This page introduces the Simpler Meetings Project and explains how your meeting can benefit.

Introducing ideas to simplify meetings

The Simpler Meetings project aims to find ways to reduce the burden on key role holders. This can release time and energy for Quaker witness in the world, spiritual nurture, outreach and building our Quaker communities. While the main focus is on area meetings - clerks, treasurers and trustees - many ideas apply to local meetings, especially small meetings.

From discussions with Quakers across Britain we gathered a wide range of ideas that meetings can use to run more simply. There are many possibilities to chose from. Meetings have much more permission to do things differently than people sometimes think.

On each topic there is a short video and a document to download. It is usually good to cover the fundamentals and role-holder topics first, and then move on to ones of particular interest. Later there is a section on how you can explore ideas with your meeting. The links to videos on YouTube take you to YouTube's own site

If you want all the ideas together:

Ways you can simplify

    Start with Fundamentals & Principles


    Area meetings

    Area meeting trustees


    Small local meetings

    Grouping meetings differently

    Local meetings changing

    Simpler property management

    Meeting houses - alternatives

    Areas working together and structural changes

    Paying people for some tasks

    Using digital

    A poem about simpler meetings

    How can I explore simplifying?

    You can:

    • watch the videos and read the documents above, and discuss them with a group of role-holders,
    • have a session for your area or local meeting using some of the videos or with a speaker. You could join with neighbouring area meetings or other local meetings to consider questions together. Jonathan Carmichael can visit a few area meetings each year, ideally several areas together, and give ideas for running a session yourselves.
    • come to the Simpler Meetings sessions in the Patterns & Examples days 2020: Saturday 2 May in Lampeter, Saturday 30 May in Norwich, Saturday 27 June in Lancaster: Details of Patterns and Examples Days
    • join a series of online meetings being planned for 2020 - email to be sent details once they are confirmed.
    • share your ideas with the project: email Jonathan Carmichael at
    • join an email group to discuss simpler meetings and hear updates: email We will set up an email group if enough people want to join.
    • have a conversation with Jonathan Carmichael to help you think through how you could approach the topics in your area or local meeting,

    If your area meeting or trustees are thinking about a big organisational change please contact Jonathan Carmichael. Find out how he can help you. He can also share your ideas and experience with other meetings.

    Other aspects of the project

    The project will find and develop model documents for area meetings, to avoid reinventing the wheel. You can find the current model policies via the Area meeting trustees page.

    The project is also working with Britain Yearly Meeting staff and others to simplify the support offered to role-holders, linked with the new Support for Meetings Strategy being developed by Britain Yearly Meeting and Woodbrooke.

    The Simpler Meetings Project runs for three years until June 2021. It is funded by legacies. There is one worker, Jonathan Carmichael, plus a small budget for pieces of consultancy work.

    Contact us

    Jonathan Carmichael
    Simpler Meetings Project Manager
    0207 663 1066