Structures: Yearly Meeting
Index to Quaker Handbook Section 5: STRUCTURES AND ORGANISATION: YEARLY MEETING
(Click on a heading to skip to that section)
- 5.1 General
- 5.2 Appointments
- 5.3 Attendance
- 5.4 Yearly Meeting documents
- 5.5 Decision-making between yearly meetings
- 5.6 FInance and property of yearly meeting
- 5.7 Continuing committees and responsibilities held
- 5.9 Other groups within YM
- 5.9 Association with Friends worldwide
- 5.10 Links with other bodies
The Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand usually meets as a body annually, at a time and place decided on from one such meeting to another.
At the gathering, Friends from all Meetings seek together, in worship and relying on the guidance of the Spirit, to arrive at decisions on concerns and reports which have already been considered locally. From time to time, members of the Society or others are invited to address the Meeting on a subject of particular concern. Some Friends may take the opportunity to join in worship and study together before or after the Yearly Meeting sessions.
5.2.1 Yearly Meeting appointments
Appointments of the Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand include:
- Yearly Meeting Clerk, whose appointment runs from as soon as convenient after one yearly meeting until a similar time three years later.
- A Yearly Meeting Assistant Clerk may be appointed to serve throughout the year, if the Yearly Meeting Clerk so wishes.
- Yearly Meeting Treasurer, whose appointment lasts for the succeeding three financial years
- Members of continuing committees as appropriate (5.7)
- Representatives on Friends’ international organisations (5.9)
- Representatives on national organisations (5.10)
- Appointments made at its first session for the duration of the yearly meeting:
- one or more Assistant Clerks
- an Epistle Committee to draft the epistle reflecting how the Spirit has moved during yearly meeting. When finally accepted by the Meeting, this epistle is sent, with greetings, to Friends worldwide
- a minutes revision person, to check the minutes for accuracy and grammatical correctness
- a spiritual and pastoral care committee, to support Friends during the gathering
- any other committees or appointments required to facilitate the business of that particular gathering.
For further information on the nature and duration of these appointments, see the Yearly Meeting job descriptions on the Quaker website.
5.2.2 Young Friends appointments
The Yearly Meeting records appointments made by Young Friends, to further the activities of their group.
Each Member of the Religious Society of Friends in Aotearoa New Zealand has a right to attend the Yearly Meeting, and each Monthly Meeting ensures that it is represented. Friends should encourage one another to accept the responsibility of preparing for and taking part in the Yearly Meeting.
Members of overseas bodies of the Religious Society of Friends may attend the sessions of the gathering on producing a minute or letter of introduction signed by the Clerk of their own Meeting, or by otherwise satisfying the Clerk of Yearly Meeting of their membership.
Non-Members wishing to be at Yearly Meeting obtain the recommendation of their Monthly Meeting. These recommendations are considered by Standing Committee, and the approved names minuted. Confidential discussions may be restricted to members of the Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Yearly Meeting may make grants from its funds, up to a level determined from time to time by Yearly Meeting, to assist any Friend to attend. Friends with responsibility for pastoral care administer and allocate such grants.
Each Friend present at Yearly Meeting should exercise a watchful selfdiscipline in the matter of speaking at business sessions. If a lapse occurs, Friends with pastoral care responsibility need to be ready to help the Clerk and the meeting in offering guidance to the person concerned, who is encouraged to accept it with good grace as part of a learning process. The aim is that, in the time available, business moves forward as guided by the Spirit.
5.4 YEARLY MEETING DOCUMENTS
5.4.1 Preparation for Yearly Meeting
The preparatory papers for Yearly Meeting are known as Documents in Advance and consist of:
- Reports from: Monthly Meetings; Continuing Committees and role holders (see 5.7.); Friends who represent the Yearly Meeting on other organisations (see 5.9 and 5.10);
- The financial statements (see 5.6.2);
- A suggested timetable for the Yearly Meeting, drafted by the Clerk;
- Other matters for consideration.
The material listed in (a), (b), and (d) must be in the hands of the Yearly Meeting Clerk at a date specified by the Clerk so that the Documents in Advance can be produced in a timely manner. They are made available to Clerks of Meetings for consideration by Friends, and in Worship Groups, Recognised Meetings and Monthly Meetings.
5.4.2 Consideration of Documents
Minutes made by Monthly or Recognised Meetings in response to Documents in Advance are sent by the Yearly Meeting Clerk to the relevant committee or role holder for their consideration and response.
