in time to attend the spring board meeting of GFU. (See “Related Organizations. George Fox University”).
5.05.18 Provide thorough and timely reporting of all their activities to the Yearly Meeting.
5.05.19 Welcome representatives from local churches or Areas when these representatives wish to raise concerns or matters of business when the Administrative Council is in session.
5.05.20 Write and maintain a policy on conflicts of interest for Yearly Meeting officers, staff and organizations.
6. NWYM Boards: General Regulations
NWYM boards help carry out those ministries that we are able to do more effectively together than as individual churches. Boards will be a resource to the effective and vital functioning of our local churches. Our goal is to establish boards that listen to God, are engaged in meaningful ministry, have a clear mission, and are given the responsibility and authority to impact the overall ministry of NWYM. Under each board, both subcommittees and ministry teams may be established to carry out their work with greater flexibility and innovation.
6.01 Board appointment and responsibilities
6.01.01 Composition. Boards will have from 12 to 18 members, the actual size of each to be determined by the board itself, and communicated to the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee will strive to achieve geographic, age, racial, cultural and gender diversity on each board. Area representation will not be required, but no more than five members may be named to a board from any one Area. A quorum for a board or its subordinate bodies consists of a majority of the members. An exception is made for the Board of Elders (see 7.01). When determining a quorum, members participating in a meeting by telephone will be counted as present.
6.01.02 Criteria for appointment. Board members must be active members of a local NWYM church, experienced in Friends practices, committed to the Christian principles set forth in Faith and
Practice, and have both a passion for and a call to the mission of their particular board. Each member is expected to participate actively in the ministry of the board, generally through involvement on a subcommittee or ministry team. Each candidate for nomination will be given education about the work of the Board, and opportunity to indicate his/her response and commitment by signing a nomination response form that will be forwarded to the Nominating Committee. As well as nomination by others, any interested person may self-nominate. Forms may be obtained from a local church Yearly Meeting representative, or the Yearly Meeting office or website.
6.01.03 Terms of service. Board members will be recommended by the Nominating Committee for approval on the floor of the Yearly Meeting. Members will serve three-year rotating terms with approximately one-third of the terms expiring each year. Terms of service begin and end immediately following annual Yearly Meeting sessions. Board members who wish to continue serving must be re-nominated by the Nominating Committee at the end of each three-year term and may serve up to three consecutive terms. Following the third three-year term, a member must remain off the board at least one year before re-appointment. Filling a vacated position is considered a full term for purposes of reappointment. (See also 2.06)
6.01.04 Clerks. Each board is responsible to name its own clerk, Assistant Clerk and Recording Clerk. The clerk’s appointment must receive the approval of the Yearly Meeting.
6.01.05 Mission statement. Each board will create a mission statement for its work, reviewing it regularly and revising as necessary.
6.01.06 Annual ministry plans. Each board will submit to the Administrative Council an Annual Ministry Plan for the next calendar year (see 5.05.02), along with its budget proposal. At the end of each year, the board will use this Plan as a basis for its self-evaluation, to be conducted in cooperation with the Administrative Council.
6.01.07 Subcommittees. Each board may create subcommittees under its care, defining their purposes and appointing their members. At least one member of the sponsoring board will serve as an active member and liaison on each subcommittee (see 6.01.02). NWYM staff and the Nominating Committee may be called upon to provide suggestions for potential members. The formation of new subcommittees will be reported to the Yearly Meeting and recorded in the minutes.
6.01.08 Ministry teams. Each board may create short term ministry teams under its care, defining their purposes and appointing their members. At least one member of the sponsoring board will serve as an active member and liaison on each ministry team (see 6.01.02). The formation of ministry teams will be reported to the Yearly Meeting and recorded in the minutes.
6.01.09 Manuals. Boards may create manuals to establish principles, policies and procedures for their ongoing ministries and for the work of their subcommittees and ministry teams. Boards must ensure their manuals are in harmony with Faith and Practice, operate according to their manuals, and make them available for examination.
6.02.01 Creation of subcommittees. Boards may create subcommittees, developing a clear set of responsibilities for each subcommittee under their care.
