Structures: Yearly Meeting
Index to Quaker Handbook Section 5:
- 5.1 General, YM appointments, Young Friends
- 5.2 Appointments
- 5.3 Attendance
- 5.4 Yearly Meeting documents - Documents in Advance, White Papers, Gold Papers, Minutes
- 5.5 Decisions between YMs - YM Clerk's Letter, Standing Committee, Special Meetings
- 5.6 FInance - Treasurer, budgets, reports, Trusts and Funds
- 5.7 YM Committees, YM Nominations Committee (NomsComs), Quaker Peace & Service Aotearoa New Zealand (QPSANZ)
- 5.8 Other groups within YM - Young Friends, Junior Young Friends, Friends Healing Fellowship
- 5.9 Association with World Quaker Bodies - Friends World Committee for Consultation, Wider Quaker Fellowship
- 5.10 Links with other bodies
5.1.1 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 collective gathering, Friends from all Meetings seek together, in worship and relying on God’s guidance, 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 proper.
5.2.1 Yearly Meeting Appointments
Appointments of the Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa/New Zealand include:
(a) Yearly Meeting Clerk, whose appointment runs from as soon as convenient after the yearly meeting until a similar time in the following twelve months.
(b) A Yearly Meeting Assistant Clerk may be appointed to serve throughout the year, if the Yearly Meeting Clerk so wishes (see also (d) below).
(c) Yearly Meeting treasurer, whose appointment lasts for the succeeding financial year.
(d) Those appointments made at its first session for the duration of the yearly meeting, viz:
- One or more assistant clerks;
- Arrangements for the drafting of an epistle based on the experiences of the yearly meeting. When finally accepted by the meeting, this epistle is sent, with greetings, to Yearly Meetings elsewhere.
- Minutes revision committee (if desired), to check the minutes for accuracy.
- Any other committees or appointments required to facilitate the business of that particular gathering. (The host meeting arranges in advance the necessary typing and photocopying services.)
(e) Members of continuing committees as appropriate (see 5.7).
(f) Representatives on Friends’ international organisations (see 5.9 ).
(g) Representatives on national organisations (see 5.10).
5.2.2 Young Friends
As appropriate, the Yearly Meeting confirms 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. 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. Overseers (or the equivalent) administer and allocate such grants. Friends should encourage one another to accept the responsibility of taking part in the Yearly Meeting.
5.3.2. Overseas Friends
Members of the Religious Society of Friends not belonging to the Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand 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.
5.3.3 Attenders at Yearly Meeting
Attenders 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. Vocal participation by attenders is at the discretion of the Clerk. Confidential discussions may be restricted to members of the Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Each Friend present at Yearly Meeting should exercise a watchful self-discipline in the matter of speaking at business sessions. If a lapse should occur, Elders and others should be ready to help the Clerk and the meeting in offering guidance to the person concerned, who should accept it with good grace as part of a learning process. The aim is that, in the time available, business should move forward as guided by the Spirit.
5.4 Yearly Meeting Documents
5.4.1 Documents in Advance
The preparatory papers for Yearly Meeting are known as Documents in Advance and consist of:
(a) Reports from:
- Monthly Meetings,
- Continuing Committees (see 5.7.)
- Friends who represent the Yearly Meeting on other organisations (see 5.9 and 5.10)
(b) The financial statement (see 5.6.2)
(c) A suggested programme for the Yearly Meeting, drafted by the Clerk:
(d) 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 theDocuments in Advance can he printed. They are made available to clerks of local Meetings for consideration by Friends and in Monthly and Recognised Meeting and in Worship Groups.
5.4.2 White Pages
Minutes made by Meetings in response to Documents in Advance are 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 made available at the Yearly Meeting. The purpose of this process is to clear the Yearly Meeting agenda or matters on which a decision can be reached in advance, and to assist Friends to come better prepared for those matters which are to be discussed at Yearly Meeting.
5.4.3 Yearly Meeting Agenda
The Yearly Meeting clerk, in consultation, if desired, with assistant clerks and the host meeting, 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 local meetings.
