Section 1: Historical Statement
Section 2: George Foxs Letter
Section 3: Richmond Declaration of Faith
Section 1: The Church
Section 2: The Friends
Section 3: Essential Truths
Section 4: Spiritual Gifts
Section 5: Questions for Spiritual Growth
Questions for Ministry & Oversight
Section 6: The Advices
Article 1 - IDEALS
Chapter I - Government
Section 1: The Church as a Society
Section 2: Equality of Rights
Section 3: Waiting for Guidance
Section 4: Friends Methods
Section 5: Tenure of Office
Chapter II - Membership
Section 6: Adult Members
Section 7: Junior Members
Section 8: Affiliate Members
Chapter III - Meetings
Section 9: Worship
Section 10: Business
Section 11: Christian Nurture
Chapter IV - Goals
Section 12: Eldering
Section 13: Stewardship
Section 14: Ministry
Article 2 -THE MONTHLY MEETING
Chapter I - Organization and Functions
Section 15: Organization and Duties
Section 16: Special Business Meetings
Section 17: Appointment of Officers
Section 18: Duties of Officers
A. Presiding Clerk
B. Assistant Presiding Clerk
C. Recording Clerk
E. Other Officers
F. Other Duties of Officers
Section 19: Tenure of Office
Section 20: Annual Audit
Section 21: Trustees
Section 22: Records
Section 23: Statistical Secretary
Section 24: Ownership of Property
Section 25: Appointments to Yearly Meeting
Section 26 Appointments to Quarterly Meeting
Chapter II - Relation of the Monthly Meeting to Yearly Meeting
Section 27: Monthly Meeting Obligations
to Yearly Meeting
Section 28: Representatives
Chapter III - Relation of the Monthly Meeting to Quarterly Meeting
Section 29: Obligation to Quarterly
Section 30: Quarterly Meeting Attendance
Chapter IV - Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight
Section 31: Establishment
Section 32: Membership
Section 33: Additional Counsel
Section 34: Time of Meetings
Section 35: Duties
Section 36: Relations to Pastor
Section 37: Pastoral Arrangements
Section 38: Memorials
Section 39: Spiritual Evaluation
Section 40: Questions for Spiritual Growth in the Life of the Monthly Meeting
CHAPTER V - Committees of the Monthly Meeting
Section 41: Responsibilities
Section 42: Appointments
Section 43: Coordinating Committee
Section 44: Nominating Committee
Section 45: Evangelism and Outreach Committee
Section 46: Christian Education Committee
Section 47: Missions Committee
Section 48: Peace and Christian Social Concerns Committee
Section 49: Stewardship and Finance Committee
Section 50: Communications and Publications Committee
Section 51: Other Committees
Section 52: Auxiliary Organizations
Chapter VI - Monthly Meetings with Pastors
Section 53: Qualifications of
Section 54: The Pastor and the Monthly Meeting
Section 55: The Pastor and the Community
Section 56: The Pastor and the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight
Section 57: The Pastor and Committees
Chapter VII - Monthly Meetings Without Pastors
Chapter VIII - New Meetings: Gatherings for Worship, Sponsored Meetings, and Preparative Meetings
Section 58: Gatherings for Worship
Section 59: Sponsoring Gatherings for Worship
Section 60: Monthly Meeting as Sponsor
Section 61: Quarterly Meeting as Sponsor
Section 62: Yearly Meeting as Sponsor
Section 63: Establishing Preparative Meetings
Section 64: Action by the Yearly Meeting
Section 65: Superintendent's Responsibility
Chapter IX - Procedures for Membership
Section 66: Faith as a Basis for
Section 67: Application
Section 68: Steps to Membership
Section 69: Junior Membership
Section 70: Junior to Adult
Section 71: Guidelines for Continuing Membership
Section 72: Transfer to Other Friends Meetings
Section 73: Joining Other Denominations
Section 74: Letters from Other Denominations
Section 75: Membership Records
Section 76: Resignation
Section 77: Forfeiture
Section 78: Discontinuance
Chapter X - Discipline
Section 79: Dealing with Problems
Section 80: Dismissal
Chapter XI - Right of Appeal
Section 81: Procedures
Chapter XII - Marriage Under the Care of the Monthly Meeting
Section 82: Significance
Section 83: Declaration of Intentions
Section 84: Monthly Meeting Action
Section 85: When One is Not a Member
Section 86: Non-members
Section 87: Oversight of Marriage
Section 88: Marriage in Monthly Meeting
Section 89: Certificate
Section 90: Minister Assisting
Chapter XIII - Marriage with Minister Participating
Section 91: A Monthly Meeting's
Section 92: Advice to Ministers
Section 93: Counseling
Section 94: Marriage Service
Chapter XIV - Special Minutes
Section 95: Minutes for Service
Section 96: Minutes for Travel
Article 3 - QUARTERLY MEETINGS
Chapter I - Organization and Function
Section 97: Membership
Section 98: Appointment and Duties of Officers
A. Presiding Clerk
B. Recording Clerk
Section 99: Appointments to Yearly
Section 100: Committees of the Quarterly Meeting
Section 101: Function of the Quarterly Meeting
Section 102: Frequency of Meetings
Section 103: Relations to Yearly Meeting
Chapter II - Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight
Section 104: Membership
Section 105: Frequency of Meetings
Section 106: Duties
Article 4 - YEARLY MEETING
Chapter I - Organization and Function
Section 107: Membership
Section 108: Order and Authority
Section 109: Officers
Section 110: Duties of Officers
A. Presiding Clerk
B. Assistant Presiding Clerk
C. Recording Clerk
D. Assistant Recording Clerk
E. Reading Clerk
G. Assistant Treasurer
H. Other Duties of Officers
Chapter II - The Representative Council
Section 111: Jurisdiction
Section 112: Membership
Section 113: Frequency of Meeting
Section 114: Duties
Chapter III - Executive Committee
Section 115: Membership
Section 116: Duties
Section 117: Meetings of the Executive Committee
Chapter IV - Trustees
Section 118: Membership
Section 119: Officers
Section 120: Meetings
Section 121: Duties
Chapter V - Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight
Section 122: Membership
Section 123: Officers
Section 124: Duties
Chapter VI - Recording of Ministers of the Gospel
Section 125: Evidence of Gift
Section 126: Character and Qualifications
Section 127: Initial Procedure
Section 128: Final Procedure
Section 129: Discontinuance
Section 130: Disapproval
Section 131: Rescission
Section 132: Transfer
Section 133: Transfer From Other Denominations
Section 134: Pastors Who are Not Recorded
Section 135: Certification Cards
Chapter VII - Committees of the Yearly Meeting
Section 136: Purpose of Yearly
Section 137: Nominating Committee
Section 138: Evangelism and Outreach Committee
Section 139: Christian Education Committee
Section 140: Missions Committee
Section 141: Peace and Christian Social Concerns Committee
Section 142: Stewardship and Finance Committee
Section 143: Communications and Publications Committee
Section 144: Faith and Practice Review Committee
Section 145: Geoffrey Sawyer Scholarship Committee
Section 146: Appointments to Other Organizations
Section 147: Special Committees of the Yearly Meeting
Section 148: Auxiliary Organizations
Chapter VIII - Junior Yearly Meeting
Section 149: Purpose
Section 150: Program
Chapter IX - Young Friends Yearly Meeting
Section 151: Purpose
Section 152: Program
Chapter X - Miscellaneous
Section 153: Property of Discontinued
Section 154: Arrangements for Yearly Meeting
Section 155: Minute for Service
Section 156: Minute for Traveling Friends
Section 157: Relations to Other Yearly Meetings
APPENDIX TO FAITH AND PRACTICE
A. Application for Membership
B. Certificate of Membership
C. Membership Transfer Certificate
D. Letter of Transfer to Other Denominations
E. Forms of Affirmation
F. Certification for Pastors Who Are Not Recorded Ministers
G. Certification for Recorded Ministers
H. Certificate of Request for Marriage Under the Care of a Monthly Meeting
I. Marriage Vows Within a Meeting for Worship
J. Marriage Ceremony with Minister Participating
K. Marriage Certificate
L. Dedication Service for Infant
M. Dedication Certificate
N. Minute for Travel
O. Minute for Service
George Fox began his ministry in England in 1647. This was the culmination of his personal search for a real experience of God. As people responded to his call to restore primitive Christianity, a movement was started which became the Religious Society of Friends (generally called Quakers). The key concept was that each persons salvation is a personal matter between his or her own soul and God. Quakers carried this to its logical conclusion, insisting that salvation does not depend upon the intervention of the Church in any of its offices, or by any of its officers, in the administration of any rite, ordinance or ceremony whatsoever. Some of the other distinctive doctrines for which Friends have been known are acceptance of the Apostolic doctrines, that baptism of the Holy Spirit is the only true baptism, that true communion is the spiritual partaking of the body and blood of Jesus Christ by faith, and that the waging of war is incompatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ. These matters are presented under Essential Truths. The history of Friends is replete with the daily living out of these beliefs.
Early Friends religious beliefs were seen as a threat
to the religious and political establishment of the day. Refusal to take
oaths, refusal to remove their hats to superiors, the use of plain speech,
refusal of military service and the refusal to pay tithes for
the upkeep of the State-sponsored Church resulted in persecution and harassment. Quakers by the thousands were imprisoned; some became martyrs. Friends joined the migration to the New World in search of religious freedom. Ultimately, Friends established the colonies of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware where their respect for the immediacy of each individuals relationship with God established the principle of religious freedom for all.
Friends mostly settled on the eastern seaboard for religious freedom. As lands in the west opened up, Friends joined the migration westward for two basic reasons. First there was more land and wider opportunity. Second, Friends migrated away from states where slavery was established.
Between 1800 and 1860, thousands of Quakers came to the Ohio/Indiana region from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. By 1809, there were almost no Quakers left in either South Carolina or Georgia. In one case there is record of an entire meeting of South Carolina Friends migrating in one body. In early 1806, David Hoover explored what is now the Richmond, Indiana area the first of a steady stream of Friends. Among the first settlers were Jeremiah Cox and John Smith who supplied leadership for the community. In 1807, Friends along the Whitewater River, numbering eighty-four, began to meet in indulged meetings under the jurisdiction of West Branch Monthly Meeting in Ohio. In 1808, they built a log meeting house on land supplied by Jeremiah Cox. On September 30, 1809, Whitewater Monthly Meeting was set up with one hundred-seventy recorded members, and about thirty people whose certificates had not yet arrived. This was Indianas first established Monthly Meeting, but more would soon follow, as hundreds of Friends were coming from the East and South. During this time of rapid growth, hardly would a meeting become recognized as a Monthly Meeting, when it would be called upon to set off another meeting, generally, to the west and northwest.
In 1821, five Quarterly Meetings, (Miami, West Branch, Fairfield, Whitewater, and Blue River), made the request to divide Ohio Yearly Meeting into two Yearly Meetings. In 1820, the request was granted by Ohio, and Indiana Yearly Meeting held its first session on October 8, 1821. After Indiana Yearly Meeting was set apart by Ohio Yearly Meeting in 1820, Indiana Yearly Meeting had daughter Yearly Meetings of its own: Western Yearly Meeting in 1858, Iowa Yearly Meeting in 1863, Kansas in 1872, and Wilmington in 1892.
Indiana Yearly Meeting also played a role in the doctrinal evolution of Friends, not that basic doctrines changed, but religious and societal developments had an impact on Friends faith and practice. Conferences were held to help chart the course of Friends.
The first General Conference of the Yearly Meetings was held at Richmond, Indiana, in 1887, and was attended by delegates from London and Dublin Yearly Meetings, and from the Gurneyite Yearly Meetings on the American Continent1, except Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, which was unofficially represented. The result of this conference was the Richmond Declaration of Faith, which has served as a doctrinal guide for most Friends groups ever since. Afterwards, it was decided to hold similar conferences of the American Yearly Meetings every five years. They were held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1892 and 1897. At the conference in 1897 it was felt that a closer union of the Yearly Meeting would be desirable. A committee was appointed to further this purpose and a Constitution and Discipline were prepared. The Yearly Meetings that adopted this Constitution and Discipline became the Five Years Meeting, which was the precursor to Friends United Meeting. Indiana Yearly Meeting is a participating yearly meeting of Friends United Meeting.
1In the nineteenth century, American Friends split into three groups. The first separation, in the 1820s, divided Friends into Hicksite and Orthodox branches. Hicksite Friends stressed the centrality of the Inward Light. Orthodox Friends placed greater emphasis on the divinity of Christ and the authority of the Scriptures. In the 1840s and 1850s the Orthodox split into Gurneyite and Wilburite groups. Gurneyites, the larger group, argued that justification, or conversions, preceded sanctification, and were open to forming ties with non-Quakers in reform and philanthropic causes. Wilburites held to the eighteenth century Quaker belief that justification and sanctification were gradual, inseparable experiences, and feared ties with non-Quakers, even in good causes. Hicksite Friends were the forerunners of the present-day Friends General Conference. The descendants of the Wilburites are now known as Conservative Friends. The Gurneyites gave rise both to the Five Years Meeting and to Evangelical Friends International.
The establishment of Indiana Yearly Meeting did not
precede Friends activities in the area for the betterment of others. Even
before the Yearly Meeting was established, Friends were working to educate
and evangelize the Native Americans in the area. As Friends moved, they
set up schools for the education of their young as well. Friends schools
stressed the importance of teaching children, not subjects; and the building
of character, as well as developing
By the late 19th century, the Quaker academies had become widely known as models of educational excellence.
Indiana Yearly Meeting established a boarding school in 1847 that became Earlham College in 1859. The Earlham School of Religion was founded in 1960 to train leaders for Friends Meetings.
No history of Indiana Yearly Meeting is complete without attention to Friends involvement in efforts to end slavery. The abolition of slavery was an issue upon which all Friends in Indiana Yearly Meeting agreed. However, there was disagreement among Friends in Indiana over the method of emancipation. Many advocated a gradual emancipation of the slaves, or their return to Africa in colonies. This stance was not good enough for Levi Coffin. He, along with others, saw the institution of slavery so odious that they accepted expulsion by leaders of Indiana Yearly Meeting. They formed a separate Yearly Meeting rather than back down from their belief. They felt that the entire slave population of the South, totaling three million people, should be immediately and unconditionally freed. This split eventually healed and both parties reconciled. There were other Friends activists as well. Friends like Seth Hinshaw refused to sell slave-grown products, selling only goods that were produced by free labor. Walter Edgerton aided and encouraged established agencies in the South that purchased cotton produced by poor white farmers for resale in free labor stores. After the Civil War, Friends in Indiana continued acting on their concern for African-Americans by founding the Southland Institute near Helena, Arkansas. Here, African-American youth, both male and female, received an advanced grade of instruction and training, qualifying them to be teachers among their own people.
The Society of Friends, born out of George Foxs experience of the reality of the Living Christ, spread quickly throughout England. From there Friends reached out to nearly all the continents because of their missionary passion to share the possibility of this experience with everyone. Quakers were caught up in the missionary explosion of the latter part of the 19th and the early part of the 20th centuries, and were found carrying the Good News to several corners of the earth. English Friends established the first Quaker mission station in India in 1866. This was followed by American Friends, who started work in the Middle East in 1869, Jamaica in 1881, and Kenya in 1902. American Friends continued to establish mission endeavors in such places as Alaska, Central America, South America and the Far East.
Friends women in Indiana Yearly Meeting began home missionary work in 1866. In 1870 several Indiana Quakers established a Foreign Missionary Association, and a year later sent the first missionaries, Samuel and Gulielma Purdie, to Mexico. In 1873, the entire Yearly Meeting united in this work. Through its Missions Committee, the Yearly Meeting has continued its missionary emphasis to the present. Indiana Yearly Meeting proposed to the other yearly meetings in 1876 the formation of a central missionary board composed of representatives from all the yearly meetings. This board would have charge of the missionary work of American Friends. The yearly meetings considered this proposal at that time, but it was not accepted. However, it soon became apparent that several yearly meetings working together could support and encourage missionary work more effectively and efficiently. Thus, in 1894 the American Friends Board of Foreign Missions was formed to coordinate the outreach efforts of various yearly meetings. In 1964, this board was fully integrated into the structure of what is now the World Ministries Commission of Friends United Meeting.
Through the years many individuals from Indiana Yearly
Meeting have answered Gods imperative to go into all the world.
Besides our cooperative efforts with Friends United Meeting, Indiana Yearly
Meeting has developed other avenues of obedience to Gods call to missions.
Listed in chronological order, they are: Whites Residential and Family
Services, Inc., Associated Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs, United
Society of Friends Women International,
Friends Fellowship Community, Quaker Haven Camp, and Quaker Men International.
In 1850, spurred by a bequest of Josiah White, land was purchased for the purpose of establishing two (one in Iowa and one in Indiana) manual labor institutions which would accept boys and girls, regardless of color --- white, Indian or Negro. In 1861, the first children were accepted at Whites Institute near Wabash, Indiana. The emphasis at first was on special education for Native American children. Today children are referred from juvenile courts, social agencies, department of public welfare and other qualified sources. They are given education and work opportunities to equip them for independent living. There is a strong commitment to provide a solid spiritual base. To help carry out this ministry, Indiana Yearly Meeting supports a pastor at this facility. A Board of Trustees, appointed from Indiana Yearly Meeting, meets regularly with the superintendent to help advise and approve policies and action. Whites Institute was given its present name in 1993.
Friends historically have tried to protect the rights
of their neighbors wherever they have settled. Even before the establishment
of Indiana Yearly Meeting, Friends were involved in the lives of the Native
Americans within the region. At a Conference on Indian Concerns held in
Baltimore, Maryland, in 1867, a joint committee was formed with Indiana
Yearly Meeting as a member. This committee appealed to President Grant,
and in 1869 he asked Friends to recommend individuals to serve as Indian
Agents. Schools begun under the program were partially staffed and funded
by Friends. Although this arrangement with the government lasted only ten
years, the Associated Committee has continued its friendly concern. Its
interest expanded to include the establishment of meetings for worship in
the areas where Friends had served as Indian Agents. At present there are
Friends centers in Oklahoma, Iowa, and Alabama. Individuals from Indiana
Yearly Meeting have continued to show their concern and interest in this
missionary outreach by serving as workers at the centers and in official
capacities on the Executive Board of the
Committee. They also give active support through physical labor and financial aid.
In 1883, a 272 acre farm was bequeathed to Indiana Yearly Meeting as a home for aged women and ministers. Several years later the property was sold, the proceeds were placed in endowments, and the earnings were used to help aging Friends whose economic resources were inadequate to provide living expenses. These funds continue to express our care and concern for retired ministers and missionaries, and for others who have given their lives in service for Friends.
It wasnt until 1954 that a committee was created to explore the possibilities of building a home for the elderly. In 1958, Friends Fellowship Community, Inc., was formed and 25 acres of land were purchased in Richmond, Indiana. The first residents moved into the facility in 1965. Since then, additional facilities and services have been added. Friends Fellowship Community provides a home with many opportunities for fellowship, hobbies, and various programs. When residents are no longer independent, they have the assurance that their needs will continue to be met. A Board of Directors, named by Indiana Yearly Meeting, meets regularly to carry on this ministry.
Twenty-four acres of land in northern Indiana, located on Dewart Lake near Syracuse in Kosciusko County, were purchased in 1925 to provide camping opportunities for the youth of Indiana Yearly Meeting. In June 1925, the first camp was held for three days, with sixty-three attending. A concern for better planning led to the naming and incorporation of a Board of Directors in 1949. The following year Indiana Yearly Meeting sold half interest to Western Yearly Meeting, thus making it a joint venture. Each yearly meeting has equal representation on the Board. The first building, Beulah Lodge, was constructed in 1927 and was replaced by Quaker Hall in 1980. Additional buildings, facilities, and land have been added in an effort to keep pace with the needs of the camp.
Quaker Haven Camp provides camping and retreat opportunities for all ages of Indiana and Western Yearly Meetings. Many peoples lives are refreshed both spiritually and physically. The vision expressed in 1925 continues to thrive at Quaker Haven.
In the late 1940s men of Indiana Yearly Meeting
formed Quaker Men as an organization to more effectively meet the needs
of the Church and the world. Through the years this group has donated funds
and many hours of physical labor at Whites Residential and Family
Services, Inc., Quaker Haven Camp, the Friends centers for Native Americans
in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Iowa, and for other projects. For many years they
sponsored a Quaker Mens Gospel Team which ministered
throughout the Yearly Meeting. More recently a Friends Disaster Team has been organized to help communities following tornados, floods, and other disasters.
The living out of the Essential Truths by Friends in Indiana Yearly Meeting was demonstrated with efforts in opposing various wars and promoting peace; in pressuring for improving conditions for prisoners and the mentally ill. As an example, there were people like Charles and Rhoda Coffin, who proposed the reform school for boys in Plainfield, Indiana, and supplied the concern and force behind the reorganization of the Jeffersonville prison. As todays ministry becomes the history of tomorrow, each of us has a responsibility to write carefully our page of history as we follow Gods leading. We should keep in mind the accomplishments of generations of Friends, of whom then Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover wrote in 1921 to Indiana Yearly Meetings centennial, If we consider the comparatively microscopic numbers of Friends there are in the world, they have exerted a most extraordinary influence.
Approved by Indiana Yearly Meeting, 1995
We do own and believe in God, the only wise, omnipotent, and everlasting God, the Creator of all things both in heaven and in earth, and the Preserver of all that He hath made; who is God over all, blessed forever; to whom be all honor and glory, dominion, praise and thanksgiving, both now and forevermore.
And we own and believe in Jesus Christ, His beloved and only-begotten Son, in whom He is well pleased; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary; in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the express image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, by whom were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, principalities, or powers; all things were created by him. And we do own and believe that He was made a sacrifice for sin, who knew no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; that He was crucified for us in the flesh, without the gates of Jerusalem; and that He was buried, and rose again the third day by the power of His Father, for our justification; and that He ascended up into heaven, and now sitteth at the right hand of God. This Jesus, who was the foundation of the holy prophets and apostles, is our foundation; and we believe that there is no other foundation to be laid than that which is laid, even Christ Jesus; who tasted death for every man, shed His blood for all men and is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world according as John the Baptist testified of Him, when he said, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! (John 1:29). We believe that He alone is our Redeemer and Saviour, even the captain of our salvation, who saves us from sin, as well as from hell and the wrath to come, and destroys the devil and his works; he is the Seed of the woman that bruises the serpent's head, to wit, Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. He is (as the Scriptures of truth say of Him) our wisdom and righteousness, justification, and redemption; neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we may be saved. It is He alone who is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls: He is our Prophet, whom Moses long since testified of, saying, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you; and it shall come to pass, that every soul that will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people. (Acts 3:22,23.)
He it is that is now come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true. He rules in our hearts by His law of love and of life, and makes us free from the law of sin and death. We have no life, but of Him; for He is the quickening Spirit, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, by whose blood we are cleansed, and our consciences sprinkled from dead works, to serve the living God. He is our Mediator that makes peace and reconciliation between God offended and us offending; He being the Oath of God, the new covenant of light, life, grace and peace; the author and finisher of our faith. This Lord Jesus Christ, the heavenly man, the Emmanuel, God with us, we all own and believe in; He whom the high-priest raged against and said, He had spoken blasphemy; whom the priests and elders of the Jews took counsel together against and put to death; the same whom Judas betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, which the priests gave him as a reward for his treason; who also gave large money to the soldiers to broach a horrible lie, namely, That his disciples came and stole him away by night whilst they slept. After He was arisen from the dead, the history of the Acts of the Apostles sets forth how the chief priests and elders persecuted the disciples of this Jesus, for preaching Christ and His resurrection. This, we say, is that Lord Jesus Christ, whom we own to be our life and salvation.
Concerning the Holy Scriptures, we do believe that they were given forth by the Holy Spirit of God, through the holy men of God, who, as the Scripture itself declares, (2 Peter 1:21) spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. We believe they are to be read, believed, and fulfilled, and He that fulfills them is Christ; and they are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, (2 Timothy 3:16-17); and are able to make wise unto salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. And we do believe that the Scriptures are the words of God, for it is said, God spake all these words (Exodus 20:1) meaning the ten commandments given forth upon Mount Sinai; and saith John, I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man addeth unto these and if any man shall take away from the words (not word) of the book, etc. (Revelation 22:18, 19). So in Luke 1:20, Because thou believest not my words and so in John 5:47; 15:7; 14:23; 12:47. So that we call the Scriptures, as Christ and the apostles called them, and as the holy men of God called them (viz.) the words not word of God.
Journal of George Fox, for 1671
(N.B. It should be understood that the quotations from Scripture are made from the Authorized Version unless stated to be from the Revised Version.)
It is under a deep sense of what we owe to Him who has loved us that we feel called upon to offer a declaration of those fundamental doctrines of Christian truth that have always been professed by our branch of the Church of Christ
We believe in one holy,1almighty,2 all-wise3 and everlasting4 God, the Father,5 the Creator6 and Preserver7 of all things; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, by whom all things were made,8 and by whom all things consist;9 and in one Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son,10 the Reprover11 of the world, the Witness for Christ,12 and the Teacher,13 Guide,14 and Sanctifier15 of the people of God; and that these three are one in the eternal Godhead;16 to whom be honor, praise, and thanksgiving, now and forever. Amen.
