How We Function

Swarthmore Friends is a monthly meeting, so called because our members meet monthly to conduct Meeting business. Because we have no clergy, many of our essential functions are performed by members and attenders who serve voluntarily as officers and committee members. Our part-time paid secretary handles a multitude of administrative tasks.

Learn more about how Friends Meetings are organized at the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting website.

Meeting for Worship for Business

Decisions about the functioning of the Meeting are made by Meeting members and regular attenders sitting as a “committee of the whole” in a meeting whose shorthand name is “Meeting for Business.”  Here, committee clerks report on their activities and those attending may propose new initiatives or raise matters of concern to the Meeting. Meeting for Business is held at 11:45 am on the second Sunday of each month from September through June.

Learn more about Quaker Meeting for Business at the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting website.

How We Reach Decisions

In Meeting for Business and committee meetings, we reach decisions using a combination of discussion and worshipful listening to reach unity on a course of action. This “sense of the meeting” differs from consensus in that it is a Spirit-led process rather than being purely rational and secular.  Learn more about Quaker decision-making and consensusat the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting website .

Officers of the Meeting

  • The clerk conducts business sessions and oversees conduct of the Meeting’s business affairs.
  • The treasurer prepares the budget, authorizes expenditures, and provides regular financial reports.
  • The recorder keeps records of births, adoptions, deaths, marriages, divorces, and changes in membership.         


Members and regular attenders serve on committees that oversee activities including worship, pastoral care, finances, fellowship, and property management. Committee appointments are made by the nominating committee, which can be contacted through the Meeting secretary.

Click here for list of committees and their responsibilities.


Our budget is funded primarily by individual contributions, with additional income from rentals, the Jumble Sale, and interest. The Budget and Finance committee and treasurer are jointly responsible for assuring adequate income and monitoring expenditures     

Membership in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

Swarthmore Meeting is one of 103 monthly meetings that comprise Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM). PYM hosts gatherings for worship and service, and offers member Meetings resources in pastoral care, worship, financial management and other areas. Learn more about Philadelphia Yearly Meeting at the PYM website.