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.

DiA22 HRC Report.docxOur 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)

Purpose

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.

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.

The process of developing revisions to the handbook as at YM2019 is illustrated in this flowchart  A new flowchart has been drafted and there will be a Share and Tell at YM22 to consider the implications of this.

Friends are encouraged to report possible errors in the handbook to the HRC through discussion with the Liaison Friend for their Regional Meeting, or if the error relates to an AYM committee, through discussion with that committee.

Links to draft revisions ready for Friends' discernment in the lead up to YM22 are on another tab of this webpage. Our report to YM2022 is DiA22 HRC Report.docx Drafts revised as a result of the YM business process will replace these SOON.

Our Preparatory session was held on Saturday 14th May. Please click on these links to read the Prep Session Report and Minutes

All draft revisions are subject to the discernment of Friends at Yearly Meeting and remain draft until approved by that body. Suggested drafts are circulated via Regional Meetings' Liaison Friends, and this website,  to obtain comments from Friends thus guiding the Committee in finalising the wording offered to the gathered YM.

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 2021, and factual changes relating to non-AYM bodies.  

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.