Membership, Part 3—Defining the problem
December 3, 2020 § Leave a comment
Membership should be a three-way covenant in which the reciprocal gift-giving between member and meeting is done under the guidance and blessing of the Holy Spirit. Exploring alternatives to our traditional practice of membership in a monthly meeting raises several questions:
- What do people seeking alternatives to our current practice want from their Quakerism, and why does our current practice fail to satisfy?
- What do meetings want from their members?
- What do monthly meetings offer their members? And what can yearly meetings offer, since it is to yearly meetings that the alternative-seekers are looking for answers to their concerns?
- How do the answers to these queries connect?
- And finally, what are the foreseeable consequences of embracing the alternatives?
One would naturally start with the first query, but I’m not ready to do that yet. I have a sense of what the alternative seekers want from some conversations I’ve had, but I want to look more carefully at the already published resources about this in order to be as fully informed as possible.
We already know what meetings want from their members: participation and money. In my last post, I suggest focusing on the inward gifts we would like members to bring to us.
In the next post, I want to look at what meetings offer their members. In later posts, I’ll consider numbers four and five.