Chapter 5 » 5.01


The origin of regional gatherings, each embracing several area (formerly monthly) meetings, goes back to 1660 when George Fox was ‘moved to set up the men’s quarterly meetings throughout the nations’. These were followed by women’s quarterly meetings. From the middle of the eighteenth century these progressively became mixed. They gradually took on considerable responsibilities and functioned as a link in the chain between local meetings and the yearly meeting. With reorganisation in 1967 the title and function of quarterly meetings dis­appeared and they were renamed ‘general meetings’. In 2005 Yearly Meeting decided to remove general meetings from its administrative structure but expected ‘the rich life in some of our existing general meetings’ to continue. Accordingly, some have continued in fact as independent charities while others have laid down or devolved their former administrative responsibilities, adopted new names and continued as gatherings in support of Quaker life and witness (see 5.06). A few have retained administrative responsibilities, particularly in relation to Quaker schools and the care and nurture of children and young people.

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