6.02.02 Members. The sponsoring board is responsible to determine the size of each of its subcommittees, and to recruit and appoint their members. Criteria for appointment are the same as for board service (see 6.01.02). Members will serve three-year rotating terms with approximately one-third of the terms expiring each year. At least one member of the subcommittee will be a member of the sponsoring board, and will serve as liaison with the board. Other subcommittee members need not be members of the sponsoring board. NWYM boards may appoint to any of their subcommittees not more than one non-member of a NWYM Friends church to serve for a one-year term renewable at the discretion of the board. Such an individual will be added by the board because his/her call, expertise, passion, and/or experience enhances the overall effectiveness and impact of the subcommittee, and that expertise has not been found among NWYM members. The appointee will be a follower of Jesus Christ, and understand and affirm the Faith and Practice of NWYM as it applies to the work of the subcommittee. This appointee may not clerk the subcommittee, but will be a full participant in the work of the subcommittee, and agree to serve within the same expectations and responsibilities as other members. Each candidate for appointment will be given education about the work of the subcommittee, and opportunity to indicate his/her response and commitment by signing an appointment response form. Forms may be obtained from a local church Yearly Meeting representative, or the Yearly Meeting office or website.
6.02.03 Clerks. The sponsoring board will name the clerk for each subcommittee under its care.
6.02.04 Funding. The sponsoring board will include the funding of its subcommittees in its own budget.
6. 03 Ministry teams
6.03.01 Creation of ministry teams. Boards may create ministry teams to address short-term needs or concerns. Groups of concerned people, who wish to be established as a ministry team, may request that the board consider their proposals. The purpose of the teams will be to carry out ministry, rather than to set policy. Boards may create ministry teams without a revision to Faith and Practice, but should report newly created teams to the Administrative Council and the Yearly Meeting.
6.03.02 Members. The sponsoring board will determine the size of its ministry teams, and appoint members. At least one active member of the ministry team will be a member of the sponsoring board, and will serve as liaison to it. Other ministry team members need not be active members of a local NWYM church.
6.03.03 Terms. Ministry teams are intended to be of short duration. If the work of any ministry team lasts beyond two years, the sponsoring board should create a subcommittee to perform the work. Appointments will be for one year, with annual re-appointments, should the work of the team last more than one year.
6.03.04 Funding. The sponsoring board will include the funding of its ministry teams in its own budget requests, except in cases of emergency need, when the Administrative Council will request funding.
7. Boards: Specific Regulations
The board structure of Northwest Yearly Meeting reflects the priorities agreed upon in the Yearly Meeting’s Vision Statement (see “Vision, Mission, Values”).
7.01 Board of Elders. The NWYM Board of Elders is a group of wise, discerning, and spiritually mature Friends who help encourage the overall, spiritual welfare of NWYM. A quorum for the Board of Elders consists of three-fifths of the members. Members participating in a meeting by telephone will be counted when determining a quorum. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.01.01 Pray diligently for the ministry of NWYM individuals and churches.
7.01.02 Reflect prayerfully on the needs of the NYWM faith communities and Yearly Meeting activities and lay concerns before representatives, boards or other organizations as the Spirit may direct.
7.01.03 Serve in an advisory capacity to the General Superintendent, Yearly Meeting clerks, and the NYWM as a whole.
7.01.04 Respond to crises and serve as peacemakers in the NWYM, offering and implementing a process for reconciliation as needed.
7.01.05 Oversee matters of church discipline and doctrinal dispute.
7.01.06 Whenever necessary, investigate problems in a local church or ministry point, endeavoring to help the church maintain its active relationship with the Yearly Meeting and with the community. If the Board judges that this cannot be achieved, it may take action it deems necessary including, but not limited to, discontinuing the church, effecting a union with another Friends Church, or changing its status to a ministry point. (See “Organization of the Local Church. Opening and Closing Churches”)
7.01.07 In the case of moral failure among pastoral ministers, establish and oversee a process for assisting the church, discerning any necessary steps of discipline and the restoration of those involved.
7.01.08 Disseminate and review annual accountability forms to each NWYM local church. In cooperation with other boards, respond to needs, questions, and requests for assistance.
7.01.09 Provide assistance, counsel, and support to local church elders.
7.01.10 Assist in redesigning and maintaining the NWYM Elder’s Handbook.
7.01.11 Consider proposals for the merger of churches as provided in the section of this Faith and Practice under “Opening and Closing Churches” and “Merger of Churches.” (See “Organization of the Local Church”)
7.01.12 Design a clear and helpful application process and guidelines for maintaining a NWYM annual minister’s license.
7.01.13 Issue annual licenses for all non-recorded, NWYM pastors and other ministers.
7.01.14 Act on recommendations received from the Board of Leadership Development (or a subcommittee) for the recording of ministers, and make appropriate recommendations to the NWYM.
