Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) is the formal name of the main organisation of Quakers in Britain. It is made up of different meetings, groups and committees. Most of our work is done by volunteers within our worshipping community with support from Britain Yearly Meeting's paid staff.

The parts of our structure

    Local meetings

    For most Quakers the local meeting is their worshipping community. All meetings are different and work in slightly different ways.

    Local meetings:

    • hold meetings for worship
    • welcome newcomers and encourage people of all ages all to be involved in the Quaker community
    • manage local issues, including taking care of premises and working with other churches and faith communities
    • keep in touch with the area meeting.

    Find out more about local meetings in Quaker faith & practice from 4.31 onwards (offsite link).

    Area meetings

    Area meetings are made up of several local meetings. All area meetings are charities as well as worshipping communities. Like local meetings, they work slightly differently from place to place.

    Area meetings:

    • oversee and support local meetings
    • appoint people to positions of responsibility, such as elders and overseers
    • are responsible for conducting Quaker marriages, recording deaths, employing staff, owning property and managing finances
    • communicate on behalf of local Quakers with Meeting for Sufferings and Yearly Meeting

    Find out more about area meetings in Quaker faith & practice 4.1 onwards (offsite link).

    Meeting for Sufferings

    Meeting for Sufferings is the standing representative body of Quakers in Britain. Its members are appointed by Yearly Meeting, and they meet five or six times a year.

    Meeting for Sufferings:

    • takes decisions and manages business between Yearly Meetings
    • sets priorities for centrally managed work
    • helps other parts of Britain Yearly Meeting – for example, by sharing information and testing concerns from area meetings

    Find out more about Meeting for Sufferings.

    Yearly Meeting

    Yearly Meeting is the annual assembly of British Quakers.

    Yearly Meeting:

    • reflects on current concerns
    • receives reports from Meeting for Sufferings, trustees of Britain Yearly Meeting and committees
    • makes decisions on Quaker work

    Find out more about Yearly Meeting from Quaker faith & practice 6 (offsite link) or find out about the next Yearly Meeting event.

    General Meeting for Scotland

    General Meeting for Scotland represents and supports Quakers in Scotland. It consists of all Quakers who are members of the Scottish area meetings. It meets at least quarterly.

    Find out more about General Meeting for Scotland in Quaker faith & practice 5.03 (offsite link) or from the General Meeting for Scotland website.

    Meeting of Friends in Wales

    Meeting of Friends in Wales represents and supports Quakers in Wales. It consists of all Quakers who live in Wales or who are members of Welsh meetings.

    Find out more about Meeting of Friends in Wales in Quaker faith & practice 5.04 (offsite link) or from the Meeting of Friends in Wales website.

    Young Friends General Meeting

    Young Friends General Meeting is open to Quakers who are between eighteen and about thirty years old. It meets formally three times a year.

    Young Friends General Meeting:

    • brings together young Quakers to worship and share interests
    • plans events
    • nominates two representatives to Meeting for Sufferings

    Find out more about Young Friends General Meeting in Quaker faith & practice 5.08 (offsite link) or from the Young Friends General Meeting website.

    Standing committees

    Yearly Meeting has four standing committees. They are made up of Quakers from meetings throughout Britain. Their role is to set priorities and monitor and evaluate Quaker work.

    Britain Yearly Meeting

    Britain Yearly Meeting is the registered charity of Quakers in Britain. Yearly Meeting appoints its trustees, who manage its work, assets and property.

    Britain Yearly Meeting has central offices in London in Friends House. It employs about 150 staff who work in five departments. The Recording Clerk is the most senior member of staff. The work is funded by contributions from:

    • individual Quakers
    • Quaker meetings
    • charitable trusts
    • the café and letting rooms at Friends House
    • investment income.

    Find out more about Britain Yearly Meeting in Quaker faith & practice 8 (offsite link).

    Related blog

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    8 October 2019 by Suki Ferguson