1Isaiah 6:3, 57:15; 2Genesis 17:1; 3Romans 11:33, 16:27; 4Psalms 90:1,2; 5Matthew 11:25-27; 6Genesis 1:1; 7Job 7:20; 8John 1:3; 9Colossians :17; 10John 15:26; 16:7; 11John 16:8; 12John 15:26; 13John 14:26; 14John 16:13; 15II Thessalonians 2:13; 16Matthew 28:19; John 10:30, 17:21
It is with reverence and thanksgiving that we profess our unwavering allegiance to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.1 In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.2 He is the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world;3 through whom the light of truth in all ages has proceeded from the Father of lights.4 He is the eternal Word5 who was with God and was God, revealing Himself in infinite wisdom and love, both as man's Creator and Redeemer; for by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible. 6Conceived of the Holy Ghost,7 born of the virgin Mary,8 the word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst men.9 He came in the fullness10 of the appointed time, being verily foreordained before the foundation of the world11 that He might fulfill12 the eternal counsel of the righteousness and love of God for the redemption of man.13 In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.14 Though He was rich, yet, for our sakes, He became poor, veiling in the form of a servant,15 the brightness of His glory, that, through Him the kindness and love of God 16 toward man might appear in a manner every way suited to our wants and finite capacities. He went about doing good;17 for us He endured18 sorrow, hunger, thirst, weariness,19 pain, unutterable anguish20 of body and of soul, being in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.21 Thus humbling himself that we might be exalted, He emphatically recognized the duties and the sufferings of humanity as among the means whereby, through the obedience of faith, we are to be disciplined for heaven, sanctifying them to us, by Himself performing and enduring them, leaving us the one perfect example22 of all righteousness23 in self-sacrificing love. But not only in these blessed relations must the Lord Jesus be ever precious to His people. In Him is revealed as true God and perfect man,24 a Redeemer, at once able to suffer and almighty to save. He became obedient25 unto death, even the death of the cross, and is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world;26 in whom we have redemption through His blood,27 the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace. It is our joy to confess that the remission of sins which any partake of is only in and by virtue of His most satisfactory sacrifice and no otherwise.28 He was buried and rose again the third day29 according to the Scriptures, becoming the first fruits30 of them that sleep, and having shown Himself alive after His passion, by many infallible proofs,31 He ascended into heaven, and hath sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, now to appear in the presence of God for us.32 With the apostles who beheld His ascension, we rest in the assurance of the angelic messengers, This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.33 With the apostle John, we would desire to unite in the words Amen; even so, come, Lord Jesus.34 And now, whilst thus watching and waiting, we rejoice to believe that He is our King and Savior. He is the one Mediator of the new and everlasting covenant,35 who makes peace and reconciliation between God offended and man offending;36 the great High Priest whose priesthood is unchangeable.37 He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.38 All power is given unto Him in heaven and in earth.39 By Him the world shall be judged in righteousness;40 for the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.41 All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil until the resurrection of judgment.42
We reverently confess and believe that divine honor and worship are due to the Son of God, and that He is in true faith to be prayed unto, and His name to be called upon, as the Primitive Christians did because of the glorious oneness of the Father and the Son; and that we cannot acceptably offer prayers and praises to God, nor receive from Him a gracious answer or blessing, but in and through his dear Son.43
We would, with humble thanksgiving, bear an especial testimony to our Lord's perpetual dominion and power in His church. Through Him the redeemed in all generations have derived their light, their forgiveness, and their joy. All are members of this church, by whatsoever name they may be called among men, who have been baptized by the one Spirit into the one body; who are builded as living stones upon Christ, the Eternal Foundation, and are united in faith and love in that fellowship which is with the Father and with the Son. Of this church the Lord Jesus Christ is the alone Head.44 All its true members are made one in Him. They have washed their robes and made them white in His precious blood,45 and He has made them priests unto God and His Father.46 He dwells in their hearts by faith, and gives them of his peace. His will is their law, and in Him they enjoy the true liberty, a freedom from the bondage of sin.
1John 1:18; 2John 1:4; 3John 1:9; 4James 1:17; 5John 1:1; 6Colossians 1:13-16; 7Matthew 1:20; 8Matthew 1:23-25, Luke 1:35; 9John 1:14; 10 Galatians 4:4; 11I Peter 1:20; 12Isaiah 11:1-5, Isaiah 52:13-15; 13Isaiah 53; 14Colossians 2:9; 15Philippians 2:7; 16Titus 3:4; 17Acts 10:38; 18Isaiah 3:4, Luke 12:50, Luke 19:41, 22:44; 19John 4:6; 20Luke 22:43, 44; 21Hebrews 4:15; 22I Peter 2:21; 23Matthew 3:15; 24Ephesians 4:13; 25Philippians 2:8; 26I John 2:2; 27Ephesians 1:7; 28Barclay's Apology, Propos.5 and 6 par. 15, p. 141; 29I Corinthians 15:4; 30I Corinthians 15:23; 31Acts 1:3; 32Hebrews 1:3, 9:24; 33Acts 1:11, and see 5:7; 34Revelation 22:20; 35I Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 9:15; 36George Fox's Epistle to the Governor of Barbados; 37Hebrews 4:14, 7:24; 38Hebrews 7:25; 39Matthew 28:18; 40Acts 17:31; 41John 5:22,23; 42John 5:28,29 R.V.; 43Declaration of 1693, in Sewell's History, vol. II., 379; 44 Ephesians 1:22; 45Revelation 7:14; 46Revelation 1:6
We believe that the Holy Spirit is, in the unity of the eternal Godhead, one with the Father and with the Son.1 He is the comforter Whom, saith Christ, the Father will send in my name.2 He convinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment 3 He testifies of and glorifies Jesus.4 It is the Holy Spirit who makes the evil manifest. He quickens them that are dead in trespasses and sins, and opens the inward eye to behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.5 Coming in the name and with the authority of the risen and ascended Savior; He is the precious pledge of the continued love and care of our exalted King. He takes of the things of Christ and shows them, as a realized possession, to the believing soul.6 Dwelling in the hearts of believers,7 He opens their understandings that they may understand the Scriptures, and becomes, to the humbled and surrendered heart, the Guide, Comforter, Support, and Sanctifier.
We believe that the essential qualification for the Lord's service is bestowed upon His children through the reception and baptism of the Holy Ghost. This Holy Spirit is the seal of reconciliation to the believer in Jesus,8 the witness to his adoption into the family of the redeemed;9 the earnest and the foretaste of the full communion and perfect joy which are reserved for them that endure unto the end.
We own no principle of spiritual light, life or holiness, inherent by nature in the mind or heart of man. We believe in no principle of spiritual light, life or holiness, but the influence of the Holy Spirit of God, bestowed on mankind, in various measures and degrees, through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is the capacity to receive this blessed influence, which, in an especial manner, gives man preeminence above the beasts that perish; which distinguishes him, in every nation and in every clime, as an object of the redeeming love of God; as a being not only intelligent but responsible; for whom the message of salvation through our crucified Redeemer is, under all possible circumstances, designed to be a joyful sound. The Holy Spirit must ever be distinguished, both from the conscience which He enlightens, and from the natural faculty of reason, which when unsubjected to His Holy influence, is, in the things of God, very foolishness. As the eye is to the body, so is the conscience to our inner being, the organ by which we see; and, as both light and life are essential to the eye, so conscience, as the inward eye, cannot see aright, without the quickening and illumination of the Spirit of God. One with the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit can never disown or dishonor our once crucified and now risen and glorified Redeemer. We disavow all professed illumination or spirituality that is divorced from faith in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, crucified for us without the gates of Jerusalem.
1Matthew 28:19, II Corinthians 13:14; 2John 14:26; 3John 16:8; 4John 16:14; 5Ephesians 2:1; 6John 16:14; 7John 16:17; 8Ephesians 1:13,14; Romans 8:15,16
It has ever been, and still is, the belief of the Society of Friends that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God; that, therefore, there can be no appeal from them to any other authority whatsoever; that they are able to make wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Jesus Christ. These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.1 The Scriptures are the only divinely authorized record of the doctrines which we are bound, as Christians, to accept, and of the moral principles which are to regulate our actions. No one can be required to believe, as an article of faith, any doctrine which is not contained in them; and whatsoever any one says or does, contrary to the Scriptures, though under profession of the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit, must be reckoned and accounted a mere delusion. To the Christian, the Old Testament comes with the solemn and repeated attestation of his Lord. It is to be read in the light and completeness of the New; thus will its meaning be unveiled, and the humble disciple will be taught to discern the unity and mutual adaptation of the whole, and the many-sidedness and harmony of its testimony to Christ. The great Inspirer of Scripture is ever its true Interpreter. He performs this office in condescending love, not by superseding our understandings, but by renewing and enlightening them. Where Christ presides, idle speculation is hushed; His doctrine is learned in the doing of His will, and all knowledge ripens into a deeper and richer experience of His truth and love.
It pleased God, in His wisdom and goodness, to create
man out of dust of the earth, and to breathe into his nostrils the breath
of life, so that man became a living soul; formed after the image and likeness
of God, capable of fulfilling the divine law, and of holding communion with
his Maker.1 Being free to obey, or to disobey, he fell into transgression,
through unbelief, under the temptation of Satan,2 and, thereby, lost that
spiritual life of righteousness, in which he was created; and, so, death
passed upon him, as the inevitable consequence of his sin.3 As the children
of fallen Adam, all mankind bear his image. They partake of his nature,
and are involved in the consequences of his fall. To every member of every
successive generation, the words of the Redeemer are alike applicable, Ye
must be born again.4 But while we hold these views of the lost condition
of man in the fall, we rejoice to believe that sin is not imputed to any,
until they transgress the divine law, after sufficient capacity has been
given to understand it; and that infants, though inheriting this fallen
nature, are saved in the infinite mercy of God through the
redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
1Genesis 2:7, 1:26; 27; 2Genesis 3:1- 7; 3Romans 5:12; 4John 3:7.
God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth Him should not perish, but have everlasting
life.1 We believe that justification is of God's free grace, through
which, upon repentance and faith, He pardons our sins, and imparts to us
a new life. It is received, not for any works of righteousness that we have
done,2 but in the unmerited mercy of God in Christ Jesus. Through faith
in Him, and the shedding of His precious blood, the guilt of sin
is taken away, and we stand reconciled to God. The offering up of Christ as the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, is the appointed manifestation both of the righteousness and of the love of God. In this propitiation the pardon of sin involves no abrogation or relaxation of the law of holiness. It is the vindication and
establishment of the law,3 in virtue of the free and righteous submission of the Son of God himself to all its requirements. He, the unchangeably just, proclaims Himself the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.4 From age to age, the sufferings and death of Christ have been a hidden mystery, and a rock of offense to the unbelief and pride of man's fallen nature; yet, to the humble penitent whose heart is broken under the convicting power of the Spirit, life is revealed in that death. As he looks upon Him who was wounded for our transgressions,5 and upon whom the Lord was pleased to lay the iniquity of us all,6 his eye is more and more opened to see, and his heart to understand, the exceeding sinfulness of sin for which the Savior died; whilst, in the sense of pardoning grace, he will joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.7
We believe that in connection with Justification is Regeneration: that they who come to this experience know that they are not their own,8 that being reconciled to God by the death of His Son, we are saved by His life;9 a new heart is given and new desires; old things are passed away, and we become new creatures,10 through faith in Christ Jesus; our will being surrendered to His holy will, grace reigns through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.11
Sanctification is experienced in the acceptance of Christ in living faith for justification, in so far as the pardoned sinner, through faith in Christ, is clothed with a measure of His righteousness and receives the Spirit of promise; for, as saith the Apostle, Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.12 We rejoice to believe that the provisions of God's grace are sufficient to deliver from the power, as well as from the guilt, of sin, and to enable His believing children always to triumph in Christ.13 How full of encouragement is the declaration, According to your faith be it unto you.14 Whosoever submits himself wholly to God, believing and appropriating His promises, and exercising faith in Christ Jesus, will have his heart continually cleansed from all sin, by His precious blood, and, through the renewing, refining power of the Holy Spirit, be kept in conformity to the will of God, will love Him with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength, and be able to say, with the Apostle Paul, The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.15 Thus, in its full experience, Sanctification is deliverance from the pollution, nature, and love of sin. To this we are every one called, that we may serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.16 It was the prayer of the apostle for the believers, The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you who also will do it.17 Yet the most holy Christian is still liable to temptation, is exposed to the subtle assaults of Satan, and can only continue to follow holiness as he humbly watches unto prayer, and is kept in constant dependence upon his Savior, walking in the light,18 in the loving obedience of faith.
1John 3:16; 2Titus 3:5; 3Romans 3:31; 4Romans 3:26; 5Isaiah 53:5; 6Isaiah 53:6; 7 Romans 5:11; 8I Corinthians 6:19; 9Romans 5:10; 10II Corinthians 5:17; 11Romans 5:21; 12I Corinthians 6:11; 13II Corinthians 2:14; 14Matthew 9:29; 15Rommans 8:2; 16Luke 1:74, 75; 17I Thessalonians 5: 23, 24; 18I John 1:7
We believe, according to the Scriptures, that there shall be a resurrection from the dead, both of the just and of the unjust,1 and that God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ whom He hath ordained.2 For, as saith the apostle, We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.3
We sincerely believe, not only a resurrection in Christ from the fallen and sinful state here, but a rising and ascending into glory with Him hereafter; that when He at last appears we may appear with Him in glory. But that all the wicked, who live in rebellion against the light of grace, and die finally impenitent, shall come forth to the resurrection of condemnation. And that the soul of every man and woman shall be reserved, in its own distinct and proper being, and shall have its proper body as God is pleased to give it. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body;4 that being first which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. And though it is said, this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality,5 the change shall be such as will accord with the declaration, Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.6 We shall be raised out of all corruption and corruptibility, out of all mortality, and shall be the children of God, being the children of resurrection.7
Our citizenship8 is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.9 We believe that the punishment of the wicked and the blessedness of the righteous shall be everlasting; according to the declaration of our compassionate Redeemer, to whom the judgment is committed, These shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.10
1Acts 24:15; 2Acts 27:31; 3II Corinthians 5:10; 4I Corinthians 15:44; 5I Corinthians 15:53; 6I Corinthians 15:50; 7Luke 20:36 (See also Declaration of 1693, Sewell's History, vol. II, 383-384); 8(R.V.); 9Philippians 3:20, 21; 10R.V., Matthew 25:46.
We would express our continued conviction that our
Lord appointed no outward rite or ceremony for observance in His church.
We accept every command of our Lord in what we believe to be its genuine
import, as absolutely conclusive. The question of the use of outward ordinances
is with us a question, not as to the authority of Christ, but as to his
real meaning. We reverently believe that, as there is one Lord and one faith,
so there is, under the Christian dispensation, but one baptism,1 even that
whereby all believers are baptized in the one Spirit into the one body.2
This is not an outward baptism with water, but a spiritual experience; not
the putting away of the filth of the flesh,3 but that inward work which,
by transforming the heart and settling the soul upon Christ, brings forth
the answer of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus
Christ, in the experience of His love and power, as the risen and ascended
Savior. No baptism in outward water can satisfy the description of the apostle,
of being buried with Christ by baptism unto death.4 It is with the Spirit
alone that any can thus be baptized. In this experience the announcement
of the Forerunner of our Lord is fulfilled, He shall baptize you with
the Holy Ghost and with fire.5 In this view we accept the commission
of our blessed Lord as given in Matthew 28: 18, 19 and 20th verses: And
Jesus came to them and spake unto them saying, All authority hath been given
unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of
all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I
commanded you, and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world
(R.V.). This commission, as we believe, was not designed to set up a new
ritual under the new covenant, or to connect the initiation into a membership,
in its nature essentially spiritual, with a mere ceremony of a typical character.
Otherwise it was not possible for the Apostle Paul, who was not a whit behind
the very chieftest apostle,6 to have disclaimed that which would, in that
case, have been of the essence of his commission when he wrote, Christ
sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.7 Whenever an external
ceremony is commanded, the particulars, the mode and incidents of that ceremony,
become of its essence. There is an utter absence of these particulars in
the text before us, which confirms our persuasion that the commission must
be construed in connection with the spiritual power which the risen Lord
promised should attend the witness of his apostles and of the church to
Him, and which, after Pentecost, so mightily accompanied their ministry
of the word and prayer, that those to whom they were sent were introduced
into an experience wherein they had a saving knowledge of, and living fellowship
with, the Father and the Son and the Holy
1Ephesians 4:4,5; 2I Corinthians 12:13, R.V.; 3I Peter 3:21; 4Romans 6:4; 5Matthew 3:11; 6II Corinthians 11:5; 7I Corinthians 1:77
Intimately connected with the conviction already expressed is the view that we have ever maintained as to the true supper of the Lord. We are well aware that our Lord was pleased to make use of a variety of symbolical utterances, but He often gently upbraided His disciples for accepting literally what He had intended only in its spiritual meaning. His teaching, as in His parables or in the command to wash one another's feet, was often in symbols, and ought ever to be received in the light of His own emphatic declaration, The words that I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life.1 The old covenant was full of ceremonial symbols; the new covenant, to which our Savior alluded at the last supper, is expressly declared by the prophet to be not according to the old. 2 We cannot believe that in setting up this new covenant the Lord Jesus intended an institution out of harmony with the spirit of this prophecy. The eating of His body and the drinking of His blood cannot be an outward act. They truly partake of them who habitually rest upon the sufferings and death of their Lord as their only hope, and to whom the indwelling Spirit gives to drink of the fullness that is in Christ. It is this inward and spiritual partaking that is the true supper of the Lord.
The presence of Christ with His church is not designed to be by symbol or representation, but in the real communication of His own Spirit. I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever,3 convincing of sin, testifying of Jesus, taking of the things of Christ, this blessed Comforter communicates to the believer and to the church, in a gracious, abiding manifestation, the REAL PRESENCE of the Lord. As the great remembrancer, through whom the promise is fulfilled, He needs no ritual or priestly intervention in bringing to the experience of the true commemoration and communion. Behold, saith the risen Redeemer, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and will sup with him and he with me.4 In an especial manner, when assembled for congregational worship, are believers invited to the festival of the Savior's peace, and, in a united act of faith and love, unfettered by any outward rite or ceremonial, to partake together of the body that was broken and of the blood that was shed for them, without the gates of Jerusalem. In such a worship they are enabled to understand the words of the apostle as expressive of a sweet and most real experience: The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread. 5
1John 6:63; 2Jeremiah 31:32, Hebrews 8:9; 3John 14:16; 4Revelation 3:20; 5ICorinthians 10:16-17
Worship is the adoring response of the heart and mind to the influence of the Spirit of God. It stands neither in forms nor in the formal disuse of forms: it may be without words as well as with them, but it must be in spirit and in truth.1 We recognize the value of silence, not as an end, but as a means toward the attainment of the end; a silence, not of listlessness or of vacant musing, but of holy expectation before the Lord. Having become His adopted children through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is our privilege to meet together and unite in the worship of Almighty God, to wait upon Him for the renewal of our strength, for communion one with another, for the edification of believers in the exercise of various spiritual gifts, and for the declaration of the glad tidings of salvation to the unconverted who may gather with us. This worship depends not upon numbers. Where two or three are gathered together in the name of Christ there is a church, and Christ, the living Head, in the midst of them. Through His mediation without the necessity for any inferior instrumentality, is the Father to be approached and reverently worshiped. The Lord Jesus has forever fulfilled and ended the typical and sacrificial worship under the law, by the offering up of Himself upon the cross for us, once for all. He has opened the door of access into the inner sanctuary, and graciously provided spiritual offerings for the service of His temple, suited to the several conditions of all who worship in spirit and in truth. The broken and the contrite heart, the confession of the soul prostrate before God, the prayer of the afflicted when he is overwhelmed, the earnest wrestling of the spirit, the outpouring of humble thanksgiving, the spiritual song and melody of the heart,2 the simple exercise of faith, the self denying service of love, these are among the sacrifices which He, our merciful and faithful High Priest, is pleased to prepare, by His Spirit, in the hearts of them that receive Him, and to present with acceptance unto God.
By the immediate operations of the Holy Spirit, He as the Head of the church, alone selects and qualifies those who are to present His messages or engage in other service for Him; and, hence, we cannot commit any formal arrangement to any one in our regular meetings for worship. We are well aware that the Lord has provided a diversity of gifts3 for the needs both of the church and of the world, and we desire that the church may feel her responsibility, under the government of her Great Head, in doing her part to foster these gifts, and in making arrangements for their proper exercise.
It is not for individual exaltation, but for mutual profit, that the gifts are bestowed;4 and every living church, abiding under the government of Christ is humbly and thankfully to receive and exercise them, in subjection to her Holy Head. The church that quenches the Spirit and lives to itself alone must die.
We believe the preachings of the Gospel to be one of the chief means, divinely appointed, for the spreading of the glad tidings of life and salvation through our crucified Redeemer, for the awakening and conversion of sinners, and for the comfort and edification of believers. As it is the prerogative of the Great Head of the church alone to select and call the ministers of His Gospel, so we believe that both the gift and the qualification to exercise it must be derived immediately from Him; and that, as in the primitive church, so now also, He confers spiritual gifts upon women as well as upon men, agreeably to the prophecy recited by the apostle Peter, It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.5 Respecting which the apostle declares, the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.6 As the gift is freely received so it is to be freely exercised,7 in simple obedience to the will of God.
Spiritual gifts, precious as they are, must not be mistaken for grace; they add to our responsibility, but do not raise the minister above his brethren or sisters. They must be exercised in continued dependence upon our Lord and blessed is that ministry in which man is humbled, and Christ and His grace exalted. He that is greatest among you, said our Lord and Master, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief as he that doth serve. I am among you as he that serveth.8
While the church cannot confer spiritual gifts, it is its duty to recognize and foster them, and to promote their efficiency by all the means in its power. And while, on the one hand, the Gospel should never be preached for money,9 on the other, it is the duty of the church to make such provision that it shall never be hindered for want of it.
The church, if true to her allegiance, cannot forget
her part in the command, Go ye into all the world, and preach the
Gospel to every creature.10 Knowing that it is the Spirit of God that
can alone prepare and qualify the instruments who fulfill this command,
the true disciple will be found still sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening
that he may learn, and learning that he may obey. He humbly places himself at his Lord's disposal, and, when he hears the call, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? is prepared to respond, in childlike reverence and love, Here am I, send me.11
1John 4:24; 2Ephesians 5:19; 3I Corinthians 12:4-6; 4I Corinthians 12:7; 5Acts 2:17; 6Acts 2:39; 7Matthew 10:8. See also Acts 20:33-35; 8Luke 2:26, 27; 9Acts 8:20, 20:33-35; 10Mark 16:15; 11Isaiah 6:8
Prayer is the outcome of our sense of need, and of our continual dependence upon God. He who uttered the invitation, Ask and it shall be given you,1 is himself the Mediator and High Priest who, by His Spirit, prompts the petition, and who presents it with the acceptance before God. With such an invitation, prayer becomes the duty and the privilege of all who are called by His name. Prayer is, in the awakened soul, the utterance of the cry, God be merciful to me a sinner,2 and, at every stage of the believer's course, prayer is essential to his spiritual life. A life without prayer is a life practically without God. The Christian's life is a continual asking. The thirst that prompts the petition produces, as it is satisfied, still deeper longings, which prepare for yet more bounteous supplies, from Him who delights to bless. Prayer is not confined to the closet. When uttered in response to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, it becomes an important part of public worship, and, whenever the Lord's people meet together in His name, it is their privilege to wait upon Him for the spirit of grace and supplications.3 A life of prayer cannot be other than a life of praise. As the peace of Christ reigns in the church, her living members accept all that they receive, as from His pure bounty, and each day brings them fresh pledges of their Father's love. Satisfied with the goodness of His house, whether as individuals, in families, or in congregations, they will be still praising Him,4 heart answering to heart, Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. 5
1Matthew 7:7; 2Luke 18:13; 3Zechariah 12:10; 4 Psalm 84:4; 5Psalm 103:1
That conscience should be free, and that in matters
of religious doctrine and worship man is accountable only to God, are truths
which are plainly declared in the New Testament; and which are confirmed
by the whole scope of the Gospel, and by the example of our Lord and His
disciples. To rule over the conscience, and to command the spiritual allegiance
of his creature man, is the high and sacred prerogative of God alone. In
religion every act ought to be free. A forced worship is
plainly a contradiction in terms, under that dispensation in which the worship of the Father must be in spirit and in truth.1
We have ever maintained that it is the duty of Christians to obey the enactments of civil government, except those which interfere with our allegiance to God. We owe much to its blessings. Through it we enjoy liberty and protection, in connection with law and order. Civil government is a divine ordinance,2 instituted to promote the best welfare of man, hence magistrates are to be regarded as God's ministers who should be a terror to evil doers and a praise to them that do well. Therefore, it is with us a matter of conscience to render them respect and obedience in the exercise of their proper functions.
1John 4:24; 2Romans 13:1, I Peter 2:13-16
Marriage is an institution graciously ordained by the Creator Himself, for the help and continuance of the human family. It is not a mere civil contract, and ought never to be entered upon without a reference to the sanction and blessing of Him who ordained it. It is a solemn engagement for the term of life,1 designed for the mutual assistance and comfort of both sexes, that they may be helpmeets to each other in things temporal and spiritual. To this end it should imply concurrence in spiritual as well as temporal concerns, and should be entered upon discreetly, soberly, and in the fear of the Lord.
