Constitution of the Quaker Gender and Sexual Diversity Community (QGSDC)

Name of the organisation

The name of the organisation shall be QUAKER GENDER AND SEXUAL DIVERSITY COMMUNITY

Aims

The Quaker Gender and Sexual Diversity Community (QGSDC) brings together in equality people of all diverse sexual and/or gender identities within the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain. It aims to provide a meeting space for the LGBT and queer community, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, intersex, transgender and gender non-binary Quakers, and their allies, and other Quakers interested in sexuality and gender identity, and those who while not Quakers themselves are in general sympathy with the principles of truth and equality.

The group exists to provide its members with a friendly, understanding and supportive forum where they can find friendship and fellowship. 

The Group originated in September 1973 as the Friends Homosexual Fellowship. From 1998 it operated under the name Quaker Lesbian and Gay Fellowship. In 2018, after a consultation among its members, the name changed to QGSDC. The group will always seek to provide the identity and the space for contemporary queer Friends.

The aims of the group shall be as follows:

  • To encourage fellowship, friendship and social support between members.
  • To form links with and support local Quaker groups for this purpose.
  • To promote a dialogue within the Society of Friends at all levels, with a view to achieving a deeper mutual understanding and acceptance.
  • To liaise with other groups with similar aims particularly those with a religious bias.

Activities

Organising gatherings for members, for sharing experience, learning, worship, enrichment and socialising.

Providing Quakers and Quaker Meetings with information and opportunities to consider, discuss and explore sexual orientation and gender diversity issues and experience, particularly challenging prejudice and bias, and to celebrate our joys within the context of the Quaker testimony to equality.

Supporting Friends and Meetings in Local groups and initiatives.

Liaising with other LGBT+ organisations linked to other faiths and denominations.

Leading communication and building links between members, primarily through social media, website, circulation of news, leaflets and encouraging discussion and dialogue.

Providing information and contact at Quaker events and through Quaker communication platforms.

Members

Membership shall be open to the following individuals:

  • All members of The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Attenders at Local Quaker meetings
  • The partners of QGSDC members
  • Non-Quakers who are in general sympathy with the Quaker testimonies to equality, truth, peace, simplicity and sustainability, accepted after committee discernment.

And to the following corporate groups:

  • Quaker Area and Local meetings
  • Other Quaker Recognised Bodies
  • Other LGBT+ groups with a religious bias, who are in general sympathy with the Quaker testimonies to equality, truth, peace and simplicity and sustainability. 

Members are accepted after completing an application. Members can resign at any time.

The membership list shall consist of all who are currently members.

A member can be removed at the discernment of the committee if there is evidence that the member does not accord with Quaker testimonies, or contradicts the aims of the group, or behaves in a manner perceived to be deliberately vexatious, provocative or aggressive towards other members and has not responded to eldership and oversight from Friends.

Committee procedure and officers

The committee comprises at least six members and uses the discipline of the Quaker business method, including for nominations, and minutes all meetings.

The formal committee posts are:

  • Clerk
  • Treasurer
  • Membership secretary

These roles shall be nominated by the committee and appointed at the Annual General Meeting.

The committee shall maintain contact names for

  • Gatherings liaison
  • Communications
  • Newsletter

The committee aims to include link Friends for the groups presently known as:

  • Quaker Lesbian Group
  • Young Friends General Meeting
  • Other Quaker bodies as appropriate

Meetings

The QGSDC Committee typically meets four times per calendar year.

To enable proper discernment of business decisions a quorum shall consist of at least four committee members.

There shall be an Annual General Meeting held once a year to appoint committee members, agree the accounts, agree policy, make changes to this constitution. Four weeks notice shall be given to Members of AGMs.

A special general meeting is arranged when urgent matters affecting the group arise.

Finances

The financial year shall run from 1 January to 31 December.

The committee shall open and manage bank accounts in the group’s name. There will be two ex officio signatories:  the Treasurer and the Clerk.

Funding accrues from donations and charging for events.

Accounts shall be reported to each AGM.

QGSDC is non-profit making.

Annual budgets are set for balanced income and expenditure and the planned use of any reserves for the benefit of the members.

Data Protection

The group takes seriously its responsibility for data protection. It recognises how important personal confidentiality is for many Members, and treats all information respectfully and with due care.

The Membership Secretary shall retain a basic record of members’ contact details for the administration of the group. This information will also be used from time to time and to contact members about QGSDC activities, and this information shall not be used for any other purpose or shared with other groups or individuals, or sold.

Individuals and Meetings seeking to become a Member must confirm that they agree with this.

Amendments to the constitution

Amendments to the constitution shall be suggested to attending members at the AGM after a period of discernment by the committee on their behalf, and all changes shall be tabled and discussed at the AGM and the decision shall be minuted. 

Changes to this constitution shall be communicated in writing to BYM (Quaker Life) at the earliest opportunity.

Dissolution

Laying down of the groupand distribution of any remaining fundsshall be agreed by discernment at an Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting.

Signed:

Co-clerks

Yvonne Estop-Wood

Zemirah Moffat

12 September 2020