The minutes together with the responses are then circulated by the Yearly Meeting Clerk as White Papers, for consideration by Meetings.
Minutes in response to these are embodied in Gold Papers, which are circulated electronically and made available at the Yearly Meeting.
The purpose of this process is to clear the Yearly Meeting agenda of matters on which a decision can be reached in advance, and to assist Friends to come better prepared for those matters that are to be considered at Yearly Meeting.
The Yearly Meeting Clerk, in consultation if desired, draws up an agenda for the business session. This is based on Meetings’ consideration of Documents in Advance and White Papers and on other minutes from Meetings and Yearly Meeting committees. Only in exceptional circumstances will the agenda include consideration of any matter which has not previously been brought before Meetings.
The Minutes of Yearly Meeting are sent to Meetings for distribution to Members and others as they see fit.
The Yearly Meeting epistle is addressed to Friends everywhere and sent to Friends all over the world from the Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand. It is based on the experience and spiritual insights of the Yearly Meeting during its sessions. It is widely distributed as a separate document, as well as with the Yearly Meeting minutes.
At the start of each Yearly Meeting a committee of 3-4 Friends is appointed to draft the epistle. Other Friends may offer suggestions to the committee.
Their draft is submitted for consideration at a plenary session and Friends are invited to consider how it reflects on the movement of the Spirit during Yearly Meeting. After reconsideration the final text is read out during the final worship session. An epistle should not try to cover all the aspects of a yearly meeting; rather it should single out a small number of notable themes, and needs to offer some response to the challenging question: “How does truth prosper among you?” It should be reasonably comprehensible to Quakers in other countries.
5.4.6 List of Meetings, Members and Attenders
5.5 DECISION-MAKING BETWEEN YEARLY MEETINGS
5.5.1 Yearly Meeting Clerk’s Letter
The Yearly Meeting Clerk’s Letter is sent to Meetings in advance of the Monthly Meeting for Worship for Business meeting. It includes items of information and matters for decision arising from Monthly Meetings, Yearly Meeting committees or from other bodies on which Meetings are invited to minute. If the minutes show that Friends have reached unity on a decision, this may be acted on as a decision of Yearly Meeting. Such decisions are recorded in the Minutes of Yearly Meeting.
5.5.2 Standing Committee
The Standing Committee of Yearly Meeting is entrusted with the general care of matters affecting the Society as a whole during the intervals between yearly meetings, and is also empowered to take certain actions by the terms of various Friends’ Trusts. It reports its proceedings annually to Yearly Meeting, and its decisions and minutes are included as part of the Minutes of Yearly Meeting.
The Standing Committee membership consists of:
- The Yearly Meeting Clerk, who is Clerk of the Committee;
- The previous Yearly Meeting Clerk, during the year after ending service;
- The incoming Yearly Meeting Clerk, during the year before service;
- The Yearly Meeting Assistant Clerk if there is one;
- The Yearly Meeting Treasurer;
- The Clerk of each Monthly Meeting;
- One other person appointed by each Monthly Meeting.
(Monthly Meetings may appoint substitutes for the two latter for any particular meeting.)
The Standing Committee meets once a year immediately before the Yearly Meeting sessions and at other times Standing Committee can be called upon by the Clerk to consider matters and make decisions using "online meeting" technology. If a meeting in person is considered necessary, the travel expenses of one member from each Monthly Meeting and of the Yearly Meeting Clerk and Treasurer may be paid from Yearly Meeting funds.
According to the nature and urgency of the business, members of the Standing Committee are free to decide whether to consult their own Monthly Meetings. They must ensure that Friends in Meetings throughout Aotearoa New Zealand are informed of the decisions taken on their behalf.
The Standing Committee has the power to summon a special meeting of the Yearly Meeting.
If for any reason the Yearly Meeting Clerk becomes unable to serve, Standing Committee appoints an acting Clerk. If appropriate it initiates the nomination process for a new Clerk.
5.6. FINANCE AND PROPERTY OF YEARLY MEETING
5.6.1 Financial procedure
The Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand prepares an annual budget for the administration of its own affairs, to pay the expenses of some Yearly Meeting Committees and other office holders, to assist Friends to attend the Yearly Meeting, to contribute to organisations with which the Yearly Meeting has associations, and for any other purpose authorised by the Yearly Meeting.
