Monthly and Yearly Meetings
It was the organizational skills of Margaret Fell and other early Friends to develop the structure of monthly, quarterly and yearly meetings, which has provided cohesion at local and regional levels for over 300 years. A monthly meeting is one that usually worships together weekly and holds a meeting for business once a month. There are also Worship Groups and Preparative Meetings that are under the care of of Monthly Meetings. Fort Myers Monthly Meeting is one of sixteen monthly meetings and six worship groups (in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Nicaragua) which form the Southeastern Yearly Meeting.
Once per year Southeastern Yearly Meeting gathers for five days of worship, business, fellowship, workshops and communal life. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet Friends from our region of the country. SEYM sponsors several mid-year meetings and activities as well.
There are many other yearly meetings around the country and the globe, each composed of monthly meetings (see quakerfinder.org). These monthly and yearly meetings come in many different varieties or “flavors” of Quakerism. Common threads that tie all Quakers together, regardless of theology, are that all are derived from the concepts formulated by George Fox, all adhere to some form of the testimonies, and all are self-governing within the framework established by their yearly meetings and make corporate decisions by gathering a sense of the meeting in the Light rather than by majority vote.