The Live Oak Friends Meeting Handbook is our best attempt, based on the discernment and experience of Friends, to set down guidelines for sharing the life and work of the meeting. These guidelines are merely human devices designed to aid us in living in a way that points to Truth. Followed legalistically with no opening to the Light, these guidelines will certainly result in strife and discord. Followed with love, always checked and revised by the continuing revelation of the Light as discerned by the meeting, these procedures will assist Friends to live in the Life that takes away the occasion of all strife.
Live Oak Friends Meeting began in 1954 with a small group of worshippers that met together in homes. As we grew, we began meeting in larger spaces until we built our own Meetinghouse in the late 1990’s. We have developed from a group that could do business as a committee of the whole to a group that works together through functional committees that report to--and are guided by--our meeting for worship with attention to business. In that process, we seek the guidance of Spirit to insure that our decisions and actions honor the fundamental Quaker belief that there is "that of God in everyone." We strive to remain mindful of this, listening, looking for and responding to ‘that of God’ in each other as we worship together, conduct business together, do committee work together. We try to test our leadings and decisions against the Quaker testimonies of integrity, equality, simplicity, peace, community and stewardship. We also rely on Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice for guidance when we are unclear about how to proceed.
We have often had cause to remember how blessed we are by the continuing presence of Friends who have been with the meeting from its early days. From time to time we have been able to ask these Friends about meeting practice and about the origins or purposes of particular procedures. This common understanding was tried and tested as we worked together, alongside those who were not part of our community, to construct a new meetinghouse. Because of the challenges we lived through during this effort, we came to a lived understanding of the importance of clear processes and procedures to the peace and unity of our community. See the various sections in the files below.
As times and situations change, we recognize that this Handbook will need revision. Nominating Committee is currently in charge of shepherding the various committees and others in keeping the Handbook up to date with current policies and practices. More details can be found in the Nominating Committee description in the Committees chapter.
We unite with the spirit of those elders of our religious society who met together at Balby in 1656 and concluded their epistle of advices with the following postscript:
“Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided; and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”