1Matthew 19: 5,6
We feel bound explicitly to avow our unshaken persuasion
that all war is utterly incompatible with the plain precepts of our divine
Lord and Law-giver, and the whole spirit of His Gospel, and that no plea
of necessity or policy, however urgent or peculiar, can avail to release
either individuals or nations from the paramount allegiance which they owe
to Him who hath said, Love your enemies.1 In enjoining this
love, and the forgiveness of injuries, He who has bought us to Himself has
not prescribed for man precepts which are incapable of being carried into
practice, or of which the practice is to be postponed until all shall be
persuaded to act upon them. We cannot doubt that they are incumbent now,
and that we have in the prophetic Scriptures the distinct intimation of
their direct application not only to
individuals, but to nations also.2 When nations conform their laws to this divine teaching, wars must necessarily cease.
We would, in humility, but in faithfulness to our Lord, express our firm persuasion that all the exigencies of civil government and social order may be met under the banner of the Prince of Peace, in strict conformity with His commands.
1Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27; 2Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:1-3
We hold it to be the inalienable privilege of the disciple of the Lord Jesus that his statements concerning matters of fact within his knowledge should be accepted, under all circumstances, as expressing his belief as to the fact asserted. We rest upon the plain command of our Lord and Master, Swear not at all;1 and we believe any departure from this standard to be prejudicial to the cause of truth and to that confidence between man and man, the maintenance of which is indispensable to our mutual well being. This command, in our persuasion, applies not to profane swearing only, but to judicial oaths also. It abrogates any previous permission to the contrary, and is, for the Christian, absolutely conclusive.
Whilst the remembrance of our Creator ought to be at all times present with the Christian, we would express our thankfulness to our Heavenly Father that He has been pleased to honor the setting apart of one day in seven for the purposes of holy rest, religious duties, and public worship; and we desire that all under our name may avail themselves of this great privilege as those who are called to be risen with Christ, and to seek those things that are above where He sitteth at the right hand of God.1 May the release thus granted from other occupations be diligently improved. On this day of the week especially ought the households of Friends to be assembled for the reading of the Scriptures and for waiting upon the Lord; and we trust that, in a Christianly wise economy of our time and strength, the engagements of the day may be so ordered as not to frustrate the gracious provision thus made for us by our Heavenly Father, or to shut out the opportunity either for public worship or for private retirement and devotional reading.
In presenting this declaration of our Christian faith, we desire that all our members may be afresh encouraged, in humility and devotedness, to renewed faithfulness in fulfilling their part in the great mission of the Church, and through the Church to the world around us, in the name of our Crucified Redeemer. Life from Christ, life in Christ, must ever be the basis of life for Christ. For this we have been created and redeemed, and, by this alone, can the longings of our immortal souls be satisfied.
We recognize with profound sorrow that there is in
the world today a great drift of religious unsettlement, unconcern and unbelief.
We desire at this time to call our own membership to a deeper religious
life, a greater consecration of heart and will to God and a more positive
loyalty to the faith for which so many of our forerunners suffered and died.
We wish to reaffirm the statements and declarations of faith contained in
our Uniform Discipline, viz., The Essential Truths, The
Declaration of Faith issued by the Richmond conference in 1887 and
George Foxs Letter to the Governor of Barbados and we
urge upon all our membership to refresh their minds by a careful reading
of these documents which gather up and express the central truths for which
we stand, now as in the past. But we would further remind our membership
that our Christian faith involves more than the adoption and profession
of written statements however precious they may be. It stands and lives
only in free personal
loyalty and devotion to a living Christ and in an inward experience of His spiritual presence and power in the soul, making the facts of our religion as real and as capable of being soundly tested as are the facts of the physical universe. May Friends everywhere bear in their bodies the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Minutes of Five Years Meeting, 1922
1. The Church of Jesus Christ is composed of those
who have been spiritually born into the Kingdom of God through repentance
sins and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. Through the revelation, spiritual baptism, and power of the Holy Spirit in their
lives, they come to see Jesus Christ as their living Prophet, Priest and King and receive the power to resist temptation and to live in
obedience to Gods holy will.
2. A Christian denomination is an organization composed
of those who hold similar views of the teachings of the Holy Scriptures,
maintain certain practices based upon these teachings, and who voluntarily associate themselves for joint participation in worship,
for fellowship and mutual help, and for united effort in the promotion of truth and righteousness. Indiana Yearly Meeting of the Religious
Society of Friends is such a Christian denomination.
1902 Uniform Discipline, revised 1995
1. Friends recognize and emphasize the fundamental
and essential truth that Jesus Christ dwells in the hearts of those who
Him, and is the Head of the Church. As believers look to Christ for guidance their understandings are enlightened, they are enabled to do the will of God, and they are brought into unity with one another. The Head of the Church is pleased to confer upon each believer some special gift or gifts for service. Members have equal rights and privileges in the denomination, according to the gifts they have received and the degree of faithfulness in the exercise of them. Friends are therefore both theocratic and democratic in their government.
2. Positions in the organization relating to spiritual matters result from the official recognition of these gifts by the body rather than from appointment to office. Each member has duties to perform and responsibilities to meet, and the business of the organization is conducted in recognition of this equality of rank in the membership, with the further recognition of the special gifts.
3. There are no distinctions in the rights, privileges or responsibilities of the members because of gender.
4. The business of the organization is transacted in meetings for worship in which every member of the body is expected to participate in seeking the immediate guidance of the Head of the Church. These meetings, in some instances, delegate authority in certain matters to other meetings or committees composed of those who occupy specified positions or who have been appointed for the special service.
1902 Uniform Discipline, revised 1995
The vital principle of the Christian faith is the truth that man's salvation and higher life are personal matters between the individual soul and God.
Salvation is deliverance from sin and the possession of spiritual life. This comes through a personal faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior, who, through his love and sacrifice draws us to Him.
Conviction for sin is awakened by the operation of the Holy Spirit causing the soul to feel its need of reconciliation with God. When Christ is seen as the only hope of salvation, and man yields to Him, he is brought into newness of life, and realizes that his sonship to God has become an actual reality. This transformation is wrought without the necessary agency of any human priest, or ordinance, or ceremony whatsoever. A changed nature and life bear witness to this new relation to Him.
The whole spiritual life grows out of the souls relation to God and its cooperation with Him, not from any outward or traditional observances.
Christ Himself baptizes the surrendered soul with the Holy Spirit, enduing it with power, bestowing gifts for service. This is an efficient baptism, a direct incoming of divine power for the transformation and control of the whole man. Christ Himself is the Spiritual bread which nourishes the soul, and He thus enters into and becomes a part of the being of those who partake of Him. This participation with Christ and apprehension of Him become the goal of life for the Christian. Those who thus enter into oneness with Him become also joined in living union with each other as members of one body.
Both worship and Christian fellowship spring out of this immediate relation of believing souls with their Lord.
The Holy Scriptures were given by inspiration of God and are the divinely authorized record of the doctrines which Christians are bound to accept, and of the moral principles which are to regulate their lives and actions. In them, as interpreted and unfolded by the Holy Spirit, is an ever fresh and unfailing source of spiritual truth for the proper guidance of life and practice.
The doctrines of the apostolic days are held by the Friends as essentials of Christianity. The Fatherhood of God, the Deity and humanity of the Son; the gift of the Holy Spirit; the atonement through Jesus Christ by which men are reconciled to God; the Resurrection; the High priesthood of Christ, and the individual priesthood of believers, are most precious truths, to be held, not as traditional dogmas, but as vital, life-giving realities.
The sinful condition of man and his proneness to yield to temptation, the world's absolute need of a Savior, and the cleansing from sin in forgiveness and sanctification through the blood of Jesus Christ, are unceasing incentives to all who believe to become laborers together with God in extending His kingdom. By this high calling the Friends are pledged to the proclamation of the truth wherever the Spirit leads, both in home and foreign fields.
The indwelling Spirit guides and controls the surrendered
life, and the Christian's constant and supreme business is obedience to
But while the importance of individual guidance and obedience is thus emphasized, this fact gives no ground for license; the sanctified conclusions of the Church are above the judgment of a single individual.
The Friends find no scriptural evidence or authority for any form or degree of sacerdotalism in the Christian Church, or for the establishment of any ordinance or ceremonial rite for perpetual observance. The teachings of Jesus Christ concerning the spiritual nature of religion, the impossibility of promoting the spiritual life by the ceremonial application of material things, the fact that faith in Jesus Christ Himself is all-sufficient, the purpose of His life, death, resurrection and ascension, and His presence in the believer's heart, virtually destroy every ceremonial system and point the soul to the only satisfying source of spiritual life and power.
With faith in the wisdom of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and believing that it is His purpose to make His Church on earth a power for righteousness and truth, the Friends labor for the alleviation of human suffering; for the intellectual, moral and spiritual elevation of mankind; and for purified and exalted citizenship. The Friends believe war to be incompatible with Christianity, and seek to promote peaceful methods for the settlement of all the differences between nations and between men.
It is an essential part of the faith that a man should be in truth what he professes in word, and the underlying principle of life and action for individuals, and also for society, is transformation through the power of God and implicit obedience to His revealed will.
For more explicit and extended statements of belief, reference is made to those officially put forth at various times, especially to the letter of George Fox to the Governor of Barbados in 1671, and to the Declaration of Faith issued by the Richmond Conference in 1887.
1902 Uniform Discipline
Jesus Christ promised His followers that they would do deeds like His and even greater ones. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ gives each member of the body special gifts by which the Church is empowered to bring truth to the consciousness of individuals, interpret and proclaim its message, and reveal the scope and purpose of the Gospel. There are varieties of gifts in the ministry: for evangelism; for perfecting believers; and for teaching and strengthening the whole body in faith and life and power. In a properly organized body provision is made for the exercise and development of all the spiritual gifts. It is not easy to draw a sharp distinction between the different types of ministry; frequently they are united in one person, who is thus peculiarly qualified for helpful service.
There is a gift for the ministry of teaching. Through exposition of scripture and instruction in the whole of Christian life, those who possess this gift are enabled to contribute to the spiritual understanding and confidence of the membership. This ministry of teaching requires a balanced, trained and well-stored mind, and the consecration of that mind to the service of Jesus Christ, who is the Truth.
There is a gift of speaking to states and needs of individuals, and of congregations. This prophetic ministry is characterized by its spiritual vision, the self-evidence of its message and its fitness for the situation. It is a gift of seeing truth immediately and of effectively teaching it to others.
There is a gift for exhortation, which is an ability
for making an appeal to the hearts of men and women, and for stirring them
sense of Gods love and purposes. Through this gift souls are convicted of sin, and moved to faith and obedience; those who possess
this gift are peculiarly fitted for evangelistic work.
There is also the pastoral gift, which consists especially in ability to do personal work with individuals or with families. This gift fits the possessor of it to comfort those who mourn, to lead the members into a closer religious life, to arouse in the young an interest in the things of the spirit, and to impress others with a sense of the scope and reality of the spiritual life. It is the gift of shepherding and feeding the flock.
There are also gifts of service, administration, prayer and healing. These gifts are often expressed in quiet acts of service and are important to building up the body and expressing the scope of Gods love.
The Church cannot make or appoint ministers; it can only recognize gifts where they exist and properly provide for their exercise and development as a sacred bestowal of the Head of the Church.
1902 Uniform Discipline, revised 1995
Questions for Spiritual Growth are tools which can help us direct our attention to the true sources of spiritual strength, to promote individual faithfulness to Jesus Christ, and keep the church in a healthy condition. Questions are effective in assisting us as we appraise the state of our religious society and in helping each one of us determine, through self-examination whether we are living a consistent Christian life. Questions are valuable aids when read frequently in private devotions and at specified intervals when we gather in our Monthly Meetings or Yearly Meeting.
Spiritual Growth 1. Do you strive for the constant realization of God's presence in your life? Are you obedient to the leading and sensitive to the timing of the Holy Spirit? Do you use prayer, meditation, Bible study, other devotional literature and disciplines to grow and mature spiritually? How do you seek to be a faithful steward of your life and all that God has entrusted to you?
Meetings for Worship and Business 2. Are meetings for worship and business held as scheduled and do you attend them consistently and on time? Do you come to meeting with heart and mind prepared for communion with God and fellowship with one another? Are your meetings for business conducted in a spirit of worship and a united search for Gods leading in transacting the affairs of the meeting? Is the Meeting faithful in teaching and upholding Friends testimonies? How do you individually accept responsibility for your rightful share of the worship, work and financial support of the Meeting and Friends broader shared concerns?
Christian Relationships 3. As followers of Jesus Christ do you love and respect one another? Do you thoughtfully consider the differing viewpoints of others as an opportunity for deeper understanding within the Christian fellowship? When conflicts arise, are you prompt to make a sincere effort to resolve them in a spirit of understanding and love that avoids divisiveness in the Meeting? How are you careful to maintain the good reputation of others?
Home and Family 4. Do you make your home a place of hospitality, friendliness, peace, and Christian fellowship? Do you consistently read the Bible? Do you read Christian devotional literature in your home, giving time for reverent meditation and prayer? Do you set a Christian example before your children and live in a way that promotes the sanctity and health of marriage and family life? Are you sensitive and do you minister to the needs of single people, single parent families; merged families and extended families? How do you provide instruction to your children for their spiritual lives; in educational, moral, and social issues of the day?
Youth and the Meeting 5. Do you encourage your young people to choose a commitment to Jesus Christ and the church? Do you endeavor to instruct them in the principles and practices of Friends? Do you nurture the spiritual development of the youth of the meeting and promote their spiritual, mental and physical well-being? How do you involve and affirm the youth in the life of the meeting?
Standards of Life 6. Do you observe simplicity in your manner of living, so that devotion to Jesus Christ comes first in your life? Do you celebrate life as a gift of God? Do you recognize the extreme danger in the use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco and other destructive drugs? Do you refrain from their use? How do you actively avoid self-destructive stresses in your life?
Business and Professional Responsibility 7. Do you avoid such undue expansion of your business and social responsibilities as to endanger your personal integrity or detract from your Christian commitment? Are you truthful and honest in your business and social transactions, punctual in fulfilling your promises, and prompt in the payment of your debts? How do you work in business and social relationships to maintain Christian integrity in economic affairs and the use of technology?
Missionary Enterprise 8. Do you strive to educate yourselves and those in your care with the spiritual needs of the world? Do you support by prayer and systematic giving those who are laboring to extend the realm of Jesus Christ? Are you sensitive to the material needs of those within the meeting and in the local community? How do you use your spiritual gifts in serving humanity as God grants you light to see such service?
Peace 9. As Christians do you consistently practice principles of love and good will toward all God's people, toward the earth and all creation? Do you work actively for peace and justice by living in such a way that harmony results? Do you endeavor to make clear to all whom you can influence, that war and the preparation for war is inconsistent with the spirit and teaching of Jesus Christ? How do you observe the testimony of Friends that leads toward creative, life-affirming ways of resolving conflict and away from violence and destruction?
Attitudes in Human Relations 10. Does your attitude toward people of other races and gender indicate your belief in their right to equal opportunity? Do you believe in the spiritual capacity of all races and do you recognize their equality in the sight of God? How do you fulfill your responsibility as a Christian to help in the elimination of racial, sexual, ethnic, religious and other forms of discrimination and prejudice?
Social Conscience 11. Are you concerned that economic systems function to sustain and enrich all life? Are you giving positive service to society in the promotion of peaceful and just methods of reconciliation in all cases of personal, social and global conflict? Do you use care in the materials you consume and the materials you discard to maintain the integrity of God's creation? How do you intelligently exercise all your constitutional privileges and thus seek to promote Christian influence locally, nationally, and inter-nationally?
Sacramental Living 12. How is God's presence regularly experienced in the shared life of your meeting? What does your meeting do to help individual Friends to experience the sacredness of Christ's presence in their homes, work places, leisure activities, and relationship with neighbors? What does the consistent remembrance and awareness of Jesus' sacrificial forgiveness motivate your meeting to do to express that same loving grace to one another and to people beyond the church. What does your church do sacrificially for others with nothing expected in return? In what ways is the life of your meeting community nourishing and nurturing new spiritual and growth maturity, despite individuals' imperfections and incomplete understanding of Truth?
Do you seek to live in constant communion with Jesus Christ? Do you partake of the Bread of Life and find refreshment in the Living Water, which is found in Jesus Christ alone? Are you baptized in the Holy Spirit, allowing every part of your life to come under the transforming influence of His power, truth and love? Do you recognize that this life is found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and is not contained in any ritual, ceremony or outward observance? Does your life bear testimony to this fact?
In the use of Questions for Spiritual Growth, remember that only God is our true judge. Questions are best used for reflection and prayer, asking God to move us toward more tenderness and responsiveness and toward ways of becoming more loving to God, to ourselves and to each other.
Responsibilities 1. Do you as elders and ministers recognize your responsibility in setting an example of faithfulness and loyalty to the meetings for worship and business? Do you accept appointment to this group as a definite response to the high calling of God in Jesus Christ? Are you concerned that the needs of all are ministered to in your meetings, whether by silent worship, inspirational speaking, or reverent music?
Care for Pastors and Leaders 2. Are you seeing that pastors and leaders time is free for the ministries to which he or she is called and gifted? Are salaries adequate? Is there adequate time for rest, vacation and renewal each year?
Relationships 3. Are you aware of the necessity of harmonious relations with your fellow members as a basis for the most effective service to the church? Do you as spiritual leaders in the Meeting strive earnestly to lead persons to Jesus Christ and to strengthen the faith and loyalty of fellow Christians?
Spiritual Gifts 4. Do you endeavor to recognize and develop your special talents and gifts for service in the Meeting and do you pray for divine guidance in their use? Do you cultivate the spiritual gifts of the members of your Meeting? Are you always ready to encourage and advise those who engage in the vocal ministry or in other Christian work?
Approved August 9, 1993
The Advices contain recommendations on how to live faithfully in the world. They have served many generations of Friends in their search for a life centered in Jesus Christ. The Advices first appeared in the form of epistles sent among Friends to encourage and strengthen local congregations. The earliest surviving collection of Advices was issued by the elders at Balby in England in 1656. Its concluding statements begins,
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.
Friends find their essential unity in the profound and exhilarating belief that Jesus Christ is our Risen Lord, present with us and able to teach his people himself. Obedience to the direct leading of God, through the Holy Spirit, is the obligation of faith. As Friends attempt to discern the will of God, they rely on the teachings of scripture and learn from Christ within as well as the continuing experience of the faith community. Reading the Advices is intended to help us keep all aspects of our lives under Divine guidance by reminding us how God has led Friends up to now.
Dear Friends, attend to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts, which are the leadings of God. Do not resist Gods strivings within you. Make a quiet place in your daily life for prayer and communion with God. Read the Bible and devotional literature with constancy. Look to your meeting for guidance and spiritual growth.
The Meeting Community
Every Friend has a share of responsibility for worship and ministry. Friends are advised, therefore, to be diligent in attendance at meetings for worship and in inward preparation for them. Come with mind and heart prepared for communion with God. Be obedient and faithful to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, whether by word, by song, in silent waiting or in prayer. Receive the messages of others in a tender spirit.
In meetings for business, and in all duties connected with them, seek the immediate leading of God. Be careful not to misuse others time. Keep from stubbornness and from harshness of tone or manner and admit the possibility of being in error. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Meeting, and as each individual attends to His voice within, all will be drawn into unity.
Live in love as members of a Christian community. Be ready to give and receive help, to rejoice together in the blessings of life and to sympathize with each other in its trials. Value, respect and make use of elder members. Avoid tale-bearing and insults, acknowledge differences and seek to settle conflicts promptly. Visit one another, making sure that those who are alone are drawn into the wider family of Christ. Seek to know one another in the things that are eternal.
Pattern your life after Jesus who proclaimed the Kingdom
of God in both word and deed. We follow a Lord who came to serve, not to
served. Find opportunities to meet the material needs of those around you and to show compassion toward persons in all walks of life. Let
love be genuine.
Every church is a mission outpost. Proclaim the Word of God as the hope of salvation. As you have freely received the gifts of eternal life and of the Holy Spirit, freely share. Seek to lead others to Truth through love, teaching by being yourself teachable. Support missions to cultures and places distant from your own. Seek to fulfill the Great Commission, as found in Matthew 28:19-20.
Integrity and Simplicity
Bring the whole of your daily life under the ordering of the Holy Spirit. Live and work in the plainness and simplicity of a true follower of Christ. Maintain integrity in word and deed; hold to the simplicity of truth; keep free of oaths.
Resist temptation to grow rich at the expense of others. When you have a choice of employment, choose that which gives the fullest opportunity for the use of your talents in service to God and other people. Be careful not to overextend your business endeavors or your personal finances. Avoid and discourage every kind of betting and gambling and commercial speculations of a gambling character.
Remember that God set humanity as caretakers of a creation which He declared to be good. Guard against waste and resist extravagant consumption which contributes to inequities and the impoverishment of life in our own and other societies.
Apparently harmless indulgence often leads by degrees to wrongdoing. In view of the evils and health hazards arising from the use of tobacco and intoxicating drinks and from the abuse of drugs, Friends are advised to refrain from using them, from offering them to others, and from having any share in their manufacture or sale. Do not let the claims of good fellowship or the fear of seeming peculiar influence your decisions.
Home and Family
Seek to make your home a place of hospitality, where friendships are honored and God is worshiped. Rejoice in the beauty of friendships and work toward growth in depth, understanding and mutual respect. Maintain a proper balance in the use of time among family, friends, work and leisure. Be careful in your use of media and choices of entertainment.
Sexuality is a powerful force which energizes relationships. It is the responsibility of the monthly meeting to educate our youth and help one another with sexual issues. Friends are advised to abstain from sexual intimacy outside of the confines of marriage between one man and one woman. Friends are advised to seek divine guidance, pastoral counseling and clearness from the meeting when considering marriage and to enter marriage with a commitment to cherish one another for life. Let our meetings minister to individuals in the wide variety of households that exist in our society and be places of healing for those who have suffered broken marriages and the many forms of abuse and dysfunction.
Care of the children of the meeting should be the responsibility of every Friend. Friends are advised to seek the full development of Gods gifts for children, which is true education.
Face with courage transitions such as illness and aging, both for yourself and for those dear to you. As outward activity lessens, your seasoned thought and prayer may liberate love and power in others. Make provision for the settlement of your affairs while in health so that others may not be burdened.
Peace and Reconciliation
Every human being is precious in the eyes of God, and has been given a measure of Gods light (John 1:9). Seek to live in the virtue of that Life which takes away the occasion of war. Overcome evil with good.
Friends are advised to avoid activities and employment which involve taking human life. Take care not to nourish the seeds of war in your attitudes or in your possessions. Support Friends who suffer for the Truth that war in incompatible with the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
At every opportunity, be peacemakers in your homes, in your places of work, in your community and in the world. Seek justice, for injustice often breeds bitterness and war. Work for an order of society which will allow all men and women, regardless of race, to develop their capacities and foster their desire to serve.
Finally, dear Friends, follow steadfastly after all that is pure and lovely and of good report. Live adventurously in the power of the Spirit. Be prayerful and watchful, offering to ourselves and to others the love and grace which comes through Jesus Christ.
SECTION 1: THE CHURCH AS A SOCIETY
The Christian group whose faith and activities have been described in PART I of this FAITH AND PRACTICE is known historically as the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (QUAKERS). The name, Friends Church, is used by many Monthly Meetings, and some Yearly Meetings.
Friends recognize and emphasize the fundamental and essential truth that Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church; that He dwells in the hearts of His believers; and that, as they look for His guidance, their understandings are enlightened and they are enabled to do His will. Members have equal rights and privileges in the Society, modified only by the gifts they have received and their faithfulness in the exercise thereof. Friends recognize that each member's gifts and responsibilities are subject to the corporate oversight of the Society.
The choice by early Friends of the term SOCIETY as the name for the group indicates clearly their attitude towards organization. The word meant to them a corporate fellowship, a vitally spiritual body held together by spiritual forces freshly operating within each individual, without creed, rituals, or any administration of sacraments. The RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS is a community of believers among whom there is but one Master and no human intermediary affecting any individual's relationship to God.
Individual members and Monthly Meetings exist in community as members of the body of Christ. As the foot needs the eye, all need each other, for the individual is dependent upon and accountable to the Society. The spiritual life of the body is directly related to the free flowing interaction of the Holy Spirit among individual members. To be vitally Christian, every individual and every Monthly Meeting must maintain a living relationship with all the members of the Society as well as with God. Thus the spiritual life of each member is inseparable from his or her fellowship with the Society.
SECTION 2: EQUALITY OF RIGHTS
Friends recognize the fact that God has endowed each
person with gifts and capacities which he or she is to develop and exercise
extent of his or her ability.
Each member has duties and responsibilities varying
in character according to the member's talents and the faithfulness with
member has cultivated them. All have equal rights and privileges in the consideration of the affairs of the body and in reaching conclusions as to the courses of action.
No appointments made for a particular service confer upon the appointed person or group any degree of arbitrary or final authority. Friends recognize no distinction in the rights, privileges and responsibilities of members because of education, race or sex.
SECTION 3: WAITING FOR GUIDANCE
The same reverent waiting that operates in the meeting for worship is also helpful in seeking divine guidance and unity of action in the transaction of business. Holding meetings for business following a period of worship opens the way for the continuation of the religious fellowship experienced during such a period. The right conduct of these meetings, even in routine matters, is important to the spiritual life of all. They are a part of the organized undertaking to promote the Kingdom of God, and service in them may rightfully be regarded as service for Him.
