Meeting for Business

The Meeting for Business of a Monthly Meeting is the occasion when members of the community gather to discuss the work of committees, determine policy, discern potential actions, and review their finances. The key to understanding what is special about a Quaker business meeting lies in the full name: Meeting for Worship to conduct Business.

From NEYM Faith and Practice:

Our business meetings begin and end with worship, framing the work at hand with centered awareness in the divine presence. Although the business to be addressed requires attention to facts, details, and varying options, we seek to remain spiritually grounded throughout the discernment process. Our decisions do not rely on majority rule, but rather on a unity found through calm attention to the Light Within. The Spirit may speak through anyone present and it is our task to listen and speak with humility and to trust in the Spirit’s guidance.

The heart of Friends’ business process is the nurturing of spiritual openness and deep listening that allows the sense of the meeting to emerge. At times, there may be unanimous agreement that a proposed action should be carried out. However, when those gathered are not in simple agreement, careful consideration will be given to each speaker, and silent worship may be requested. If all in attendance draw on their disciplines of worship and stay mindful that the purpose is to seek the will of God for the gathered body, unity can be found and acted upon. Sense of the meeting is the understanding of where the gathered body is led and does not mean that every individual present is completely satisfied or in total agreement. Contrasting views and perceptions may be expressed and some disagreements may remain. The sense of the meeting emerges from the committed efforts of a loving community and strengthens its bonds.

How Quakers Make Decisions: