Friends General Conference is an association of fourteen yearly meetings or regional groups, and nine directly affiliated monthly meetings. It is a network of “Friends serving Friends.” FGC exists to increase communication among unprogrammed Friends, to bring Friends together across yearly meeting lines, to enrich the spiritual life of the Religious Society of Friends, and to provide resources and services to Friends and Friends meetings. It is not a governing body. It does not establish policy for its member meetings, or seek to speak for the Religious Society of Friends. FGC services are available to all Friends and attenders, regardless of affiliation.
So, Why Affiliate?
- Affiliation connects you to a network of Friends in the United States and Canada.
- Affiliation lets your voice be heard.
- Affiliation helps your meeting become more familiar with the programs and services offered by FGC, and more likely to take advantage of them.
- Affiliation gives you a voice in shaping FGC programs and services.
- Service on the FGC Central Committee provides wonderful opportunities for spiritual growth.
- Service with FGC provides many opportunities for personal growth.
What does Affiliation Cost?
As an affiliate, your monthly or yearly meeting would be expected to make it possible for your representative(s) to travel to Central Committee meetings. You would also be expected to make an annual contribution to support the work of FGC. Regular annual yearly meeting contributions to FGC vary widely according to the size and financial resources of the yearly meeting. In fiscal year 2006, yearly meeting giving ranged from $400 to $32,000. The average contribution, based on the giving of all fourteen affiliated yearly meetings, was $3.24 per capita. Ten of our fourteen affiliated yearly meetings give more than $2.10 per member. It is left to your meeting to discern the appropriate amount.
What about Dual Affiliation?
FGC sees itself primarily as a service organization, not a separate branch of the Religious Society of Friends. Several of our yearly meetings are also affiliated with Friends United Meeting, and include programmed as well as unprogrammed monthly meetings. We do not expect our affiliates to alter their identity or give up other ties or affiliations. In fact, we welcome this kind of cross-fertilization, and we believe it enriches our shared spiritual life as Friends. FGC wants to serve Friends and nourish their spiritual growth, not define their beliefs or direct their spiritual journey.