The Yearly Meeting Treasurer administers Yearly Meeting funds, keeps the accounts, and prepares financial statements for each twelve-monthly period. This is published in Documents in Advance. In addition, a consolidated performance report that incorporates Yearly Meeting, the Trust Board, Whanganui Educational Settlement Trust Board, and Quaker Peace and Service Trust is prepared annually in line with Charities Services requirements. This consolidated performance report is reviewed. These Trusts and the Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa New Zealand and Quaker Education Fund committees are deemed to be part of the Yearly Meeting entity for the purposes of the consolidated performance report, although they are separate for budget purposes.
The treasurer submits to the Yearly Meeting a draft budget of estimated income and expenditure for the coming year. The money required for the budget, apart from investment income, comes from Monthly Meetings in proportion to each Meeting’s membership. The income from Monthly Meetings, while agreed through the budget process, is in essence a voluntary donation. The draft budget is considered, amended if necessary, and then approved by Yearly Meeting.
Expenditure must not exceed the budget to any major degree, nor can new commitments be entered into, without the agreement of Yearly Meeting or Standing Committee. Money earmarked for special purposes (e.g. donations or bequests) is normally held by the Trust Board unless spent during the financial year in which it is received.
The Yearly Meeting bank account is in the name of ‘Religious Society of Friends’. Payments are authorised by any one of two or three Friends including the treasurer who have been appointed by Yearly Meeting for this purpose.
Money may also be invested in approved investments.
5.6.2 Trust Boards and Committees who administer Funds
The Religious Society of Friends Aotearoa New Zealand Trust Board was established when property in New Zealand that had been purchased in the name of London Yearly Meeting was handed over to New Zealand Friends to manage. In 1927 Meeting for Sufferings of London Yearly Meeting agreed that Friends in New Zealand should take over responsibility for the Auckland Meeting House, the Friends’ Hostel in Wellington, the Friends School in Whanganui, and Friends’ property in Nelson. Incorporation of the Trust Board took effect in 1930.
Meeting Houses and other associated properties are legally owned by the Trust Board. Meetings have the responsibility for day-to-day management of the properties.
The Board is responsible for holding a number of Yearly Meeting funds, including the Meeting House Building Fund, the Quaker Education Fund and the Testimonies Fund.
The Board offers to Yearly and Monthly Meetings an investment service for any funds that need to be held for the medium to long term.
The Trustees, who are required to be members within Yearly Meeting, are appointed by Yearly Meeting for up to 2 terms of 3 years each. Appointees are not representatives of a Monthly Meeting.
The Friends Mutual Assistance Fund Committee makes decisions in response to applications from Friends for general assistance when no local resource is available or appropriate. Monthly Meetings have the first responsibility for assisting their members and attenders but, when necessary, applications are made to the Mutual Assistance Fund through Monthly Meeting Friends responsible for Spiritual and Pastoral Care. The fund is held by Yearly Meeting and replenished from Yearly Meeting's funds.
The Quaker Education Fund (QEF) was established at Yearly Meeting 2010, Minute 20, with funds from School Trust Administration Committee and the Margaret Caverhill Bequest “for the general educational benefit of the members and attenders and their families of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in New Zealand". It was later added to with the Tessa Malcolm Bequest “to provide a supporting scholarship to assist a Young Friend who holds fast to Quaker values through university or other tertiary institution”.
The fund distributes funds to support the education of Members, Attenders and their children with the purpose of fostering spiritual growth, contributing to community life, preparing for Quaker service or social action and for general learning and development.
The Quaker Peace & Service Aotearoa New Zealand (QPSANZ) committee offers financial support to both local and overseas groups in line with Quaker testimonies. It makes local Peace Grants to support the work of grassroots groups in NZ working for peace and cooperation and offers the Loxley Award for Quakers or non-Quakers who have a major project promoting peace, justice or environmental issues (see 5.7).
The Quaker Peace and Service Trust (QPST) is responsible for the financial management of bequests and donations made specifically to Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa New Zealand (QPSANZ). As bequests are received, QPST invests funds in a sound and ethical manner in accordance with their Statement of Investment Policy and Objectives to ensure that ongoing funds are available for QPSANZ to disperse as appropriate.
The Testimonies Fund was established by Yearly Meeting in 2009 from legacies and other funds. The funds are distributed by the Committee to enable Friends to put the Quaker testimonies into action. Usually the applicants will be Friends, but requests may also be considered from groups which have at least one Quaker actively involved in the concern.