5.4.4 Yearly Meeting Minutes
The Minutes of Yearly Meeting are printed and sent to Meetings for distribution to members and others as they see fit.
5.4.5 Meetings, Members & Attenders list
The List of Members and Attenders of all Monthly and Recognised Meetings, and details of meetings for worship in Aotearoa New Zealand, is revised and reprinted, if possible at intervals of not more than two years, and is sent to Meetings for distribution to members and others as they see fit.
5.4.6 Yearly Meeting Epistles
The epistle is essentially an annual letter of greetings addressed to Friends everywhere, and sent to Yearly Meetings all over the world from the YM 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 this committee. Their draft is submitted for approval at the final day's plenary session, and read out during the final worship session. Discussion of the draft epistle by the plenary session should normally restrict itself to surface details (e.g. errors of fact). Though signed by the Clerk, it is not a normal minute; and Friends understand that it is not subject to the same amount of discussion.
Past epistles from here and elsewhere show considerable variations (for example in length and tone). An epistle may have some features of a report, but should not try to cover all aspects of a Yearly Meeting; rather it should single out a small number of notable themes, and may offer some response to the challenging question: "How does Truth prosper among you?"
It may also have some features of ministry, but should not be too personal in tone. It should try to make reasonable sense to Quakers in other countries.
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 business meeting. It includes items of information, and matters for decision 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 actions are recorded in an appendix to 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 an appendix to theMinutes of Yearly Meeting.
5.5.3 The Standing Committee members
The Standing Committee consists of:
- The Yearly Meeting Clerk, who acts as clerk of the Committee;
- The previous Yearly Meeting Clerk, during the year after ending service;
- The Yearly Meeting Assistant Clerk if there is one:;
- The Yearly Meeting Treasurer;
- The Clerk of each Monthly Meeting;
- One other member appointed by each Monthly Meeting.
(Monthly Meetings may appoint substitutes for the two latter for any particular meeting.)
5.5.4 Meetings of Standing Commitee
The Standing Committee meets once a year immediately before the Yearly Meeting and at other times if called upon to do so by the Clerk or by any Monthly Meeting, in which cases 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. During the year the Clerk consults with members by other means, such as telephone conference call, as necessary, and acts on the replies received.
5.5.5 Communicating decisions
According to the nature and urgency of the business, members of the Standing Committee are free to decide whether or not 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.
5.5.6 Special meeting of Yearly Meeting
The Standing Committee has the power to summon a special meeting of the Yearly Meeting.
The Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand budgets to administer its own affairs, to pay the expenses of Yearly Meeting Committees, 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.
5.6.2 Yearly Meeting Treasurer
The Yearly Meeting Treasurer administers its funds, keeps its accounts, and prepares a financial statement for each twelve-monthly period. This is audited, and published in Documents in Advance, if necessary in a pre-audit form.
5.6.3 Budget approval
The treasurer submits to the Yearly Meeting for approval, and if necessary amendment, a budget of estimated income and expenditure for the current year. The money required for the approved budget, apart from investment income, comes from Monthly Meetings in proportion to each Meeting’s membership, counting only members 16 years of age and over.
Expenditure must not exceed the budget in any major degree, nor can new commitments be entered into without the approval of standing Committee or Monthly Meetings. Money earmarked for special purposes, either by individual donors or by the Yearly Meeting, is kept in the Yearly Meeting bank account, but accounted for separately.
5.6.5 Bank Account
The Yearly Meeting bank account is in the name of ‘Society of Friends New Zealand Yearly Meeting’ account. Cheques are signed either by any one of two or three Friends including the treasurer who have been appointed by Yearly Meeting for this purpose, or as otherwise provided by Yearly Meeting from time to time.
Money may also be invested in trustee securities.
5.6.7 Trust Board
The Society of Friends New Zealand Trust Board, incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1955, is the body legally established to facilitate the ownership of property by Yearly Meeting, its subsidiary Meetings, committees and trusts. Details of the placement of responsibilities for properties appear in the appropriate Trust deeds, and also in the rules governing the Board, which may be amended by Yearly Meeting. The Board has a cyclical change of membership.
