Blacksburg Friends Meeting Manual of Procedure
Organization of Blacksburg Monthly Meeting
As Blacksburg Friends Monthly Meeting grows and evolves, we recognize a need for guidelines to maintain consistency and continuity. This document is intended to supplement the Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s (BYM) Faith and Practice to provide local guidelines for our Nominating Committee and the Monthly Meeting as it determines its leadership.
Blacksburg Friends Meeting meets monthly for business, normally on the second Sunday of the month. For the purposes of doing business, the Meeting appoints several Officers, Trustees, and Clerks of Committees. The general descriptions of these positions can be found in the BYM’s Faith and Practice
For the purposes of this document, we use the following conventions:
- Member (RSF) refers to a member of the Religious Society of Friends
- Member (BFM) refers to a member of the Blacksburg Friends Monthly Meeting.
BYM’s proposed Faith and Practice (2011 draft) states:
Officers of the Meeting, Trustees, and committee clerks should be members of the Monthly Meeting. Experience has also shown that Monthly Meetings are best served when members of committees responsible for pastoral care and ministry are also members of the Monthly Meeting. These positions and committees require a high degree of understanding of the faith and practice of Friends, familiarity with the Meeting community, and the ability to maintain confidentiality in matters before the committee.
Blacksburg Monthly Meeting strives to follow this advice whenever possible.
Due to the limited size of the Monthly Meeting, we set term limits on very few positions. There are cases where no term limit is specified, but no position should be considered permanent. Officers and Trustees should be asked annually if they would like to continue to serve.
A “Living” Document
Please contact members of Ministry & Oversight committee with any concerns, questions, or requests for adjustment of these procedures.
Officers and Trustees
The Officers of the Monthly Meeting are the Clerk, Recording Clerk, Treasurer, and Recorder. Detailed descriptions and advices for these offices can be found in the Faith and Practice of BYM. Quotations below are taken from the Faith and Practice (2011 draft).
The Clerk is the servant of the Meeting for the execution of its business affairs, convening regular or specially called Meetings for Business, guiding deliberations, and carrying out the Meeting’s instructions for actions between business sessions.
In Blacksburg, the Clerk is a Member (BFM) and serves as a member of the Ministry & Oversight Committee. Additionally in October, the Clerk calls for participation in the nominating process and in November recommends the Nominating Committee Members (RSF and preferably BFM) for approval as part of the Monthly Meeting for business. The Clerk may serve for no more than two consecutive three-year terms. The Clerk of the Meeting should not serve as Clerk of any other committee. Please see Appendix A: The Clerk of the Meeting Calendar.
Friends have traditionally taken great care of records for current use as well as preservation for future generations.
The Recorder is a Member (RSF) and preferably a Member (BFM). The Recorder maintains official records and statistics of the Meeting including births, deaths, marriages, attendance, membership, and attendership. The Recorder also tracks the rotation of people on and off committees. He/she keeps a file of approved minutes from Meeting for Business and any called meetings as a record of Meeting activity for historical purposes. He/she reports to the BYM when asked for facts and figures related to Meeting. BYM’s Faith and Practice also provides advice on preservation of records.
The Recording Clerk is responsible for preparing an accurate final copy of the minutes, which become a permanent record of the Monthly Meeting.
The Recording Clerk is a Member (RSF) and preferably a Member (BFM). In Blacksburg, the Recording Clerk takes minutes at monthly Meeting for Business and presents them for correction and approval at the following Monthly Meeting for Business. Once approved, the Recording Clerk sends them to the recorder to become part of the permanent record.
The Treasurer is responsible for the custody and disbursement of Meeting funds as directed by the Monthly Meeting.
Please see Appendix B: The Treasurer
Meetings that are not incorporated should also appoint trustees to hold title and execute legal business pertaining to property and securities held by the Meeting. The Trustees are held legally responsible for the administration of Meeting property and serve as the Meeting’s legal representatives in transactions.
