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Presiding Clerk

Deadline:Jul 22, 2019
Hours:varies, up to 30 hours per week
Start Date:Apr 17, 2020

Presiding Clerk of the Corporation and the Board of Directors

To nominate someone, please complete this nomination form. If you have more than one person to suggest, please complete a form for each nominee.

For more information about the roles of Corporation and Board members and the basic structures of AFSC Governance, please visit this link.


The American Friends Service Committee is seeking a new presiding clerk of the Corporation and the Board of Directors to be appointed in October of 2019 by the Board, and to begin service in April of 2020. We are asking all of you in the Quaker and AFSC communities to help identify potential nominees who can help lead the AFSC in the coming years.

Please reference the AFSC Clerk position description below for detailed expectations and desired qualifications. We seek a clerk who is spirit-led, and who can unite those of very diverse backgrounds and experiences including governance volunteers, staff, communities AFSC works with and other stakeholders. Our clerk will need excellent clerking skills and experience. They must be an active member of the Religious Society of Friends and have familiarity with Friends organizations. We seek candidates who reflect and embrace AFSC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

It is important that we identify a clerk who possesses both the call to serve and the extensive time/energy to give to the work. Familiarity with the AFSC and prior experience serving within the organization’s governance structures or staff is advantageous for nominees, but not required. The clerk should expect to make this role their primary volunteer commitment.

If you have suggestions for who might meet these criteria or if you have interest in serving as AFSC clerk, please review the position description carefully and complete for each nominee the AFSC Clerk Nomination Form by July 22, 2019

We encourage you to share this call with others you believe might be interested.

With thanks!

The AFSC Clerk Search Committee - John Adams, Spee Braun, Patric Garrison, Paula Rhodes, Jolee Robinson, Colin Saxton, and Deborah Suess


Position Description--click "Download PDF" at the bottom of this page to get the position description in PDF form.

Introduction & Background on AFSC

Founded in 1917, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social relations and systems.  Our work is based on the testimonies of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the transforming power of love to overcome violence and injustice.  At the center of the AFSC are the diverse and inclusive staff, volunteers, constituents, partners and communities we accompany and the organization itself. 

The American Friends Service Committee is incorporated in the State of Pennsylvania with its Central Office in Philadelphia to “engage in religious, charitable, social, philanthropic and relief work in the United States and in other countries on behalf of the participating Yearly Meetings and other bodies of the Religious Society of Friends in the United States of America…” The Corporation, from which the Board of Directors is appointed, is made up of 100 to 140 members of the Religious Society of Friends, at least one-half of whom are appointed directly by their yearly meetings. The Corporation delegates authority to manage AFSC’s business and affairs to the Board of Directors, consisting of up 25 members who shall embody the broadest range of diversity and life experience, including engagement with AFSC programs; at least 80% of the Board must be members of the Corporation.  

The Corporation, its Board of Directors and all Board-appointed committees are committed to the fundamental Quaker process of making corporate decisions in unity through worship, reflection and discernment. The diverse volunteer and staff members are made up of Friends and others who hold values in common with those Quaker beliefs upon which the organization is based. These values include reaching out to that of God in everyone and promoting and practicing non-violence. All are expected to understand the religious nature and values of the AFSC and the Quaker decision-making process and to work in a manner that reflects these beliefs and methods.  AFSC currently has programs across the United States and internationally in 16 countries; it also supports, works with and administers the Quaker United Nations Office in New York. Current broad programmatic issues include Building Peace; Defending Immigrants Rights; Ending Mass Incarceration; Building Economic Justice; and Ending Discrimination. 

The American Friends Service Committee is embarking on a re-visioning process as a vehicle for organizational renewal and direction-setting to achieve its core mission, in line with organizational values and in the context of the needs and challenges to realizing peace with justice in a transformed national and global external environment. The ultimate objective of the Visioning and Strategic Planning process is two-fold: (1) to define a number of overarching and organization-wide programmatic directions that will clarify the substantive issue areas that AFSC is committed to supporting over the next ten years, as well as goals within each program direction expressed at a high level; and (2) to identify a number of organizational development goals that will enhance or adjust AFSC’s governance and operational models. The Strategic Plan will also review and refine the organization’s mission, vision and values statements as needed. 

Expectations & Responsibilities of the Presiding Clerk of the Corporation & the Board of Directors


1) Preside at Corporation, Board and Board Executive Committee meetings. When presiding, help participants rely upon corporate worship in seeking Divine guidance as the basis for decision-making and for the testing of new leadings. Assist the Corporation, Board and other groups in the discernment process. Express the sense of the meeting. 