7.01.15 Consider the request of a minister or other member who wishes to be liberated for short-term service outside the Yearly Meeting.
7.01.16 Choose Yearly Meeting speaker(s) and select worship planning team members.
7.01.17 Make policies concerning the Yearly Meeting sessions in consultation with the Yearly Meeting clerks and the General Superintendent.
7.01.18 Nominate nine persons to serve with the Presiding Clerk, Assistant Presiding Clerk and General Superintendent on the NWYM Administrative Council, and forward recommendations to the Yearly Meeting in session.
7.01.19 Oversee the Beebe Fund, established for the support of pastors in financial need of counseling assistance.
7.02 Board of Leadership Development and Enrichment. The NWYM Board of Leadership Development and Enrichment is comprised of Friends who are passionate and gifted in identifying, equipping, and releasing leaders to serve faithfully and effectively within NWYM and beyond. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.02.01 Provide training and resources for all levels of local leadership, including clerks, and representatives by:
- developing and maintaining training/resource handbooks for these roles;
- collaborating with the Board of Elders in the preparation of an Elders Handbook;
- developing regular training opportunities for local church leaders, to be offered on a local, regional or Yearly Meeting-wide basis.
7.02.02 Work with NWYM staff to develop and oversee continuing education opportunities for pastors, such as Focus Conference, Pastors’ Conference, reading programs, and small learning communities.
7.02.03 Work with NWYM staff to create an annual new pastor orientation retreat for those who are just beginning service or returning to service in NWYM.
7.02.04 Promote, develop, and oversee the NWYM Mentoring Program, encouraging participation by church planters, emerging leaders and ministry point leaders.
7.02.05 Work in concert with the Board of Youth and Young Adults to support youth and young adult leadership development opportunities, such as Samuel School, and provide appropriate follow up with those who participate in it.
7.02.06 Work with NWYM staff to plan and implement the NWYM Call to Ministry conference or small, regional workshops.
7.02.07 Assist local churches with resources for identifying, equipping and releasing members for service—including young people.
7.02.08 Oversee the process of recording candidates for ministry that are submitted by local churches.
7.02.09 Maintain an active list of recorded ministers.
7.02.10 Provide oversight for the NWYM Friends Center.
7.02.11 Encourage Friends to attend George Fox University and Seminary by such methods as:
- Encouraging leadership development options within the University;
- Considering revising and overseeing the Quaker Leaders Program to assist young Friends attending GFU.
7.03 Board of Local Outreach. The NWYM Board of Local Outreach is comprised of Friends with gifts, passion and expertise in outreach ministries. This board encourages the work of calling people into lifechanging relationships with Jesus Christ, fostering the growth of NWYM churches, and promoting peacemaking, social justice, environmental responsibility and compassionate service in the Northwest. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.03.01 Develop consistent language to identify the corporate expressions of Body life that are developing within NWYM.
7.03.02 Develop a procedure that enables our non-traditional faith communities to become officially recognized as “local churches” with appropriate privileges and responsibilities within NWYM.
7.03.03 In cooperation with the NWYM staff, revise a church planting culture and strategy for NWYM by:
- encouraging existing NWYM churches and Areas to consider establishing new faith communities;
- continuing to develop Simple/House/Other church models that are fully integrated into NWYM through another local church when possible;
- advancing the work of Latino and other cross-cultural church planning in a way that leads to a fully integrated Yearly Meeting;
- developing a strategy for identifying, equipping and releasing church planters;
- continuing to maintain and encourage the progress of new faith communities, helping them to understand and follow established guidelines.
7.03.04 Provide resources and training for local faith communities to effectively build bridges of outreach by utilizing evangelism, teaching, compassion, peacemaking and other tools relevant to the needs of their communities.
7.03.05 Support and communicate to others effective and creative outreach efforts that are operating in NWYM.
7.03.06 Through resources and training, help our local faith communities effectively share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others and to call people into lifestyles of committed discipleship and Christian community.
7.03.07 Research and consider developing volunteer options for NWYM people that will encourage both a culture of service and life-long commitments to social concerns/evangelism.
7.03.08 Encourage existing and possibly new service opportunities for retired and otherwise liberated Friends.
7.03.09 Provide education, resources and suggested action for Friends to consider in regard to specific social justice, environmental, peace and moral issues in the Northwest: for example, prison ministries, compassionate services, disaster or poverty relief, peacemaking and justice.
