For Quakers, “concern" has a very particular meaning. It is a special spiritual calling to carry out a service.
Minutes are usually better dealt with at Meeting for Sufferings when concerns have first been tested thoroughly at the area meeting.
Who can send a minute?
These bodies may communicate formally with Meeting for Sufferings by sending it a minute:
- area meetings
- General Meeting for Scotland
- the Meeting of Friends in Wales
- Six Weeks Meeting
- Young Friends General Meeting
- Britain Yearly Meeting Trustees
- the standing committees appointed by Yearly Meeting or Meeting for Sufferings.
Other groups are welcome to contact the Meeting for Sufferings clerks informally.
What should minutes contain?
The contents listed below should either be included in the minute or attached alongside it. Some parts may be able to be provided easily. Others may take time to put together – for example, for Friends to gather new information, and listen to leadings. This guidance draws on Quaker faith & practice (offsite link), especially sections 4.19, 8.11-13 and 13.09-18.
Explanation of the concern
It is helpful to know how the concern has been tested:
- What experiences have led to this concern and how is it being addressed locally?
- What commitment has the Meeting made?
- Has a central or standing committee, or Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) staff been consulted?
Please attach any supporting documents or minutes.
Supporting 'Our faith in the future'
Please explain how the concern will help to work towards Meeting for Sufferings' vision, Our faith in the future.
Linking concerns to faith
What is the faith basis of the concern? It is important to explain this fully.
Minutes should also explain what is distinctively Quaker about the concern, and about the way we might be called to act. Please test whether and why we might be called to act alone, or whether it would be better to join with other groups taking similar action.
What is the intention?
Please set out the purpose of sending the minute - for example:
- to inform Meeting for Sufferings and Quakers throughout Britain about a locally-held concern
- to test an emerging concern
- to lead to action – if so, what action and who might act?
When will Meeting for Sufferings respond?
It helps if minutes reach the Meeting for Sufferings Arrangements Group by the dates indicated below. We cannot guarantee that minutes received later than this will be included on the agenda of the relevant meeting.
If it is important that the item reaches Meeting for Sufferings speedily, please tell us and explain why.
- 6 July – minutes by Friday 17 May
- 4–6 October (residential - Woodbrooke) – minutes by Friday 9 August
- 7 December (with the Young People's Participation Day) – minutes by Friday 18 October
- 1 February
- 4 April
- 6 June
- 2–4 October (residential - Woodbrooke)
- 5 December (with the Young People's Participation Day)
- 6 February
- 10 April