The Trustees are Members (BFM) and should be long-time, regular attenders. It is expected that Trustees will serve for relatively long periods of time and that one or both will serve on the Stewardship & Finance Committee.
The following are the standing committees of the Meeting and may not be laid down. Other committees may be formed and laid down from time to time, as the Meeting feels led.
Adult Education Committee
The Adult Education Committee is made up of one or more people and is tasked with facilitation and oversight of adult education opportunities with an awareness of Biblical teachings, other forms of religious experience and practice, Quaker history, and a personal sense of relationship with the Divine. Neither Meeting nor Society membership is required. I n the spirit of shared ministry, the Meeting remains responsible for the execution of Adult Education opportunities.
Buildings & Grounds Committee
The Buildings & Grounds Committee is made up of at least three people. Buildings & Grounds Committee coordinates and takes care of the physical building inside and outside as well as the maintenance of the land in our care. One person on the Buildings & Grounds Committee should serve as the keeper of the Meetinghouse Calendar and be responsible for Meetinghouse rental agreements. Neither Meeting nor Society membership is required.
Hospitality and Outreach Committee
The Hospitality & Outreach Committee is made up of at least three people. The Hospitality & Outreach Committee facilitates opportunities for interactions within the Meeting as well as for welcoming of new attenders, other members of our local community, and the wider Quaker community. Neither Meeting nor Society membership is required.
Ministry & Oversight Committee
All members of Ministry & Oversight are Members (BFM). The Ministry & Oversight Committee is made up of four to six members including the Clerk of the Meeting. Members of Ministry & Oversight are expected to serve no more than two consecutive three-year terms with one to two new members rotating onto the committee each year. The Ministry and Oversight Committee is charged with caring for the health of individual members and the Meeting as a whole. Details of Ministry & Oversight duties are provided in the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice under Nurturing Ministry and Worship and Care for Members Needs and Well Being sections.
Peace & Social Concerns Committee
The Peace & Social Concerns Committee is made up of at least three people. The Peace & Social Concerns Committee updates the Meeting about important local, national, and world events related to our collective Quaker concerns about peace and social justice. Members of this committee may choose to monitor or join with other Quaker and non-Quaker groups that are acting on these concerns and facilitate opportunities for Meeting to connect with the actions of like-minded groups. Neither Meeting nor Society membership is required.
Religious Education Committee
The Religious Education Committee is made up of at least three people. First Day School for youth meets during the last 45 minutes of Meeting for Worship. The Religious Education Committee plans and provides the formal religious experience for Meeting youth. It addition, it organizes childcare and other activities for the care and fellowship of the children in Meeting.
Neither Meeting nor Society membership is required.
The Nominating Committee is made up of three Members (RSF and preferably BFM). The Nominating Committee is responsible for ensuring that the Meeting has a full complement of Officers, Trustees, and standing Committee Clerks as well as full Ministry & Oversight and Stewardship & Finance Committees.
- The Nominating Committee will provide opportunities for Meeting participants to identify committee and leadership interests and will consider this information when making recommendations.
- When recommending members to serve on committees and in leadership positions, the Nominating Committee will be attentive to the Meeting’s need for stability, fresh perspective, and diversity of representation.
- As noted earlier, some positions within the Meeting are best held by Monthly Meeting members. If the Nominating Committee is unable to fill those positions with Members, those nominations will be noted.
- The Nominating Committee should approach each person holding a position to ascertain that the position is understood and willingly held. The Committee will also provide to each Clerk a list of people who have expressed interest in each Committee.
- The Nominating Committee should bring all recommendations to Meeting for Business in the December for approval of the Meeting. Terms of appointment follow the calendar year, beginning in January.