7.04 Board of Global Outreach. The NWYM Board of Global Outreach is comprised of Friends with gifts, passion, and expertise in cross-cultural and overseas outreach ministries. Like the Board of Local Outreach, this board aims to encourage evangelism, church planting, peacemaking, social justice, environmental responsibility, and compassionate service but with a global emphasis. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.04.01 Oversee church planting and evangelism ministries in cultures outside of the Northwest by:
- providing care, administrative support, and encouragement to those serving on mission fields;
- providing relevant services through culturally sensitive ministries;
- sharing Christ through friendship evangelism;
- building self-multiplying Christian communities;
- developing independent national leadership and self-supporting, self-replicating ministries;
- developing a support network for cross-cultural workers.
7.04.02 Assist individuals in discerning a call to missionary service, provide standards for their qualification, and establish appropriate procedures for their preparation, education, and ministry.
7.04.03 Identify, equip and release those individuals who are called to serve in cross-cultural ministries.
7.04.04 Encourage a cross-cultural ministry focus by NWYM churches and challenge local churches to support missions with prayer and finances.
7.04.05 Evaluate prayerfully possible new fields for mission activity.
7.04.06 Expand global ministry opportunities for NWYM people by:
- researching possible new NWYM outreach ministries in such fields as peacemaking, hunger relief, and social concerns;
- connecting NWYM individuals and churches with service in short-term global ministries, such as medical teams, hunger or disaster relief, peacemaking, environmental and social concerns that are compatible with NWYM;
- assist those called to participate in ministries identified as NWYM-supported works, by providing publicity, recruitment, personnel oversight, and opportunities for raising financial support.
7.04.07 Provide local churches with educational resources for teaching about the biblical and Friends’ concern for mission and service.
7.04.08 Provide educational resources regarding global issues as they relate to Christian faith and practice.
7.04.09 Work in cooperation with the NWYM staff to promote mission/outreach awareness, facilitate missionary deputation, and other education in the local church.
7.04.10 Participate actively in the outreach of EFM through designated representatives, communication, and financial support.
7.04.11 Determine personnel and policy matters for each program, including financial support for the workers.
7.04.12 Oversee the Teaching Abroad program and consider other short term ministry options for NWYM people in outreach ministries.
7.05 Board of Congregational Care. The NWYM Board of Congregational Care is composed of Friends with gifts, passion and expertise in helping our churches be healthy, faithful, and effective communities of worship, service, and fellowship. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.05.01 Identify specific needs within individual NWYM churches.
7.05.02 Encourage our churches to actively listen to God by providing discernment training and resources for Quaker business meetings.
7.05.03 Develop and promote resources and models for assisting churches with refocusing, re-visioning, and renewal; including such tools as Natural Church Development, strategic planning, and visioning.
7.05.04 Assist local churches with information relevant to the care and development of their facilities, including such matters as sound equipment, building maintenance, and computer programs.
7.05.05 Promote and encourage Friends membership through the development of new and creative resource, utilizing such options as written form, web-based access, or DVD.
7.05.06 Promote and oversee the Share Call fund for NWYM churches.
7.05.07 Develop a list of resources available to local churches, such as workshops, speakers and other types of training in matters related to congregational life;
7.05.08 Assist churches in providing care and compassion to seniors and people with disabilities.
7.05.09 Develop and promote practices of personal and corporate stewardship.
7.05.10 Develop and encourage various models of worship.
7.05.11 Promote and encourage the development and use of fine arts throughout the NWYM.
7.05.12 Develop creative ways to encourage interaction among attendees at the annual NWYM sessions.
7.05.13 Encourage healthy, loving, and spiritually-enriching relationships within the local church by:
- providing resources and training for conflict resolution;
- providing training and resources for healthy marriages and family concerns;
- providing counseling information;
- providing suggestions and resources for meeting needs within the local church; including such opportunities as Mennonite Mutual Aid, and lists of resources to share within the local congregation.
- promoting activities that build community and unity;
- promoting small groups as both an outreach and nurturing tool for the local churches;
- encouraging mentoring, spiritual friendships, and other intentional spiritual relationships.
7.06 Board of Christian Education and Discipleship. The Board of Christian Education and Discipleship is composed of Friends with gifts, expertise and passion for assisting others to follow Christ faithfully and to be transformed into His image. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.06.01 Identify and develop resources and training for children’s ministry.
