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Why These Affiliations
Local Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends have a collective form of self-governance, based on consensual agreement under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And yet we also recognize the need for more inclusive associations with other local Meetings and Friends living in other areas.
Thus Quakers in our area are associated, westward, with Friends more generally in Illinois. This association is called a Yearly Meeting, because it holds sessions once a year to carry out its business, just as every local Monthly Meeting holds a special meeting for worship once a month to conduct its business under the guidance of the Spirit. The Yearly Meeting is a Meeting of all the individual Friends who meet once a Month in their local Meeting houses. Those who cannot attend give authority to those who can attend to carry out the Meeting's business.
Friends General Conference is an association that includes many Yearly Meetings. It provides resources for worship and on-going education. It holds a conference once a year in which Friends from wide-spread regions can attend workshops and worship together.