Whanganui Educational Settlement Trust Board (WEST) was formed to hold the land at 76 Virginia Road, Whanganui (formerly part of the New Zealand Friends School property) and buildings erected on the land for Yearly Meeting. The trust was incorporated on 17 December 1975 under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957. The purposes of the Trust are: to provide housing and other facilities for a community of likeminded people who hold to Quaker values, to provide educational facilities for study and learning for Quakers in Aotearoa/New Zealand and to provide facilities for conferences of an educational or religious nature. WEST is made up of representatives of Monthly Meetings together with 3 representatives from the Quaker Settlement and a Clerk.
5.6.3 Funds associated with Yearly Meeting
The John Holdsworth Endowment Fund was established by Charles J. Holdsworth and is independent of Yearly Meeting. The trustees apply both capital and income as they think best for the benefit and advancement of the Religious Society of Friends in Aotearoa New Zealand. The income is being used to make grants towards the education of Members and Attenders of the Religious Society of Friends.
There are three trustees, and replacements, when necessary, are appointed for an indefinite period by the Trustees, unless there has been a vacancy for more than six months, then by Yearly Meeting or Standing Committee.
5.7 CONTINUING COMMITTEES AND RESPONSIBILITIES HELD
In order to further the concerns and work of the Society, Yearly Meeting from time to time appoints continuing committees and other holders of responsibilities. A continuing committee may comprise Friends from only one area, or from all over Aotearoa New Zealand.
Some committees have locally appointed correspondents in
Meetings whose role is to:
- keep their Meeting informed about the work of the committee;
- promote the committee’s concerns;
- inform the committee of local developments which may affect its work.
Each continuing committee keeps in regular touch with the Yearly Meeting Clerk. It supplies the Clerk each year with a report of its activities and its accounts. These are included in Documents in Advance. Committees are responsible for estimating their funding requirements, which are approved through the YM budget process. The Yearly Meeting Treasurer prepares the budget for approval by YM in advance of each financial year.
Any public statements prepared by a continuing committee must appear over the name of that committee, except where the prior approval of the Yearly Meeting Clerk permits it to be issued in the name of the Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand.
5.7.2 Appointment Procedure
The procedure followed in making appointments to continuing committees is as follows:
- On request from Nominations Committee, the Yearly Meeting Clerk invites Monthly Meetings to suggest names for a particular appointment;
- Monthly Meetings wishing to suggest names for appointment record in a minute that they have a suggested name, with or without mentioning the person by name in the minute, and that the person be identified (together with brief information about the person and the reasons why they are suitable) in a separate letter to the Clerk of Nominations Committee. The name is put forward only after the person concerned has been consulted, and has agreed. It is also made clear to the person that putting a name forward for consideration does not necessarily mean the appointment of that person to the position.
- Nominations Committee consult together with the persons suggested and with others if necessary, and after consideration nominate a person. The Yearly Meeting Clerk is given their name and brief appropriate biographical details.
- Nominations Committee inform all people suggested by Monthly Meetings of their decision.
- Yearly Meeting Clerk includes the nomination in the Clerk's letter to Monthly Meetings (including any background material), inviting responses.
- If all Monthly Meetings agree, the Yearly Meeting Clerk announces the appointment. If not all Meetings agree, Nominations Committee must reconsider. They may ask a Monthly Meeting not in agreement to give brief reasons (in confidence to Nominations Committee) for its decision.
5.7.3 Continuing Committees and Responsibilities held
(in alphabetical order apart from Nominations Committee)
Nominations Committee considers the whole body of Friends to find suitable persons for nomination. They seek advice from Monthly Meetings, and nominate people for Yearly Meeting approval for the following appointments:
- Yearly Meeting Clerk (this appointment needs to be made a year before the term of office commences);
- Yearly Meeting Treasurer;
- replacement or renewal for a further term of retiring members of Yearly Meeting continuing committees and holders of other roles;
- replacement of any members retiring from Religious Society of Friends Aotearoa New Zealand Trust Board;
- replacement of the retiring member on the Nominations Committee itself;
- any other vacancies on any of the above;
- any other office bearer at the request of the Yearly Meeting Clerk.
The Yearly Meeting, along with its own appointments, records appointments made by Young Friends, to further the activities of their group.
Aotearoa New Zealand Friends Newsletter Committee
has responsibility for producing the Aotearoa New Zealand Friends Newsletter. This serves the widely scattered membership of the Society as an organ of news and information, and enables concerns and spiritual insights to be shared.