2) Lead the Board in planning, setting and upholding organizational priorities. Keep in mind the organization’s strong commitment to Inclusion and Diversity.

3) In consultation with the Board officers and others, set agendas for the Corporation, Board and Board Executive Committee meetings that reflect their priorities and that can be accomplished in the time allotted in a relaxed and worshipful manner. Ensure that business brought before the Corporation, Board and Board Executive Committee is sufficiently seasoned and well prepared by consultation with staff and committee. 

4) Within appropriate limits, ensure that decisions that are approved by the Board of Directors and Corporation are implemented. Where appropriate, assign committee responsibilities and ensure that they are carried out.

5) Respect the gifts of Board members and identify resources to build their skills. Help recruit Board members who bring needed skills.

6) Work with the Recording Clerk to ensure that records of the Corporation, Board and Board Executive Committee proceedings are kept and distributed in a timely manner. 

7) Support the implementation of the new Strategic Plan.

8) Lead the Board in finding strategies to respond to fiscal restraints.

9) Assist the Board and Corporation in dealing with conflict and tension.


10) Participate in an annual review of one’s own performance as Clerk and in related follow-up activities. 

11) Based upon a format that is mutually agreed upon by the General Secretary and the Clerk, report annually to the Board on the performance of the General Secretary and oversee the required triennial evaluation of the General Secretary’s performance. 


12) In order to provide solid, dynamic consistent and collaborative leadership for the AFSC, meet regularly and frequently with the General Secretary to consult, share concerns and exchange information. 

13) Keep current and informed about significant aspects of American Friends Service Committee operations and finances as well as emerging governance issues.

14) Reinforce a sense of community within the Board, Corporation, committees, staff, and program constituencies. 

15) Collaborate with the Governance Committee and Standing Nominating Committee to monitor the work of committees and working groups to enable them to assist the Board and Corporation in achieving their goals. Be available to Board Advisory Committees and working group committee clerks.

16) Maintain regular communication with staff and national, regional and international committees. With the General Secretary, keep the Board and Corporation informed of findings. Facilitate good and rightly ordered communication among these entities. 


17) In coordination with the General Secretary, act as a primary spokesperson for AFSC on issues of policy. Share this responsibility through joint consultation and mutual agreement regarding public speaking opportunities and engagements.

18) In cooperation with the General Secretary, interpret AFSC programs and policies among its various constituencies, both in the United States and abroad.

19) Participate in fundraising as requested, especially in visits to major and prospective donors. 


  1. Membership in the Religious Society of Friends; currently active in the life of the Religious Society of Friends.
  2. A record of gifted clerking; spiritually sensitive, able to discern simultaneously both the will of God and the sense of the meeting.
  3. Commitment to the mission of the American Friends Service Committee. Significant experience with and understanding of the uniqueness of AFSC governance bodies and programs desirable.
  4. Capacity and commitment to support and work strategically and collaboratively with the General Secretary.
  5. Personal commitment to diversity and inclusion as witness to the Quaker belief in the equal worth of all people. Experience working with a wide range of people from diverse racial, cultural, economic, and other backgrounds, especially the groups included in the AFSC Affirmative Action Plan. Commitment to include individuals from these groups and their perspectives in the life of the AFSC.
  6. Familiarity with the various branches of Quakerism, other Quaker organizations in the United States and abroad, and with the Friends World Committee on Consultation. Supportive of creative approaches to achieving and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with the Religious Society of Friends.
  7. Ability to nurture leadership skills and to share responsibility where appropriate. Skilled in encouraging participation of those whose voices are often not heard.
  8. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively in person, in writing and orally. A sense of humor. Excellent listening skills and ability to respond well to staff and volunteer concerns.
  9. Understanding of appropriate management processes in a complex organization. Strong organizational skills and attention to administrative details.
  10. Ability to make this one’s primary volunteer commitment. Time to meet with the General Secretary, to attend committee meetings, frequently on weekends and in the evenings. Available to travel both in the United States and abroad.
  11. Capacity to understand and interpret budgets and financial reports and find ways to address financial issues. Existing understanding of AFSC finances desirable.
  12. Ability to manage tension and disagreement. Not conflict-averse.

Position description approved by the Board of Directors on June 23, 2019.

Click "Download PDF" below to download this position description. 

To nominate someone, please complete the nomination form

3 Year Term

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