"What does it mean to be a member?"
What unites Quakers is our belief that there is a sacred aspect, or "that of God," in all people. We believe that all of us can be ministers, without formal ordination. We believe that each of us can hold a measure of the Light or the Truth; that together we discern a fuller understanding of Truth. Our belief in continuing revelation means that Truth is continuing to emerge in this day and time, rather than having been completely revealed at some past time in history.
Several commonly held "testimonies," beliefs based in our experience about how we are called to put our faith into practice in our daily lives, are the result of our belief in that of God in everyone. The Peace Testimony holds that violence is not acceptable. We believe that no one is our enemy or beyond redemption. We do not elevate one gender above the other, or one race above another, but accord equal respect, privilege and responsibility to all. We strive to live simply, so that we may not be distracted from the Spirit, so we may be good stewards of the Earth's resources, and so these resources may be sustained and equitably shared.
We value and provide opportunities for learning, as a means of nurturing spiritual potential, and to ensure that no one is held back for lack of access to education. We strive to maintain integrity in our inner and outer lives -- in our spiritual journeys, work, and family responsibilities. We see membership in our meeting as a covenant with God and a covenant among ourselves. In this covenant, each member shares the responsibility of helping to build and maintain a meeting community.
We hold no expectations of a shared definition of the Mystery that is God, and we rejoice in the wide variety of ways in which we come to understand that Spirit.
We consider four components integral to our commitment as members:
- Business of the Meeting
- Committee work
- Financial responsibilities
We see the participation of our adult members on an active, day-to-day basis as vital to the health of our community and our witness to the life of the Spirit.
A person considering membership can become acquainted with the Meeting by attending Meeting for Worship over a period of months and getting to know members of the Meeting. You might also become involved by attending coffee hour following Meeting for Worship, getting on the Meeting mailing list, joining in Meeting projects and responsibilities such as helping with coffee hour, joining the Attenders Committee, and meeting with other open committees. We consider it vital to read Faith and Practice and other Quaker literature.
A guide and a complete statement on being a member are available in our free Attenders Packets, which you will find at the Welcome Table during coffee hour following Meeting for Worship. The Attenders Packet also includes a list of informative reading about Friends.