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Faith and Practice

Pacific Yearly Meeting

of the

Religious Society of Friends

a guide to quaker discipline in the experience of pacific yearly meeting of the religious society of friends.
published 2001



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Membership

preface
pym in context
quaker faith & spiritual practice
testimony & experience of friends
organization of the society
procedures
activities & organization of the YM
glossary
bibligraphy
appendices
sources of quotations
index of sources
subject index

We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Friends who have permitted us to use material for this Faith and Practice.

 

special circumstances

sojourning membership: The Religious Society of Friends is best served when membership is held in a Meeting near the member’s primary residence. Friends who expect to be residing temporarily near a Monthly Meeting which is not their own should ask their Meeting for a Minute of Sojourn <See Appendix 5b>, outlining the reasons for and the probable duration of their sojourn. If the home Meeting approves, a minute of sojourn is written and sent to the new Meeting. A minute of sojourn does not terminate the membership in the home Meeting. Friends who find that their stay will be prolonged beyond a year should seriously consider transferring their membership. When a minute of sojourn has been accepted, the Friend may participate fully in the visited Meeting, although their primary financial responsibility and their membership statistics remain with the home Meeting. Meetings care for sojourning members as they do their own. Decisions made and the consequences of those decisions remain the responsibility of the members of each Meeting. A sojourning membership terminates when the sojourner leaves the visited Meeting, whose Clerk should notify the home Meeting.

membership of isolated friends: Occasionally, a person who lives far from any Meeting or other Friends may seek membership. When a Meeting is willing to make a genuine, practical and lasting commitment to maintaining supportive contact, membership may be appropriate. When a Friend who is a Member of a Meeting moves to an isolated area, they and the home Meeting should try to locate a Meeting in that area. Membership in the Wider Quaker Fellowship† is an alternative way to obtain continual contact with Quaker thought and activity. FWCC accepts applications for membership in the Religious Society of Friends from isolated Friends worldwide through the London office.

dual membership: Meetings want to contribute to the wellbeing and health of all those who attend. For this reason, applicants are asked to be certain that they are whole-hearted in joining the Religious Society of Friends.Membership in another religious body, or even in another Yearly or Monthly Meeting, is difficult to maintain. Therefore, dual Membership is discouraged. There may be occasions when, for personal or family reasons, a person finds it essential to maintain membership elsewhere. In such a case, the individual Meeting may be willing to accept such a person into membership. The Friend would have the full responsibilities of membership in both congregations. When a member of the Meeting feels drawn to join another religious organization, the Meeting should labor with that member to determine an appropriate resolution.

applicants from preparative meetings and worship groups: When an attender of a Preparative Meeting or Worship Group wishes to become a member of the Religious Society of Friends, he or she does so by applying for membership in the overseeing Monthly Meeting, following the procedure outlined above. It may be difficult to consult if the two Meetings are a considerable distance apart, but such an application can provide an impetus for contact between the two groups involved in the process. Ideally, the clearness committee should include members from both the Preparative and the overseeing Monthly Meeting. It is important for the clearness committee to arrange sufficient time for satisfactory visits with the applicant. In the early stages of a Preparative Meeting, most of the responsibility for membership applications lies with the overseeing Meeting. As the group grows, its responsibility increases, but only the Monthly Meeting can accept members. The Overseers of the Monthly Meeting may ask the Preparative Meeting’s Oversight Committee to comment on a membership application. When it becomes a Monthly Meeting, the new Clerk sends to the former overseeing Meeting a list of all who wish to transfer their memberships to the new Meeting. These transfers are made promptly without the usual visiting committees.

 

† A program of the Friends World Committee for Consultation.