Eldership and oversight advice for Quakers during the coronavirus outbreak 2020
Last updated 31 March 2020
Quaker Life and Woodbrooke have been working on guidance for Quakers during the coronavirus outbreak. It is to help communities continue worshipping and caring for each other. Bits of the advice are available as a Word document to be amended as needed. It can all be downloaded and stored locally or printed.
- Download: 'Tips for eldership and oversight' as PDF
- Download: 'Ways of organising pastoral care' as (Word)
The advice will be updated as required so we suggest checking back here each week to check if any of the guidance has changed.
We are also trying to make available as many books and other resources that meetings might need. We have made some of the volumes of the Eldership and oversight handbook series as PDF's (see below). And other books can be purchased as e-books from the Quaker online bookshop.
If you wish to ask for support or would like to get in touch to share something that your community is doing please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Engaging with families
Recording Clerk, Paul Parker introduces our approach to engaging with families and building all age community. This video was shown at the two conference days for elders and overseers and other interested Friends last year and has been widely requested. It speaks of the importance of making all welcome and the meetings being places of spiritual nurture and growth for all.
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With a tender hand: a resource book for eldership and oversight
This comprehensive publication supports new and existing elders and overseers, drawing on the experience of many different meetings across Britain.
With a tender hand is available as an e-book from the Quaker Centre Bookshop at Friends House, London. Also accessible on this website is a range of support material that complements the publication.
Eldership and oversight handbook series
This series of handbooks deals with various issues concerning meetings, and comprises:
- Patterns of Eldership and Oversight
- Funerals and Memorial Meetings (PDF)
- Spiritual Reviews (PDF)
- Conflict in Meetings (PDF)
- Quality and Depth of Worship and Ministry (PDF)
- Committed Relationships
- Pastoral Care of Children and Young People
- Moving into Membership
- This Is Who I Am: Listening with Older Friends
We have made some of these books available for free. We are working on making them all available in due course.
Free information, advice and support leaflets are available on a wide variety of subjects that are relevant to elders and overseers. Leaflets are available from the Quaker Centre at Friends House, email@example.com, 020 7663 1030. Large print versions are available from our publications team at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7663 1162.
- All Are Welcome (PDF)
- Being Quaker, doing Quaker (PDF)
- Boundaries game – introduction and how to play (PDF)
- Boundaries game – cards (PDF)
- Clearness (PDF)
- Confidentiality 2018 (PDF)
- Maintaining boundaries (PDF)
- Maintaining safe communities (PDF)
- Meeting for Listening DRAFT 2019 (PDF)
- Membership: principles and processes (PDF)
- Nominations: principles and testimonies (PDF)
- Quakers are inclusive workshop guide 2019 (Word)
- Telephone and videoconferencing (PDF)
- Threshing meetings (PDF)
Dying, death and end of life resources
Mental health in meetings resources
We have lots of other resources for meetings. Follow the link below to the resources section of the website where these are available to download.
Living eldership practical course
This is a seven-session programme designed for elders or anyone else interested in enriching the spiritual life of their meeting. Living Eldership and all course materials can be downloaded free of charge. Printed copies can be purchased from the Quaker Centre Bookshop at Friends House.
Ministry and outreach staff team
The ministry and outreach staff team at Friends House can assist with general and specific enquiries about eldership and oversight. You can ask for help with worrying, long-standing or seemingly intractable meeting problems and gain advice on creating a meeting community where all are welcome.
Quaker Life Network
The Quaker Life Network supports eldership and oversight in a variety of ways. A request might be made for a bespoke workshop or event. It is helpful to have a conversation about what is needed before filling in a request form for a Quaker Life Network workshop (offsite link).
Conflict in Quaker meetings
There is a cluster of Friends within the Network that support Quaker meetings that are experiencing challenges of conflict within the community. It explores these themes and shares experiences and practice to work with meetings to help resolve issues.
Quaker Life works with Woodbrooke (offsite link) to develop and deliver support for role holders on handling conflict in Quaker meetings.
Living with Conflict
Living with Conflict (offsite link) is an independent project and offers online resources and advice on living with conflict in one's own life and communities. Working with Quaker Life and Woodbrooke it has been part of a consultation looking at how Quaker meetings might be better equipped to handle conflict effectively.
Training and events
Quaker Life and Woodbrooke in partnership offers training on eldership and oversight. Weekend and midweek training courses take place at Woodbrooke and other venues. We are now offering Patterns and examples gatherings for people serving in Quaker roles. Three of these events will be offered annually in locations across Britain.
Quaker Life holds an event for elders and overseers each year at Yearly Meeting. It is a chance for elders and overseers to come together and learn from each other. It is available to all Friends whether or not serving as elders or overseers. More information about this is available in the Yearly Meeting events listing.
Young adult Quakers
We are currently developing the young adult Quakers pages and they should be available in early March 2020. Once published visit www.quaker.org.uk/youngadults.
Safeguarding and oversight
Safeguarding is the term to describe protecting children, young people and vulnerable adults from abuse. When you are working with children, young people and adults at risk in a Quaker setting you will need to consider safeguarding and ensure you have a policy and procedures. It is important that those responsible are aware of your policy and procedures. They also need to be clear about what to do to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place and what to do in the event of a concern.
Area meeting trustees are responsible for safeguarding in their local meetings and at area meeting events. It is good practice to have a lead trustee for safeguarding (otherwise this falls to the clerk of trustees) and an annual report to trustees about safeguarding. Each area meeting appoints a safeguarding coordinator, and many have a deputy.
In practice Friends with responsibility for oversight are often a first point of call for enquiries about safeguarding from Friends as they hold responsibility for the pastoral care of individuals. Area meeting oversight groups should be aware of their meeting's safeguarding coordinator as this person will be the first point of contact if a disclosure is made. Read more about the role of the safeguarding coordinator to help understand how you can work with them.
On our main Safeguarding page you will find links to the other safeguarding pages on our website, an explanation of how Quakers organise safeguarding, and a range of people to contact. The page I have a concern about abuse explains who you can talk to in a variety of Quaker situations, as well as links to external organisations.
Header image © Zélie Gross 2014