Yearly Meeting Archivist has the task of receiving, recording and caring for documents of permanent value relating to the nation-wide organisation and history of the Society. Records for which the committee is responsible include Minute Books and selected correspondence of Yearly Meeting continuing committees, and such other documents relating to the Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand as may be needed for future reference.
Papers in these categories have been donated to the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, where they are professionally cared for and accessible to Friends. Transfers are made every ten years. Until they are due to be handed over, current records are stored in the strong-room at Auckland Friends Centre, 115 Mt Eden Road, Auckland.
Monthly Meetings are expected to make their own arrangements for the storage and recording of historical documents relating to their particular Meetings.
The representative to Australia Yearly Meeting has the task of representing our Yearly Meeting at the holding of Australia Yearly Meeting and reporting back on their experiences.
Children and Young People’s Support Committee works to support children, young people and their families, and encourages Meetings to put them ‘at the centre’ of Friends’ considerations and activities.
The Climate Emergency Correspondent is tasked with sifting and prioritising information to do with the climate emergency for distribution to Friends, as well as representing Friends at the Church Climate Network. The Correspondent liaises with Generation Zero and other organisations working on climate change matters, particularly those that receive grants from YM.
Friends Mutual Assistance Fund Committee (5.6)
Representatives to Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) and to the Asia West Pacific Section (AWPS) maintain the link between our Yearly Meeting and FWCC and AWPS. They have the opportunity to attend meetings of FWCC and AWPS in various locations on behalf of YM.
Handbook Revision Committee ensures that the Quaker Handbook: the Handbook of Practice and Procedure of the Religious Society of Friends, Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa/New Zealand, Te Hāhi Tūhauwiri is kept up to date.
Junior Young Friends Co-ordinator is responsible for making sure an annual national gathering for JYFs happens. Meetings may request help from the JYF Coordinator in guiding and supporting their JYF activities. (5.8.2)
Oral Historians are responsible for recording interviews with Friends and processing them to make them available to the interviewees, to the Quaker collection in the Oral History Archive in the Alexander Turnbull Library, and to any other repository named by the Friend concerned. The selection of the Friends to be interviewed is made by the oral historian, who seeks advice from Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups as appropriate.
Outreach Committee assists Yearly Meeting, Monthly Meetings, Recognised Meetings and Worship Groups to disseminate information to the public about Quakers – who we are, what we do and what we stand for.
Penal Reform Committee keeps in front of Friends concerns about Penal Reform and offers a regular seminar at the Settlement.
Quaker Book Sales sells books and some subscriptions to magazines, on topics related to Quaker faith and practice. Orders from Meetings and individuals are made by email. This enables Friends in Aotearoa to purchase Quaker books that they might not otherwise be able to as some of these books are not readily available in traditional bookshops. The catalogue is on the Quaker website. Quaker Books endeavours to make a selection of books available at Quaker gatherings whenever feasible.
Quaker Education Fund Committee (5.6)
Quaker Learning and Spiritual Development Committee promotes Quaker learning and spiritual development within the Yearly Meeting, especially by supporting Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups. They plan, along with the Settlement’s seminar committee, the annual programme of seminars at the Settlement. They also have a concern for the Spiritual Nurture Programme and those travelling in the Ministry.
Quaker Lecture Committee is involved with the planning and delivery of an annual public lecture, given usually at the time of Yearly Meeting. The lecture is a significant outreach initiative. The lecture may also be delivered around the regions depending upon the availability of the lecturer. The theme of the lecture will normally reflect one or more of the Testimonies, both religious and social, which are of current importance (2.4.1 – 2.4.10).
Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa New Zealand (QPSANZ) has the following functions:
- to give practical support to and to raise funds for the social concerns of Friends in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas;
- to assist groups struggling for justice and peace in order to promote fulfilling and creative relations between all people;
- to respond to emergencies and to work for the relief of suffering everywhere;
- to uphold the Society’s peace testimony and facilitate reflections on ways in which Friends and others might give practical expression to the peace testimony;
- to support individual objections to war, promote arms control and all moves towards general and complete disarmament; to work for trust, confidence and common security between all nations;
- to have an openness to and to co-operate with other Aotearoa New Zealand groups working for peace and justice and to facilitate the closest possible co-operation with Quaker Peace and Service agencies overseas.
