2nd Query — “Meeting for Worship and Buisness
My notes can be found at this link — (The results of the discussion will be added as time allows.)
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 God’s 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?
We read and answered this Query, and had some side discussion. It seemed that the class found value in this query, as we had lively discussion about our corporate methods of coming to a decision. A good summary would be that we fall short of the ideals implied in the Query, and while we understand that the way we do things is less than optimal, we don’t see a clear way forward to make it better.
The members of our class knew more than one ‘version’ of Friends Testimonies (There are those official to the Yearly Meeting, (testimony against war, et c.) and of course Howard Brenton’s more positive “SPICE” We spoke a little about worship and business being a testimony of our belief that God is present, and the challenge of finding the balance our ideals, and the challenge of bringing God into our most common items for business where no decisions are necessary (of course we intend to pay our bills!) If I were on a committee assigned to answer the Query, I would propose something like this:
We keep a schedule very well. Our members do show signs of preparation for worship, making our meetings rich and meaningful. In our business, sometimes, we focus on the agenda more than a recognition of God’s presence, but we are not certain how to keep God in the agenda and stay on schedule. We teach the testimonies, both in Sunday school classes, and to a lesser degree during meeting for worship and people do apply them to their daily life. Personal involvement and personal responsibility in sharing work, worship, and financial concerns has been impressive. Even with an aging, and shirking congregation, members have managed to maintain programs, though without new members the meeting will have to drop important programs due to a smaller volunteer pool.
we did not discuss the value of this specific query, due lack of time. This query did give us something to reflect upon, and proved itself a useful tool for reflection. If I were on a discipline revision committee — I would recommend keeping this Query in its current form.