Re: [External] Request from Manzanita Village in Arizona: How does your community handle members who abuse the community e-mail?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2021 12:05:12 -0800 (PST)
> On Jan 17, 2021, at 10:56 AM, Janet Boys <jboys [at]> wrote:
> Quakers use "sense of the meeting" - not consensus. They are similar, but
> not the same.
> I'm sorry, but it has been so long since I attended Quaker meetings
> regularly that I do not remember the actual distinction.

The distinction is that the Quaker “sense of the meeting” is made in the 
context of faith and practice. The "testimonies” or the values guiding a Quaker 
life are to integrity, equality, simplicity, community, stewardship of the 
Earth, and peace.

To some extent, this could be analogous to cohousing's “purpose” or statement 
of values, goals, etc. However, people who go very far into faith in cohousing 
are sometimes called ideologs. 

Rather than a minister or priest, the organization has a widely distributed 
leadership of volunteers. An elected Clerk is administrator but sometimes does 
offer spiritual guidance. Leadership is shared between numerous individuals and 
groups, including clerks, elders, overseers, nominations, outreach and finance 
committees. (There are many variations on this however.)

The first two people to apply the concept of a sociocracy in an organization 
were Kees and Betty Boeke. Betty Cadbury Boeke was a committed Quaker and a 
member of the Cadbury chocolate family. The Cadbury factories are famous for 
their humane benefits and work environments. Kees and Boeke met in the context 
of Quaker missionary work.

Sharon Villines, Washington DC
Co-author of Sociocracy: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy, A Handbook for 
Understanding and Implementing Sociocratic Principles and Practices, (Updated 
and Expanded Edition, 2017)
ISBN: 978-0-9792827-3-7
Now in Spanish, Portuguese, and Korean.

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