Representatives in Northwest Yearly Meeting
Being a Representative is one of the most important jobs in Northwest Yearly Meeting. Our Representatives are key to building a strong connectedness among our churches, and in helping develop and sustain our shared vision of God’s calling. Representatives “are chosen to capably represent your local meeting, but dedicated to joining a single yearly meeting body seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance as to God’s ministry for that total body.” (A.J. Ellis).
A few years ago we Representatives wrote a job description for ourselves that emphasizes these main responsibilities:
- Promote effective two-way communication between the local church and the Yearly Meeting
- Participate in discerning God’s voice in our Yearly Meeting
- Assist actively in the Yearly Meeting nominating process
- Support the cohesiveness and vitality of Areas
- Support the spiritual robustness of Friends in NWYM
Fulfilling these tasks in a rewarding way requires staying well-informed and prayerful. We are all invited to pray for our churches, individually, and as connected together in NWYM. Our hope is that these pages will help you stay well informed about your roles and the important matters before us as a NWYM community. My prayer is that you will find joy and blessings as you grow into your calling as a Representative.
(From pg. 39 of the NWYM Faith and Practice)
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.