We have a group of around 8 Friends, appointed as Overseers, to care for the pastoral needs of the meeting. They are appointed for 3 years, initially, though often serve a second term of a further 3 years.
The responsibilities of Overseers include:
- to encourage attendance at meeting for worship and to make sure newcomers are welcomed
- to encourage attendance at business meetings and take part in them
- to make opportunities for Friends and attenders to get to know each other
- together with elders, to take care of the needs of inquirers and attenders
- together with elders to exercise care over the children and young people of the meeting
- to give advice and information about how to apply for membership
- to encourage caring friendship within the Quaker community
- care and concern for the elderly and sick, if they can no longer attend meeting
- to respond to the needs of the bereaved, to provide comfort and sympathetic listening.
There are other duties too: it’s a considerable task in a large meeting. Though of course, we hope all Quakers will be caring for each other too.
Overseers are selected by a specially appointed Nominations group (for that work only). They are appointed by the Area Meeting (ie. Balby and Sheffield) rather than by Sheffield Local Meeting.