Work related to peace and to service may be undertaken by separate groups, and action groups may be formed for particular aspects of the work.
Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) Correspondent liaises with and keeps informed of the work that is being done by QUNO and shares this information with Friends when appropriate.
The Resource Centre and Library is housed at the Quaker Settlement in Whanganui. The Librarian’s role is to provide for Quakers in Aotearoa New Zealand a central resource of material by and about Quakers and Quakerism, especially items by or about New Zealand Quakers. They provide materials to support the Yearly Meeting Seminar programme as well as support for any research projects undertaken by or about Quakers in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Respect and Safety Committee works to raise awareness about respect and safety issues among Friends through workshops, training seminars at the Settlement for Contact Friends (6.3 q) and the provision of resources. They support Contact Friends and Pastoral Care committees in dealing with complaints. Respect and Safety within the Society of Friends: A Guide and Resource Manual for New Zealand Quakers is on the website.
The Yearly Meeting's framed photos of Quaker tapestries form an educational and outreach resource for Friends for display or at workshops or open days. The Quaker Tapestry, housed in England, consists of 77 panels which illustrate inspiring aspects of Quaker history, life and testimonies in action. Photographs of 64 of the tapestries are housed at the Settlement when not in use.
Testimonies Fund Committee (5.6)
Treaty Relationships Group (TRG)'s priorities are: identifying and disseminating information to Friends on Treaty related subjects, preparing statements and submissions for Monthly Meeting and Yearly Meeting consideration, undertaking advocacy when appropriate, assisting local Meetings with information, requests and enquiries, and exchanging information about local activities. The TRG focusses on action, advocacy and education related to constitutional change, challenging institutional racism, and monitoring the action (or lack of it) taken by the Crown in relation to the Treaty.
The Urgent Submissions writer responds to urgent requests to prepare a submission or write a letter. This can also involve scanning the Parliamentary website for pending legislation and the media for issues that are important for Quakers. In conjunction with the Yearly Meeting Clerk, the writer then decides when Quaker input would be appropriate, and helps prepare draft select committee submissions, draft letters to be sent to relevant parliamentarians or media releases, for consideration by Yearly Meeting. These submissions and letters will be considered either by Monthly Meetings or by Standing Committee.
Website Oversight Committee cares for the integrity and vitality of the website, paying attention to both inreach and outreach. It consists of representatives from continuing committees (Outreach, Quaker Learning and Spiritual Development, Website Technical Services Team); an experienced but non-technical Friend; and others from time to time. It acts as a clearing house when issues are brought to its attention and can initiate action by page owners where it sees discrepancies.
Website Technical Services Team is responsible for developing and maintaining all the technical aspects of the website. They also maintain digital services such as the email servers, provide training for those tasked with uploading information, etc and maintain the Help Desk.
Wider Quaker Fellowship Letter writer prepares and distributes a letter to an association of people of diverse backgrounds, Quaker and non-Quaker, who want a connection with the Religious Society of Friends. The letter which is sent quarterly, is also placed on the website, and includes, where appropriate, invitations to Friends' gatherings.
Yearly Meeting and Summer Gathering Co-ordinating Committee maintains the roster of Meetings due to host forthcoming Yearly Meetings and Summer Gatherings; receives and hands on records or arrangements, and advises the local arrangements group as necessary. Residential Summer Gatherings provide an opportunity for Friends and attenders, of all ages to get to know each other at a deeper level, in a relaxed atmosphere. Each is organised by a group set up for the occasion by one or more Meetings. Yearly Meeting is hosted each year by a Monthly Meeting.
5.7.4 Other Yearly Meeting appointments
Ad hoc groups Yearly Meeting from time to time sets up a working party or similar group for a specific task. Procedures for such appointments are decided at the time
Quaker Peace and Service Trust
Religious Society of Friends Aotearoa New Zealand Trust Board
Whanganui Educational Settlement Trust (WEST).
5.8 OTHER GROUPS WITHIN YEARLY MEETING
5.8.1 Young Friends (YFs) General Meeting
YFs are young people, 16 years old and over, who are members of or associated with a Meeting or feel an association with Young Friends. They have a flexible organisation which enables them to meet from time to time, not only socially but in order to look at life from a Quaker perspective. These meetings often coincide with Summer Gathering and Yearly Meeting. Young Friends organise a Young Friends camp, normally once a year.
5.8.2 Junior Young Friends (JYFs)
JYFs are usually identified as young people in Years 9, 10, and 11 (or aged 13-15 years), associated with a Meeting.
