Chapter 6 » 6.05

Purposes and functions

In 1999 the Agenda Committee wrote:

We see Yearly Meetings as events in the life of the institution of Britain Yearly Meeting which can involve:

  • constitutional decision-making;
  • annually overseeing and guiding the stewardship exercised between Yearly Meetings;
  • settling policy on major areas of work or witness;
  • promoting teaching and learning;
  • offering inspiration and leadership;
  • celebrating together;
  • re-dedicating ourselves;
  • calling us to action;
  • creating and sustaining a community, including those both under and over nineteen.

Yearly Meetings are also occasions in which we can learn, practise, improve, and take back to our local meetings ways of conducting business which are rooted in Quaker tradition and our own experience yet also meet contemporary challenges. They should be a focus for every facet of Quakerism, constantly reminding us of what it means to be a Quaker today.

We are aware that we do not always achieve these purposes in our Yearly Meetings as well as we might; and indeed that it may not be possible to fulfil all the purposes to an equal extent at an individual Yearly Meeting. Seeking the right balance at any one Yearly Meeting is a necessary though difficult task. Our experience is that Yearly Meeting is most fruitful when its programme includes some decision-making and ‘doing together’, alongside more reflective sessions; and when it focuses on doing what only Yearly Meeting can do.

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