7.06.02 Oversee programming for Children’s Yearly Meeting during our annual sessions, giving careful attention to the focus and content for the program, and providing suitable leadership.
7.06.03 Oversee NWYM and local church policies for child abuse prevention and safety awareness; receiving advice from the Board of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in matters relating to youth programs, camps and similar activities.
7.06.04 Assist local churches in finding or developing appropriate resources for spiritual growth, discipleship and spiritual formation for all ages; enhancing the vitality of Sunday school for all ages, weekday clubs and activities, Vacation Bible School, small groups, and new educational models.
7.06.05 Foster the development of new retreats, workshops, and regional gatherings to address spiritual growth/discipleship issues.
7.06.06 Publicize and encourage NWYM-sponsored spiritual formation activities and programs, camps, and retreats.
7.06.07 Work with NWYM-related camps to develop suitable programming and to foster mutually beneficial relationships between the Yearly Meeting and our affiliated camps.
7.06.08 Provide connection and encouragement to Friends schools in the NWYM.
7.06.09 Cooperate with other EFI yearly meetings in joining education-related efforts. Send representatives to serve on relevant organizations outside the Yearly Meeting.
7.06.10 Promote and develop appropriate teacher education training throughout NWYM.
7.06.11 Encourage Bible reading, literacy and understanding among all Friends.
7.06.12 Promote peace and justice education within NWYM, including information on conscientious objection for young Friends.
7.06.13 Develop and promote resources for Friends education, history, testimonies, spirituality, and ministry.
7.06.14 Maintain and publish lists of recommended books, audio-visual resources, and other media that encourage Christian/Friends belief and practice for use in local churches and homes.
7.07 Board of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. The Board of Youth and Young Adult Ministry (middle school through age 25) is composed of Friends with gifts, expertise, and passion for youth and young adult ministry. This board helps develop a community of young people who are committed to Jesus, involved in service and connected to one another as Friends. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.07.01 Assist the NWYM staff member(s) in youth and young adult program development and ministry.
7.07.02 Provide support, encouragement, ideas and advice for the NWYM youth and young adult staff.
7.07.03 Provide support and accountability for Friends Youth Exec, a group of college-age students who plan and organize events for NWYM youth.
7.07.04 Provide support and oversight of the Bible Quiz Program, Youth Yearly Meeting, and other developing programs.
7.07.05 Advise the Board of Christian Education and Discipleship in the development and oversight of NWYM and local church policies for child abuse prevention and safety awareness, as used in youth programs, camps and similar activities.
7.07.06 Encourage comprehensive training and programming in Christian education, spiritual formation, and biblical foundations that foster mature discipleship and service.
7.07.07 Encourage, support, and provide training for youth workers serving in Christian ministry to youth and young adults.
7.07.08 In cooperation with the Board of Leadership Development, oversee Samuel School and insure that Young Friends are encouraged in their development as emerging leaders.
7.07.09 Develop new opportunities for service and ministry for youth and YAFs (Young Adult Friends).
7.07.10 Encourage youth mentoring in local churches and assist Young Friends who need help locating a mentor.
7.07.11 Encourage youth involvement in NWYM camps and retreats.
7.07.12 Support youth in the transition to adulthood, developing ministries and opportunities that encourage connection and continuing involvement in NWYM.
7.07.13 Maintain contact and communication with Young Adult Friends (YAFs) who attend college or relocate outside NWYM.
7.08 Board of Communication. The NWYM Board of Communication is composed of Friends with gifts, expertise, and passion for developing connection and fostering communication. This board uses a variety of media to tell the story of God’s action in and through NWYM. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.08.01 Provide advice and oversight for NWYM e-lists, e-letters, publications, materials, and other forms of communication.
7.08.02 Provide support and counsel to the NWYM staff and other NWYM boards in their written and other media materials.
7.08.03 Oversee the annual writing of the Epistle during Yearly Meeting sessions;
7.08.04 Maintain an active NWYM website.
7.08.05 Develop varied and creative ways to communicate NWYM’s ministry, identity, values, mission, and vision within our own faith community and to the wider world.
7.08.06 Develop creative and effective ways to share the stories of what is going on throughout NWYM churches and related ministries.
7.08.07 Develop a creative way to produce thoughtful and engaging summaries and highlights of our annual sessions for reports in our local churches.
