What do Friends mean by “right ordering”? Here are two definitions given by Friends.
Right ordering – done in the correct manner, in keeping with Quaker tradition and practice. A body of wisdom and insights that has evolved over three hundred years of seeking the guidance of the Spirit, it is captured in part by the Book of discipline, but only in part. (from http://www.ditchlingquakers.org.uk/jargon.html)
RIGHT ORDERING – Those procedures for the conduct of Friends business and witness that encourage a meeting or Friends organization to carry out its business and activities under divine leading. The term “good ordering” is also used in this sense. (from https://actquakers.org.au/a-glossary-of-quaker-terms/
These are definitions and as such are “the way things are supposed to work within the Society. As usual, life on the ground can get a bit muddier!” With that in mind, our discussion may touch not only on the “what” and “how-to” of “right ordering” but also the why, the challenges, and the gifts of this process. Attached are queries to BYM’s Eldership and Oversight resource book chapter on “right ordering.”
There is also this thought-provoking blog on authority and leadership within the society https://transitionquaker.blogspot.com/2014/02/authority-and-leadership.html.
Further resources and examples
- Britain Yearly Meeting’s Eldership and Oversight: With a Tender Hand that has Chapter 17 on “right ordering.” – this is not the complete text – but the book is available from the Geneva Quaker library.
- Geneva MM practices,
- Switzerland YM Us et Coutumes,
- from Luton and Leighton Area Meeting in the UK entitled Right Ordering: A Handbook of Business practice within the Area Meeting,
- and the Quaker Faith and Practice of Britain YM.
An internet search of “faith and practice around the world” reveals a trove of examples.