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:

  1. What do people seeking alternatives to our current practice want from their Quakerism, and why does our current practice fail to satisfy?
  2. What do meetings want from their members?
  3. 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?
  4. How do the answers to these queries connect?
  5. 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.


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