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.

Reviews our Handbook of Practice and Procedure in the light of current Quaker practices and Yearly Meeting decisions. Rewords, rewrites, suggests drafts of sections for consideration by gathered Friends.

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 Practice and Procedure. We receive suggestions of  amendments from AYM Committees or Regional Meetings. We draft appropriate wording and send it to all Friends via the Liaison Friends and this website.  Recommended changes are brought to a Yearly Meeting for decision and possible inclusion. We also maintain oversight of the contents of the Handbook and offer updates or request them from the appropriate body, such as an AYM 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 are working to 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 works proactively to review the Handbook, 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.

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.

The Handbook Revision Committee and our Liaison Friends are listed under the Committee tab.  The convener is Wies Schuiringa. Meetings are encouraged to appoint Handbook Liaison Friends to support our ongoing task. 

Here is a link to our Handbook of Practice & Procedure in Australia (7th edition). It has been updated to reflect revisions approved by Yearly Meeting in July 2020.

Friends need to be aware that Chapter 6, which deals with the right holding of Yearly Meeting, has not yet been revised.