Handbook Revision Committee

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Handbook Revision Committee

The image shows a handwritten page with crossing-out, insertions, a section pasted over another and a whole paragraph diagonally crossed out.  The paper is old and yellowing. It is actually a page from the original manuscript for the first Webster's dictionary.

Our Handbook of Quaker Practice and Procedure in Australia (currently in its 7th edition) is a guide for new Friends and for those undertaking roles within the organisation. It also clarifies how practices which are uniquely Australian differ from those of Quakers in other parts of the world. This committee reviews the handbook in the light of current Quaker practices and Yearly Meeting decisions.

The image is a copy of part of the manuscript of the first Webster's Dictionary published in 1806.  (Image: Noah Webster, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


The Handbook Revision Committee ensures that Australian Quaker Practices are reflected in the Handbook of Quaker Practice and Procedure in Australia. We maintain oversight of the contents of the Handbook and offer updates or request them from the appropriate body, such as a Committee or an associated body (e.g. Young Friends). The Committee works to find the right balance between practice and guidance. The final wording of all sections must be approved and minuted by a gathered Yearly Meeting before it can be included in the handbook. 

We plan to gradually remove as many as possible of the 'shoulds' in the handbook, because the document is meant to be descriptive, not prescriptive.

Here is a link to our Handbook of Practice & Procedure in Australia (7th edition). It has been updated to include revisions approved by Yearly Meeting in July 2022, and factual changes relating to non-AYM bodies.  

The Handbook Revision Committee (HRC) works proactively to review the Handbook of Quaker Practice and Procedure in Australia, to ensure that it is up-to-date and accurately reflects not only our current practices, but also the underlying principles which guide us in our actions and discernment.

Friends are encouraged to report possible errors in the handbook to the HRC through discussion with the Liaison Friend/s for their Regional Meeting, or if the error relates to an AYM committee, through discussion with that committee.  See this flowchart which shows the process of revising  the handbook. This was approved at YM19.

Revisions to three sections of the handbook, and of the flowchart will be discussed at our Preparatory session will be on 17th May, 2023. Copies are in Documents in Advance.

The three committee members share the convenership.  The committee is supported by Liaison Friends appointed by Meetings within Australia. The Handbook Revision Committee and our Liaison Friends are listed on the Committee tab. The role description for Liaison Friends is available on the Committee tab above.