7.08.09 Develop an information and resource center to promote the materials and ministries of NWYM boards.
7.08.10 Develop a regular written communication that is sent to NWYM homes, local churches and Area gatherings. This communication will be focused on building connection and unity; and communicating NWYM news, values, mission, vision, and ministries.
7.08.11 Assist in developing promotional materials for NWYM sessions, local churches, and other events.
7.08.12 Assist in the creation of materials and media for Hispanic and other cross-cultural Friends churches and individuals.
7.08.13 Promote Friends publications, books, and Barclay Press resources.
7.08.14 Identify ways to further support the ministry of Barclay Press.
7.08.15 Cooperate with other EFI yearly meetings in joint efforts related to communication, and send representatives to serve on relevant commissions organizations outside NWYM.
8. Standing Committees
Standing committees necessary for the functioning and purposes of the Yearly Meeting are accountable to and function under the care of the Administrative Council. The following standing committees are established. Other standing committees may be established with approval by the Yearly Meeting.
- Finance Committee, with subcommittees defined as:
- Friends Church Extension Fund
- Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Foundation
- Faith and Practice Revision Committee
- Nominating Committee
8.01 Members of these committees, with the exception of the Nominating Committee itself (see 8.10.02), will be recommended by the Nominating Committee and will be approved on the floor the Yearly Meeting. (See also 2.06)
8.02 Gender, age, racial, cultural and geographic diversity will be encouraged in the nomination process for all standing committees.
8.03 The size of standing committees will vary, based on the needs of the particular group. A quorum consists of a majority of the members. An exception is made for the Trustees (see 8.07.02.05. below). When determining a quorum, members participating in a meeting by telephone will be counted as present.
8.04 Committee members must be active members of local NWYM local churches or ministry points, experienced in Friends practices and committed to the Christian principles set forth in Faith and Practice.
8.05 Terms of service will be divided into rotating, three-year appointments with approximately one-third of all members rotating off each. Members may serve up to three consecutive terms. (However, the number and length of terms is different for Trustees: see 8.07.01, below) (See also 2.06)
8.06 Each standing committee is responsible to name its own clerk, Assistant Clerk and Recording Clerk. The clerk’s appointment must receive the approval of the Yearly Meeting.
8.07.01 Appointment: On nomination by the Nominating Committee, the Yearly Meeting appoints five persons to constitute the Yearly Meeting Trustees, naming one trustee each year for a term of five years. Trustees shall also be appointed for shorter terms to fill vacancies resulting from resignation or other reasons so that the term of one trustee will expire each year. The Trustees select their own clerk. The Trustees are the legal representatives of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church, also referred to herein as “Yearly Meeting” or “NWYM.”
8.07.02 Responsibilities: The Trustees are responsible to:
8.07.02.01 Take action as necessary to maintain “Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church” as a corporation in good standing in the State of Oregon, with authority to hold property and conduct business in Oregon and other states or countries as considered necessary.
8.07.02.02 Cause the titles of all real and personal property owned by NWYM to be vested in its corporate name. Such titles shall be recorded in official records of the state or county or in such other place where the title to such property is normally recorded.
8.07.02.03 Be responsible for the receipt of all funds and other property received by bequest or donation and see that title to such assets is properly vested in NWYM’s corporate name, to be administered in accordance to the wishes of the donors by the Administrative Council. This responsibility is not intended to extend to routine contributions received in the normal course of business by the Yearly Meeting or its constituent churches and other organizations.
8.07.02.04 Assist with the transfer to NWYM of property and funds that come from the discontinuance of a local church or other NWYM organization. In these cases, title is to be transferred to NWYM’s corporate name or otherwise brought under the control of the Yearly Meeting. The Administrative Council will administer assets realized from these transfers, provided that any property or funds donated for a specific purpose are to be administered in accordance with the wishes of the original donor.
8.07.02.05 Execute legal instruments essential to normal procedure in business affairs and ownership of property held by the Yearly Meeting and the local churches. Transactions requiring such execution or signature are to be approved by Northwest Yearly Meeting in session, by the Administrative Council, or by the trustees. The approval may provide for any two of the trustees to sign legal documents for the approved transaction who are available to provide approval. A quorum for Trustee approval shall consist of three. The Trustees must exercise care to observe the requirements of the statutes of the states within which their transactions are made.
8.07.02.06 Report all transactions to the Yearly Meeting in session.
8.07.02.07 Insure policies are in place throughout NWYM to address risk management issues (e.g., child/youth safety, transportation issues, background checks, property and finance protection).