Note: Members wishing to peruse the Deeds of Trust and/or rules of the bodies referred to in 5.6.7 to 5.6.13 can view these on-line under the relevant Committee pages or can contact the Yearly Meeting Clerk or Treasurer.
5.6.8 The Meeting House Building Fund
The Meeting House Fund is composed of legacies and donations from Meetings and individuals, is administered by the Trust Board. Yearly Meeting (or, between yearly meetings, Standing Committee) may make grants and loans from the fund for the acquisition, improvement or equipping of meeting houses.
5.6.9 The Society of Friends Whanganui Education Settlement Trust Board (WEST)
A Trust was formed to hold the land at 76 Virginia Road, Wanganui (formerly part of the New Zealand Friends School property), and buildings erected on the land which are the property of Yearly Meeting. The trust was incorporated on 17 December 1975 under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957. On behalf of the Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Board issues licences for residential occupation, attends to the transfer of licences in changes of occupancy, and supervises property maintenance at the Settlement. Full details of the powers and rules of the Board are contained in the Trust Deed. The rules may be amended by Yearly Meeting. The Board has a cyclical change of membership.
5.6.10 The Administration Committee of New Zealand Friends School Trust (STAC)
STAC administers the funds from the sale of New Zealand Friends School property. It disburses the income (or capital) with the approval of Standing Committee or Monthly Meetings for purposes in connection with the Society of Friends, the first priority being education. Appointment to the Committee is cyclical.
5.6.11 The John Holdsworth Endowment Fund
This fund was established by Charles J. Holdsworth with a capital of $7806, and has since been added to by members of his family. The income was primarily intended for bursaries at New Zealand Friends School. Since the school closed the trustees have been authorised to apply both capital and income as they think best for the benefit and advancement of the Religious Society of Friends in Aotearoa New Zealand, or to transfer it to Britain Yearly Meeting. 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 Yearly Meeting or by Standing Committee on the nomination of the continuing trustees.
5.6.12 The New Zealand Friends Mutual Assistance Fund
The MAF was established with a gift of $2000 from V. Arthur Sharp. Grants from it can be made to members or attenders of the Society of Friends in Aotearoa New Zealand, or their families, who need help; towards the building, extension or alteration of meeting houses in Aotearoa New Zealand; or, failing these, for the benefit and advancement of the Society of Friends. The three trustees, appointed by Yearly Meeting for an indefinite period, are asked to make adequate grants speedily and in confidence, and to report annually on the state of the fund.
5.6.13 Quaker Investments Ethical Trust (QIET) [This Trust is now disbanded.]
(a) This Trust was established by Yearly Meeting in 1988-99 to provide a means by which Friends and others could make investments in an ethical manner at a low or nil interest rate. The arrangements for the Oversight Group were approved by Yearly Meeting 1990.
The Trustees were appointed by Yearly Meeting. Trustees could be removed from office, and replacement appointments made, by Yearly Meeting or by Standing Committee. The rules by which the Trust was governed can be found in its constitution and rules. The rules may be amended by Yearly Meeting.
(b) QIET Oversight Group
Yearly Meeting appointed four Friends to form an Oversight Group, whose function is to advise and guide the Trustees in ensuring that the activities of the Trust reflect Quaker concerns.
The appointments were made on the recommendation of Nominations Committee as in section 5.7.5. Members of the Oversight Group serve for a period of four years, one member retiring each year.
The Group received a copy of the auditor’s report to the Trust, together with an annual report from the Trustees, and a half-yearly report and financial statement from the Trustees. The Clerk of the Oversight Group receives minutes of the meetings of the Trust. The Trustees may consult the Oversight Group at any time about any of their activities. The Oversight Group may bring to the attention of the Trustees any matter which it considers requires attention. A report from the Trustees is included in Documents in Advance. If any Monthly Meeting wishes to raise matters in the report, these will normally be considered first by the Oversight Group. The Oversight Group may ask Yearly Meeting to consider any aspects of the activities of the Trust, whether raised by itself or by a Monthly Meeting, which appear to need yearly Meeting intervention. Normally Yearly Meeting does not consider the detailed working of the Trust. The Oversight Group normally conducts its business by correspondence.
