Recently, reading, I learned that EFC-ER has their own set of Queries and the advice that they are answered (in writing) every May. They are as follows:
1. My practice of worship
- a. Do I regularly attend the worship services of my church?
- b. Am I faithful to attend the congregational business meeting?
- c. Do I contribute to the spirit of the worship service by my reverence and participation?
2. My practice of witness
- a. Do I endeavor in my daily life to exemplify the teachings of the Gospel?
- b. Do I share my Christian faith with others?
- c. Am I watchful against amusements, habits, and activities which tend to demoralize, discourage, or defame one’s Christian life and testimony?
- d. Do I care for the material needs of others?
3. My practice of prayer and study
- a. Do I observe a time of daily prayer and Bible reading?
- b. Am I experiencing spiritual growth?
- c. Am I in agreement with the Doctrine and Testimonies of the Evangelical Friends Church –
4. My practice of fellowship
- a. Do I have a growing Christian love toward others in the church?
- b. If differences arise, do I in love seek reconciliation?
- c. Am I working toward the salvation and spiritual development of my family?
- d. Do I encourage children, youth, and others to seek God’s guidance in all the affairs of their lives?
5. My practice in stewardship
- a. Am I discovering my spiritual gift(s)? Do I give my talents and time for the building of the body of Christ?
- b. In cheerful response to Christ’s love, do I share my tithes and offerings to support the mission of the church at home and abroad? (EFC-ER Faith and Practice section 8000 — pages 101-102)
One thing that comes to mind is that unanswered Queries are useless. The original purpose was so that the meeting would better know about the condition of the community. Leaving the questions unanswered does nothing to help evaluate the community. The recent re-purposing that it is to help in individual reflection is equally useless if they remain unanswered, because as long as they are simply words on paper they are useless.
The question that remains though is — how can we identify the common vision of the group? Once we identify it — how can we communicate it, and encourage others to live and work to this common vision. While I am interested in the Queries our ancestors asked — what Queries will ask for the 21st century? How will Friends speak to the conditions of our current place and time?