SECTION 4: FRIENDS METHODS
It is the practice of Friends to give unhurried and sympathetic consideration to all proposals and expressions of opinion as the will of God is sought. Friends endeavor to respect an earnest and sincere minority and, if it seems necessary, may postpone action until Friends have secured more light on the question at issue and attained a greater degree of unanimity. When exercising this privilege each Friend should be certain that the expressed concern and comments are led by the Spirit of God. After due consideration has been given to all points of view, it is the responsibility of the Presiding Clerk of the Meeting to weigh carefully the various expressions and to discern and present to the Monthly Meeting what he or she believes to be the will of God for the Meeting.
When Friends are selected as representatives of the Monthly or Quarterly Meetings, care should be taken so that persons are not selected merely to represent the position of a Meeting but rather that the person selected be one that is capable of discerning the will of God in the light of Christ.
SECTION 5: TENURE OF OFFICE
In keeping with Quaker ideals of service and the distribution of responsibility, the Monthly Meeting, the Quarterly Meeting and the Yearly Meeting should not unduly prolong the service of officers or committee members, nor give to one person many appointments. In following a policy of rotation in office Friends can develop the talents of a greater number of their members. Appointment and reappointment should not extend beyond six (6) consecutive years, except in the case of Yearly Meeting Trustees who may be appointed for nine (9) consecutive years. A member might be reappointed to a given service after a year out of office.
SECTION 6: ADULT MEMBERS
Friends receive into adult membership those whose
faith in God and in Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord is manifest
in their lives and who are in unity with the teachings of Christian truth
as held by the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS. The following quotation from
the Introduction of Christian Faith and Practice in the Experience of the
Society of Friends by London Yearly Meeting (1960) is recommended
as a foundation of membership: Do you cherish that of God within you, that his power growing in you may rule your life? Do you seek to follow Jesus who shows us the Father and teaches us the Way?
[See also PROCEDURES FOR MEMBERSHIP, SECTIONS 66 and 67.]
SECTION 7: JUNIOR MEMBERS
The children of adult members may be enrolled at birth as junior members at the request of one or both of the parents of the child. Other children may be enrolled under special provisions. (See also PROCEDURES FOR MEMBERSHIP, SECTION 69.]
SECTION 8: AFFILIATE MEMBERS
Monthly Meetings may, at their discretion, accept as affiliate members students and other persons residing temporarily within their geographical area. Such membership constitutes a sojourning fellowship and is not to be included in the statistical report of the Monthly Meeting. An affiliate membership may not be transferred from one Monthly Meeting to another and terminates when the member moves away.
SECTION 9: WORSHIP
The Monthly Meeting is composed of its members, including those members who do not reside in the geographical area of the Monthly Meeting. It consists of the meetings for worship, business and study, including all the activities and organizations connected therewith. The meeting for worship is a fellowship of those who find it spiritually profitable to be associated in worship and is a united expression of the human longing for vital spiritual experiences.
SECTION 10: BUSINESS
The development of the processes of spiritual enrichment involves certain organizational factors, such as officers and committees, financial obligations, group concerns and the determination of attitudes and policies on subjects of common or public interest. For the care of such matters a Monthly Meeting for business, comprised of the members of the Monthly Meeting, convenes regularly or in special business meetings.
To assure the development of the spiritual life and to promote consistent Christian conduct of its members, each Monthly Meeting shall select as members of its Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight those persons gifted with spiritual discernment.
SECTION 11: CHRISTIAN NURTURE
The Monthly Meeting should have concern for the Christian nurture of its members and advise its committees to provide the means of study, fellowship and counsel necessary in every area of concern.
SECTION 12: ELDERING
Traditionally Friends have appointed from among their membership persons to serve as Elders of the Monthly Meeting. Elders have been associated with the Pastor in the spiritual care of the Monthly Meeting and given counsel and guidance to the Pastor. Historically Elders have been the persons who exercised a disciplinary oversight of the membership.
Elders are persons who have grown most in the power and life of the Spirit and who have matured through experience into a position of spiritual leadership. Such persons, dedicated to the Truth, are steadfast in the Christian faith, live above personal reproach, are discerning and wise in spiritual matters and gifted in the graces of the Spirit. (Ephesians 4:11- 12; Galatians 5:22)
Elders function within the Monthly Meeting by recognizing and encouraging spiritual gifts among members, carrying a spiritual concern for the corporate life of the Monthly Meeting and giving loving and tender guidance to new Christians and those whose way of life is inconsistent with a Christian profession or out of unity with Friends principles.
In past years Elders were associated with the Ministry and Oversight in caring for the spiritual welfare of the Monthly Meeting. Many of the duties prescribed for Elders have been the same as those for members of the Ministry and Oversight. Although the term elder has dropped out of use in many Monthly Meetings, the eldering function is still essential and Monthly Meetings are urged to see that such functions are not neglected. Being an elder is not the same as holding as appointment to an office in the Monthly Meeting; it is, rather, an inward recognition by other members that God has blessed some Friends with a wisdom born of experience and a spiritual authority growing out of their love of God.
SECTION 13: STEWARDSHIP
Christian stewardship is the practice of systematic and proportionate giving of time, abilities and material possessions based on the conviction that these are a trust from God, to be used in His service in grateful acknowledgment of Christ's redeeming love. The New Testament teaches that giving should be regular, systematic and proportionate (I Corinthians 16:2). The tithe is recommended as a Biblical, reasonable and acceptable minimum.
SECTION 14: MINISTRY
Friends believe that each person is a potential minister
of the spoken word. Christ, as the head of the Church, may call forth the
message and the messenger most suited for a particular time and place. The
ministry of the word is, therefore, a responsibility of each member. Provision
for open ministry under immediate Divine leading should be a natural part
of a meeting for worship. Friends also believe that all members are responsible
for the various ministries of the Monthly Meeting. Each shares in the spiritual
care of the members, participates in the work and witness of the Monthly
Meeting and seeks to increase the spiritual and numerical growth of the
Monthly Meeting. This universal ministry is the
practical outcome of Christian discipleship and obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
SECTION 15: ORGANIZATION AND DUTIES
A Monthly Meeting is a regular organization of one or more congregations. A congregation consists of members and attenders. A Monthly Meeting consists only of persons who are recorded upon its list of members.
A Monthly Meeting is duly organized for the transaction of business when it has been established by the Yearly Meeting in the manner set forth under this FAITH AND PRACTICE and has appointed a Presiding Clerk.
[See SETTING UP A NEW MEETING, SECTIONS 63 and 64.]
The Monthly Meeting shall hold monthly sessions for the transaction of business. Each member has the right and obligation to participate in the deliberations and work of the Meeting. Non-members of the Monthly Meeting may attend the meetings for business but shall not participate in the decision of the matters of business of the meeting.
The Monthly Meeting may be adjourned from the regular session to be reconvened at an appointed time to consider unfinished business from the regular session. The Monthly Meeting is charged with the administration of the affairs of the Meeting and has authority to receive, transfer and dismiss members, deal with offenders, grant appeals, and to consider and act upon all questions affecting the membership. It shall hold and administer real and personal property for use of the Monthly Meeting. It shall receive reports from all Monthly Meeting committees, its Trustees, and its Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. It shall adopt and carry out measures for the improvement of the spiritual life and work of the body.
The Monthly Meeting shall receive and consider the annual Spiritual Evaluation from its Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. The Monthly Meeting shall use the Spiritual Evaluation to help establish goals and future spiritual plans of the Meeting. This statement of its spiritual condition should include objectives and accomplishments which are indicative of the spiritual life of the Meeting. (See SPIRITUAL EVALUATION, SECTION 39.)
The Monthly Meeting shall recognize a member who demonstrates a gift for public gospel ministry and recommend him or her for recording to the Yearly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting shall follow the procedure for recording as set forth in this FAITH AND PRACTICE. (See RECORDING OF MINISTERS, SECTION 126.) The Monthly Meeting shall make an annual tabulation of its essential statistics and transmit a copy to the Yearly Meeting Office with such other reports as may be requested by the Yearly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting may transmit to the Yearly Meeting, the Representative council, or the Quarterly Meeting any recommendations or concerns in which the Monthly Meeting is united in sending.
SECTION 16: SPECIAL BUSINESS MEETINGS
Special Business Meetings of the Monthly Meeting shall be called by either the Presiding Clerk or the Assistant Presiding Clerk upon the request of at least three (3) members of the Meeting. Notice shall be given at a regular meeting of the congregation at least seven (7) days prior to the date of holding the Special Business Meeting. The notice shall name the business to be considered and the persons calling for the special business meeting. No business may be considered at a special meeting other than the business for which the meeting was called.
SECTION 17: APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERS
The officers of the Monthly Meeting are the Presiding Clerk, the Assistant Presiding Clerk, the Recording Clerk and the Treasurer. The Monthly Meeting shall appoint these and such other officers as may be needed to expedite the business of the Meeting and to manage its affairs. All officers of the Monthly Meeting shall be Adult Members of the Monthly Meeting.
SECTION 18: DUTIES OF OFFICERS
A. PRESIDING CLERK
The Presiding Clerk shall see that the business is
properly presented to the Monthly Meeting for its consideration, discern
and present the
sense of the meeting to the Monthly Meeting, sign documents on behalf of the Monthly Meeting, see that officers and committees are functioning, and make certain all actions of the Monthly Meeting are properly recorded and carried out. The Presiding Clerk is the chief executive officer of the Monthly Meeting. (See Section 4.)
B. ASSISTANT PRESIDING CLERK
The Assistant Presiding Clerk shall perform the duties of the Presiding Clerk in his or her absence and perform other duties as directed by the Presiding Clerk.
C. RECORDING CLERK
The Recording Clerk shall keep an accurate set of Minutes, showing all matters brought to the attention of the Meeting and the action taken. These shall be kept in permanent form in a minute book after they have been approved by the Meeting. The minutes of each Meeting must be signed by the Presiding Clerk and Recording Clerk and dated correctly. In the absence of the Presiding Clerk and the Assistant Presiding Clerk, the Recording Clerk shall preside until a temporary Presiding Clerk is appointed. (See KEEPING OF RECORDS IN YEARLY MEETING VAULTS, SECTION 22.)
The Treasurer shall receive and disburse funds as directed by the Monthly Meeting, keep a regular account of money so received and disbursed, and submit a complete report of the state of the treasury at the end of the Monthly Meeting fiscal year. The Treasurer should report to the Monthly Meeting each month. The Treasurer shall disburse money for non-budgeted items from the treasury of the Monthly Meeting only upon direction from the Monthly Meeting.
E. OTHER OFFICERS
Other officers appointed by the Monthly Meeting shall perform their duties as directed by the Monthly Meeting or as specified in FAITH AND PRACTICE.
F. OTHER DUTIES OF OFFICERS
All clerks and officers who have custody of official records of the Monthly Meeting have the responsibility to:
1. Maintain records of all decisions and work of the
2. Submit reports at appropriate regular intervals to the Monthly Meeting.
3. Transfer all files and official copies of records promptly to successors in office, and
4. Transfer inactive records in accordance with SECTION 22 of this FAITH AND PRACTICE.
SECTION 19: TENURE OF OFFICE
Officers of the Monthly Meeting shall be appointed annually. All appointees hold their positions until their successors are appointed. Appointment and reappointment should not extend beyond six (6) consecutive years. A member might be reconsidered for appointment after a year out of office.
SECTION 20: ANNUAL AUDIT
The Monthly Meeting shall annually appoint two or
more qualified persons to audit the books of the Treasurer of the Monthly
The persons appointed shall promptly report to the Monthly Meeting.
The Monthly Meeting may employ a qualified public accountant to make such an audit
SECTION 21: TRUSTEES
Unless the laws of the state in which the Monthly
Meeting is located provide otherwise, the Monthly Meeting shall appoint
three (3) or more
Trustees for a term of three (3) years each. One-third of the appointment shall be made each year. Trustees shall be Adult Members of the Monthly Meeting.
The Trustees shall hold title to and maintain all property in the name of the Monthly Meeting. In legal, financial and all other matters the Trustees shall, except in emergencies, act only in accordance with the expressed will of the Monthly Meeting.
Trustees shall be the legal representatives of the Monthly Meeting in the administration of the Monthly Meeting properties and in making financial investments and other arrangements. In the administration of their trust, the Trustees shall exercise due care to observe the requirements of the State in which the Monthly Meeting is situated.
The Trustees shall invest the funds or other personal property of the Monthly Meeting, whether received by bequest, donation or otherwise, and administer them according to the direction of the Monthly Meeting and the conditions prescribed by the donors. Bequests, undesignated funds, and gifts received by the Monthly Meeting shall be reported to the Monthly Meeting, which shall give direction for their use. At least annually they shall submit to the Monthly Meeting a complete report of their finances, activities, and concerns which apply to the Monthly Meeting.
SECTION 22: RECORDS
Monthly Meeting minute books and valuable papers shall be carefully preserved and, if possible, be placed in a fireproof safe or vault. The Yearly Meeting recommends that the Monthly Meeting send all record books and valuable papers (deeds, abstracts to property, membership record and permanent minute books) to the Yearly Meeting Custodian of Records when there is no longer an immediate need for the records in the Monthly Meeting.
SECTION 23: STATISTICAL SECRETARY
The Statistical Secretary shall keep a correct record of all matters pertaining to membership, such as births, marriages, and deaths; members joining by application; transfers of junior members to adult members; and transfers of members to and from other Monthly Meetings and other denominations. The Recording Clerk may serve as the Statistical Secretary for a Monthly Meeting if the size of the Monthly Meeting does not warrant separate appointments.
SECTION 24: OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY
Indiana Yearly Meeting suggests guidelines for Monthly Meetings in the acquisition of real property. The guidelines are as follows:
1. Title to real property acquired by a Monthly Meeting should be held in the name of the Monthly Meeting. In the case of a Preparative Meeting the property should be titled in the name of the sponsoring Meeting until Monthly Meeting status is attained.
2. Although ownership is in the name of the Monthly Meeting, strong consideration should be given to including a reversion clause in the deed. Such a clause would provide that the ownership of the property would revert to Indiana Yearly Meeting in case the Monthly Meeting is discontinued, or should cease to be a member of Indiana Yearly Meeting. (See SECTION 153.)
3. In situations where Indiana Yearly Meeting is providing financial assistance for acquisition of real property, the following will be required:
a. A reversion clause as detailed above must be included
in the deed, and
b. Indiana Yearly Meeting shall be given a First Mortgage on the property being acquired. In certain situations where a First Mortgage on the property is already held by a bank or other commercial lending institution, Indiana Yearly Meeting is to be secured with a Second Mortgage.
SECTION 25: APPOINTMENTS TO YEARLY MEETING
All members have the privilege and responsibility to attend the annual session of the Yearly Meeting in order to be informed of and to participate in its business, programs, and activities.
The Monthly Meeting shall annually appoint at least one of its members as Representative to Yearly Meeting and Representative Council. Monthly Meetings with one hundred one (101) or more Adult members may appoint two (2) of its members as Representatives to Yearly Meeting and Representative Council. Monthly Meetings with two hundred fifty-one (251) or more Adult members may appoint three (3) of its members as Representatives to Yearly Meeting and Representative Council. Care should be taken so that the representative is not selected merely to represent the position of the Monthly Meeting but rather that the person selected be one who is capable of discerning the will of God in the light of Christ. (see SECTION 4) The appointment(s) shall become effective following the annual session of the Yearly Meeting and shall continue through the next annual session of Yearly Meeting. Appointment and reappointment of the same person as Yearly Meeting Representative should not extend beyond six (6) consecutive years. The Monthly Meeting should appoint, if possible, someone other than the Pastor as its Representative. The Monthly Meeting Representative(s) to Yearly Meeting should be nominated by the Nominating Committee of the Monthly Meeting and appointed by the Monthly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting may appoint someone other than the member nominated by the Nominating Committee.
The Monthly Meeting shall appoint a member as alternate who shall assume the responsibilities of the Monthly Meeting Representative(s) to Yearly Meeting and Representative Council when the Representative is unable to serve.
The Representative(s) of the Monthly Meeting shall attend the sessions of the Yearly Meeting and the sessions of the Representative Council. He or she shall present to the respective yearly meeting body the concerns as directed by the Monthly Meeting. This person shall also report to the Monthly Meeting concerns and actions of the Yearly Meeting or the Representative Council.
SECTION 26: APPOINTMENTS TO QUARTERLY MEETING
All members are urged to attend the Quarterly Meeting and to participate in its business and social activities.
The Monthly Meeting shall annually appoint as Representative to Quarterly Meeting a member other than the Representative to Yearly Meeting. The appointment shall become effective following the annual session of the Yearly Meeting and shall continue through the next annual session of the Yearly Meeting. Appointment and reappointment of the same person as Quarterly Meeting Representative shall not extend beyond six (6) consecutive years. The Monthly Meeting Representative to the Quarterly Meeting should be nominated by the Nominating Committee of the Monthly Meeting and appointed by the Monthly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting may appoint someone other than the member nominated by the Nominating Committee.
The Monthly Meeting shall appoint a member as alternate who shall assume the responsibilities of Representative to Quarterly Meeting when the Representative is unable to serve.
The Representative of the Monthly Meeting to the Quarterly Meeting shall attend the Quarterly Meeting of which the Monthly Meeting is a member. He or she shall present to the Quarterly Meeting concerns as directed by the Monthly Meeting. This person shall also report to the Monthly Meeting concerns, actions and activities of the Quarterly Meeting.
SECTION 27: MONTHLY MEETING OBLIGATIONS TO YEARLY MEETING.
The Monthly Meeting shall provide to the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee the names of persons who are qualified and willing to serve on the Committees of the Yearly Meeting. (See SECTION 44.)
The Monthly Meeting may communicate directly with the Yearly Meeting Committees, the Representative Council, other Yearly Meeting bodies or the Yearly Meeting. However, all concerns, except in emergency situations, preferably would go through the Quarterly Meeting.
All reports including Spiritual Evaluation, Memorials, membership and financial statistics shall be forwarded directly to the proper person as indicated by the Yearly Meeting.
All assessments and contributions to the Yearly Meeting shall be sent directly to the Yearly Meeting Treasurer. Questions or problems regarding finances shall be referred to the Yearly Meeting Stewardship and Finance committee.
The Monthly Meeting shall encourage its members to exercise their privilege and responsibility to attend the annual session of Yearly Meeting to be informed of and to participate in its business, programs, and activities.
Concerns and other communications shall be sent to the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting and a copy shall be sent to the Yearly Meeting Office. Monthly Meetings are encouraged to advise the Presiding Clerks of the Quarterly Meeting of their concerns and communications.
SECTION 28: REPRESENTATIVES
Each Monthly Meeting shall appoint from its membership a Representative and an Alternate Representative to the Representative Council of the Yearly Meeting. The Nominating Committee of the Monthly Meeting shall present names to the Monthly Meeting for appointment. The persons so appointed shall also serve as the Monthly Meetings Representative and alternate to Yearly Meeting. The persons named shall begin service immediately following the annual sessions of Yearly Meeting and continue through the next session of Yearly Meeting.
SECTION 29: OBLIGATION TO QUARTERLY MEETING
The primary obligation of Monthly Meeting to the Quarterly Meeting is cooperation in the development of programs and the support of common concerns. Concerns of the Monthly Meeting should preferably be sent through the Quarterly Meeting to the Yearly Meeting.
Active participation in these programs, not burdened with business sessions, should open the way for growth in fellowship and service to all who are members of the Quarterly Meeting.
Throughout the year the Monthly Meeting has the responsibility for cooperating with other Monthly Meetings in the quarter in preparing programs of inspiration, challenge, instruction and service. A Monthly Meeting within the Quarterly Meeting may request a program for a specific purpose.
SECTION 30: QUARTERLY MEETING ATTENDANCE
Two or more persons in addition to the Monthly Meeting Representative to Quarterly Meeting shall be appointed by each Monthly Meeting to attend the Quarterly Meeting. This may be done without nominations from the Nominating Committee of the Monthly Meeting and should not be the same persons for all Quarterly Meetings held during the year.
SECTION 31: ESTABLISHMENT
Monthly Meetings shall establish Monthly Meetings on Ministry and Oversight. Where two or more congregations constitute one Monthly Meeting, the members of its Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall constitute committees on Ministry and Oversight within their respective congregations.
SECTION 32: MEMBERSHIP
The Nominating Committee of the Monthly Meeting shall annually propose to the Monthly Meeting the names of Adult Members who possess or may develop the capacities of spiritual leadership and ministry for the members and attenders of the Monthly Meeting. These persons should be ones whose lives demonstrate spiritual discernment and dedication to Truth. They should have a good knowledge and understanding of the Bible, the teachings of Christianity, and the principles and the work of the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS. Their lives should stand as a testimony to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
The Monthly Meeting shall use such discreet methods as necessary to ascertain whether the appointees to Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight are in agreement with the testimonies of Friends and with this FAITH AND PRACTICE. Persons who are known not to hold and teach Christian doctrine as held by Friends should not be appointed to or retained on the Ministry and Oversight.
The Monthly Meeting shall appoint at least six (6) of its members who shall each serve for three (3) years. One-third of the members of its Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall be appointed each year. No person shall serve as a member of Ministry and Oversight for more than six (6) years consecutively so that the Monthly Meeting may seek to develop the spiritual insights of many members. In addition Pastors or those serving the Monthly Meeting in similar capacity shall be ex officio members. (Throughout this FAITH AND PRACTICE, the term ex officio means that the person serves by reason of the office that is held. An ex officio office holder has the same rights, powers, duties, and responsibilities as any other member of the particular committee or body. In some instances, however, the person who serves by reason of office may be limited by FAITH AND PRACTICE in the responsibilities that that person may exercise.)
The Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall annually select a Presiding Clerk and a Recording Clerk. A written accord of proceedings shall be kept. (See also SECTION 18F.)
SECTION 33: ADDITIONAL COUNSEL
To coordinate and strengthen the work of the Monthly Meeting, the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight may consult the superintendent of the Sunday School, the Presiding Clerks of the standing committees of the Monthly Meeting, and other persons as needed.
SECTION 34: TIME OF MEETINGS
The Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall hold regular sessions, preferably each month, but not less frequently than once in three months. With seven (7) days notice special meetings may be called by the Presiding Clerk on the request of three (3) members.
SECTION 35: DUTIES OF MONTHLY MEETING ON MINISTRY AND OVERSIGHT.
The Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall be responsible for the spiritual welfare and religious work of the congregation. This body should be especially concerned that the ministry of the Monthly Meeting serves its entire constituency; its members, its attenders, and the people of the community.
This body also has the responsibility for the meetings for worship, the quality of the vocal ministry, the pastoral leadership and the development of ministry of the members through their participation as Divinely directed.
The Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight and the Pastor shall cooperate in developing the spiritual life of the Monthly Meeting. The Pastor and the members of the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight should be sensitive in recognizing and encouraging the spiritual gifts of the membership, giving loving and tender guidance to new Christians and gently disciplining those whose behavior is contrary to the Christian faith or out of unity with Friends' principles. (See SECTION 12.)
This body shall receive and evaluate applications for membership in the Monthly Meeting as set forth in the section on procedures for membership of this FAITH AND PRACTICE and shall recommend new members to the Monthly Meeting. (See PROCEDURES FOR MEMBERSHIP, SECTION 66 and 67.)
This body should be watchful of the interests of the nonresident and non-attending members, see that the attenders of the Meeting and their families are visited, extend special care to those who are not members, and invite them to join in membership when they are prepared. It should see that Junior Members are nurtured in the Christian life and are encouraged to become Adult Members as soon as they are ready.
Because of the delicate and sensitive nature of their business, members must observe the highest levels of confidentiality regarding the discussion which occurs in the confines of their meeting. All statements outside their meetings must be confined to the Monthly Meeting and to others from whom the members must seek guidance or information that would be of help in the decisions of the body.
This body has the responsibility to report its findings and recommendations to the Monthly Meeting for action. At least annually it shall submit to the Monthly Meeting a complete report of its activities and concerns.
This body alone exercises the responsibility of initiating the recording process of one who evidences the call to public gospel ministry, and who, in its opinion, should be recorded as a Friends minister. (See RECORDING PROCESS, SECTION 126.)
This body has the responsibility to state in writing the duties and responsibilities of the Pastor. At least annually this body shall review and discuss these duties and responsibilities with the Pastor and make helpful recommendations for improvement. The evaluation process shall be done so that both the Pastor and the Monthly Meeting receive constructive criticism for their mutual benefit.
SECTION 36: RELATIONS TO PASTOR
When a Monthly Meeting has made arrangements for a Pastor, the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight must not allow its own responsibilities to be neglected or diminished. A clear understanding of the work to be done must be reached. Then the Pastor may expect the full support in prayer, counsel and cooperative efforts of the Meeting on Ministry and Oversight.
SECTION 37: PASTORAL ARRANGEMENTS
When a Monthly Meeting decides that it should invite a Pastor the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight should seek the counsel of the General Superintendent of the Yearly Meeting and make other necessary interviews and inquiries that will enable it to make recommendations to the Monthly Meeting. Any recommendation for pastoral appointment or change must be made by the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight to the Monthly Meeting which shall make a final decision.