(c) Annual General Meeting of the Trust
The oversight Group, Standing Committee, and any Meeting or Friend may, by giving 14 days’ notice, place an item on the agenda of the Trust’s AGM.
(d) Losses Yearly Meeting is not responsible for any losses incurred by the Trust.
Grants to individuals from funds are usually made after consultation with local overseers.
5.7 YEARLY MEETING CONTINUING COMMITTEES
5.7.1 Continuing Committees
In order to further the concerns and work of the Society, Yearly Meeting from time to time appoints continuing committees.
A continuing committee may comprise Friends from only one area, rather than from all over Aotearoa New Zealand.
- Yearly Meeting confirms their appointment annually
- Members take office as soon as convenient after the Yearly Meeting
- Numbers on a committee may vary, unless specified below.
Locally appointed correspondents in the other Meetings:
- 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
- its audited accounts
- a suggested budget for the year to come.
These are included in Documents in Advance.
Any 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.
5.7.5 Yearly Meeting Nominations Committee
The Nominations Committee considers the whole body of Friends to find suitable persons for nomination. They seek advice from Monthly Meetings, and recommend to the Yearly Meeting nominations for the following appointments:
(a) Yearly Meeting Clerk;
(b) Yearly Meeting Treasurer;
(c) two representatives, on a six-yearly basis, for the Friends World Committee for Consultation;
(d) replacement of one retiring member of the School Trust Administration Committee;
(e) replacement of any members retiring from Society of Friends NZ Trust Board;
(f) replacement of the retiring member, and any other vacancies, on the Nominations Committee itself;
(g) any other office bearer at the request of the Yearly Meeting Clerk.
The Committee should bring forward the name of the next Yearly Meeting Clerk in sufficient time to make the appointment a year before the term of office commences. The Committee itself consists of four members, appointed for a term of not more than four consecutive years, with at least one member retiring each year.
a) On request from Nominations Committee, the Yearly Meeting Clerk invites Monthly Meetings to suggest names for a particular appointment.
b) Monthly Meetings wishing to suggest names for appointment 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 he/she is suitable) in a separate letter to the Clerk of Nominations Committee. No name should be put forward unless the person concerned has been consulted, and has agreed. It should also be made clear to the person that putting a name forward for consideration does not necessarily mean the appointment of that person to the position.
c) Nominations Committee consult together with the persons suggested and with others if necessary, and after consideration nominate a person, informing the Yearly Meeting Clerk giving their reasons for the nomination.
d) Nominations Committee inform all people suggested by Monthly Meetings of their decision.
e) Yearly Meeting Clerk includes the nomination in the Clerk's letter to Monthly Meetings (including any background material), inviting responses.
f) If all Monthly Meetings agree, the Yearly Meeting Clerk announces the appointment.
If not all 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.
Nominations Committee will also be mindful of the procedure set out in Quaker Faith and Practice (Britain YM) 3.2.4.
5.7.6 Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa New Zealand
The functions of Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa New Zealand are to:
(a) give practical support to and to raise funds for the social concerns of Friends in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas;
(b) assist groups struggling for justice and peace in order to promote fulfilling and creative relations between all people;
(c) respond to emergencies and to work for the relief of material and spiritual suffering everywhere;
(d) uphold the Society’s peace testimony and facilitate reflections on ways in which Friends and others might give practical expression to the peace testimony;
(e) 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;
(f) 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.
5.7.7 Historical Documents Committee
The Historical Documents Committee 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 relating to the period 1876-1990 have been donated to the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, where they are professionally cared for and accessible to Friends. There are to be further transfers every ten years. In the meantime, until they are due to be handed over, current records are stored in the strong-room at Friends Centre, 115 Mt Eden Road, Auckland.
Monthly and Recognised Meetings are expected to make their own arrangements for the storage and recording of historical documents relating to their particular Meetings.
