Meetings for Discernment


Meetings for Discernment are an ongoing experiment in extended worship of New York Yearly Meeting—two periods of silent, waiting worship held twice a year, each lasting more than the usual one hour, with some interval of time between them.

Winter Meetings for Discernment take place on a Saturday usually in March in regions throughout the Yearly Meeting. The gathering breaks for lunch between the two sessions.

Summer Meetings for Discernment take place during Summer Sessions. The sessions have taken place variously—on the same day, or with one or two days separating them.

Focused worship. It has usually been the practice to publish queries ahead of the Meetings for Discernment to which the gathered body may speak with their vocal ministry during the sessions.


Before there was a formal Religious Society of Friends, Friends gathered in Second Day Meetings for fellowship and to support one another in discerning leadings of the Spirit. As an extension of this practice of Friends in Great Britain, New York Yearly Meeting formed a body called the Yearly Meeting of Ministers and Elders. This body became the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel (YMMC) in 1955 when the Orthodox and Hicksite branches of the Yearly Meeting reunited after separating in 1827. The YMMC met annually to discern and seek clearness for leadings and to support the ministry of its members.

The executive body of the YMMC was called the Coordinating Committee for Ministry and Counsel (CCMC). In July 2007, at the recommendation of the Transition Working Group, the Yearly Meeting suspended the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel and replaced it with the Meetings for Discernment.

Meeting for Discernment's Charge

Meetings for Discernment were to be held at least twice yearly with three charges:

  1. to help strengthen connections between local meetings and the Yearly Meeting;
  2. to support individual leadings; and
  3. to help discern emerging directions within the Yearly Meeting.

Meetings for Discernment Steering Committee

Click the following to visit the Meetings for Discernment Steering Committee web page.

Reports of Meetings for Discernment

Because one of the purposes of Meetings for Discernment is to discern emerging ministries and concerns in the yearly meeting, the Meetings for Discernment Steering Committee takes notes on the vocal ministry during the extended worship. The links below open the reports for those sessions.