How to Become a Member of a Quaker Meeting

Two of my three children have applied for
membership at my meeting themselves. One of them is a fourth grader and the other
is a ninth grader. In both cases, their letters spoke of identifying
as Friends and what that meant both in terms of being part of the community and worship,
but probably in both their cases what it meant to be a part of the community and its witness. Membership in the Religious Society of Friends
is an important declaration of seriousness as regards to spiritual concerns because any
personal development that you want to do with regards to faith—in the prophetic office
itself—only makes sense in relation to other people, a spiritual community that will both
help to offer edification but also discipline, eldering, advice, counsel… who will listen
to all of your nonsense. [laughs] That’s what I’ve found, frankly. So if you were to become a member of a Quaker
monthly meeting, this Meeting in particular here in Orlando, it’s saying to me that,
“I’m a part of this family and I want to become a part of this family for better
or for worse.” To me it’s a little like a marriage but
it’s not just to one other person, it’s to a community of people. I think membership is a covenant. It is a two-way relationship. It is one where we are asked to bring our
gifts and the meeting is asked to recognize and love us for and find ways for those gifts
to be used, and sometimes to help us find what our gifts are. To become a member in a Friends meeting, one
traditionally writes a letter after they have attended for a period of time to become familiar
with what the meeting’s practices and beliefs are. You write a letter explaining why you want
to become a member. The basic thing is to be really honest about
what it is you are seeking and what’s the connection you feel with this particular Meeting,
because you really are joining a particular Meeting. That letter is given to the membership care
committee and a small committee is formed of two or three people to meet with you. When the clearness committee meets with the
person who is interested in becoming a member. That’s where Quakerism does its thing. The purpose of the meeting is for you to discern. We use the word discern and it really means
decide, but it means decide in a deep way, decide not just, “do I like this or do I
not like this?” but “is this the right thing?” And so in those meetings you and the other
members of the committee, with the help of Spirit, God, source, come to a conclusion
in one or two meetings—and sometimes it takes longer—that yes, this is the right
thing or no, this is not the right thing. The clearness committee comes to meeting for
business and brings the recommendation forward on behalf of the committee that they are recommending
you to be a member. It’s laid over for one month so that the
members of the meeting get a chance to ask you questions, get to know you better, give
you the opportunity to reflect and work through any last hesitations. At the next month’s business meeting, a
final reading is made and Friends give approval and you’re officially a member. It’s far more than just being a name on
a piece of paper. It’s being a part of a loving, caring community
in a reciprocal way.

9 thoughts on “How to Become a Member of a Quaker Meeting

  1. I'm a Quaker from birth, and not old enough yet to apply for a membership so it's interesting to see how older Friends apply for membership

  2. So it is like this: You have to seek man approval first in order to worship God who is above all and worshiped by all. The Quakers & Puritans branched off The Roman Catholic church "indirectly" to have freedom of religion but yet they fall into the same pattern of the Catholic Church of organized religion. It all about control.

  3. I'm only going to comment that all the videos on this channel have amazing video quality! Random? Yes. But I watch way too much youtube, and I hafta say, even other HD videos don't have the clarity of these. Maybe it's a framerate thing? Like.. theater movies are mainly done in 24-28 frame rate, or fps. If playing a game, you see a huge difference between 25 fps and 60+. That must be what it is. Anyway, this Friend says "Good job!" Oh, and Melinda is a doppleganger for Kathy Bates I think… I mean it as a compliment, because she's awesome.

  4. I don't know. I attend meetings and consider myself a Friend and Quaker. The idea it's something external you "join" with approval and process seems unappealing. I decided I'm a Quaker, not someone else. I'll skip the application. I understand that it appeals to some, though. I just don't think it's necessary. I suppose I'll be called a "tender" the rest of my life. Quakerism is all about a way of life anyway, to me – a philosophy.

  5. What happens to those of us who identify very closely with Quaker views and philosophy but don’t have the means to become members? Do we still get to call ourselves Quakers if we chose?

  6. I really want to know, learn and attend a quaker meetings in Indonesia but i didn't know how. On the web it says that Indonesia have yearly meeting but there is no other info exist. Can anybody help?

  7. Bit surprised they have an application process. Classical Quakerism inherited a lot of Anabaptist influence. Maybe applications are like adult baptism among Anabaptist. It allows the individual to decide if they're ready to commit to this way of life or not. What,outwardly,appears like control and creed might be the opposite: an acceptance of the freedom of belief among adults. Below is a comment by a born Quaker.She too is required to make an application as an adult.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *