I am a member of a meeting and have since moved from that area. Where I live, there is a meeting but I have not been able to attend on a regular basis. I don't want to remain a member of the old meeting, since I am absolutely not able to contribute in any way. However, I definitely don't feel ready to ask the new meeting to accept me as a member. Obviously, I want to remain connected to something. What would thee advise?

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Why not just continue attending the current meeting and involving yourself as much as possible in the life of the community until you feel the urge to become a member?  We can be a part of a body without the formal member status.  In fact, I've known non-members who seemed more like members than some of the actual members.

For the feeling of connectedness, why not see if there are some online Quaker communities that you could be a part of or start one yourself?  Or, put the word out in your community and see if there are other like-minded folks who might be willing to meet in someone's home or a coffee shop, thus helping all of you to have that feeling of connectedness.

There is a common understanding among Friends that to be a member of the Religious Society of Friends, you must join a meeting.  At my meeting we have a number of Friends who joined our meeting and then moved far away.  They have been unable to find another spiritual home they are comfortable with.  So, they just stay members of our meeting in order to maintain their membership.  And that's just fine.

At my meeting we also have a number of Friends who moved into our geographic area and have maintained their membership in their home meeting for a number of reasons.  Some of these "sojourners" are very active in our meeting, as are a number of attenders (people who do not want to seek formal membership any where).  Especially among liberal Quakers, many meetings make no distinction between members, attenders, and sojourners.  All can fully participate in the life and committees of the meeting.  As Pat mentioned, some of our most committed Friends at my meeting are not members of any Friends Meeting.  Yet they serve the meeting on the worship committee, pastoral care committee, and at times clerk of meeting.

If you come from a meeting where membership is greatly emphasized and required for full participation, you may be making a wrong assumption to think your new meeting does likewise.  For instance, there is another meeting just 20 minutes from mine that views membership as important to being a Friend.  Quaker meetings can vary quite a bit on these types of things.

In summary, I don't think your situation is all that unusual and you should not worry about it at all.  Just do what feels right when it feels right FOR YOU.

For the time being, hold this out to God and just sit with it.

As it says in the scripture 'where 2 or more meet in my name , there I will be ' . at the moment it is just me and my daughter and that is just fine by me . I think if membership is just because of attendance , something is not right there . Perhaps there should be a member body online who can all meet with there skype once a week for worship - a new aged meeting for the isolated believer . P.S who controls the memberships - do you have to sign a paper or something ? I was taught it is by the light that we are equaly brought together and thus a member just in our seeking ....

Some meeting do accept affiliate membership for Friends who are some distance from a meeting. The Ohio Yearly Meeting for instance (which has members around the world) but I am sure other meetings are also accommodating.


Tamara Baverey /Levi said:

As it says in the scripture 'where 2 or more meet in my name , there I will be ' . at the moment it is just me and my daughter and that is just fine by me . I think if membership is just because of attendance , something is not right there . Perhaps there should be a member body online who can all meet with there skype once a week for worship - a new aged meeting for the isolated believer . P.S who controls the memberships - do you have to sign a paper or something ? I was taught it is by the light that we are equaly brought together and thus a member just in our seeking ....

Thank you for the responses. I am still unable to attend the new meeting with any regularity at all. I do miss the worship. I also have maintained my membership to the old meeting. Let me add a layer to the "dilemma". By retaining my old membership they will be assessed by yearly meeting for my membership. Obviously, I feel obligated to send them some sort of financial assistance. I really loved my old meeting and was quite active. I want to be fair to them. 

Your meeting won't necessarily be assessed due to your membership. Not sure what yearly meeting you are part of - but assessment formula differ from one yearly meeting to the next. For example, I believe Baltimore Yearly Meeting assesses based on how many Friends (whether a member or attender) contribute and how much. Their assessment isn't based on membership status.

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