Membership in a Quaker meeting is a Spirit-led journey of coming to know ourselves as individual-in-community, a journey on which we experience meeting as a place of acceptance, a place of shared values, a place of transformation, and a place of obedience.
– Thomas Gates, 2004We affirm that each Friend has direct responsibility for the Meeting. Membership in the Religious Society of Friends is a spiritual commitment. To become a member, we expect a person seeking membership to have come experientially into general agreement with the Society’s principles of belief and testimonies as expressed in our Faith & Practice.
Membership carries with it spiritual obligations. Each of us, as members, is called to participate in the Meeting’s spiritual life and to attend worship regularly. Members need to nurture each other’s God-given gifts and talents. As members, we are invited to seek guidance from one another and the Meeting in discerning Divine guidance for ourselves.
The basic spiritual commitment of membership creates practical obligations. The vitality of each Monthly Meeting depends on its members’ investments of time, energy, and financial support. Friends can strengthen their Meeting through regular participation in Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Business, service on committees or as officers, regular financial giving, taking part in service projects under the care of Meeting, assisting in maintenance of Meeting property, and representing the Meeting in community and wider Friends’ organizations.
At Goose Creek, clerks of committees must be members, although attenders can be co-clerks. Only members can be appointed to the Ministry & Oversight Committee.
Those seeking membership are encouraged to review Faith & Practice thoughtfully, as well as other writings of Friends, to deepen their understanding of Quaker ways: our mode of worship and transacting business, the meaning of Friends’ testimonies, and the responsibilities of membership.
While we encourage attenders to make the commitment to become members, some of the most active and committed people in our Goose Creek community choose not to become members for many years, if ever. Each person must discern which path he or she is led to follow.
How do I Become a Member?
Application for membership starts with a letter address to the Clerk of Goose Creek explaining why the applicant is drawn to the Religious Society of Friends. The letter is referred to the Ministry & Oversight Committee which appoints a Clearness Committee to interview the person seeking membership. Members of the Clearness Committee try to discern if the applicant is sincere in his or her desire to become a member and if the person has adequately examined what it means to be a Friend. Occasionally the committee may recommend that action on the membership be postponed and, in rare cases, the committee may conclude that for this person, membership in the Religious Society of Friends is not appropriate.
Having ascertained that the applicant is ready for membership, the Clearness Committee reports back to Ministry & Oversight which brings the application to the Monthly Meeting with a recommendation for acceptance. Following acceptance, a few Friends are appointed to officially welcome the new member by visiting him or her and accepting a continuing responsibility to nurture the new member in his or her spiritual journey.
18204 Lincoln Road Purcellville, VA 20132
PO Box 105 Lincoln, VA 20160