8.07.02.08 Review how organizations described in the section “Organizations Serving NWYM,” as well as other connected groups and NWYM sponsored camps/programs are accountable within NWYM. Make appropriate recommendations to insure risk management procedure and policies are in place.
8.07.03 Conflict of Interest. No trustee may participate in approval or the signing of documents for a transaction if they or any member of their family have any conflict of interest in the transaction. In such a case, the other trustees may acknowledge the conflict and proceed with approval and execution of the documents. As an alternative, the remaining trustees may ask for the approval of the Administrative Council and instructions for the execution of documents.
8.08 Finance Committee. The NWYM Finance Committee is a standing committee under the care of the NWYM Administrative Council.
8.08.01 Composition. This committee of six will be made up of five members and the NWYM Director of Finance.
8.08.02 Criteria for appointment. Individuals nominated must not be members of NWYM boards or other standing committees. Committee members must be active members of a local NYWM church, experienced in Friends practices, and committed to the Christian principles set forth in Faith and Practice.
8.08.03 Terms of service. Finance Committee members are recommended by the Nominating Committee and approved on the floor of the Yearly Meeting. Members will serve three-year rotating terms, with one or two terms expiring each year. Committee members who wish to continue serving must be re-nominated by the Nominating Committee at the end of each threeyear term, and may serve up to three consecutive terms. Following the third three-year term, a member must remain off the committee at least one year before reappointment. Filling a vacated position is considered a full term for purposes of reappointment.
8.08.04 Meetings. Throughout the year, members will meet as needed to fulfill the committee’s task.
8.08.05 Responsibilities. The Finance Committee is a group of spiritually mature individuals with practical skills in financial management, who seek to enable the mission of NWYM through sound business practices. It is given the following specific responsibilities:
8.08.05.01 Receive financial commitments from the churches and summarize them along with other expected income, recommending total expected revenue to the Administrative Council.
8.08.05.02 Monitor the budget throughout the year, providing updates to the Administrative Council regarding current and projected finances of NWYM.
8.08.05.03 In cooperation with the Administrative Council, periodically challenge local faith communities to fully fund the annual budget and long-term financial goals.
8.08.05.04 Provide support and accountability for the NWYM Director of Finance.
8.08.05.05 Nominate NWYM members to its subcommittees, including the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Foundation and the Friends Church Extension Fund, providing oversight and maintaining accountability to each subcommittee.
8.08.06 Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Foundation. A subcommittee of NWYM Finance Committee, the Yearly Meeting Foundation is a nonprofit religious corporation with a mission of assisting members with free resources for planning their estates. The Foundation gives NWYM members opportunities for deferred gifts that benefit Yearly Meeting ministries and local churches. The Fund’s nine board members are nominated by the Yearly Meeting Finance Committee and approved by the Administrative Council for terms of three years, one third of the terms expiring each year. The Fund’s Board elects its own officers.
8.08.07 Friends Church Extension Fund. A subcommittee of NWYM Finance Committee, the Extension Fund is a nonprofit religious corporation that secures funds from investors or gifts from donors and lends those funds to constituent churches or other organizations of NWYM, usually for construction or development purposes. The Fund’s nine board members are nominated by the Yearly Meeting Finance Committee and approved by the Administrative Council for terms of three years, one third of the terms expiring each year. The Fund’s Board elects its own officers.
8.09 Faith and Practice Revision Committee. The Faith and Practice Revision Committee of five persons handles all matters pertaining to proposed revisions to Faith and Practice. The committee itself or any officer or official body of the Yearly Meeting may initiate proposals for amendment. Any proposal originating elsewhere than in the committee is referred to it through its clerk before being presented on the floor of the Yearly Meeting; this is to insure consistency with Faith and Practice as a whole and uniformity of style and expression. All proposals will be read twice for approval. Substantive amendments to either reading require that the proposal be resubmitted for first reading. Proposals treating matters of Friends faith or rules of discipline must be read the second time at the subsequent annual sessions. Proposals treating matters of government, procedures, and organizations may, with the approval of the business meeting, be read twice for approval at the same annual sessions, provided that the readings do not occur on the same or consecutive days, and that notices of the proposed changes have been given to the monthly meetings at least three months prior to the Yearly Meeting sessions.
8.10 Nominating Committee. The NWYM Nominating Committee is a standing committee under the care of the NWYM Administrative Council.
