Personnel

Introducing Quakers: Personnel

Elders help to maintain the spiritual life of a Local Meeting and to the ensure right-ordering of Meetings for Worship. Overseers oversee the well-being of Friends in the Meeting. A Clerk is appointed, with responsibility for ‘clerking’ (chairing) the business meeting and writing its Minutes. A Registering Officer is appointed with legal responsibilities regarding Quaker weddings and burials. Trustees have legal responsibilities for Local Meetings and the Area Meeting. Within Britain Yearly Meeting, all of these roles are unpaid.

Quakers do not have ordained clergy, therefore all members of a local meeting have to take some responsibility for the smooth running of the meeting. As in many organisations, small committees are appointed to carry out specific tasks or responsibilities. For example, the Standing Nominations Committee is charged with finding and bring forward the names of Friends willing to serve on the other committees; to perform specific roles; and to act as representatives. A Library Committee looks after the Meeting’s library.

Elders are appointed, usually for three years, to help maintain the spiritual life of a Local Meeting and to the ensure right-ordering of Meetings for Worship. Overseers are appointed, also usually for three years, to oversee the well-being of Friends in the Meeting. A Clerk is appointed, with responsibility for ‘clerking’ (chairing) the business meeting and writing its Minutes; representing the Meeting at local events; and so on. An Assistant Clerk (Membership) is appointed to ensure that membership of the Meeting is adequately recorded and those records kept up-to-date. A Treasurer is appointed with financial responsibilities. A Registering Officer is appointed with legal responsibilities regarding Quaker weddings and burials. Quaker chaplains are appointed to undertake chaplaincy work in local prisons, hospitals and universities. Some appointments are made by the Local Meeting, others by the Area Meeting. Some appointments are for three years, some for one year. Within Britain Yearly Meeting, all of these roles are unpaid.

At the level of Yearly Meeting, however, there are two categories of personnel. Much work is carried out by Friends acting in a voluntary (unpaid) capacity. Clerking a central committee, Meeting for Sufferings and even the Yearly Meeting, are voluntary roles, as is representing the Area Meeting at Meeting for Sufferings. On the other hand, there are paid staff who work at Friends House (see section: The Role of Friends House) who, for example, undertake much of the central administration. A Recording Clerk (currently Paul Parker) is contractually employed to act in the role of Chief Executive, and, along with an Assistant Recording Clerk and Recording Clerk’s team, carry out executive functions for Britain Yearly Meeting.