Stewardship & Finance Committee
Please see Appendix C: Stewardship and Finance Committee
Appendix A: The Clerk of the Meeting Calendar
|January||Stewardship and Finance brings budget for approval at Meeting for Business
Ministry and Oversight begin work on Spiritual State of the Meeting Report
Clerks forward news to BYM Interchange by third Monday
|February||Ministry and Oversight convene all Clerks meeting
Report from the Recorder at Meeting for Business
|March||Spiritual State of the Meeting Report due
Plans made for Meeting for Love and Remembrance at the Equinox
|April||Clerks forward news to BYM Interchange by third Monday|
|May||Congratulate graduating seniors from high school and those with other significant transitions|
|July||typically no Meeting for Business this month due to summer schedules|
|August||Clerks forward news to BYM Interchange by third Monday|
|September||Plans made for a celebration to welcome new members around the Equinox|
|October||Clerk of Meeting calls for Nominating Committee participants and appoints Nominating Committee
Meeting for attenders interested in membership
S & F calls for budget requests for next year
|November||Nominating Committee approved at Meeting for Business
Nominating Clerk sends out interest survey
Clerks of Committees submit budgets to Stewardship and Finance for next year
|December||Stewardship and Finance sends out Budget outline for review
New slate of Clerks and Officers approved at Meeting for Business
Appendix B: The Treasurer
(revised March 2015)
The Treasurer must be a member of Blacksburg Friends Meeting. The Treasurer is selected by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Meeting. The Treasurer serves a three-year term and can serve as long as he or she chooses, with the approval of the Meeting. The Treasurer is, by virtue of the position, a member of the Stewardship and Finance Committee.
The Treasurer is responsible for the duties listed below.
- Check the Meeting’s post office box weekly and distribute mail.
- Hold a key to the Meeting’s safe deposit box.
- Keep accurate financial records using Quicken or another accounting program approved by the Stewardship & Finance committee.
- Disburse funds as approved by the Meeting or the Meeting’s officers and committee clerks.
- The mortgages, electric bill, and water bill are paid automatically out of the Meeting’s checking account. The electric and water bills are emailed to the Meeting (email@example.com).
- Other bills can be received by mail and should be verified with the appropriate committee clerk.
- Other expenses, such as donations by the Meeting, are approved in Business Meeting. However, many miscellaneous expenses are paid by individual Friends out of pocket; there is a reimbursement form for Friends to use when requesting reimbursements that the Treasurer is responsible for having available on the bulletin board. Friends requesting reimbursements must fill out the form and provide the receipt(s) for the purchase(s).
- Out-going checks are double-signed by the Treasurer and either the Clerk of Stewardship and Finance or a Trustee.
- Process incoming funds (pledges, donations, payments, etc.).
- Most incoming funds are in the form of checks, often received by mail or given directly to the Treasurer in person. Checks made out to Blacksburg Friends Meeting are secure as they cannot be deposited into any other account.
- In cases where the security of the incoming funds cannot be assured, there are procedures in place to track funds.
- If the Treasurer is given cash, the donor lists the date, amount, and purpose of the transaction and signs a Meeting ledger.
- If the Treasurer is checking the donation box, he or she does it in the presence of another Friend and lists the date, amount, form (cash or check) on the donation box form, and both Friends sign.
- Report monthly to the Stewardship & Finance committee. Each month before Meeting for Business the Treasurer emails the checking account log for the previous month, a detailed summary of income and expenses for the previous month, and a detailed summary of income and expenses for the year to date to the Clerk of Stewardship & Finance (the latter starting each year in June). This ensures that the Clerk has a copy of the Meeting’s financial records in case of emergencies. The Treasurer also emails a summary of the previous month’s income and expenses and a summary of the income and expenses for the year to date (the latter starting each year in June) to the other members of the Stewardship & Finance committee. This ensures that the committee has access to the necessary financial information but donors’ privacy is protected.
- Report monthly to the Meeting. Each month before Meeting for Business the Treasurer prepares a report listing current bank and investment account balances. The report can contain other information as needed, such as encumbered funds or financial goals. The Treasurer emails this report in advance of Meeting for Business to the Clerk of Stewardship & Finance, the Recording Clerk, and the Clerk of the Meeting.