5.7.8 Extension Committee
seeks to encourage and deepen the spiritual life and work of Friends in Aotearoa New Zealand, and to make the Society known to those not in membership. It facilitates communication and growth within the Society and beyond it, by means of public advertisement, individual and group study, inter-visitation and travel in the ministry, as well as the acquisition, publication and distribution of Quaker material, printed and recorded. It has a particular concern for the needs of young people, enquirers and isolated Friends. (See also 5.9.2 Wider Quaker Fellowship.)
5.7.9 Treaty Issues Group
A ‘Bicultural Monitoring Group’ was established by YM 1992 to work with other bodies in monitoring Government policy as it relates to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It has sought to have some input into official attempts to address past injustices. Since l997 it has been known as the Treaty Issues Group.
5.7.10 Public Questions Committee
From time to time, Yearly Meeting will appoint a Public Questions Committee to consider aspects of social justice and order brought to it by the Yearly Meeting, Monthly Meetings, its own members or other bodies. The committee brings to the notice of the Society any items of present and proposed legislation upon which Friends’ testimonies clearly have a bearing.
5.7.11 Summer Gathering Co-ordinating Committee
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 local group set up for the occasion by one or more Meetings. The Co-ordinating Committee holds the records of what has been done in the past, co-ordinates plans for the future, and submits a report and audited accounts of each gathering to Yearly Meeting.
5.7.12 Yearly Meeting Arrangements Advisory Group
This group maintains the roster of Meetings due to host forthcoming Yearly Meetings and combined Yearly Meetings and Summer Gatherings; receives and hands on records or arrangements, and advises the local arrangements group as necessary. This work may be combined with that of the Summer Gathering Co-ordinating Committee.
5.7.13 The Newsletter Committee
This group has responsibility for producing the 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.
5.8 OTHER GROUPS WITHIN YEARLY MEETING
5.8.1 Young Friends
Young people, 16 years old and over, who are members of or associated with a Meeting. 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.
5.8.2 Junior Young Friends
Young people in Forms 3, 4 and 5 (or aged 13-15 years), associated with a Meeting. Whenever possible, an annual gathering is organised for them. Yearly Meeting sponsors the gathering, but the host Meeting is responsible for its planning and supervision.
5.8.3 Friends Healing Fellowship
The Healing Fellowship understands healing in its widest sense: personal health, human relations, concern for humanity, peace and international harmony. Members work on an interpersonal basis, through prayer and other practices which promote spiritual development. The Fellowship appoints a convenor, whose name is recorded by Yearly Meeting.
5.8.4 Friends for Gay and Lesbian Concerns (FGLC)
The Friends for Gay and Lesbian Concerns group exists to give support to Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Friends and attenders. The differences resulting from sexual identity are often not recognised by society at large or, at times, by Quaker Meetings for Worship.
As well as having a presence at Quaker Gatherings, FGLC produces a Quarterly Newsletter which presents both national and international news together with any other relevant issues. It is sent to all members of the group, to other interested Friends and attenders, and to all Meetings and Worship Groups throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand. Contact can be made through the Newsletter or the convener of FGLC.
(See also the Statement of Affirmation & Reconciliation in the Appendix)
5.9 ASSOCIATION WITH WORLD QUAKER BODIES
5.9.1 Friends World Committee for Consultation
The FWCC is made up of Friends throughout the world. The Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa / New Zealand appoints two Friends to be our representatives on the Committee. Appointments are made for six years, the two appointments being staggered by three years (See 5.7.5 )
Representatives are eligible to attend triennial meetings which are held in different areas of the world. The representatives and YM Clerk maintain the link between Aotearoa / New Zealand Friends and FWCC. For FWCC purposes, the world is divided into sections. The Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa / New Zealand belongs to the Asia-West Pacific Section. Section gatherings are currently held between and at world triennial meetings, and we are represented at these gatherings either by the FWCC representatives or by other Friends.
The Section secretary distributes a newsletter to maintain contact between Yearly Meetings and other groups.
