Jones, Hazel Leonore (2009)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This dissertation examines the proposition that the centrally managed work carried out by Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends has suffered from a decline in the income contributed by Members and Attenders. It argues that declining income is strongly linked to dwindling membership. It considers whether the declining levels of income and membership are expressions of secularisation. It researches the historical growth in the Society’s centrally managed work and the development of an organisational structure to support this. It considers recent past experience when the perceived importance of the work led Quakers to lose the balance between caution and ‘living adventurously’. Soaring expenditure, unmatched by similar increase in contribution income, forced a move to budgetary planning, based on a balanced budget and maintenance of a prudent level of reserves. Finally, this dissertation examines the importance that Quakers attach to the centrally managed work and the direction it takes. It argues that increasing engagement with the work by members would lead to greater financial commitment. It demonstrates that decisions taken in this area affect levels of contribution income and membership and suggests that clarity of purpose and a much higher profile in the world are needed.
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