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Communities of Friends and the Monthly Meeting

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an excerpt from Illinois Yearly Meeting Faith & Practice

There is a strong tradition of local autonomy in Illinois Yearly Meeting, and local meetings order their own affairs as they feel led. But Friends community is not purely local, any more than spiritual life is purely individual. No local meeting is a denomination unto itself; we are gathered into larger, regional bodies and into the worldwide Religious Society of Friends just as we are gathered locally: for worship, mutual care, fellowship, and above all for service to God and to humankind. Larger gatherings provide support for local meetings and make coordination possible across meetings; they allow the pursuit of larger- scale projects than local meetings could accomplish on their own; they broaden the spiritual perspectives both of meetings and of individuals; and they provide an important unifying influence among Friends.