8.10.01 Composition. The committee will have nine members, including one representative from each of the eight Areas of NWYM, and a clerk.
8.10.02 Criteria for appointment. Nominating Committee members representing Areas will be nominated by the Representatives from their Area, and approved at the Spring Area gathering. These members are reported to the floor of NWYM. Representatives from each Area are encouraged to seek input from their local churches and Areas prior to nominating individuals for this committee. Individuals nominated must not be members of NWYM boards. Committee members must be active members of a local NYWM church, experienced in Friends practices, and committed to the Christian principles set forth in Faith and Practice.
8.10.03 Terms of service. Members will serve three-year rotating terms, with three terms expiring each year. Committee members who wish to continue serving must be re-nominated by the Representatives from their Area at the end of each three-year term, and may serve up to three consecutive terms. Following the third three-year term, a member must remain off the committee at least one year before reappointment. Filling a vacated position is considered a full term for purposes of reappointment.
8.10.04 Clerk. The Administrative Council will nominate the clerk. The clerk’s appointment must receive approval on the floor of NWYM.
8.10.05 Meetings. Members will attend NWYM sessions in order to be introduced, oriented to the work of the Nominating Committee, and meaningfully further their work in community. Throughout the year, members will meet as necessary to fulfill the committee’s task.
8.10.06 Responsibilities. The Nominating Committee’s task is to find individuals who are called, gifted and passionate to serve on NWYM boards, on standing committees, and in other designated NWYM roles. It is given these specific responsibilities:
8.10.07 Work with the designated NWYM staff person on an on-going basis for support and administrative assistance, keeping a database file at the Yearly Meeting office for future reference.
8.10.08 Seek possible candidates by:
- Becoming familiar with people in the member’s Area who would serve well within NWYM.
- Consulting board clerks annually for possible nominees and/or re-nominations, carefully discerning all reappointments, rather than making automatic reappointments.
- Establishing communication with local churches’ YM Representatives, Area churches, Area gatherings, and NWYM staff for possible nominations.
- Paying particular attention to new and young people who may be called to serve.
8.10.09 Invite expressions of interest by:
- Publishing a job description of each board so that people may consider positions of service.
- Maintaining avenues by which individuals can make known their interest in serving on a NWYM board or committee.
- Ensuring that avenues for submission of names to the Nominating Committee are well publicized.
8.10.10 Make nominations by:
- Nominating individuals for NWYM boards and for standing committees under the care of the Administrative Council.
- Providing nominations for NWYM Presiding Clerk, Assistant Presiding Clerk, and Recording Clerk.
- Presenting a full slate of nominees for Representatives to review in the spring prior to NWYM annual sessions.
- Presenting names of nominees to the floor of NWYM for approval.
9. The Yearly Meeting Budget
9.01 Budget process. The Administrative Council presents to the Yearly Meeting in its annual sessions a budget by which to provide overall funding of the mission of NWYM. The budget process is as follows:
9.01.01 The Administrative Council receives annual ministry plans and proposed budgets from each Board. The plans and budgets of each Board must be inclusive of the plans and budgets for subcommittees and ministry teams under the care of that Board.
9.01.02 The Administrative Council receives projected NWYM income from the Finance Committee, taking into account pledges of Local Church Support from local meetings and projected restricted gifts from churches and individuals.
9.01.03 The Administrative Council coordinates the ministry plans, budget, and income, combining them into an operating plan and budget supportive of the plans of each Board, and consistent with the vision of NWYM and the resources of the churches. The ministry plans and budget are fully integrated, as the budget is the consolidation of the ministry plans which fully describe anticipated expenditures of the Yearly Meeting. All expenditures and all uses of board designated reserves and donor restricted funds are delineated in the Yearly Meeting Budget.
9.01.04 The NWYM annual budget is presented to the annual sessions of NWYM for approval.
10. The Church Year
The official year for various interests and activities of the Yearly Meeting is as follows:
10.01 Annual reports: June 1 to May 31.
10.02 Church and Area officers: July 1 to June 30.
10.03 Representatives: from the start of the calendar year until the end of their appointment.
10.04 Members of boards and other organizations and Yearly Meeting officers: one Yearly Meeting annual session through the next, as appointed in these sessions.
10.05 General Superintendent and other administrators: July 1 to June 30.
10.06 Pastors: July 1 to June 30.
10.07 Fiscal matters, including the budget: to coincide with the calendar year.