Whenever possible, an annual gathering is organised for JYFs. Yearly Meeting sponsors the gathering, but the host Meeting is responsible for its planning and supervision. The purpose is to bring together Quaker children at a time with their connection with a Meeting can become less than when they were younger and attended children’s activities. The intention of the JYF Gathering is to provide an opportunity for experiencing Quaker ways in action in a Quaker group, and get to know each other through enjoyable
shared activities. Usually some Young Friends are invited to help run the gatherings.
Note: The recommended ages for Junior Young Friends and Young Friends are under consideration at the time of publication; the online text of the Handbook will be updated if changes are agreed.
5.9 ASSOCIATION WITH FRIENDS WORLDWIDE
Friends in Aotearoa New Zealand are members of Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), through our Yearly Meeting’s affiliation with that worldwide body. FWCC has four Sections; we are part of the Asia West Pacific Section (AWPS). FWCC’s mission statement is: “Answering God’s call to universal love, FWCC brings Friends of varying traditions and cultural experiences together in worship, communications, and consultation, to express our common heritage and our Quaker message to the world.”
Yearly Meeting contributes financially to FWCC centrally and to AWPS, and appoints two representatives, who with the Yearly Meeting Clerk maintain the link between the Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand and FWCC.
Representatives normally serve for two three-year terms, the two appointments being staggered by three years.
Representatives are entitled to attend meetings of FWCC and AWPS in various locations; places are generally available for other Friends. Both FWCC and AWPS keep in touch with Friends through websites and newsletters (both electronic and paper), and other electronic links; AWPS has an online Meeting for Worship.
Friends hold general consultative status with the United Nations through FWCC, and are represented by the Quakers United Nations Office (QUNO), with offices in New York and Geneva. Yearly Meeting appoints a correspondent to QUNO. QUNO information and links are available electronically.
The Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia Yearly Meeting regularly send representatives to each other’s Yearly Meeting sessions; generally, there is also an exchange of Young Friends. Our Yearly Meeting also regularly invites to our sessions a guest from another Yearly Meeting or Friends’ body within FWCC Asia West Pacific Section. Meeting to Meeting links are encouraged.
5.10 LINKS WITH OTHER BODIES
The Yearly Meeting appoints representatives to national organisations (5.2.1).
Monthly and Recognised Meetings, and where appropriate Worship Groups, appoint representative to local branches of these organisations or other local bodies.
Those appointed by Yearly Meeting report annually on their representation, in Documents in Advance (5.4.1). They keep the Yearly Meeting Clerk informed of significant developments.
5.10.2 National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (NCPACS)
NCPACS is based at the Dunedin campus of the University of Otago, and Yearly Meeting has made regular financial contributions, which usually assist with research by postgraduate students. Yearly Meeting appoints a Friend to act as contact with the Centre and to promote mutual awareness.
5.10.3 National Church Leaders Aotearoa New Zealand
The Yearly Meeting Clerk represents us on the group called National Church Leaders Aotearoa New Zealand. This group was formed after other ecumenical initiatives such as the National Council of Churches (1941-1989) and the Conference of Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand (1989-2005) were disestablished. The group normally meets twice a year and the purpose is to provide a forum for cooperation amongst Christian churches.
5.10.4 National Dialogue for Christian Unity (NDCU)
This group was formed in 2016 and Yearly Meeting joined in 2021. The objects of the NDCU are to deepen the relationship between churches and to search for ways to act together. As a member Yearly Meeting is entitled to have up to 5 representatives at its Annual Forum.
5.10.5 Peace Movement Aotearoa (PMA)
PMA is the national networking peace organisation and is committed to peaceful resolution of conflict and social change through non-violent means.
PMA provides resources, updates and networking services on peace, disarmament, social justice and human rights topics. In addition to its core networking activities, PMA’s work is focused on two main areas: a) challenging militarism, and building peace, and disarmament. This includes research and providing resources on militarism and militarisation on a range of disarmament topics through its national coordination of six international humanitarian disarmament campaigns (nuclear weapons, military spending, killer robots, explosive weapons, cluster munitions and landmines, the World War one Centenary Peace Project, White Poppies for Peace and the White Poppies Peace Scholarships); and b) peace and human rights. This includes analysis and providing resources on peace, human rights and the Treaty of Waitangi. PMA also carries out regular reporting to several United Nations human rights bodies.