Saturday, October 15, 2011

QFF Meeting organization

I have accepted the position of Clerk, at least pro tem, of the “Quarterly Meeting” of Quaker Faith and Fellowship, referred to as QFF. The current proposal is that we will have a Meeting for Business, also known as Meeting for Worship for Attention to Business, on Dec. 11.

It has come to me that maybe we need to ask some questions, some of which were addressed in the agenda to the first Meeting on 29th of 9th month, 2011, regarding our undertaking. We spent essentially all of our first meeting looking at the first question: Who should be considered members of the Meeting? There seemed to be no “sense of the Meeting” reached. (There also is a good deal of material in the past postings of QFF. These are extensive and instructive.)
Among the questions to be asked are: Who? When? Where? What? Why? How?

The following quotes from the QFF site spell out some of the intentions of the founders of this site with regard to some of these.

"Vision and mission require committed members. We call everyone 'member' who registers as user of this website."

"We don't require commitment in any particular form, but we do welcome members taking responsibility. And telling us which responsibility they take and how they think it
contributes to our vision and mission. So we can support each other in bearing the responsibilities chosen voluntarily."

Over the last 3 years there has been much discussion regarding QFF organization and "Future." I trust my additions might be helpful.

The earliest Friends apparently did not have an intention of forming a new sect and there were no requirements for being a “Publisher of Truth” as early Friends were called. Their intention was to form a community based on the experiences of a number of leaders who felt that everyone in the group could be a leader.
It is my sense that in many ways our intentions here are somewhat similar in that we are trying to establish an e-community with “open” membership based on the experience of the “Religious Society of Friends.” Thus the terms used are those from this experience. However, the means of communication, speed of “travel,” and commonality of location are “light speed” separated from the 17th and 18th century.
In my understanding, which certainly is not that extensive and is open to correction, early Friends met once or twice a week at a local “site,” often in the beginning a house, for Meeting for Worship. Then over the years, especially as the local groups grew in size, there began to be a need for a Meeting house which raised several business type questions. It was decided fairly early on that there needed to be Meetings for Business. These were to meet once a month, thus Monthly Meetings, and would consist of those Friends in a local area who could spend a day traveling to and from a location while devoting an extensive time in decision making on matters of business.
In addition, to keep “good Gospel order,” the Monthly Meetings in a given area would send representatives to Quarterly Meetings. These individuals were those who were “released” to be able to travel to a location and spend usually 7th and 1st days sharing Worship and Business. This was before 5 day work weeks. It required overnight arrangements, as well as release from home, farm, and work duties, etc. Then once a year, thus Yearly Meetings, representatives would travel to a central location, e.g. London, for generally a week of Meetings for Worship and keeping “good order” among Friends.

Some in QFF are proposing that we establish a Meeting that might serve a new and somewhat different function, although maintaining some of the older functions as well, among an e-community of Friends. I have some proposals of varying ideas as to how this might work and will share those in future posts. I will also suggest ways in which we can ask the Who, What, etc. questions, the most important one might be Why.

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