When a Monthly Meeting decides to call a Pastor, the Monthly Meeting should provide sufficient funds to free and enable the Pastor to do the work effectively. The salary shall be agreed upon by the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight in consultation with the Stewardship and Finance Committee and included in the recommendation to the Monthly Meeting.
If the Monthly Meeting desires to call as Pastor one who is not a member of the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS, the Monthly Meeting should be certain that the proposed Pastor is one who is willing to work within and not against the FAITH AND PRACTICE of Indiana Yearly Meeting. Such a person may not be retained as Pastor within the Yearly Meeting for more than two (2) years unless he or she has begun the recording process or has been approved for further service by the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. (See TRANSFER FROM OTHER DENOMINATIONS, SECTION 134.)
When pastoral arrangements or changes are being considered by either the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight or the Monthly Meeting, the Pastor should not be present except by invitation of the Meeting which is considering the matter.
SECTION 38: MEMORIALS
A Memorial for a deceased member may be prepared by the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight of the Monthly Meeting to which the member belonged. If approved by the Monthly Meeting for Business, such memorial shall be reported in its minutes. Depending on the extent of the Christian service of the Friend beyond the limits of his or her Monthly Meeting, a copy of the memorial may go to the Quarterly Meeting, to the Yearly Meeting and to Friends United Meeting.
SECTION 39: SPIRITUAL EVALUATION
The Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall annually evaluate the spiritual condition of the Monthly Meeting. Biblical precepts, this FAITH AND PRACTICE, the Questions for Spiritual Growth, and the Handbook for Elders of Indiana Yearly Meeting may be used as guidelines in preparing this evaluation. The report, when approved, should be forwarded to the Monthly Meeting for its consideration and disposition.
The report shall cover those activities which give evidence of spiritual vitality of the members, their social concerns, special Christian work outside the limits of the Monthly Meeting, the character of the ministry in the meetings for worship, and significant accomplishments which may give incentive to others. The report of the Monthly Meetings spiritual condition should include objectives and goals which might improve its spiritual life. When the Monthly Meeting has seriously considered this report, copies should be made available to the entire congregation and forwarded to Quarterly Meeting and Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight.
SECTION 40: QUESTIONS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH IN THE LIFE OF THE MONTHLY MEETING
The Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall encourage the members of the Monthly Meeting to read the Questions for Spiritual Growth (formerly Queries) frequently in private devotions. The Monthly Meeting is urged to read them at least four (4) times each year and in meetings for worship as often as may be helpful.
The purpose of the Questions for Spiritual Growth is to direct the attention of all to the true sources of spiritual strength, to promote individual faithfulness to Christ and to keep the Meeting in a healthy condition. They are of value in preparing the spiritual evaluation of the Monthly Meeting and in helping each member to determine through self-examination whether he or she is living a consistent Christian life.
SECTION 41: RESPONSIBILITIES
To promote the work of the Monthly Meeting, committees similar to the committees of the Yearly Meeting shall be appointed by the Monthly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting may combine the responsibilities of two or more committees. Each committee shall annually select one of its members as Presiding Clerk and one member as Recording Clerk. (See SECTION 18 F.)
In all Monthly Meetings at least one member shall be appointed to receive the concerns of each committee of the Yearly Meeting. This is to provide a means of communication between the Monthly Meeting and the Yearly Meeting.
All committees have the responsibility to report their plans, activities and concerns to the Monthly Meeting for action. At least annually they shall submit to the Monthly Meeting a complete report of their activities and concerns.
SECTION 42: APPOINTMENTS
Appointments to Monthly Meeting committees depend upon the size of the Meeting. It is desirable to have a minimum of six persons on each committee. Care should be taken so that committee appointments represent the entire congregation including young Friends and young adults.
Appointments shall be for a term of three (3) years, with one third of the members appointed each year. If a person is appointed to fill an unexpired term, he or she may complete the unexpired term plus not more than two (2) additional terms or six (6) full years. Reappointment to a particular committee may be made after a year off the committee. Monthly Meeting appointees hold their positions until their successors have been appointed and have taken office. Committee Clerks and a majority of the members of each committee shall be members of the Monthly Meeting. All members of the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight and Trustees shall be Adult members of the Monthly Meeting. (See SECTIONS 21 and 32.)
SECTION 43: COORDINATING COMMITTEE
Monthly Meetings may find it advisable to appoint a Coordinating committee for the Monthly Meeting. As its primary function this Committee should direct its efforts to the coordination of the programs formulated by each of the committees in the Monthly Meeting. It should cooperate with and encourage the committees to promote their work. It should keep the membership of the Monthly Meeting informed of the work being done by the committees so that members feel involved in the work of each committee.
The membership of this Committee should include the Presiding Clerk of the Monthly Meeting, the Presiding Clerk of the Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, the Presiding Clerks of the Monthly Meeting committees, the Superintendent of the Sunday School, the Pastor, other staff members of the Monthly Meeting and additional members that the Monthly Meeting deems necessary.
SECTION 44: NOMINATING COMMITTEE
Following recommendation of names presented by the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, the Monthly Meeting shall appoint a Nominating Committee of not less than three (3) nor more than nine (9) members of the Monthly Meeting. Members of the Nominating Committee shall serve for a period of three (3) years, one-third being appointed by the Monthly Meeting each year. Care should be taken that this Committee represents all of the interests of the Monthly Meeting.\
The Nominating Committee shall nominate members to serve the Monthly Meeting as officers, Trustees, Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, representative and alternate to Quarterly Meeting and representative(s) and alternate(s) to the Representative Council of the Yearly Meeting. The Nominating Committee shall also nominate persons to serve on committees. A majority of each committee shall be members of the Monthly Meeting. Consideration should be given to choosing qualified persons who are willing to serve and to distributing these nominations as evenly as possible among the families and the interests of the Monthly Meeting.
Functioning throughout the year, the Nominating Committee shall nominate persons to fill vacancies as they occur and others as directed by the Monthly Meeting.
The Nominating Committee should consult with the prospective nominees before presenting their names to the Monthly Meeting in order to be certain that the nominees are willing to accept the appointment. Nominees should be made aware of the responsibilities of the position and express a commitment to perform the duties of the position including attendance at meetings which the position requires. The Nominating Committee should give careful and considered attention to current committee members who are not active participants in the work of the committee.
Nominations brought to the Monthly Meeting by the Nominating Committee shall not limit the right of any member to suggest additional nominations in the business session of the Monthly Meeting. The Nominating Committee is urged to cooperate with the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee in suggesting names of persons who are willing to accept Yearly Meeting appointments. The names should be sent to the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee.
(See MONTHLY MEETING OBLIGATIONS TO YEARLY MEETING, SECTION 27.)
SECTION 45: EVANGELISM AND OUTREACH COMMITTEE
The Evangelism and Outreach Committee shall be responsible for promoting the spiritual and numerical growth of the Monthly Meeting. To carry forward its responsibility the Evangelism and Outreach Committee may encourage prayer groups, Bible study classes, audiovisual aids, as well as special meetings with evangelists and special speakers.
Cooperation with the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, other Monthly Meeting committees, and the Yearly Meeting is important to promote extension of the Meeting in new areas or renewal where there is a need. The Monthly Meeting may wish to combine the function of the Evangelism and Outreach Committee with the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight.
SECTION 46: CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE
The Christian Education Committee shall be responsible
for the Sunday School, Vacation Church Schools, Youth, camping programs
and family activities. It shall appoint the officers and teachers of the
Sunday School and Youth Leaders if not otherwise appointed by the Monthly
It is important that this Committee include members from organized Young Friends groups within the Monthly Meeting.
SECTION 47: MISSIONS COMMITTEE
The Missions Committee shall be responsible for the promotion of missionary education and related programs of the Monthly Meeting. This Committee's primary responsibility is to inform, inspire and encourage support of Friends missionary interests and to seek persons who will dedicate their lives to this expression of Christian witness. Visits from returned missionaries and audio-visual programs are helpful in the promotion of missions.
The Missions Committee may choose its own projects, but it is encouraged to cooperate with the Yearly Meeting Missions Committee and Friends United Meeting.
SECTION 48: PEACE AND CHRISTIAN SOCIAL CONCERNS COMMITTEE
The Peace and Christian Social Concerns Committee has the responsibility for guiding the Monthly Meeting in its social and civic responsibilities.
This Committee shall be responsible for instructing the members of the Monthly Meeting in Friends historic testimonies regarding peace, race relations and social justice as well as their application to current situations. Counseling young persons regarding conscientious objection to military service shall be part of the responsibility of the Committee.
The Committee shall give instruction to members of the Monthly Meeting in the areas of social practices which are incompatible with the Christian witness. By offering seminars, public lectures and literature this Committee may exercise its duties in enhancing the quality of life of all people. Other committees, the Sunday School and youth groups should cooperate with this Committee as it exercises its responsibility.
SECTION 49: STEWARDSHIP AND FINANCE COMMITTEE
The Stewardship and Finance Committee shall promote in the Monthly Meeting education in and understanding of Christian stewardship. It shall interpret and promote stewardship including financial giving as a means of spiritual growth in the support of the Monthly Meeting and the challenge of its outreach.
This Committee should meet regularly, not less than once each month, to give careful attention to the financial needs and interests of the Monthly Meeting.
The Treasurer of the Monthly Meeting shall be an ex officio member of this Committee.
The Committee shall prepare a budget for the financial needs of the Monthly Meeting and provide leadership for the solicitation of the necessary funds from the membership of the Monthly Meeting.
SECTION 50: COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE
The Monthly Meeting may appoint a Communications and Publications Committee.
The Communications and Publications Committee is important to the life and growth of the Monthly Meeting. It shall develop a program to promote knowledge of Friends among members of the Monthly Meeting and shall advise the Monthly Meeting concerning literature. Bulletins, newsletters, newspaper articles, outdoor and indoor bulletin boards, radio and television programs, reading materials, literature tables and Monthly Meeting libraries are the responsibility of this Committee. It shall promote the publications of Indiana Yearly Meeting and Friends United Meeting.
SECTION 51: OTHER COMMITTEES
The Monthly Meeting may annually appoint other committees, such as Ushers, Music, Building and Grounds, Funerals, Weddings, Hospitality, Kitchen and Social.
SECTION 52: AUXILIARY ORGANIZATIONS
The Monthly Meeting may recognize and support auxiliary organizations such as the United Society of Friends Women, Quaker Men and similar organizations. These organizations shall work in harmony with the Monthly Meeting and regularly report their activities to the Monthly Meeting.
SECTION 53: QUALIFICATIONS OF A PASTOR
All true ministry of the gospel is from the anointing of the Lord Jesus Christ; and it is He who, by His Spirit, calls, prepares and enables one to minister. Friends believe that any member may be called to minister, and we believe that one expression of ministry is the call to pastoral service.
Because a Pastor's influence may affect the lives of members in various ways for many years, the qualifications of pastors should not be taken lightly. Primary among these are commitment to Christ, spiritual maturity, discernment, love, sensitivity, and a burden for the spiritual welfare of the community in which he or she serves. These characteristics can be developed and enhanced through consistent study and further education, participation in Yearly Meeting activities and other wider ministries, and fellowship and cooperation with other pastors in the community.
A Friends Pastor should have a knowledge of Friends history, be committed to Friends principles as set forth in this FAITH AND PRACTICE, and, without reservation, support and declare these truths.
SECTION 54: THE PASTOR AND THE MONTHLY MEETING
In the meeting for worship Pastors have the opportunity for public ministry. They should prepare themselves by careful, prayerful study to expound the Scriptures, to awaken the consciences of those who hear, to inspire a longing for Christ and to guide all the congregation, particularly young people and children, in the search for God and the Christian way of life. They should realize the value of silent worship and should recognize the privilege and responsibility of others to participate vocally in the meeting for worship.
Pastors are considered to be co-workers with the members of the Monthly Meeting. They shall endeavor to bring all members of the Monthly Meeting to a sense of their responsibility for ministry. Neither Pastor nor spouse may serve as Presiding Clerk, Assistant Presiding Clerk, Recording Clerk, or Treasurer of the Monthly Meeting. (See APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERS, SECTION 17.)
SECTION 55: THE PASTOR AND THE COMMUNITY
In the development of a sense of responsibility on the part of the Monthly Meeting toward the community, Pastors should maintain an interest in public affairs and should cooperate with churches and associations in fostering in every possible way the welfare of the community.
SECTION 56: THE PASTOR AND THE MONTHLY MEETING ON MINISTRY AND OVERSIGHT
The Pastor shall be an ex officio member of the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. Neither Pastor nor spouse shall serve as a clerk of this body. The Pastor should present his or her concerns for the consideration of this body and should share equal responsibility with each member for decisions and implementations. All matters of policy affecting the meeting for worship, the undertaking of special evangelistic efforts, and other special programs of spiritual emphasis should be submitted to the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight for discussion and decision and reported to the Monthly Meeting for action.
When pastoral arrangements or changes are being considered by either the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight or the Monthly Meeting, the Pastor should not be present except by invitation of the Meeting which is considering the matter.
SECTION 57: THE PASTOR AND COMMITTEES
Pastors should maintain a cooperative relationship with all the committees of the Monthly Meeting, assisting in their programs and policies.
Originally it was the practice of Friends for the members of the Monthly Meeting to carry the full responsibility for ministry. Friends should give aid and encouragement to each Monthly Meeting to find through prayer and experience the type of ministry, the form of worship and the fields of service which enable it to meet to the fullest extent the spiritual needs of the Monthly Meeting.
SECTION 58: GATHERINGS FOR WORSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP
New Monthly Meetings ordinarily begin as a gathering for worship and fellowship regularly held in the manner of Friends. Their purpose is to satisfy their desire for corporate worship and for spiritual growth in the faith of Friends and in the practice of Christian service. This gathering need not be under the care of any Friends body, but may participate in fellowship with Friends Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Meetings. Those who participate in the fellowship should endeavor to provide the proper religious training for their children and to extend their religious influence beyond the group.
When the attendees of such a Gathering for Worship and Fellowship agree, they may petition a Monthly Meeting to be established as a Preparative Meeting.
SECTION 59: SPONSORING GATHERINGS FOR WORSHIP
Alternate procedures for sponsoring Gatherings for Worship and Fellowship are provided within this FAITH AND PRACTICE of Indiana Yearly Meeting. While only Monthly Meetings may establish Preparative Meetings, gatherings for worship and fellowship may be sponsored by Monthly Meetings, Quarterly Meetings, or the Yearly Meeting through its Evangelism and Outreach Committee. When it seems appropriate to start a new Gathering for Worship, the Yearly Meeting, nearby Quarterly and Monthly Meetings shall be consulted.
SECTION 60: MONTHLY MEETING AS A SPONSOR
Circumstances, such as geographic proximity or close association of members of the Monthly meeting to the group of persons who have the concern for the new Gathering for Worship may normally lead to the sponsorship by the Monthly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting will establish a Preparative Meeting when the Friends in the new Gathering For Worship appear to be ready for the added responsibilities. The Monthly Meeting shall recommend to the Yearly Meeting the establishment of a Monthly Meeting when the Preparative Meeting shows evidence of the necessary strength and promise of permanence to warrant such action.
SECTION 61: QUARTERLY MEETING AS SPONSOR
Cooperative concern for outreach and growth expressed within a Quarterly Meeting may lead to its sponsorship of a new Gathering For Worship. When the Quarterly Meeting feels the need for a new Gathering For Worship, it shall provide the counsel and assistance necessary for the nurture and development of the new Gathering For Worship. When such a Gathering is ready to be established as a Preparative Meeting, the Quarterly Meeting shall find an appropriate Monthly Meeting to establish it as a Preparative Meeting. Property provided for the use of the new Gathering For Worship may be held by the Trustees of a Monthly Meeting or by the Trustees of the Yearly Meeting until the Preparative Meeting becomes a Monthly Meeting.
SECTION 62: YEARLY MEETING AS A SPONSOR
The Yearly Meeting through its Evangelism and Outreach Committee is in a position to see and respond to needs for new Gatherings For Worship which no Monthly Meeting or Quarterly Meeting is in a position to recognize or meet. When the Committee is faced with a need for a new Gathering For Worship, it shall provide the counsel and other assistance necessary for the nurture and development of a Gathering For Worship and Fellowship. When such a gathering is ready to be established as a Preparative Meeting, the Committee shall find an appropriate Monthly Meeting to establish the new Meeting. When the Yearly Meeting Evangelism and Outreach Committee finds that a Gathering For Worship, which it sponsors, is ready to acquire real property, it shall recommend that the title be held by the Yearly Meeting. When the Yearly Meeting approves this recommendation, it shall direct the Trustees of the Yearly Meeting to hold the title to the real property in the name of the Yearly Meeting.
[See OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY, SECTION 24.]
SECTION 63: ESTABLISHING PREPARATIVE MEETINGS
There are two different paths by which a Meeting can become a Preparative Meeting within Indiana Yearly Meeting. The first is by being an existing Friends Meeting not yet a member of Indiana Yearly Meeting and petitioning Indiana Yearly Meeting for membership. Such a petition will be forwarded to the Evangelism and Outreach Committee of Indiana Yearly Meeting for evaluation. Evangelism and Outreach should meet with the petitioning Friends Meeting and review the following: Faith and Practice of Indiana Yearly Meeting, financial responsibility to Indiana Yearly Meeting and Friends United Meeting, and organizational compliance by the Friends Meeting with Faith and Practice. Upon the examination, and finding a favorable report, Evangelism and Outreach may recommend that such a Friends Meeting be given Preparative Meeting status and may recommend that an existing Monthly Meeting of Indiana Yearly Meeting be assigned as a mentoring Monthly Meeting. This process may be presented at any gathering of either the Representative Council or the Yearly Meeting in Session. The assigned Monthly Meeting should meet with the leadership of the new Preparative Meeting to find assistance in moving the Preparative Meeting to Monthly Meeting status. When, in the opinion of the mentoring Monthly Meeting, the new Preparative Monthly Meeting is ready for full recognition in the Yearly Meeting, they should contact Evangelism and Outreach and express their opinion by an official Minute from a regular Monthly Meeting session. Evangelism and Outreach may propose that they be granted full Monthly Meeting status in the next regular session of the Indiana Yearly Meeting.
The second path for becoming a Preparative Meeting is as follows: A Gathering for Worship becomes a Preparative Meeting when it is established as a Preparative Meeting by a Monthly Meeting. The establishing Monthly Meeting must continue oversight of the Preparative Meeting until it may become a separate Monthly Meeting. A Preparative Meeting may be laid down by the Monthly Meeting that established it. It is similar to a Monthly Meeting in character, organization and responsibility, though it is generally less extensive in its organization and work. The Preparative Meeting has, to the extent of its resources, the responsibility for its meeting for worship and for its expression of the Christian message.
When a Preparative Meeting is considered ready to acquire real property which it deems necessary for the accomplishment of its purpose, the establishing Monthly Meeting may direct its trustees to hold the title to such property in the name of the establishing Monthly Meeting. When a Preparative Meeting becomes a Monthly Meeting, title to real property shall be returned to the new Monthly Meeting in accordance with the guidelines for the ownership of real property set forth in this FAITH AND PRACTICE. [See SECTION 24.]
Preparative Meetings shall maintain a list of active participants and recommend to the establishing Meeting those persons who it feels are prepared adequately for membership in the Society of Friends. Those so approved by the establishing Meeting shall hold membership in the establishing Monthly Meeting until a Preparative Meeting becomes a Monthly Meeting, at which time the members shall be transferred to the new Monthly Meeting. To encourage the establishment of new Monthly Meetings, members of the establishing Meeting who are participants in a Preparative Meeting shall not be assessed by the Yearly Meeting. Participation in the deliberations and work of the establishing Monthly Meeting, Quarterly Meeting, or Yearly Meeting is encouraged. The Preparative Meeting may not speak for, or in the name of, the establishing Meeting, but it may make recommendations to the establishing Meeting on matters of corporate concern to the members of the Preparative Meeting.
A Monthly Meeting shall send a recommendation to the
Yearly Meeting when it is convinced that the Preparative Meeting is ready
become a Monthly Meeting.
SECTION 64: ACTION BY THE YEARLY MEETING
When the recommendation for the establishment of a Monthly Meeting reaches the Yearly Meeting from a Monthly Meeting, the Yearly Meeting shall appoint a committee to visit the new Meeting to evaluate the strength of the Meeting, confer with the members on the responsibilities of a Monthly Meeting, and report the findings to the next session of the Yearly Meeting or the Representative Council. If the Yearly Meeting or the Representative Council does not approve a recommendation for the establishment of a Monthly Meeting, it shall notify the body which made the recommendation and give its reasons for the action. When the reasons have been satisfied, the establishing Monthly Meeting may again recommend or the Yearly Meeting may reconsider the Preparative Meeting for status as a Monthly Meeting.
When the Yearly Meeting or the Representative Council approves a proposal for the establishment of a new Monthly Meeting, it shall appoint a committee to serve as its agent in the first session of the new Monthly Meeting. A member of this committee shall read the opening minute of the new Monthly Meeting and read the minute which gives the Yearly Meeting's approval of the establishment of the Monthly Meeting. That person shall call the names of the Friends who have brought to the Meeting their certificates of transfer of membership from the establishing Monthly Meeting and any new names that the Preparative Meeting wishes to submit for membership at this meeting. The member of the committee shall continue to preside until the new Monthly Meeting has appointed a Presiding Clerk.
SECTION 65: SUPERINTENDENTS RESPONSIBILITY
The General Superintendent of the Yearly Meeting should always be alert for indications of the need for establishing new Gatherings for Worship and cooperate in any helpful manner with Monthly Meetings, Quarterly Meetings, or the Yearly Meeting Evangelism and Outreach Committee in all stages of the development of new Meetings. His or her counsel should be sought in securing pastoral assistance or in acquiring or building a meeting house.
SECTION 66: FAITH AS A BASIS FOR MEMBERSHIP
Friends receive into adult membership those whose faith in God and in Jesus Christ as personal Saviour and Lord is manifest in their lives and who are in unity with the teachings of Christian truth as held by the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS. The following quotation from the Introduction of Christian Faith and Practice in the Experience of the Society of Friends by London Yearly Meeting (1960) is recommended as a foundation of membership: Do you cherish that of God within you, that his power growing in you may rule your life? Do you seek to follow Jesus who shows us the Father and teaches us the Way?
SECTION 67: APPLICATION
Application for membership should be made in writing to the Monthly Meeting. In the case of a Preparative Meeting application shall be made to the establishing Monthly Meeting. This application should be acknowledged by the Presiding Clerk and directed to the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. Pastors and members of the Meeting on Ministry and Oversight of the Monthly Meeting should be encouraged to invite qualified attendees to apply for membership in the Monthly Meeting. Other members of the Monthly Meeting should recommend names of persons to the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight who might be invited to apply for membership.
SECTION 68: STEPS TO MEMBERSHIP
The Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall carefully guide applicants for membership in their search for Truth. It shall designate one or more of its members to confer with the applicant at an early date. The purpose of the conference is not to conduct a pointed examination. It is to share views and to ascertain whether the applicant seeks a fuller understanding of the basic principles of Christian living, finds satisfaction in the faith and meetings for worship of Friends, and desires to join with Friends in corporate and continuing search for Truth. The applicant should clearly understand that the responsibilities include regular attendance at meetings for worship and for business and a willingness to support the Monthly Meeting with both finances and service he or she is competent to give.
When the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight is satisfied that the applicant is ready for membership, it shall recommend the applicant to the Monthly Meeting which shall act on the recommendation. If approved, the Monthly Meeting shall appoint a welcoming committee from the membership to inform and welcome the applicant as a member of the Monthly Meeting. This committee shall also obtain statistical data for the membership records of the Meeting. The Recording Clerk or the Statistical Secretary shall enter the pertinent data in a permanent record of the Monthly Meeting.
Recognition of the new member may be made at a regular meeting for worship so that all members may have an opportunity to extend a welcome.
SECTION 69: JUNIOR MEMBERSHIP
Parents or guardians, when applying for membership or when transferring from other Friends Meetings or denominations, may make application for the enrollment of minor children as junior members. The enrollment of children as junior members is an expression of the conviction that children born into this fellowship rightfully possess a precious heritage. Children and youth have a peculiar interest in and claim upon the church, which should earnestly seek their spiritual well-being and development. Where only one parent is a member, the children may be enrolled as junior members upon the request of that parent and the consent of the other. Such requests shall be made to the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. Other children may be received into junior membership upon the recommendation of that body.
SECTION 70: JUNIOR TO ADULT
Children enrolled as junior members may be transferred to adult membership when they have manifested their faith in God and in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, have accepted the principles of Christian truth as held by Friends and have requested such transfer to adult membership. Since junior membership is for children only, parents and leaders within the Monthly Meeting should invite and encourage young Friends to accept adult membership. Junior membership terminates when a junior member becomes twenty-one (21) years of age.
SECTION 71: GUIDELINES FOR CONTINUING MEMBERSHIP
In order that membership may continue to be a vital experience, each member is encouraged to carry on a continual process of examination of his or her faith.
The historic Queries or Questions for Spiritual Growth have served this purpose in the past and it is recommended that they continue to be the guidelines by which one determines the basis for his or her continuing membership in the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.
Members of the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall counsel with persons desiring membership and shall deal lovingly and firmly with Friends whose life and witness may hinder the fellowship of the Meeting.
Membership should be regarded as a lifelong matter only for those who maintain close ties with the Monthly Meeting and share in its faith, ministry, outreach and support.
