Faith & Practice Committee
Job description approved by NPYM Steering Committee, January 2009; changes approved by Coordinating Committee, October 2016, to take effect after Annual Session 2017.
APPOINTED BY: NPYM at Annual Session
NOMINATED BY: NPYM Nominating Committee
MEMBERS: The size of the Committee varies according to the work being done. When a substantial revision to Faith and Practice is in progress (“revision years”), the committee has six members, including a Clerk. During other years (“maintenance years”) the committee has three members (again including a Clerk), one from each Quarterly Meeting.
The Committee expresses and represents the diversity of NPYM in geography, spiritual expression, and size of meeting.
The Clerk of the Committee or a designated member is a member of the Coordinating Committee.
NEEDS: Committee members should be familiar with Friends’ practices and with the thought and spiritual life of North Pacific Yearly Meeting.
TERM BEGINS: October 1
TERM LENGTH: Three-year overlapping terms which are renewable
REPORTS TO: Annual Session and Coordinating Committee
WORKS PRIMARILY WITH: Coordinating Committee and Monthly Meeting Clerks
DEFINITION: The Committee is responsible for the development and revision of NPYM’s book of discipline, known as Faith and Practice. The Yearly Meeting does not conceive of Faith and Practice as a finished product and final word. Rather, Faith and Practice is an evolving document, representing the growing experience of North Pacific Yearly Meeting Friends as we seek to know and follow the Inner Light.
The Faith & Practice Committee stays alert to changes in practice occurring in local groups throughout NPYM. The Committee collects suggestions for changes in Faith and Practice. Changes may arise from NPYM action (for example, creating, laying down, or changing the name of standing committees). Suggestions for other changes may come from standing committees of the Yearly Meeting, Quarterly Meetings, Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups, or individual Friends.
All suggestions should be forwarded in writing to the Faith & Practice Committee. The Committee considers all suggestions carefully, in a spirit of worship.
TASKS & TIMELINE:
- During “maintenance years,” the Faith & Practice Committee reviews the entire book regularly in light of current NPYM practices, organizational changes, and minutes passed by NPYM in Annual Session. The Committee also solicits, collects, and seasons proposed changes from other sources. The Committee makes minor editorial changes to Faith and Practice as necessary (for example, updating NPYM committee names).
- The Faith & Practice Committee keeps the Coordinating Committee informed of its work, and uses the Coordinating Committee as a sounding board in discernment around issues that might need wide review and discussion throughout NPYM. When it is clear that a significant revision is needed in Faith and Practice, the Faith & Practice Committee asks the Nominating Committee to nominate additional members to bring the Faith & Practice Committee up to “revision year” size.
- During “revision years” the Faith & Practice Committee communicates widely with NPYM Friends to prepare an initial draft of the revisions for review. The Committee distributes the revised draft with a generous comments period. A revision may go through several draft-and-review cycles before the Committee feels clear to commend it for Friends’ use.
- The Faith & Practice Committee presents the revision at one Annual Session as a working draft for provisional use by NPYM Friends. The Committee further revises the draft, if necessary, and brings it to the following Annual Session for acceptance.
- After acceptance at Annual Session, the Faith & Practice Committee arranges for the revision to be incorporated into the print and online versions of Faith and Practice. At this point the Faith & Practice Committee reverts to “maintenance year” size.
- At all times, the Committee seeks ways to stay open to emerging concerns so that our book of discipline faithfully reflects the experience of NPYM Friends. In the past, for example, the Committee has held listening sessions at Quarterly Meetings and Annual Sessions as opportunities for Friends to share and discuss their ideas about Faith and Practice.
- In addition to assembling and organizing material, this Committee may also be asked to interpret such material.
REPORTING AND RECORD-KEEPING:
The Faith & Practice Committee reports to NPYM regularly at Coordinating Committee meetings and Annual Sessions.
The Clerk keeps careful records of the Committee’s work. An outgoing Clerk passes the records to the incoming Clerk.
After a major revision to Faith and Practice, the Committee Clerk consults with the NPYM Archivist about Committee materials that should be kept long-term.
EXPENSES & TRAVEL: Reimbursement is provided for “office expenses” (long-distance phone calls, postage, and photocopies). Travel expense is reimbursed according to the NPYM travel reimbursement policy. Reimbursement requests, with receipts, are submitted to the NPYM Treasurer.
NPYM’s Faith and Practice is published and distributed by The Friends Bulletin Corporation (Western Friend magazine).