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Montreal Quakers

How to Represent Meeting

So, you’re thinking of representing Montreal Quaker Meeting… or perhaps you’re wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into. Whether this is your first or your fiftieth time, this page has some tips for you.


However you understand this word, prayer is your most important task as a Montreal Quaker Meeting representative.

  • Quaker business meetings are first and foremost a spiritual exercise.
  • Perhaps use the time at business meeting to:
    • pray for folks at your local meeting
    • for Quakers in Canada or beyond
    • for peace and justice in our world
  • For the business as it arises, it often happens that representatives won’t be moved to say much.
    • The business presented is hopefully in good and competent hands.
    • In that case, our role as representative is simply to give thanks for this.
  • If we have concerns and questions, in business meeting as in meeting, discernment is key.
    • Queries are relevant such as, “Is this for me to speak now or to share privately later?”
    • Yet other times, it is more spiritually honest to speak up immediately without hesitation.


Some say that our greatest strength is our greatest weakness. When you are representing Montreal Meeting to other bodies, however, your greatest weakness (perhaps, for instance, unfamiliarity with the intricacies of Canadian Yearly Meeting) is usually your greatest strength.

Sometimes, a fresh voice who asks fresh questions can help break Quakers out of routine and move the group toward finding Spirit’s purpose for us. At a minimum, if you are profoundly confused, there is a valid need for someone to have better prepared you, and that is important information.

Of course, there is always too much of a good thing. Questions must be based on having read the relevant reports and sought background information. In other words, be prepared also to not understand everything immediately and to require some patience.

How to become more informed

Speak to folks at meeting, have them go over reports with you beforehand. Or, even better, have previous representatives come to meetings with you, introduce you to people, and give you important context.

Your role as representative

  1. Carry concerns of the meeting you represent.
    • For instance, one year, Quakers in Victoria, BC desired to open a conversation about splitting Canadian Yearly Meeting into Eastern and Western halves, partially for environmental reasons.
    • If the meeting, or individual members, have not charged you with any particular concern to bring, no need to worry about this.
  2. Learn, connect with other Quakers, receive or generate new ideas, be inspired and bring all this back to meeting.
    • One of your roles is to help local Quakers (including you!) get connected with relevant things other Quakers are doing: courses, common interests, resources, clubs, fun ideas.
    • Try to come back inspired to share something new with someone or the meeting as a whole.
    • Note that we ask our representatives to report back to Montreal Quaker Meeting about your experience: a written report is much appreciated, and at a minimum, a verbal account of your experience at business meeting.
  3. Be ready to bring the particular perspective of your meeting to larger decisions.
    • For instance, if many new attenders found your home meeting through a website, that might be relevant information when the budget for redoing the website comes up for discussion.
    • Take what you know about our meeting; do your best to share what you’ve seen and heard with the larger group.
  4. As best you can, read the reports and inform yourself considering you’re a volunteer and life’s other constraints.
    • Despite all our limitations, if we are faithful we can still be an instrument of love.
  5. Have fun.
    • Representing the meeting is a golden opportunity to meet Quakers across Canada, make new friends in new places, and find renewal.


The expectation is that Montreal Quakers will finance your travel and meals; if billeting isn’t provided, the Montreal Meeting should pay for your lodging as well. Please discuss with the meeting if anything offered is inadequate. In turn, do your best to reduce cost and complexity to the meeting, but remember that representing the meeting should ultimately be a pleasure. Quakers may have a puritan past, but there’s no need to carry all of that into the present.

More information

See Canadian Yearly Meeting’s Organization & Procedure document for more information about Representative Meeting and the Canadian Yearly Meeting gathering.