- Prepare tax receipts for pledges and donations. The Treasurer receives completed pledge forms each year and, every October, prepares an informal accounting of pledges and donations received. This is simply to inform Friends of their contributions to date for that year. Every January the Treasurer prepares and distributes tax receipts for all pledges and donations received the previous calendar year.
- Inform committees about their spending. Every October the Treasurer prepares a report for each committee of their spending for the year to date, to assist them in planning their budgets for the following year.
- Communicate with Baltimore Yearly Meeting about yearly apportionment, including completing the BYM Apportionment Questionnaire sent annually.
- Have sales tax exemption forms (Form ST-13A) available to Friends making purchases on behalf of the Meeting.
- Collect completed pledge forms and collate data to plan the annual budget. The Treasurer is the only person who knows these pledge amounts.
According to Baltimore Yearly Meeting, “The Meeting should provide for an annual audit of the Treasurer’s records”. Blacksburg Friends Meeting has decided that, for now, no external audit is necessary. The Clerk of Stewardship & Finance reviews the Meeting’s financial records monthly and conducts an annual internal audit of the Meeting’s accounts with the Treasurer.
The Treasurer’s Calendar:
|Weekly||Check the Meeting’s post office box and distribute the mail.|
|Monthly||send reports to the Clerk and members of the Stewardship & Finance committee; prepare a report to give at Meeting for Business.|
|January||Draft and present that calendar year’s annual budget for the Meeting to the Stewardship & Finance committee at the committee’s first January meeting.
Present the annual budget for the Meeting at January’s Meeting for Business.
Prepare and distribute tax receipts for donations from the previous calendar year
|February||Meet with the Clerk of Stewardship & Finance to conduct an internal audit of the Meeting’s accounts from the previous calendar year.|
|June||Start including summaries of income and expenses for the year to date in monthly reports to the Clerk of Stewardship & Finance and members of the Stewardship & Finance committee.|
|October||Draft the annual solicitation letter and review and approve it at October’s committee meeting; prepare and distribute spending to date reports to committee clerks; prepare and distribute contributions to date reports to Friends; pay the BYM apportionment.|
|December||Collect pledge forms and collate the data to plan the annual budget.
The Stewardship and Finance committee meeting usually held in December is moved to early January so that calendar year’s annual budget for the Meeting can be presented and discussed.
Appendix C: Stewardship and Finance Committee
(revised February 2015)
The Stewardship & Finance committee is responsible for overseeing the financial solvency and stability of the Meeting and planning for long-term capital improvements and repairs. The members of the Stewardship & Finance committee must be members of Blacksburg Friends Meeting. The committee must consist of between 4 and 5 members, including the Treasurer and one of 2 Trustees of the Meeting. The Clerk of the Stewardship & Finance committee cannot be the Treasurer of the Meeting. Members are selected by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Meeting. Committee members serve three-year terms and can normally serve a maximum of 2 consecutive terms.
The Stewardship & Finance committee is responsible for the duties listed below.
- Maintain the financial health and goals of the Meeting.
- Review the Meeting’s accounts each month.
- Conduct an examination of the Meeting’s accounts in detail if the Treasurer, Clerk of Stewardship & Finance, or both, are suspected of malfeasance.
- Arrange for an external audit of the Meeting’s accounts if deemed necessary.
- Prepare an annual budget for the Meeting at November’s committee meeting to present at December’s Meeting for Business.
- Prepare annual pledge solicitations at October’s committee meeting and distribute them among Friends in the Meeting in December.
- Raise necessary funds for the Meeting.
In addition, the Clerk of the Stewardship & Finance committee is the only person, other than the Treasurer, with full access to all details of the Meeting’s accounts. Therefore, the Clerk of the Stewardship & Finance committee is responsible for reviewing these accounts with the Treasurer in an annual internal audit every February for the previous calendar year. The Clerk of the Stewardship & Finance committee, along with the Treasurer and the 2 Trustees of the Meeting, are the only people authorized to sign checks for Meeting payments. Unless necessary, the Stewardship & Finance committee postpones its regularly scheduled meeting in December until January, at an agreed-upon time before Meeting for Business.