SECTION 72: TRANSFER TO OTHER FRIENDS MEETINGS
Members moving to the limits of another Monthly Meeting should request the transfer of their membership to that meeting. Certificates shall be issued on the request of the member. Unless sufficient reason shall appear to the contrary, such certificates shall be accepted by the Monthly Meeting to which it is addressed. In every case the Monthly Meeting receiving a certificate shall inform the Monthly Meeting which issued it of the action taken. A certificate of membership shall be issued only to a Monthly Meeting and shall be sent to its Presiding Clerk.
SECTION 73: JOINING OTHER DENOMINATIONS
When a member in good standing requests to unite with some other denomination, the Monthly Meeting may send a letter of recommendation concerning the member to the denomination. Upon official acknowledgement of its receipt, his or her membership with Friends shall cease.
SECTION 74: LETTERS FROM OTHER DENOMINATIONS
When an applicant for membership brings a letter of recommendation from another denomination, the Monthly Meeting may exercise its judgment whether or not to receive the applicant on this recommendation. All certificates and letters should first be presented to the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight.
SECTION 75: MEMBERSHIP RECORDS
The acceptance and issuance of all certificates and letters shall be recorded in the minutes of the Monthly Meeting and the list of members shall be changed accordingly. Certificates of transfer for Recorded Ministers shall include a statement of their recording.
SECTION 76: RESIGNATION
Resignation of membership shall be made to the Monthly Meeting in writing. The Monthly Meeting may exercise its discretion in accepting a resignation. Before taking action, however, the Monthly Meeting should refer the matter to the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight for its study and recommendation.
SECTION 77: FORFEITURE
When any member shall have united with another denomination without having requested a letter of recommendation, the Monthly Meeting, upon verification of such information, shall remove the member's name from its membership list and inform him or her of its action.
SECTION 78: DISCONTINUANCE
A member moving beyond the limits of his or her Monthly Meeting should correspond with his or her Monthly Meeting and contribute to its support. Monthly Meetings should correspond with absent members. If no information has been, or can be, received from a member for a period of three (3) years, his or her Monthly Meeting may, at its discretion, and after the Meeting on Ministry and Oversight has exercised due care and concern, remove his or her name from its list of members.
SECTION 79: DEALING WITH PROBLEMS
Serious difficulties which the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight is unable to resolve may be referred to the Monthly Meeting for action. The Monthly Meeting shall appoint a committee to consider the matter. This committee shall, in a spirit of love and tenderness, endeavor to resolve the difficulties and to lead the individual(s) involved to that state of mind and heart that will enable him or her to be restored to fellowship with the Monthly Meeting. If the exercise of due care and forbearance shall be of no avail, the Monthly Meeting shall execute a minute of disownment and furnish the individual(s) involved with a copy of same. The membership records of the Monthly Meeting shall be corrected accordingly.
SECTION 80: DISMISSAL
When any member habitually neglects attendance at meetings for worship of the Monthly Meeting, fails to contribute to its support, and is generally inactive in the work of Friends, the Monthly Meeting may, after due consideration, and after the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight has labored prayerfully with the member, remove his or her name from its list of members.
SECTION 81: PROCEDURES
When a member is dissatisfied with a decision of the Monthly Meeting, he or she may, within two (2) months, file an appeal of the decision with the Quarterly Meeting for a review of the case. If the Quarterly Meeting upholds the decision of the Monthly Meeting, the member may, within two (2) months of the decision of the Quarterly Meeting, appeal to the Yearly Meeting. The decision of the Yearly Meeting shall be final.
When a matter is appealed to a Quarterly Meeting or the Yearly Meeting, the Monthly Meeting from which the appeal is made shall appoint some of its members, not to exceed three (3), to represent it before the Meeting to which appeal is made. The Meeting considering an appeal shall endeavor to exercise a spirit of fairness and good will. Frequently, hearings of a case can be conducted by common accord before a judicious and representative committee appointed by the Meeting to which appeal is made.
SECTION 82: SIGNIFICANCE
Throughout their history as an organization, Friends have provided a form of ceremony in keeping with their idea of the deep religious significance of marriage. The avoidance of undue haste, the emphasis upon the equality of the sexes, the responsibility assumed by the Monthly Meeting, the thoughtful attention given to the religious, moral, and legal qualifications, and the impressive statement of the marriage vows by the contracting parties are all important features of the Friends marriage practice. Persons desiring to unite in marriage under the care of the Monthly Meeting shall proceed as set forth in the following sections.
SECTION 83: DECLARATION OF INTENTIONS
A man and a woman who desire to be married under the care of a Monthly Meeting shall report their intentions to the Monthly Meeting of which either is a member. If both are Friends this is done by obtaining a statement of certification for each person signed by two members of the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight of the Monthly Meeting to which each person belongs. [See APPENDIX FOR CERTIFICATION FORM.] These certifications together with a letter declaring their intent are then submitted to the Monthly Meeting under whose care they wish to be married.
SECTION 84: MONTHLY MEETING ACTION
When a request for marriage under the care of a Monthly Meeting is accompanied by appropriate certifications, the Monthly Meeting may proceed according to FAITH AND PRACTICE and the provisions of the laws of the state.
If certifications are not presented, or if for other cause inquiry is desired by the Monthly Meeting of either person, the Monthly Meeting may appoint a committee of two men and two women to seek further clearness for the marriage. Whether clearness for proceeding is given by certificate or by special committee, attention should be given to religious, moral, and legal qualifications and to the readiness of each person for the marriage.
The clearness committee shall report to the next regular or special Business Meeting of the Monthly Meeting. Approval of the marriage by the Monthly Meeting liberates the couple to proceed with the marriage.
SECTION 85: WHEN ONE IS NOT A MEMBER
A person who is not a member of the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY
OF FRIENDS who wishes to be married under the care of the Monthly Meeting
seek certification from the Monthly Meeting to which the other belongs. The Monthly Meeting may appoint a committee to make further inquiry into the qualifications of the nonmember for the marriage.
[See SECTION 84.]
SECTION 86: NONMEMBERS
A Monthly Meeting may allow a marriage to be solemnized within the Monthly Meeting when both persons are nonmembers. In such a case the Monthly Meeting shall appoint a committee to proceed as in SECTION 84 above, or, alternatively, certifications shall be signed by three (3) members of the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight of the Monthly Meeting to which the application is addressed. If the findings of the committee or the certification are satisfactory, the proceedings in relation to the proposed marriage shall be in the same manner as if the couple were Friends.
SECTION 87: OVERSIGHT OF MARRIAGE
After a couple has been liberated to proceed with arrangements for their marriage, a committee of not less than two (2) women and two (2) men shall be appointed by the Monthly Meeting to attend the marriage and report to the following session of the Monthly Meeting whether it has been properly solemnized. These persons may or may not be the same as those appointed to make inquiry into the qualifications for the proposed marriage. The couple may suggest names of members of the Monthly Meeting to be present and oversee their marriage.
SECTION 88: MARRIAGE IN MONTHLY MEETING
The marriage shall be solemnized in a regular meeting of the congregation or in a special meeting arranged by the Monthly Meeting at a time convenient to the contracting parties.
[See APPENDIX FOR VOWS.]
SECTION 89: CERTIFICATE
Following the marriage, a certificate shall be signed by the couple, the man first, the woman adopting her married name, if she so chooses; it shall then be audibly read by a designated person. At the conclusion of the meeting it shall be signed by others as witnesses.
[See APPENDIX FOR FORM.]
SECTION 90: MINISTER ASSISTING
The Pastor or another minister may assist in the solemnization of a marriage performed under the care of the Monthly Meeting, if the couple so desires.
SECTION 91: MARRIAGE A MONTHLY MEETING'S CONCERN
Friends recognize the fact that many people are looking to Pastors and other Friends' ministers for guidance in relation to marriage. The Monthly Meeting should share with the Pastor a concern for the happiness and spiritual welfare of those who request him or her to participate in the solemnization of their marriage. It should cooperate in every possible way with the pastor or minister in keeping the marriage procedure harmonious with the ideals of Friends.
SECTION 92: ADVICE TO MINISTERS
Since Friends ministers are recognized by the state as qualified to perform the solemnization of marriage, they have the responsibility to exercise due care to observe all legal requirements of the several states and to endeavor to make the exchange of marriage vows a matter of the deepest religious import to the contracting parties and to all who are present.
SECTION 93: COUNSELING
Pastors are encouraged to conduct classes for young people in which helpful counsel may be given to those contemplating marriage and to all youth in the matter of choosing their life's companions. Personal counsel with individuals and couples is also advised. In cases where previous consultation has not been possible, Pastors are responsible for ascertaining as fully as possible all circumstances that would concern the qualifications of the contracting parties for marriage and to satisfy themselves that all legal and moral requirements have been observed.
SECTION 94: MARRIAGE SERVICE
Pastors and other ministers are encouraged to conduct a marriage service in keeping with the ideals of Friends. In recognition of the importance of pastoral leadership in ever widening areas and the prevalence of pastoral service in connection with marriage, a ceremony is provided for the help it may give to those who feel the need for such suggestive guidance.
[See APPENDIX J.]
This sharing of the ministry should be encouraged, but the Monthly Meeting should be aware of the limitations that need to be placed upon such service.
A Minute for Service similar to the form found in the Appendix is recommended, subject to adjustment to meet particular requirements that shall be presented with each request.
A minute of this kind may be used for any member of the Monthly Meeting and should always indicate the type of service to be given. It is desirable to have all requests for such minutes referred to the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight or the Monthly Meeting committee directly involved for its consideration before presenting it to the Monthly Meeting for approval and action. When service is to be within the limits of the Yearly Meeting the minute should also be signed by the Presiding Clerk of the Monthly Meeting and by the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting body directly involved.
SECTION 95: MINUTES FOR SERVICE
There are occasions when Friends feel led to Christian service or ministry beyond the limits of the Monthly Meeting or Yearly Meeting. This may be for a definite period of time for special service such as an evangelist, mission worker, song evangelist, youth leader, Bible teacher, speaker, or educator. When service is to be beyond the limits of the Yearly Meeting, the same procedure should prevail, except that the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting should also sign the minute.
All minutes shall, after the performance of the service, be promptly returned to the Meetings that granted them.
[See APPENDIX O FOR THE RECOMMENDED FORM OF A MINUTE FOR SERVICE.]
SECTION 96: MINUTES FOR TRAVEL
Friends on vacation or during extensive travel frequently pass through communities where there are Friends Meetings or Friends' homes. It is of importance that traveling Friends become acquainted with these Friends and share their mutual concerns and inspiration. In the interest of intervisitation a Traveling Minute is offered for those Friends who may request it, thus opening doors for fellowship and service and uniting us closer to one another by such personal visitation.
The Minute shall be signed by the Clerk(s) of the Monthly Meeting, and also may have the signature of the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting, if practical. It does not involve any financial obligations upon the Meetings but is helpful as an introduction to Friends in other Meetings or Yearly Meetings.
[See APPENDIX N FOR THE RECOMMENDED FORM OF A TRAVELING MINUTE.]
SECTION 97: MEMBERSHIP
The Quarterly Meeting shall consist of all members of the Monthly Meetings within a designated geographical area that have been made a part of the Quarterly Meeting by the Yearly Meeting.
SECTION 98: APPOINTMENT AND DUTIES OF QUARTERLY MEETING OFFICERS
Clerks to serve the Quarterly Meeting shall be nominated by the Monthly Meeting Representatives to the Quarterly Meeting and appointed in the Quarterly Meeting proceeding the annual Yearly Meeting sessions. Clerks shall serve for a one-year term, beginning at the close of the meeting in which they are approved. Appointment of the same person shall be limited to three (3) consecutive terms.
A. PRESIDING CLERK
The Presiding Clerk of a Quarterly Meeting shall convene and preside over all sessions of the Quarterly Meeting. The Presiding Clerk of the Quarterly Meeting shall forward a copy of the appointments made by the Quarterly Meeting and any business requiring Yearly Meeting attention to the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting with a copy to the General Superintendent's office immediately following the business session in which the action was taken. The Presiding Clerk shall appoint a convener of the Monthly Meeting Representatives to Quarterly Meeting to nominate clerks and persons to serve on Yearly Meeting Committees and other bodies of the Yearly Meeting. The Presiding Clerk shall serve as an ex officio member of the Quarterly Meeting program committee.
B. RECORDING CLERK
The Recording Clerk shall keep an accurate set of minutes of the Quarterly Meeting actions in a minute book of the Quarterly Meeting. The Clerks shall have custody of the minutes and see that they are periodically deposited in the archives of the Yearly Meeting.
SECTION 99: APPOINTMENTS TO YEARLY MEETING BODIES
The Quarterly Meeting shall appoint three (3) persons to serve on the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee. It shall annually appoint one (1) person for a term of three (3) years. If a person is appointed to fill an unexpired term he or she may complete the unexpired term plus not more than two (2) additional terms. The Quarterly Meeting shall appoint one member to serve on the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. This person shall have served or be a member of a Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight at the time of the appointment. The appointment shall be for three (3) years with no person serving more than two (2) consecutive terms. In making this appointment the Quarterly Meeting shall carefully consider the suggestions of the Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, if one has been established.
The Quarterly Meeting shall appoint one member to
serve on each of the following Yearly Meeting committees: Evangelism and
Outreach, Christian Education, Missions, Peace and Christian Social Concerns,
Stewardship and Finance and Communications and Publications. These
appointments shall be for three (3) years with no person serving more than two (2) consecutive terms. Any Quarterly Meeting appointment to Yearly Meeting committees not made by the beginning of the Yearly Meeting Sessions may be filled by the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee.
SECTION 100: COMMITTEES OF THE QUARTERLY MEETING
The Representatives to Quarterly Meetings from the Monthly Meetings shall form two (2) committees of the Quarterly Meeting. They shall select one or more of their number to serve as clerks of these committees.
As a Nominating Committee they shall nominate persons to serve as Clerks of the Quarterly Meeting. This Committee shall also nominate persons to serve on the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee and the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight and other committees. Consideration should be given to choosing qualified persons who are willing to serve and to distributing these nominations as evenly as possible among the Monthly Meetings. It shall nominate persons to fill vacancies which occur within the Quarterly Meeting organization. Nominations of the Quarterly Nominating Committee shall not be binding on the Quarterly Meeting and other nominations may be made in the face of the Quarterly Meeting for Business.
As a Program Committee they shall cooperate with the Monthly Meetings and the Yearly Meeting in developing programs to promote Christian Fellowship, growth and encouragement and to stimulate interest in Friends Concerns. The Presiding Clerk of the Quarterly Meeting shall be an ex officio member of this committee. The Quarterly Meeting may appoint other committees as may be necessary to promote the work of the Quarter.
SECTION 101: FUNCTION OF THE QUARTERLY MEETING
The Quarterly Meeting shall encourage Monthly Meetings within its quarter in their evangelism, Christian education, peace and Christian social concerns and missionary outreach. It has the responsibility to seek inspiration, enlightened vision, and a determined will for Christian living in today's world. Worship should possess the assembled Friends and guide their meditations. In this spirit Friends should seek to reach beyond human resources as Friends aspire to counter the forces of evil and find ways of shaping human society in God's will. Sessions of the Quarterly Meeting should be used by Friends to match their minds and their faith with great issues which challenge the Christian Church. This faith calls for united efforts for the cure of the causes of war; for the abolition of poverty, hunger and ignorance; and for the conquest of racial discrimination and indifference to human suffering. The cry of the destitute, the exploited and the hopeless should be heard by gathered Friends. With all these should come the charge think on these things.
The Quarterly Meeting shall receive and consider matters referred to it by the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, Representative Council and Committees. It shall consider any concerns addressed to the Yearly Meeting by constituent Monthly Meetings and forward the same to the Yearly Meeting with a report of the Quarterly Meetings action. It shall communicate to the Yearly Meeting Superintendent, Presiding Clerk or appropriate Yearly Meeting body any unrest in Monthly Meetings.
The Quarterly Meeting shall consider changes in FAITH AND PRACTICE. It shall also hear appeals from members of Monthly Meetings.
SECTION 102: FREQUENCY OF MEETINGS
Quarterly Meetings should meet at least quarterly. At the Quarterly Meeting prior to the annual sessions of the Yearly Meeting the officers shall be appointed for the following year.
SECTION 103: RELATIONS OF QUARTERLY MEETING TO YEARLY MEETING
When it is considered necessary or helpful in the life of the Society, the Quarterly Meeting may recommend to the Yearly Meeting or the Representative Council:
a. The laying down of one of the Monthly Meetings
within the Quarter,
b. The uniting of two or more Monthly Meetings within the Quarter,
c. The joining of one Monthly Meeting within the Quarter to another Quarterly Meeting,
d. The division of itself into two Quarterly Meetings,
e. The establishment of Preparative Meetings sponsored by the Quarterly Meeting.
SECTION 104: MEMBERSHIP
A Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight may be established consisting of all the members of Monthly Meetings on Ministry and Oversight within its quarter. It shall annually select one or more of its members to serve as clerks.
SECTION 105: FREQUENCY OF MEETINGS
The Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall meet at the call of its Presiding Clerk, the Presiding Clerk of the Quarterly Meeting or three (3) of its members. It shall meet at least annually prior to the last meeting of the Quarterly Meeting before Yearly Meeting.
SECTION 106: DUTIES
The Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall be concerned with the ministry of the Monthly Meetings within its quarter. It shall be diligent and judicious in suggesting measures and means for the promotion of spiritual life and godliness, and it shall give special attention to gatherings for worship and fellowship, weak Monthly Meetings, and those in need of ministry. In conjunction with the Quarterly Meeting it shall endeavor to find means by which Friends may deepen their spiritual energies and enrich their Christian message.
The Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight should be a source of inspiration within the quarter, a channel among Monthly Meetings and the Yearly Meeting for spiritual concerns, a support group in time of trouble, a forum to provide opportunity for sharing helpful ideas, and a place for Monthly Meetings to seek advice on continuing problems.
The Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall be responsible for suggesting to the Quarterly Meeting names of qualified persons to serve as Quarterly Meeting appointments on the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight.
SECTION 107: MEMBERSHIP
INDIANA YEARLY MEETING of the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS was incorporated by act of the Indiana Legislature on January 4, 1850, as a not-for-profit corporation. In 1961 it was officially reorganized through the office of the Secretary of State of Indiana.
INDIANA YEARLY MEETING consists of all the members of its Monthly Meetings.
SECTION 108: ORDER AND AUTHORITY
The Yearly Meeting exists to provide order and to regulate its constituent bodies so that Friends may maintain a Christian faith and witness in a spirit of love and unity. It seeks to foster the spiritual and numerical growth of the Church as the body of Christ. All members have the privilege and responsibility to attend and to participate in the annual session of the Yearly Meeting in order to be informed on its business, programs and activities.
Through its annual session and the work of its committees and other bodies the Yearly Meeting seeks a clear understanding of how the Christian faith as discerned by Friends enables us to identify and understand the forces shaping the destiny of men and women. Friends seek together, through worship, consultation and use of resources, to provide Christian alternatives to the forces which plague the human race. These forces include poverty, hunger, greed, war and indifference to human rights and justice. In corporate effort all members are strengthened and held accountable in the counsel of the Lord.
In the wisdom and power of Jesus Christ our Lord, all meetings are to be held in the spirit of seeking the will of God in the Light of the revelation through Christ and the gift of grace to overcome evil with good.
The Yearly Meeting exercises such power and authority granted to it by its members in annual session. The Quarterly Meetings and Monthly Meetings of the Yearly Meeting are subordinate to the Yearly Meeting.
The Yearly Meeting has the power to decide Yearly Meeting policy and administration as provided by this FAITH AND PRACTICE. It may counsel, admonish or discipline its Quarterly and Monthly Meetings. It may initiate programs, provide the means for the promotion of truth and righteousness, and inaugurate and coordinate religious and philanthropic work. The Yearly Meeting has the right to assess its Monthly Meetings for a proportionate amount of financial support as approved by the Yearly Meeting in session.
Actions which require the approval of the Yearly Meeting
in annual session are the appointment of Clerks, members of the Yearly
Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, trustees and committee members; any change in FAITH AND PRACTICE; the recording of ministers; the establishment, withdrawal or discontinuance of a Monthly Meeting; and any statement of faith or pronouncement on a major issue, given in the name of Indiana Yearly Meeting which may not be clearly stated in this FAITH AND PRACTICE. It shall receive and act upon reports of committees and other bodies and conduct such business as properly comes before the meeting.
Subordination as used in this FAITH AND PRACTICE does not describe a hierarchy but rather a means, under divine leadership, of common protection between Indiana Yearly Meeting and its Quarterly Meetings and Monthly Meetings. It is a relationship among Friends submitting themselves to one another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:21) In the spirit of Christ who humbled himself and became obedient unto death each member, each Monthly Meeting, each Quarterly Meeting and the Yearly Meeting submits to each other in the love of Christ. Subordination is the assurance that no Monthly Meeting is alone, autonomous or independent.
Thus Monthly Meetings recognize the legitimate role of the Yearly Meeting in speaking and acting for the combined membership. Likewise the Yearly Meeting recognizes the freedom of Monthly Meetings and the validity of their prophetic voices. Each needs the other in order to be strong and vital, and both need the mediation of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
1. The Yearly Meeting may intervene in the affairs of a Monthly Meeting when individual members request assistance in dealing with a significant problem.
2. The Yearly Meeting may intervene in the affairs of a Monthly Meeting with or without a request of individual members of a Monthly Meeting when:
a. there is a clear and substantial violation of this
FAITH AND PRACTICE,
b. there is a serious lack of consensus which threatens the unity of a Monthly Meeting,
c. it appears that the real property of the Monthly Meeting may be transferred or encumbered to nonmembers of the Monthly Meeting or of Indiana Yearly Meeting who are out of unity with Friends principles, or
d. there is a substantial indication that a Monthly Meeting may withdraw from Indiana Yearly Meeting.
SECTION 109: OFFICERS
The officers of the Yearly Meeting are the Presiding Clerk, the Assistant Presiding Clerk, the Recording Clerk, the Assistant Recording Clerk, the Reading Clerk, the Treasurer and the Assistant Treasurer.
The officers shall be appointed annually by the Yearly Meeting. The Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee shall present annually to the Yearly Meeting names of persons who may be appointed as officers of the Yearly Meeting. The term of each officer shall be one year. Officers may be reappointed but may not serve more than six (6) consecutive years in any one office of the Yearly Meeting. A member might be reconsidered for appointment to such service after a year out of office.
When appointed by the Yearly Meeting, officers shall take office at the close of the annual session during which the appointment was made. Persons named to fill vacancies shall take office immediately.
SECTION 110: DUTIES OF OFFICERS
A. PRESIDING CLERK
The Presiding Clerk is the chief executive officer of the Yearly Meeting. The Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting shall convene and preside over all sessions of the Yearly Meeting, the Representative Council, and the Executive Committee. The Presiding Clerk shall see that the business is properly presented to the Meeting for its consideration, discern and present the sense of the meeting to the Yearly Meeting, sign documents on behalf of the Yearly Meeting, see that officers and committees are functioning, and make certain all actions are properly recorded and carried out.
B. ASSISTANT PRESIDING CLERK
The Assistant Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting shall perform the duties of the Presiding Clerk in his or her absence and perform other duties as directed by the Presiding Clerk.
C. RECORDING CLERK
The Recording Clerk of the Yearly Meeting shall keep accurate and complete minutes of the proceedings of the sessions of Yearly Meeting, the Representative Council, and the Executive Committee. The Recording Clerk shall serve as the correspondent for the Yearly Meeting.
D. ASSISTANT RECORDING CLERK
The Assistant Recording Clerk shall perform the duties of the Recording Clerk in his or her absence and assist the Recording Clerk with his or her duties when requested.
E. READING CLERK
The Reading Clerk of the Yearly Meeting shall read all correspondence and information to the body of the Yearly Meeting, as directed by the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting.
The Treasurer of the Yearly Meeting shall oversee the receipt and disbursement of all Yearly Meeting funds as directed by the Yearly Meeting, the Representative Council or a committee of the Yearly Meeting with funds which are not within the Yearly Meeting budget. All disbursements must be approved and signed by the Clerk of the appropriate body or a person authorized by the body.
G. ASSISTANT TREASURER
The Assistant Treasurer shall perform the duties of the Treasurer in his or her absence and shall assist the Treasurer when requested.
H. OTHER DUTIES OF OFFICERS
All clerks and officers who have custody of official records of the Yearly Meeting have the responsibility to:
1. Maintain records of all decision and activities
of the Yearly Meeting,
2. Submit reports at appropriate regular intervals to the Yearly Meeting,
3. Promptly transfer all files and official copies of records to successors in office, and
4. Dispose of inactive records in accordance with SECTION 22 of this FAITH AND PRACTICE.
SECTION 111: JURISDICTION
The Representative Council shall be the decision-making body of Indiana Yearly Meeting when the Yearly Meeting is not in annual session. It shall act upon matters referred to it by the Yearly Meeting and conduct other essential business of the Yearly Meeting between annual sessions of the Yearly Meeting. All decision minutes of the Representative Council shall be reported to the next annual session of the Yearly Meeting and, when approved, become a part of and printed with the Yearly Meeting Minutes.
