I’m Not a Quaker…What is Meeting for Business?

By Andrew Rowan ’19, Marketing and Communications Student Intern

Meeting for Worship for Business (commonly abbreviated to Meeting for Business) is a meeting for a community to come together and discuss concerns, create solutions, and collectively make decisions that will impact the friends of the meeting.

“[Moorestown Friends’ Upper School Meeting for Business] is one place that the entire community has open to them to listen to all perspectives,” said Chester Reagan Chair of Religious and Quaker Studies Dan Christy Randazzo. “Meeting for Business is rooted in the same values that Meeting for Worship [a period of silence where members are asked to reflect and speak if they feel moved] has, which is that sharing your opinion is both a privilege and a responsibility that one must uphold to the community.”

Agenda Committee, the Upper School’s student government, meets once per six-day rotation to give students an opportunity to bring forward community issues or to discuss solutions to an issue in a smaller setting and on a more frequent basis. The entire Upper School Meeting for Business occurs once each month.

“Agenda is where we offer a smaller space for anyone to come and share their ideas, and that informs what we discuss in Meeting for Business, which the entire school attends. That gives everyone the opportunity to share their opinion on whatever topic we are discussing,” said Meeting for Business Clerk Sujin Kim ‘18.

The Meeting for Business Clerk has the primary responsibility for conducting Meeting for Business “in the manner of Friends.” The clerk leads the meeting through the process of Quaker decision-making, which means all members of the meeting must reach consensus before passing any potential solutions to issues. The Clerk facilitates discussion and gets a “sense” of the meeting when discussing an issue.

“I really think that Meeting for Business is very unique for Quaker schools in that it provides a space of respect and business where everyone can feel comfortable to voice their opinion,” said Mr. Randazzo.

Prior to the discussion of an issue, different clubs and student organizations are invited to share with the community what they have been working on in the weeks prior to the last Meeting for Business.

Meeting for Business follows the spirit of Meeting for Worship in that the meeting opens with silent worship, and, if discussion becomes intense, the Meeting for Business Clerk may ask for a moment of silence to recenter the community.

“I like that we follow Quaker process and try to introduce the process to those who have never been introduced to Quaker decision making,” said Liz Huettl ‘19, who is a Quaker.

Currently, Meeting for Business is covering the issue of club accountability in an effort to provide more transparency to the community on what each club is working on. A revised dress code and cell phone policy have also been topics that Meeting for Business has addressed in the past. The cell phone policy has been implemented in the Upper School, and the Dress Code is being reviewed by a faculty committee.