The Quaker Offices at the United Nations (QUNO) in New York and Geneva are sponsored by FWCC, and our Yearly Meeting appoints a correspondent to these offices.
5.9.2 Wider Quaker Fellowship (associated with a programme of FWCC Section of the Americas).
Wider Quaker Fellowship enables those of other religious affiliations, or of none, as well as those remote from any place of a Friends meeting, to have some association with the Religious Society of Friends. It does not require membership of the Society, but mainly through correspondence makes possible participation in a spiritual movement which hopes to be non-sectarian and universal. Yearly Meeting appoints to the Extension Committee one Friend to be the Wider Quaker Fellowship correspondent (see 5.2.1), and subsidises the cost of administration. Most of the expenses are usually met by voluntary contributions from participants. Intending members of the Fellowship apply by letter to the correspondent, and then receive whatever literature is distributed, and, where appropriate, invitations to Friends' gatherings.
5.10 LINKS WITH OTHER BODIES
The Yearly Meeting appoints representatives to national organisations (see 5.2.1 ).
Monthly and Recognised Meetings, and where appropriate Worship Groups, appoint representatives to local branches of these organisations. Those appointed by Yearly Meeting report annually on their representation, with an estimate of the expected financial commitment for the following year, in Documents in Advance (see 5.4.1 ). They keep the Yearly Meeting Clerk informed of significant developments.
5.10.2 The Conference of Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand
An ecumenical body inaugurated in 1987 in succession to the National Council of Churches, of which the Society of Friends was a foundation member in 1941. The Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa / New Zealand is a foundation member of CCANZ, and is entitled to have up to 6 representatives at its Annual Forum. If no Friend is appointed by the Forum to the CCANZ Executive, Yearly Meeting is entitled to appoint an Executive member, for whose attendance costs Yearly Meeting is responsible.
5.10.3 The Churches Education Commission (in partnership with CCANZ)
This commission directs the already-established patterns of Christian teachings in the state school system, and seeks new ways to widen Christian education in school and community. Yearly Meeting appoints one representative.
5.10.4 Church Women United
An ecumenical body with which Friends have been involved since its inception. Through the World Day of Prayer and the Fellowship of the Least Coin, Church Women United supports women here and overseas, particularly disenfranchised women. Friends are entitled to be represented on national and local committees.
5.10.5 Christian Conference of Asia
The Yearly Meeting of Aotearoa New Zealand was accepted into membership in 1981. The Conference organises a wide variety of education programmes each year, designed to bring together Christians from the cultural diversity of Asia, Australia and Aotearoa / New Zealand. It also publishes journals. Yearly Meeting appoints a correspondent.
5.10.6 The Alternatives to Violence Project Aotearoa (AVPA)
AVPA offers workshops to help people discover in themselves creative alternatives to violent behaviour. Workshops are held in the community and in Penal institutions. The Project, which began within New York Yearly Meeting, was launched by Friends in Aotearoa New Zealand in 1992. While AVP Aotearoa is formally independent of the Society, Friends have a continuing involvement in national and local committees.
5.10.7 Public Questions/ Agency on Social Issues
"Publishing the truth" and "speaking truth to power" are part of Quaker tradition. In the past we have had our own Public Questions Committee (see 5.7.10). Then our Yearly Meeting gained observer status on the Joint Methodist-Presbyterian Public Questions Committee. And since 1999, we have had full membership.
- This national committee is the ongoing voice of Methodists, Presbyterians, Associated Churches of Christ and the Religious Society of Friends on current issues of concern.
- In addition, it liaises closely with similar groups, such as the Conference of Churches (CCANZ), the Catholic Justice, Peace & Development Commission, the Anglican Social Transformation Council, and the Baptist Public Questions Committee. Based in Wellington, it keeps a library and many files on issues, and has a part-time paid executive secretary
- Although working with limited resources, it believes that even minimal presence is better than isolation, and it would rather speak out promptly while an issue is topical than wait for perfection of research, consultation, and wording.
- In 2001 it was due to be renamed "The Churches' Agency on Social Issues".