SECTION 112: MEMBERSHIP
The Representative Council shall include at least one representative appointed to the Representative Council by each Monthly Meeting. Monthly Meetings with one hundred one (101) or more Adult members may appoint two (2) representatives to the Representative Council. Monthly Meetings with two hundred fifty-one (251) or more Adult members may appoint three (3) representatives to the Representative Council. They shall assume their responsibilities at the close of the Yearly Meeting session and function through the next annual session. Each Monthly Meeting should appoint, if possible, someone other than the Pastor as its representative. Care should be taken so that the representative is not selected merely to represent the position of the Monthly Meeting but rather that the person selected be one who is capable of discerning the will of God in the light of Christ. Representatives are expected to make reports to their respective Monthly Meetings.
The Representative Council shall include the Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk, Assistant Presiding Clerk, Recording Clerk, and Treasurer. The General Superintendent is an ex officio member of the Representative Council. The Editor of the INDIANA FRIEND may attend as a reporter. Presiding Clerks of the Yearly Meeting committees, Trustees and the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight as well as other Yearly Meeting staff may attend as resource persons. Any member of the Representative Council who cannot attend a meeting of the Representative Council shall notify his or her alternate. Other members of the Yearly Meeting may attend the meetings of the Representative Council.
SECTION 113: FREQUENCY OF MEETING
The Representative Council shall meet in the fall and the spring. Special sessions may be called by the Presiding Clerk to care for urgent business. Special meetings of the Representative Council shall be called by the Presiding Clerk, upon the request of seven (7) member of the Representative Council. Notice of a called meeting shall be sent to the Representative Council at least seven (7) days before the appointed time of meeting. The appointing body shall be responsible for the expenses of its representative(s). The Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting may call the Representative Council into session during Yearly Meeting without prior notice.
SECTION 114: DUTIES
In its spring meeting the Representative Council shall review the annual budget proposed by the Stewardship and Finance Committee and recommend a budget for Yearly Meeting approval. The Representative Council shall receive communications and concerns from Monthly Meetings, Quarterly Meetings and other sources and respond to them in appropriate ways.
The Representative Council shall appoint persons to serve as General Superintendent and other staff of the Yearly Meeting. Any appointment made shall be for a term of three (3) years. Appointments may be made for additional terms of service.
To seek a person for appointment as General Superintendent, the Executive Committee shall appoint a Search Committee composed of one member of each Quarterly Meeting. When the Search Committee has agreed, it shall present the name of the person to the Representative Council. The members of the Representative Council shall be notified at least thirty (30) days in advance of any meeting of the Representative Council during which the name for the position of General Superintendent shall be considered. This notification shall also include the name of the person to be considered and his or her background and qualifications. When the person to become the General Superintendent has been approved by the Representative Council, the Executive Committee shall conclude the arrangement.
Salaries and job descriptions for all staff persons of the Yearly Meeting shall be set by the Representative Council upon the recommendation of the Executive Committee of the Yearly Meeting. In recommending salaries for staff persons of the Yearly Meeting, the Executive Committee shall see that compensation of all staff be distributed fairly.
The Representative Council shall periodically define in writing and approve the specific duties of:
1. Members of the Representative Council,
2. The General Superintendent of the Yearly Meeting,
3. All other Yearly Meeting staff persons.
The Representative Council shall minute all of its decision and send them to each Monthly Meeting Representative and Monthly Meeting Presiding Clerk. All Decision Minutes of the Representatives Council shall be reported to the next annual session of Yearly Meeting and, when approved, become a part of and printed with the Yearly Meeting Minutes.
Any issue that is not resolved by the Yearly Meeting in session may be referred by the Presiding Clerk to the Representative Council for consideration and recommendation to a later session of the Yearly Meeting. Matters of new business brought to the Yearly Meeting may be referred to the Representative Council for review and recommendation.
SECTION 115: MEMBERSHIP
An Executive Committee shall serve the Yearly Meeting and the Representative Council. It shall be composed of the Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk, Assistant Presiding Clerk, Recording Clerk, Treasurer, Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting committees on Evangelism and Outreach, Christian Education, Missions, Peace and Christian Social Concerns, Stewardship and Finance, Communications and Publications, and the General Superintendent. Other Yearly Meeting staff may attend as resource persons.
SECTION 116: DUTIES
The Executive Committee shall coordinate program, recommend salaries for Yearly Meeting staff, counsel and advise the Superintendent, and act on matters referred to it by the Yearly Meeting or the Representative Council. It is responsible to plan the program for the Yearly Meeting session, including devotional services and speakers. It shall appoint a Search Committee for the position of General Superintendent of the Yearly Meeting. It shall annually appoint the Presiding Clerk and the Recording Clerk of the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee. All actions of the Executive Committee shall be reported to the next meeting of the Representative Council. The Executive Committee shall annually review and discuss the performance of the General Superintendent and other Yearly Meeting staff and make helpful recommendations for improvement. The evaluation process shall be done so that the staff and the Yearly Meeting receive constructive criticism for their mutual benefit. In an emergency situation the Executive Committee may act on behalf of the Representative Council to care for Yearly Meeting business. Such action shall be reported to the next meeting of the council or to the Yearly Meeting in session, whichever occurs first. That body shall ratify or rescind the action taken by the Executive Committee.
SECTION 117: MEETINGS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Executive Committee shall meet prior to each meeting of the Representative Council. It may also meet at the call of the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting.
SECTION 118: MEMBERSHIP
The Yearly Meeting shall appoint in accordance with the laws of the State of Indiana nine (9) members of the Yearly Meeting as trustees, one-third (1/3) to be appointed annually. In addition the Yearly Meeting Treasurer shall be one of the trustees. In making appointments of trustees care should be given to appoint persons who are qualified by training and experience. The term of office of trustees shall be for three (3) years and shall be limited to three (3) consecutive terms.
SECTION 119: OFFICERS
The Trustees of the Yearly Meeting shall select annually
one member to serve as Presiding Clerk and one member to serve as Recording
[See ALSO SECTION 110 H.]
SECTION 120: MEETINGS
The Yearly Meeting Trustees shall meet at least annually.
SECTION 121: DUTIES
Trustees shall be the legal representatives of the Yearly Meeting in the administration of the Yearly Meeting properties and in making financial investments and other arrangements. In the administration of their trust, the Trustees shall exercise due care to observe the requirements of the State of Indiana.
The Trustees shall hold title to real property and personal property of the Yearly Meeting. They shall invest the funds or other personal property of the Yearly Meeting, whether received by bequest, donation or otherwise, and administer and maintain it according to the direction of the Yearly Meeting and the conditions prescribed by the donors. Bequests, undesignated funds, and gifts received by the Yearly Meeting shall be reported to the Yearly Meeting or the Representative Council, which shall give direction for their use. Appointments to related committees shall be made by the Trustees as shall be necessary in the performance of their duties.
The Trustees are responsible to the Yearly Meeting in session which shall review the actions taken by the Trustees, ratify or rescind the action of the Trustees. When Yearly Meeting is not in session, the Trustees are responsible to the Representative Council. When real property of the Yearly Meeting is to be transferred, the Trustees may name by minute (resolution) two of their number who shall be authorized to execute deeds on behalf of the Yearly Meeting. In all events the transfer of real property must be authorized and minuted by the Trustees of the Yearly Meeting and the Yearly Meeting or the Representative Council of the Yearly Meeting.
SECTION 122: MEMBERSHIP
The Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall consist of one member appointed by each Quarterly Meeting and twelve (12) members appointed by the Yearly Meeting. Appointees to the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall have served on or presently be members of a Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. Care should be exercised to appoint qualified men and women. No more than one-half (1/2) of the Yearly Meeting appointees shall be Recorded Ministers or Pastors. Yearly Meeting appointments shall be for a three-year (3) term with one-third of the Yearly Meeting appointments being made each year.
SECTION 123: OFFICERS
The Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall annually appoint a Presiding Clerk and a Recording Clerk from its membership.
[See also SECTION 110 H.]
SECTION 124: DUTIES
The Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall receive and review reports, recommendations and concerns from the constituent Monthly and Quarterly Meetings, the Representative Council, and the Yearly Meeting. After deliberation it shall respond to the submitting entity in an appropriate manner. It shall present an annual report to the Yearly Meeting in session on the condition and activities of the ministry and on the membership within the Yearly Meeting. It may address epistles of advice and instruction to the Quarterly and Monthly Meetings of the Yearly Meeting. It may appoint committees to visit and counsel with these subordinate bodies. The Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall carefully consider the spiritual evaluations of the Monthly Meetings and may report its judgment to the Yearly Meeting for action.
The Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall be responsible to assist Monthly Meetings in the preparation of classes for new members and of materials for continuing education. This shall be not only for Christian living but also for instruction in Friends principles and practices. It is encouraged to share with other Yearly Meetings in the preparation and/or use of Friends materials in these matters.
This body shall distribute scholarship loan funds as they are available for persons who are under the care of the Committee on Training and Recording of Ministers or persons studying in accredited schools preparing for pastoral ministry.
This body shall assist the General Superintendent in the performance of his or her duties and in dealing with problems affecting pastoral leadership of the Monthly Meetings.
This body shall administer the Continuing Education Fund of the Yearly Meeting for Pastors who are in the service of the Yearly Meeting.
The Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight is responsible to consult with and oversee those persons placed under its care for recording. To assist in this responsibility, it shall appoint a Committee on the Training and Recording of Ministers, composed of nine (9) members, at least one-third (1/3) of whom shall be other than Recorded Ministers. The Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight is an ex officio member. Appointments shall be made for three (3) years, the terms of three (3) members expiring each year. Those members of the Yearly Meeting who are recommended by the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight as having a gift in the ministry shall be under the care of this Committee for educational and other requirements. The Presiding Clerk of the Committee on Training and Recording shall be a member of and appointed by the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. At least one other member of this Committee shall be a member of the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight.
The Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall annually review the credentials of the Ministers and Pastors of the Yearly Meeting in accordance with SECTIONS 134, 135, of this FAITH AND PRACTICE.
The Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall interview each prospective Pastor who has not served a Friends Meeting or does not have a Friends' background and advise him or her of Friends' practices and procedures before his or her name is made available to the Monthly Meetings.
This body may appoint other committees as may be necessary.
SECTION 125: EVIDENCE OF GIFT
When a member of the Monthly Meeting has spoken meaningfully and helpfully in the public ministry to the edification and spiritual help of the congregation, and has rendered service in such a manner and to such an extent as to afford a basis for the formation of judgment on the nature of his or her gifts and calling, the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall carefully consider whether there is evidence of a gift in the ministry that should be officially recognized.
While a spoken message in its place may be helpful, and should be esteemed and encouraged accordingly, not every person who speaks in public should be given official recognition. It should be borne in mind that such recognition in ministry is not only a seal of approval of one who is locally helpful but that it also involves extension of service beyond the local community. Recorded ministers not only have opportunity for service among Friends generally, but also because of the increase of ecumenicity, such recognition opens the way for contacts and associations with ministers and members of other religious bodies.
It shall also be understood that the Yearly Meeting is recording a gift and is not granting special privilege to a person, though he or she may serve as a Pastor of a Monthly Meeting. Friends make a distinction between a Recorded Minister and a clergyman of other religious affiliations, though the responsibilities and duties may be comparable. It is important that this distinction be understood and accepted before the process of recording is undertaken.
A minister of the gospel is primarily an individual member and at no time may he or she speak on behalf of the Monthly Meeting unless instructed by the Monthly Meeting to do so. Being a minister is a responsible position but not an authoritative one.
SECTION 126: CHARACTER AND QUALIFICATIONS
The Friend who is recorded as a minister must have a commendable Christian character, deep religious experiences and an unwavering dedication. A thorough knowledge of the Scriptures and of Friends testimonies and ideals is essential. The minister who becomes a Pastor must avoid being priestly and know how to be a competent leader without losing the spirit and status of a servant. In financial and business affairs the minister must be of scrupulous honesty and integrity. The Recorded Minister must in all respects lead an exemplary Christian life.
SECTION 127: INITIAL PROCEDURE
The Monthly Meeting is responsible for being aware of persons in the membership who demonstrate a gift in public gospel ministry. Any member of the Monthly Meeting may call attention to such a gift. If an individual feels that he or she has a gift and a calling to the public gospel ministry, this can be tested by asking the Monthly Meeting for advice in this matter. The request may then be called to the attention of the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight which then assumes responsibility for further action.
Before a person is recommended for recording as a minister there must be evidence that the individual has ministered to the edification and spiritual welfare of the Monthly Meeting for not less than one year. Indications of the gift of pastoral ministry are manifest in vocal ministry, spiritual insight, dedication to the Gospel, understanding and interpretation of Scripture, moral and spiritual instruction, and a sense of loving care for other people. This gift can be demonstrated over an extended period of time. Thus, the decision to recommend an individual for recording should never be made hurriedly.
When a gift of ministry has been called to the attention
of the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, it shall make provision
an appraisal of the gift in prayerful consultation between the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight and the individual involved. This appraisal is a most crucial step in the recording process. Therefore, it must be taken very seriously. During this appraisal interview, the individual shall be fully informed concerning the length and requirements of the recording process.
When the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight is satisfied that the individual does indeed demonstrate the gift and calling to ministry and believes the person should be considered for recording, it shall notify the Yearly Meeting office and request that the Appraisal Committee meet with it in a joint appraisal.
The Appraisal Committee is appointed by the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. The Appraisal Committee shall include both Recorded Ministers and Individuals not recorded.
The Appraisal Committee shall meet with the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight and the applicant for recording to consider prayerfully the commitment to Christ, the uprightness of life, the faithfulness to the teachings of Friends, the emotional stability, the temperament, the intellectual fitness, and the general qualifications of the applicant for recording.
When the appraisal is completed, the Appraisal Committee shall retire and the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight will decide whether or not to recommend the individual to the Yearly Meeting for recording. If the decision is favorable, the recommendation will be forwarded to the Monthly Meeting for action.
If the Monthly Meeting concurs in recommending the individual to the Yearly Meeting for recording, it will notify the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight which in turn will forward the recommendation to the Yearly Meeting Committee on Training and Recording of Ministers. This recommendation should be accompanied by a brief statement of the qualifications and personal background of the individual recommended for recording.
The Yearly Meeting Committee on Training and Recording shall notify the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight that the individual has begun the recording process and shall report annually on the progress of the individual to the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight.
After the gift of ministry is recognized and the fitness to exercise it is approved by the Monthly Meeting, the Yearly Meeting takes full responsibility for further development of the gift through counseling and training. Only the Yearly Meeting has the authority to record the gifts of a person as a minister of the Gospel.
SECTION 128: FINAL PROCEDURE
When the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight receives a report from its Committee on the Training and Recording of Ministers that the member under its care has completed the requirements of the Yearly Meeting, it shall consider again the qualifications of the individual to be recorded as a minister of the gospel. If, after due consideration, the way seems clear, the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall recommend to the Yearly Meeting that the gift of pastoral ministry be recognized and recorded.
When the Yearly Meeting has acted favorably upon the matter, the recording is thereby completed and the Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk shall furnish a copy of the minute to the Monthly Meeting of which the individual is a member. The Monthly Meeting shall enter in full the minute of recording into its records. The individual thus recorded shall also be furnished a copy of this minute. The Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall plan a public service of recognition for the person being recorded and present him or her with a certificate of recording.
SECTION 129: DISCONTINUANCE
When the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight receives a recommendation from the Committee on Training and Recording of Ministers that a person be discontinued due to lack of progress or interest, the Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall consider the recommendation. If, after due deliberation, the recommendation is approved, the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall notify the person and the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight in which the recording process originated of its decision to discontinue the person from the recording process.
SECTION 130: DISAPPROVAL
When a proposition to record a member as a minister is disapproved, the body taking this action shall so inform the person involved and the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight in which the proposition originated.
SECTION 131: RESCISSION
The Yearly Meeting has jurisdiction over all Recorded Ministers in Indiana Yearly Meeting regardless of where they were recorded. Friends should recognize clearly that being a Recorded Minister is of lifelong duration only for those who maintain an active and orderly ministry. In case a member who has been recorded as a minister willfully and deliberately neglects his or her calling and is inactive in the ministry among Friends for a period of five (5) years, the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, after full and careful consideration of the circumstances, may recommend to the Yearly Meeting that the name of the Recorded Minister be dropped from the list of Recorded Ministers. Illness or retirement shall not be considered as cause for discontinuing a persons recognition as a Recorded Minister.
If a Recorded Minister violates ethical standards, indulges in conduct unbecoming to a minister of the Gospel, or so lives as to bring reproach upon the Church, the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight may consider a proposition to rescind his or her recording as a minister. Such a proposition may originate in local Meeting on Ministry and Oversight of the Monthly Meeting of which he or she is a member and be forwarded to the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, or it may originate in the latter body. In either case, the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall appoint a committee to make the necessary inquiry and report to the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. If that body finds that the recording of the person being investigated should be rescinded, it shall report its decision to the Yearly Meeting for final action. Before the final action is taken, the individual concerned and the Monthly Meeting to which he or she belongs shall be notified. Care should be taken that the rights of the individual involved are fully safeguarded. The person should be allowed to appear before the committee and to make a statement in his or her own behalf. If the Yearly Meeting has determined that the persons recording as a minister should be rescinded, the Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk shall furnish a copy of the minute to the Monthly Meeting of which the person is a member. The Monthly Meeting shall enter in full this minute on its book of record. The individual concerned shall also be furnished a copy of this minute. If the person whose recording is rescinded was recorded by another Yearly Meeting, a copy of the minute of rescission will be sent to the Presiding Clerk of that Yearly Meeting. A Recorded Minister who does not maintain membership in a Monthly Meeting loses recognition as a Recorded Minister.
SECTION 132: TRANSFER
The recording of a minister is transferable with his or her certificate of membership from one Yearly Meeting to another. It is expected, however, that a minister planning to engage in the pastoral ministry will endeavor to meet the educational and other requirements of the Yearly Meeting to which the transfer is made.
[See SECTION 75.]
SECTION 133: TRANSFER FROM OTHER DENOMINATIONS
The ordination of clergy of other accredited denominations shall be comparable to that of persons now serving as Recorded Ministers among Friends. However, should such a person remain a Pastor within the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS, the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight shall, within two (2) years, review the credentials of such persons and may require further studies, including the study of Friends history and principles. If the person has not begun the recording process after two (2) years, his or her continued service shall be determined by the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight.
The transfer of an ordained person for continued pastoral ministry shall include the transfer of his or her membership to a Friends Meeting before the recording as a Friends minister is granted by the Yearly Meeting.
See PASTORAL ARRANGEMENTS, SECTION 37.]
SECTION 134: PASTORS WHO ARE NOT RECORDED
Pastors who are not Recorded Ministers or who are ordained ministers from other denominations may, subject to the rules of the Yearly Meeting, be granted a certificate by the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. This certificate shall be granted for a period of not more than one year and be subject to review by the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight. It shall state that the recipient is a Pastor in actual service in Indiana Yearly Meeting and that he or she is granted the privilege of a Minister of the Gospel to officiate in marriage ceremonies during the term covered by the certificate.
SECTION 135: CERTIFICATION CARDS FOR RECORDED MINISTERS
All Recorded Ministers who are Yearly Meeting Pastors,
Yearly Meeting staff or those serving the wider body of Friends shall be
granted an annual certification card. This card will designate the place and nature of service and state that the individual is a Recorded Minister in good standing in the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS and is approved by the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight for service during the term noted on the card.
A Recorded Minister retired from active service in pastoral ministry shall be granted an annual certification card stating that he or she is a Recorded Minister in good standing in the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS and retired.
A Recorded Minister not actively exercising his or her gift in public ministry will be retained on the Yearly Meeting list of Recorded Ministers but will not be granted an annual certification card until such time as he or she returns to active service in the ministry.
SECTION 136: PURPOSE OF YEARLY MEETING COMMITTEES
The program of the Yearly Meeting shall be developed and promoted by committees. All committees are encouraged to work with the Yearly Meeting and the Friends United Meeting in the promotion of their concerns and programs. Except for special committees, appointments by the Yearly Meeting shall be for three (3) years with one-third of the appointments being made each year.
Any committee may establish sub-committees and appoint qualified persons who are willing to serve. Sub-committees and appointments to them shall be for a specific purpose and a definite period of time. Each sub-committee shall be under the leadership of a member of the supervising committee.
Each committee of the Yearly Meeting shall select annually one of its members to serve as Presiding Clerk and one member to serve as Recording Clerk.
[See also SECTION 110H.]
All committees have the responsibility to report their plans, activities and concerns to the Yearly Meeting or the Representative Council for action.
SECTION 137: NOMINATING COMMITTEE
The Nominating Committee of the Yearly Meeting shall consist of three (3) members appointed by each of the Quarterly Meetings of the Yearly Meeting. Each Quarterly Meeting annually shall appoint one (1) member to serve on the Yearly Meeting Nominating committee for a term of three (3) years. Insofar as possible, each appointment shall be from a different Monthly Meeting.
This Committee shall nominate all Yearly Meeting appointments to the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, Trustees and committees of the Yearly Meeting. Consideration should be given to choosing qualified persons who are willing to serve and to distributing these nominations as evenly as possible among the Quarterly Meetings. Any Quarterly Meeting appointment to the Yearly Meeting committees not made by the beginning of the Yearly Meeting Sessions may be filled by the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee. It shall nominate persons for appointments to Friends United Meeting and other organizations to which the Yearly Meeting is related.
Nominations for Yearly Meeting Clerks, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Statistical Secretary, Assistant Statistical Secretary, Custodian of Records, Assistant Custodian of Records, and any others specifically to be appointed for service to the Yearly Meeting shall be made by this Committee. It shall also nominate the Head Usher and others who serve only during the annual Yearly Meeting session.
This Committee shall meet as needed throughout the year and forward to the Representative Council nominations to fill vacancies which occur between Yearly Meeting sessions. It shall also meet to nominate persons for new appointments as requested by the Representative Council or the Yearly Meeting. It shall give careful and considered attention to Yearly Meeting appointees who are not active participants in the work of the Yearly Meeting.
The Presiding Clerk and Recording Clerk of the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee shall be appointed annually by the Executive Committee from the membership of the Nominating Committee.
SECTION 138: EVANGELISM AND OUTREACH COMMITTEE
The Evangelism and Outreach Committee shall consist of one member appointed by each Quarterly Meeting and six (6) members appointed by the Yearly Meeting. The Evangelism and Outreach Committee shall promote evangelism and growth in the Monthly Meetings. It may sponsor the development of new Friends Meetings.
[See YEARLY MEETING AS SPONSOR, SECTION 62.]
The Committee shall have use of such funds as are designated by the Yearly Meeting for evangelism and outreach in carrying out its work within the Yearly Meeting. To promote evangelism, the Committee shall explore ideas, methods and materials and assist the Monthly Meetings to implement their evangelistic program. The Committee may sponsor and give direction to projects of new Meetings, assist struggling Monthly Meetings and give oversight to the discontinuance of Monthly Meetings. To promote its concerns the Committee shall sponsor retreats and seminars to encourage evangelism and church growth.
When a Monthly Meeting declines in membership to less than twenty-five (25) Adult Members, it shall be given special attention by the Evangelism and Outreach Committee to determine the condition of the Monthly Meeting. The Committee shall advise the Monthly Meeting whether to renew its efforts, merge with another Monthly Meeting, relocate or discontinue as a Monthly Meeting. Every attempt should be made to strengthen the spiritual life of every member of the Monthly Meeting and to carry out decisions in mutual love and confidence.
SECTION 139: CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE
The Christian Education Committee of the Yearly Meeting shall consist of one member appointed by each Quarterly Meeting, four (4) members appointed by the Young Friends Yearly Meeting and twelve (12) members appointed by the Yearly Meeting. The Committee shall be responsible for the work of the Yearly Meeting in the areas of Christian Education, Young Friends activities and the Camp Program. It shall appoint members of the committee to serve in these areas for the promotion of Sunday Schools, Vacation Bible Schools, Leadership Training, Young Friends Yearly Meeting, Junior Yearly Meeting and the Camping Program of the Yearly Meeting.
SECTION 140: MISSIONS COMMITTEE
The Missions Committee of the Yearly Meeting shall consist of one member appointed by each Quarterly Meeting and three (3) members appointed by the Yearly Meeting. The Committee shall promote interest in and support of the missionary activities of Friends at home and overseas and shall cooperate with Friends United Meeting in its mission projects. It shall appoint one or more of its members to the Associated Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs as requested.
The Missions Committee shall sponsor educational programs, service opportunities and fund raising projects to facilitate missionary interest.
SECTION 141: PEACE AND CHRISTIAN SOCIAL CONCERNS COMMITTEE
The Peace and Christian Social Concerns Committee shall consist of one member appointed by each Quarterly Meeting and three (3) members appointed by the Yearly Meeting. The Committee shall, in accordance with the teaching of Jesus Christ and the historic testimonies of Friends, encourage and assist the Yearly Meeting and the Monthly Meetings in the areas of race relations, peace and concern for the total human condition.
This Committee shall work toward the building of a just society, free of racial discrimination and other un-Christian treatment of persons so that cooperation and love may prevail.
This Committee shall work as followers of the Prince of Peace for the worldwide abolition of military conscription and armaments. Counseling young persons regarding conscientious objection to military service shall be part of the responsibility of this Committee. It shall promote the goodwill and seek organizational procedures to settle disputes peacefully.
This Committee shall work to eliminate those things which are harmful to humanity and work for the development and use of human and material resources to enhance the quality of life of all people.
