What is a Quarterly Meeting?

A Quarterly Meeting is part of the structure of meetings in a Yearly Meeting. For a more detailed look at how Quarters function in New England Yearly Meeting, see Quarterly meetings in general If you want to know more about Salem Quarter, you'll find About Salem Quarterly Meeting interesting.

About Salem Quarterly Meeting

Salem Quarter of New England Yearly Meeting consists of 9 monthly meetings: Acton, Amesbury, Beacon Hill, Framingham, Friends Meeting at Cambridge, Fresh Pond, Lawrence and Andover, North Shore, and Wellesley, located in a geographical area centered around Boston, Massachusetts. There are also several worship groups and one preparative meeting, South Shore Meeting, under the care of the constituent monthly meetings. For information about these meetings and links to meeting websites go to our list of Meetings in our Quarter.

Salem Quarter meets officially three times a year, usually on the fourth Sunday of October, January, and April, to conduct business and share in programs for spiritual renewal. Under current practice the granting of money from the funds entrusted to Salem Quarter occurs only at the October and April meetings. The January session is reserved for brief reports from previous grant recipients and a longer program for spiritual renewal.

Since the summer of 1999 Salem Quarterly Meeting has also gathered informally for meeting for worship and a picnic lunch on a Sunday in July or August.

At this time, Salem Quarter has two internal committees: the Salem Quarter Funds Allocation Committee and Salem Quarter Ministry and Counsel. For more information follow the link to "Salem Quarter activities and Committees" at the left. The Quarter appoints representatives to the Beacon Hill Friends House Board, the Quaker Studies Committee and to the Mass Council of Churches.

Quarterly Meetings in General

The best source for information on how the Quarters fit in the structure of the Yearly Meeting is Faith and Practice of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends. The following excerpts describe Quarterly meetings:

Friends are organized into monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings, which take their names from the frequency with which they ordinarily meet to consider business matters. ... Two or more monthly meetings in the same geographical area are usually united in a quarterly meeting.

pp 217 to 218 Faith and Practice of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends 1985


Increasingly during the first decade of the eighteenth century, Yearly Meeting sought to guide the practices and focus the spiritual concerns of local monthly meetings. In 1701 it introduced a set of questions on conduct, known as Queries, that were to be answered by monthly meetings. The folowing year it established "select meetings" of elders and ministers to oversee the affairs of local meetings. Three years later the quarterly meetings, which until then had primarily been occasions for worshipping together, were asked to take up business matters that the Yearly Meeing wished to transmit to monthly meetings.(p 33)

The Quarterly Meeting

Quarterly meetings are designed to bring together a larger group for inspiration and counsel and to consider more varied interests than any single meeting embraces.


A quarterly meeting consists of the entire membership of its constituent monthly meetings. Each monthly meeting appoints representatives to attend the sessions, although all other members are encouraged to attend and take part.


The quarterly meeting has care and oversight of the monthly meetings and worship groups within its area. It may review their proceedings and examine their records so that any irregularities in proceedings may be corrected by the monthly meetings. It shall receive appeals from decisions of monthly meetings and decide upon them and shall grant appeals from its own decision to the Permanent Board of Yearly Meeting.

Responsibility for setting up, discontinuing, transferring or combining monthly meetings belongs to the quarterly meeting. All such actions taken should be reported to the Yearly Meeting. It may also have responsibiity for the care of new worship groups.

A quarterly meeting may record Friends with gifts in the ministry. [note that Salem Quarter has affirmed that it is its practice to record gifts in the ministry.] It may also endorse travel minutes for any of its members who feel called to travel in the ministry outside the quarterly meeting.

The Advices and Queries should be read regularly in whole or in part in quarterly meeting sessions and time allowed for prayerful consideration. (pp 226 to 228)