Table of Contents


1-A. So, You’ve Been Asked to Serve on a Committee!

Before accepting nomination to any committee or agreeing to clerk, read carefully the guidelines below, along with the appropriate Handbook descriptions of the committee and its coordinating committee. You might also consider asking for a Clearness Committee from your monthly meeting. In general, prior to nomination, feel free to attend committee meetings and talk with committee members. You might also read the committee’s annual reports in several Yearbooks, including the most current, and the Faith & Practice section that pertains to the spiritual basis of your commit- tee. It is best to have the fullest possible knowledge of a committee before agreeing to serve in any capacity.

As part of your considerations regarding serving, keep in mind the stipulated term of member- ship and the description of the committee and its responsibilities. Consider seriously any other obligations you may have for that period. In particular, serving on more than one coordinating committee—for instance as an at-large member for one and as representative to another—guaran-tees that you will be unable to meet your obligations to both. Serving on two or more committees, will almost always result in the inability to meet some committee obligations.

Finally, at-large committee members of coordinating committees may have special responsibili-ties according to the arrangement of the coordinating committee. If you are being nominated as an at-large member, be sure to speak with the coordinating committee clerk to clarify your role.


1-B. Your Nomination & Yearly Meeting Approval

Once you agree to be nominated, try to attend the Yearly Meeting session when your nomination to the committee will be considered. Assuming your nomination is approved, this is the time to begin attending committee meetings. Once approved, you will receive a notification card from the NYYM Nominating Committee and your information will be included in the next Yearbook, which lists committee members and their street addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. Please be sure your committee clerk and the Yearly Meeting office have the correct information.


1-C. Now That You Are a Committee Member

Your committee clerk will send you a packet of committee minutes and other pertinent informa-tion. Please read thru this information carefully so that you are aware of the work the committee has already done and the work now before you. The clerk will also inform you of the committee meeting times and send you the committee’s annual calendar of events so you can anticipate the work and rhythm of the year. It is your responsibility to attend and participate in the activities and decision-making of the committee in a prepared manner. If you are unable to attend, send regrets to your clerk and be sure to read the minutes of the meeting you missed.


1-D. Being a Good Committee Member

What, beyond attendance at meetings, makes a good committee member? Here are some of the characteristics:

  • A personal interest, or even better, a leading to support the work of the committee;
  • A clear understanding of the role of the committee as expressed in its charge by the Yearly Meeting and described in this Handbook;
  • A willingness to serve as a conduit of dialogue and information between the Yearly Meeting and your regional/quarterly meeting and your monthly meeting;
  • An ability to see the place and role of the committee in the overall work of the Yearly Meeting.
  • A readiness to take on responsibilities within the committee, and share in the work. Committees exist to carry out the will of the Yearly Meeting as led. In so serving the committee members find spiritual fulfillment.


1-E. Committee Officers

Typically, each committee has three officers: a clerk, assistant clerk and a recording clerk. In addition, committees must name a representative to their section’s coordinating committee (who may or may not be the clerk). A few have a financial secretary and other appointees for whom experience has shown a need. Some have representatives to other committees, for example, Sessions Committee.


1-F. Selection of Officers & Other Appointees

Committees should appoint an internal nominating committee in the spring that will report during Summer Sessions with recommendations for officers, representative to the coordinating committee, and as many other appointees as necessary. Whenever possible, an incoming clerk should be identified a year before the present clerk steps aside from that role. Ideally, this person serves as an assistant clerk and walks with the clerk throughout that time period.

Committees usually meet during Summer Sessions to organize the new year, welcome in new members just approved by Yearly Meeting, and approve officers and representatives. The Yearly Meeting office will provide the committee clerk with a form indicating appointments to be made by that committee and asking for names and contact information for the appointees. This information will be included in the Yearbook.

Committees that represent separately incorporated bodies such as Oakwood Friends School or Powell House may decide on officers for the next year at a designated annual meeting.


1-G. Representation at Section Coordinating Committee Meetings

Since the coordinating committees must make broad decisions that affect the whole section, it is essential that each committee be represented at all coordinating committee (CC) meetings. Once you have been named to the position of representative (rep) by your committee, the coordinating committee clerk (or designee) will send you a packet of CC minutes and pertinent information, along with a schedule of CC meetings. Again, please read through this information carefully so that you are aware of the work the CC has already done and the work now before it. Reps should find an alternate if they are unable to attend a particular CC meeting. The designated rep should follow up with the alternate after the meeting and before the next meeting of the committee.


1-H. Committee-Related Expenses

Most committees have funds for expenses, but membership on a Yearly Meeting committee will probably require some financial outlay for travel, telephone, and the like. No one should decline nomination to a committee s/he feels called to serve on because of financial concerns. See more on finances below in Section 5.


1-I. Renominations

Friends may be renominated for a second term on a committee but not for a third term without at least one year intervening. Such a practice allows for both continuity and the opportunity for new members to contribute to the work of the committee.


1-J. Resignations & Requests for Release

If you find yourself unable to continue as a contributing member of the committee, requesting release means another Friend who can be more active may be named. Letters of resignation go to the clerk of the Yearly Meeting, in care of the Yearly Meeting office, with a copy to the clerk of the committee and to the clerk of the Nominating Committee.


1-K. Co-opting Members for Committees

An individual may be co-opted for one year at a time in these instances:

  • An individual under appointment through the usual nominating process may be co-opted if s/he is not a member of a monthly meeting. This individual must understand and accept Friends’ practice for conducting business in worship.
  • An individual who has served on a committee for the maximum time allowed and agrees to serve for another year to respond to a particular need of the committee. This individual may be co-opted for only one year.

Section 1-K revised and approved by General Services Coordinating Committee, January 28, 2012