This Committee shall cooperate with Friends and other agencies which work for peace and Christian social ideals.
SECTION 142: STEWARDSHIP AND FINANCE COMMITTEE
The Stewardship and Finance Committee of the Yearly Meeting shall consist of one member appointed by each Quarterly Meeting and three (3) members appointed by the Yearly Meeting. The Yearly Meeting Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer shall be ex officio members of this Committee.
This Committee shall be responsible for formulating a proposed budget for presentation to the Representative Council. It may request a meeting of the Presiding Clerks of the various Yearly Meeting committees to coordinate the budgetary process.
Being sensitive to the financial condition of the Monthly Meetings, it shall have full authority in reviewing all requests for funds in preparing a budget to submit to the Representative Council. It shall be responsible for recommending adjustments of financial requests for staff and programs to be compatible with the financial resources available.
On the basis of the requirements that have been established
by the Yearly Meeting, this Committee shall determine the amount that
shall be solicited from the Monthly Meetings. This Committee shall consider various options for raising funds within the Yearly Meeting. It shall supervise the coordination of the financial funds within the Yearly Meeting. It shall supervise the coordination of the financial appeals to members and Monthly Meetings by the committees and other organizations that are related to the Yearly Meeting. It shall promote common concerns and interests of stewardship and finances, including the raising of funds for the Yearly Meeting budget.
This Committee shall audit or cause to be audited the accounts of the Treasurer and all entities of the Yearly Meeting having custody and charge of receipts and expenditure of funds of or held by the Yearly Meeting. It shall prepare, select, and promote the use of stewardship program materials, literature, and audio-visual aids.
The Committee shall arrange conferences and seminars on stewardship for the Monthly Meetings and for the Yearly Meeting. It shall promote effective methods for meeting the financial needs of the Yearly Meeting and Monthly Meetings.
SECTION 143: COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE
The Communications and Publications Committee of the Yearly Meeting shall consist of one member appointed by each Quarterly Meeting and three (3) members appointed by the Yearly Meeting. The Recording Clerk, the Statistical Secretary of the Yearly Meeting and the Editor of THE INDIANA FRIEND shall serve as ex officio members of this Committee.
This Committee shall be responsible for the printing of the Yearly Meeting Minutes and other publications as directed by the Yearly Meeting. This Committee shall promote fellowship and intervisitation among the Monthly Meetings. It shall foster communications and fellowship within the Indiana Yearly Meeting.
This Committee shall publish the INDIANA FRIEND and appoint its Editor. It shall prepare the Yearly Meeting Epistle and the Statistical Report and shall work with the other Yearly Meeting bodies as advisors in the publication of information.
This Committee shall develop materials to promote the knowledge of Friends within the Yearly Meeting and among the general public and advise Monthly Meetings about publicity and meaningful literature.
SECTION 144: FAITH AND PRACTICE REVIEW COMMITTEE
The Faith and Practice Review Committee shall be composed of fifteen (15) members of the Yearly Meeting appointed by the Representative Council. The Executive Committee shall recommend names of persons to serve on the Faith and Practice Review Committee. Each member shall serve for a term of three (3) years with five (5) members being appointed each year.
A Monthly Meeting, a Quarterly Meeting, the Representative Council of the Yearly Meeting or the Yearly Meeting may make suggestions or requests for changes in FAITH AND PRACTICE. These shall be referred to the Faith and Practice Review Committee of the Yearly Meeting. It shall review each suggestion or request and make a recommendation to the Representative Council or the Yearly Meeting in session for its consideration.
The Faith and Practice Review Committee may initiate recommendations for changes in FAITH AND PRACTICE to the Representative Council or the Yearly Meeting in session.
If the Representative Council or the Yearly Meeting in session agrees that a change, amendment, or revision of Faith and Practice should be made, copies of the proposed changes shall be sent to Monthly Meetings for their consideration. Monthly Meetings shall review the proposed changes and forward their judgment to the various Quarterly Meetings and the Representative Council. The Quarterly Meetings shall consider the proposed revisions recommended by the Representative Council or the Yearly Meeting in session and the judgment received from the Monthly Meetings within the respective Quarterly Meetings. The Quarterly Meeting shall make a response to the Representative Council or the Yearly Meeting in session based on the Monthly Meeting reactions and other considerations by the Quarterly Meeting. The Representative Council shall make a recommendation to the Yearly Meeting in session, which then may approve or disapprove changes, amendments, or revisions of FAITH AND PRACTICE.
Upon approval by the Yearly Meeting, these changes, amendments, or revisions shall be adopted by the Yearly Meeting and shall become a part of FAITH AND PRACTICE of Indiana Yearly Meeting of the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS. Copies of the changes, amendments, or revisions shall be provided to each Monthly Meeting.
SECTION 145: GEOFFREY SAWYER SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE
The Geoffrey Sawyer Scholarship Committee of the Yearly Meeting shall consist of six (6) members appointed by the Yearly Meeting. One third (1/3) of the members of this Committee shall be appointed annually.
This Committee shall receive applications for scholarships from descendants of persons who were slaves. This Committee shall evaluate the applications received and make awards of scholarships to students at institutions of higher learning. Recipients need not be enrolled in traditional undergraduate institutions but may pursue areas of study which may be considered as vocational.
This Committee shall establish guidelines for awarding scholarships. It shall also provide information to Monthly Meetings and other groups and individuals which will make the work of the Committee and the availability of the scholarships known to potential recipients.
SECTION 146: APPOINTMENTS TO OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
Indiana Yearly Meeting appoints members to the Boards of Friends United Meeting, White's Residential and Family Services, Quaker Haven Foundation, Earlham College, Earlham Foundation, and Friends Fellowship Community. The Yearly Meeting also appoints Friends to several other Friends organizations.
Appointments to these organizations shall be nominated by the Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee. These appointments shall be limited either to three (3) consecutive terms or a maximum of nine (9) years. Members of committees should be given careful consideration when these appointments are made. When these organizations request appointments by the Yearly Meeting and the Yearly Meeting approves, appointments shall be made accordingly. Non-Friends organizations that serve in related areas may desire appointments to their Boards or Committees. When these organizations request appointments by the Yearly Meeting and the Yearly Meeting approves, appointments shall be made accordingly.
SECTION 147: SPECIAL COMMITTEES OF THE YEARLY MEETING
Special committees of the Yearly Meeting may be appointed by the Yearly Meeting or the Representative Council for special occasions or functions. They shall be responsible to the Yearly Meeting and shall be under the supervision of the Representative Council.
SECTION 148: AUXILIARY ORGANIZATIONS
The Yearly Meeting may recognize and support auxiliary organizations such as the United Society of Friends Women, Quaker Men, and similar organizations. These organizations shall work in harmony with the Yearly Meeting and report their activities to the Yearly Meeting.
SECTION 149: PURPOSE
Junior Yearly Meeting is conducted for children of grade school and middle school age for instruction in the history, procedures, and personalities of the Society of Friends. It is to acquaint Junior Friends with the particular programs of Indiana Yearly Meeting.
SECTION 150: PROGRAM
The program is similar to that of the adult Yearly Meeting with the additions that recreation and activities are made to give a threefold program of worship, work, and play. Junior Yearly Meeting is set up and conducted by persons appointed by the Yearly Meeting Christian Education Committee.
SECTION 151: PURPOSE
Young Friends Yearly Meeting is conducted for Senior High Friends to instruct them in the history, procedures, and personalities of the Society of Friends. It is to acquaint Senior Young Friends with the particular programs of Indiana Yearly Meeting.
SECTION 152: PROGRAM
The program is similar to that of the adult Yearly Meeting with the additions that recreation and activities are made to give a threefold program of worship, work and play. Additionally Young Friends shall conduct the business that may come before them as a Yearly Meeting. They shall annually appoint Clerks and officers for one-year terms of office. Epistles and other messages may be sent to the adult Yearly Meeting and other Young Friends groups. The Minutes of Business Meeting of Young Friends may be included in the printing of Yearly Meeting Minutes. Young Friends Yearly Meeting is set up and conducted by persons appointed by the Yearly Meeting Christian Education Committee.
SECTION 153: PROPERTY OF DISCONTINUED MEETINGS
When a Monthly Meeting is discontinued, the property and investments belonging to the Monthly Meeting shall be vested in the Yearly Meeting, except when otherwise determined by deed or other legal restriction. Such property is to be used for the specific purpose of the advancement and extension of the Yearly Meeting as recommended by the Yearly Meeting Evangelism and Outreach Committee to the Yearly Meeting for approval or disapproval. All funds held from such discontinued Meetings shall be administered as far as possible in accordance with the directions of the original donors or the direction of the Monthly Meeting. A Monthly Meeting is not to be considered as discontinued if it unites as an organized group with another Friends Meeting.
SECTION 154: ARRANGEMENTS FOR YEARLY MEETING SESSIONS
The time and place of convening Indiana Yearly Meeting
shall be set by the Yearly Meeting in session. It may be changed by action
the Representative Council in case of necessity.
SECTION 155: MINUTE FOR SERVICE
There are occasions when Friends feel led to Christian service or ministry beyond the limits of the Yearly Meeting. This may be for a definite period of time for special service such as an evangelist, mission worker, song evangelist, youth leader, Bible teacher, speaker, or educator. This sharing of the ministry should be encouraged, but the Yearly Meeting should be aware of the limitations that need to be placed on such service.
A Minute for Service similar to the form found in the Appendix is recommended subject to adjustment to meet particular requirements that shall be presented with each request. A minute of this kind may be used by any member of the Yearly Meeting and should always indicate the type of service to be given. It is desirable to have all requests for such minutes referred to the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight or the Yearly Meeting Committee directly involved for its consideration before presenting it to the Yearly Meeting for its approval and action.
A Minute for Service beyond the limits of the Yearly Meeting shall be signed by the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting. All minutes shall, after the performance of the service, be promptly returned to the Yearly Meeting.
[See APPENDIX O FOR THE RECOMMENDED FORM OF A MINUTE FOR SERVICE.]
SECTION 156: MINUTE FOR TRAVELING FRIENDS
Friends on vacation or during extensive travel frequently pass through communities where there are Friends Meetings or Friends' homes. It is of importance that traveling Friends become acquainted with these Friends and share their mutual concerns and inspiration. In the interest of intervisitation a Traveling Minute is offered for those Friends who may request it, thus opening doors for fellowship and service, and uniting us closer to one another by such personal visitation.
The Minute for Traveling Friends shall be signed by the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting. It does not involve any financial obligations upon the Yearly Meeting, but is helpful as an introduction to Friends in other Monthly Meetings or Yearly Meetings.
[See APPENDIX N FOR THE RECOMMENDED FORM OF A TRAVELING MINUTE.]
SECTION 157: RELATIONS TO OTHER YEARLY MEETINGS
The relationship among Yearly Meetings is maintained by annual correspondence, by issuing and receiving credentials of Recorded Ministers and others for special service, by granting and receiving certificates of membership, by joint participation in religious and benevolent enterprises, and by common membership in Friends United Meeting and other Friends organizations.
A. Application for membership
B. Certificate of membership
C. Membership Transfer Certificate
D. Letter of transfer to other denominations
E. Forms of affirmation
F. Certification for Pastors who are not Recorded Ministers
G. Certification for Recorded Ministers
H. Certificate of request for marriage under the care of a Monthly Meeting
I. Marriage vows within a Meeting for Worship
J. Marriage ceremony with minister participating
K. Marriage Certificate
L. Dedication service for infant
M. Dedication certificate
N. Minute for Travel
O. Minute for Service
A. APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP
Friends receive into adult membership those whose faith in God and in Jesus Christ as personal Saviour and Lord is manifest in their lives and who are in unity with the teachings of Christian truth as held by the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS. The following quotation from the Introduction of Christian Faith and Practice in the Experience of the Society of Friends by London Yearly Meeting (1960) is recommended as a foundation of membership:
Do you cherish that of God within you, that his power growing in you may rule your life? Do you seek to follow Jesus who shows us the Father and teaches us the Way? [FAITH AND PRACTICE (1986) SECTION 6.]
On the basis of this statement, accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour and Lord, declaring it to be my purpose to devote my life to His service and to follow His teachings, agreeing to observe the rules and practices of Friends, and to be loyal to the interests of this Monthly Meeting and to Indiana Yearly Meeting, I do hereby make application for membership in
Monthly Meeting of Friends
Approved by the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight and
recommended to the Monthly Meeting this _______________ day
of ____________________, ________.
Presiding Clerk of Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight
B. CERTIFICATE OF MEMBERSHIP
In recognition of the declaration by
of the devotion to Jesus Christ as personal Saviour and Lord and of loyalty to the rules and practices of Friends and loyalty to
Monthly Meeting of Friends
and to Indiana Yearly Meeting,
is accepted as an Adult Member of the
Monthly Meeting of Friends
this________________ day of_____________________________, ________
Presiding Clerk of Monthly Meeting of Friends
(This certificate is for presentation to new members when they are welcomed into the Monthly Meeting fellowship at a service of worship. The certificate is not valid for transfer of membership.)
C. MEMBERSHIP TRANSFER CERTIFICATE
Meeting of Friends
is an Adult Member in good standing of this Monthly Meeting. Request
has been made for transfer to membership to the
to your Christian care and fellowship. Please acknowledge acceptance into your membership by returning to our Presiding Clerk the annexed
statement, properly filled out and signed.
In Christian love,
By direction, and on behalf of
Monthly Meeting of Friends, Indiana Yearly Meeting,
this________________ day of_____________________________, ________
Meeting of Friends:
We have received the transfer certificate issued by you
the________________ day of______________________________, _______
and have accepted
into membership with us. On behalf of
Monthly Meeting of Friends,
this________________ day of_____________________________, _______.
D. LETTER OF TRANSFER TO OTHER DENOMINATIONS
Monthly Meeting of Friends, has expressed the desire to unite in membership with your church.
We commend this member to your Christian fellowship.
Upon receipt of official acknowledgement of the acceptance of this letter, the membership with the Religious Society of Friends will be
By direction of
Monthly Meeting of Friends
this________________ day of_____________________________, _______.
E. FORMS OF AFFIRMATION
(Oral): I affirm that I will tell the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth.
(Written and for legal documents): I affirm under the penalties for perjury that the foregoing representations made by me are true.
F. CERTIFICATION FOR PASTORS WHO ARE NOT RECORDED MINISTERS
Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends (QUAKER)
Church Year, July 1, _________ to June 30, ________
This is to certify that
State of _____________________________________________________ of
is a Pastor in actual service in the Indiana Yearly Meeting of the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS, and has been approved by the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight, and is granted the privilege of a Minister of the Gospel to officiate in marriage ceremonies during the church year noted above.
INDIANA YEARLY MEETING ON MINISTRY AND OVERSIGHT
G. CERTIFICATION FOR RECORDED MINISTERS
Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends (QUAKER)
Church Year, July 1, _________ to June 30, ________
This is to certify that
State of _____________________________________________________ of
is a Recorded Minister in good standing in the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS in Indiana Yearly Meeting and has been approved by the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight for service during the church year noted above.
INDIANA YEARLY MEETING ON MINISTRY AND OVERSIGHT
H. CERTIFICATE OF REQUEST FOR MARRIAGE UNDER THE CARE OF A MONTHLY MEETING
We, the undersigned, hereby certify that we have interviewed
(Prospective Groom or Prospective Bride)
who desires to be married according to the custom of Friends, and that, in our judgment, there is no valid objection to the proposed
Signed this_____________ day of_________________________, _______.
Members of the _________________________________________________
Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Oversight
I. MARRIAGE VOWS WITHIN A MEETING FOR WORSHIP
At a suitable time in the Meeting the couple shall
stand, and taking each other by the right hand shall each in turn declare:
In the presence of the Lord and before these friends, I (GROOM)
(BRIDE) take thee, (BRIDE) (GROOM), to be my (WIFE) (HUSBAND),
promising, with divine assistance, to be unto thee a loving and
faithful (HUSBAND) (WIFE) as long as we both shall live.
J. MARRIAGE CEREMONY WITH MINISTER PARTICIPATING
(The following ceremony is suggested for those who
choose to be married in a Friends Meeting with a Minister participating.
may be altered to suit the needs and desires of the couple. However, it is important in a Friends marriage ceremony that the wedding vows should be those which are included here.)
Marriage, in its deepest meaning, is an inward experience
the voluntary union of personalities effected in the mutual self-giving
hearts that truly love, implicitly trust, and courageously accept each other in good faith. Such marriage is honored and blessed of God as the fulfillment of His supreme design for man and woman, who alone of all creation bears His diving image. The State sanctions and the Church adorns marriage as the ideal relationship in human society. The wisdom of the ages bears testimony to the beneficent values which this honorable estate yields in the happiness and well being of mankind.
GIVING OF BRIDE
Who among the kinfolk of this woman shares her great
joy and presents her to the man of her choice with the blessing of her family?
ANSWER (as appropriate, Her mother and I.)
Since the beginning of time marriage has been the foundation of society in every culture. Marriage is the fulfillment of the supreme design for man and woman. Love is the most perfect and meaningful of all emotions. It is that which will enable you to maintain your home in confident peace and joy. Problems will come; sorrow may enter your lives. But love is greater than these and happiness should predominate. Love is the stronghold of all life, it will bring you comfort in sorrow and joy in prosperity. Through your love for each other you will be made strong to serve each other.
True marriage is based on love. Perfect love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things; hopes all things; endures all things. Love never ends
Your marriage will be what you make it. For marriage involves at once both the greatest privileges and responsibilities of life. Its achievement of happiness and success is dependent on mutual love, unfailing patience, and absolute fidelity, one to the other. You will henceforth live a blended life, each seeking and promoting the joy, the comfort, the health, and the enrichment of the other, all of which will divide your sorrows and multiply your satisfactions.
TO THE GROOM:
Recognizing the responsibilities of marriage, do you (GROOM), promise to love, cherish and honor this woman in health and in sickness? Do you promise to be true and faithful to her, forsaking all others, and to be hers and hers alone, until death shall part you? If you are willing to make this promise will you respond by saying, I do.
TO THE BRIDE:
And do you, (BRIDE), likewise recognize the responsibilities of marriage, promise to love, cherish and honor this man in health and in sickness? Do you promise to be true and faithful to him, forsaking all others, and to be his and his alone, until death shall part you? If you are willing to make this promise will you respond by saying, I do.
VOWS OF MARRIAGE
TO THE COUPLE:
This day, you have come before this Meeting to be united in marriage. If you have carefully considered the sacredness of the obligations assumed when lives are wed, and if you are well assured that you are prepared to enter into this covenant, binding yourselves each to the other in holy sanctuary of the home as long as you both shall live, will you please face each other, join your right hands together, and in turn repeat after me these vows which have brought joy to so many others.
THE MAN: In the presence of the Lord, and before these friends, I, (GROOM), take thee, (BRIDE), to be my wife, promising, with Divine assistance, to be unto thee a loving and faithful husband as long as we both shall live.
THE WOMAN: In the presence of the Lord, and before these friends, I, (BRIDE), take thee, (GROOM), to be my husband, promising, with Divine assistance, to be unto thee a loving and faithful wife as long as we both shall live.
What do you offer as a token of your pledge of love
(The Groom and the Bride will each respond, This ring.)
Do you, (GROOM), and do you, (BRIDE), give and receive these rings as a token that you will keep this covenant and perform these vows? Together they answer: We Do.
As a symbol of your love, and a seal upon your marriage, will you (GROOM) (BRIDE) place this ring upon (BRIDE'S) (GROOM'S) finger, saying as you do, In token and pledge of the vow between us made, with this ring, I thee wed. (REPEAT)
Let these rings ever be to you a symbol of the preciousness, the purity, and the permanence of true wedded love. May you both exercise wisdom, restraint and devotion in ordering your new life together so each of you may be a strength to the other, in comfort and distress, and a true companion in all your joys.
In recognition of that real marriage between you, accomplished in the uniting of your hearts by mutual love and confidence, and in conformity with the laws of this state by whose sanction these visible expressions of your pledged fidelity have been given and received, as a minister acknowledged by the church, that (GROOM) and (BRIDE) have given themselves to each other by their solemn vows, by the joining of their hands (and by the exchange of these rings), by the power vested in me, I recognize that you are husband and wife. Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace. Amen.
THE WEDDING KISS
(GROOM), you may kiss your bride.
Friends, I present to you Mr. and Mrs.___________________________.
K. MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
of ______________________________, County of____________________,
State of_____________________, son of_____________________________
of ______________________________, County of____________________,
State of__________________, daughter of___________________________
having declared their intention of marriage with each other to the
Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends of Indiana Yearly
Meeting, held at
State of_________________________ on the_______________ day of the
___________________________month of the year ___________________,
and nothing being found to obstruct, they were set at liberty by the Monthly Meeting to accomplish their intentions.
NOW THESE ARE TO CERTIFY to whom it may concern, that for the
accomplishment of their marriage this__________________day
of the _______________________ month of the year ______________,
they, the said (GROOM) and (BRIDE) appeared in an appointed meeting held at (Location) under the oversight of the
Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, in the presence of the committee appointed for that purpose, and (GROOM), taking
(BRIDE), by the hand, declared that he took her to be his wife, promising, with Divine assistance, to be unto her a loving and faithful husband as long as they both should live; and then (BRIDE) did in like manner declare that she took him, (GROOM), to be her husband, promising, with Divine assistance, to be unto him a loving and faithful wife as long as they both should live.
And in further confirmation thereof, they, the said
(GROOM) and (BRIDE), did then and there to these presents set their hands.
AND WE, having been present at the solemnization of the marriage, did as witnesses thereto, set our hands.
(All witnesses to the marriage may sign here.)
L. DEDICATION SERVICE FOR INFANT
(Parents standing in the face of the Meeting for Worship)
In the Scriptures, we read of Jesus' love for children, when it says And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them . . . Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God . . . And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
Today these parents, (Father) and (Mother), are presenting in public dedication to the Lord this child, (Name).
TO THE PARENTS
We are happy that you have brought your child in dedication before this congregation during this time of worship. Our Meeting believes that a child stands innocent before God. As an adult this child will become accountable for making the choices of right and wrong, for becoming a Christian and for taking the step of becoming an active Adult Member of the Meeting. Your child will not remember the beauty of the act which you have chosen to do today. It is your responsibility to provide the Christian home and teaching that will make this act meaningful to your child.
The dedication of yourselves and your child is a public testimony by you as parents that you will provide a Christian home and will bring up your child in reverence and love of God. It is your Christian responsibility to give this child every possible opportunity to be taught and nurtured through the ministries of the Meeting. You should begin now to pray for your child that (he) (she) may early learn to seek God and dedicate (himself) (herself) to Christ. You should live lives and establish a home that will exemplify the teaching of Christ.
TO THE PARENTS: Are you now prepared to give yourselves and your child
in dedication to these principles? ANSWER: We are.
(Prayer of Dedication)
RESPONSE OF THE MEETING
(The Meeting may stand)
TO THE MEETING: By presenting this child and themselves for dedication before God and these friends, (Father) and (Mother), parents of (Child) have indicated their desire to bring up this child in the love and admonition of the Lord. We as a Meeting are being challenged to fulfill our share of the responsibility for the nurture of this child as (he) (she) grows to adulthood in our fellowship. We dedicated ourselves to share with (Child) a Christian faith, a rich heritage, a loving fellowship, and a meaningful purpose for life. We commit ourselves to pray for (Father) and (Mother) as they undertake this sacred trust.
As a congregation of Friends, do we dedicate ourselves now to this sacred and spiritual ministry? (The Congregation answers:) We do.
Concluding prayer of dedication for the whole Meeting
Presentation of Dedication Certificate
M. CERTIFICATE OF DEDICATION OF INFANT
This is to certify that
was born on the________________ day
of__________________________ month, ___________________,
and was presented to the Lord in dedication by
______________________________ and _____________________________
in a service of worship in the_____________________________________
Monthly Meeting of Friends on the ____________________ day of the
____________________ month of the year _________________________.
Presiding Clerk of the Monthly Meeting
N. MINUTE FOR TRAVEL
Monthly Meeting, Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends,
in session at________________________________,
on the ____________________ day of the___________________________
month, ___________, approved a concern and united in granting this
Minute of Travel to______________________________________________
(State here any official capacity such as Clerk, Minister, or Pastor for the information of the Friends among whom this Friend visits.)
We commend this Friend to you, and express through (him)(her) our Christian fellowship and the common bond that unites us as Friends.
Signed on behalf of______________________________________________
Monthly Meeting, Indiana Yearly Meeting
O. MINUTE FOR SERVICE
A concern for___________________________________________________
(Indicate type of ministry)
has been presented by__________________________________________,
a member of____________________________________________________
seeking approval of the__________________________________________
Monthly Meeting, Indiana Yearly Meeting for (his)(her) service beyond the limits
Monthly Meeting, Indiana Yearly Meeting for the period of time
beginning on______________________, ______, and concluding on or about
Monthly Meeting, Indiana Yearly Meeting has given prayerful consideration to this concern and has approved
(Show official capacity here)
a Friend in good standing
Monthly Meeting, Indiana Yearly Meeting for the service indicated in this minute.
We recommend this Friend to the care
(give Monthly or Yearly Meeting of intended service)
and pray that this ministry of________________________________shall
(Indicate type of ministry)
shall be used for the edification of the Kingdom of God and for the strengthening of those who may receive this ministry.