Understanding the Process: Setting Legislative Priorities


A distinctive feature of the Friends Committee on National Legislation is our practice of asking Quakers around the country to help shape our work.

Three young adult Friends

Nationwide Quaker Discernment

Every two years, FCNL asks Friends and their meetings, churches, and other groups all over the country to discern which public policy issues they feel are most pressing for the next Congress. These groups highlight legislative priorities from the many topics and questions identified in FCNL’s Policy Statement, “The World We Seek."

Background The World We Seek 

FCNL's Statement of Legislative Policy

This statement of policy embodies our convictions and provides the foundation for our work. It derives from careful discernment by Friends throughout the nation who have identified the fundamental vision that underlies our legislative actions.

Policy Committee

Next, the 13-member FCNL Policy Committee, appointed by the 200 Friends on General Committee, reads all the responses and meets together to consider what meetings, churches, groups, and individuals are telling FCNL.

The committee makes difficult choices among the many advances we would all like to make toward the World We Seek.

For each concern raised, the committee considers how that area is supported in the FCNL Policy Statement and the historic leadings of Friends. The committee also considers the capacity of staff, the financial resources of FCNL, and the potential role of FCNL and other groups working on the issues. Finally, the committee considers whether a chosen issue is likely to come before the upcoming Congress.

The committee makes difficult choices among the many advances we would all like to make toward the World We Seek, knowing that if we try to do everything, we will do nothing well.

General Committee at Annual Meeting

The Policy Committee brings its recommendation to the FCNL General Committee meeting for final discernment in the November Annual Meeting. The General Committee may choose to accept the recommended priorities or ask for further modifications. Throughout the discussion, however, the priorities discerned by Friends across the country remain at the center of the Committee’s consideration.