Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
While Quakers believe that we all can be ministers, some are given leadings to commit themselves to ministries deeper and farther afield.
Correction: South China meetinghouse!
I met Ralph Greene many years ago when David and Rachel Schrock, and my wife Darlene and I, made a tour of central Maine as part of an annual Rushby family trip to the Maine coast. The Schrocks and Darlene and I arrived at quarterly meeting at Friends China Camp just after Q.M. had ended. The folks conjured up an impromptu lunch for us, and Ralph gave us a tour of the China (?) meetinghouse which had been moved to the camp grounds. Ralph, if you are reading this, I would like to renew contact with you!
At the meeting I attend, the Oversight Committee will set up a Clearness Committee around some Friend's call to ministry. If clearness is reached, the recommendation to Business Meeting is to "release" said Friend-with-a-leading, meaning said Friend will not be tapped for Committee work. The understanding is one is too busy with travel and ministry to partake of the ordinary life of the meeting, which includes child care, property management, arranging for social events and so on. If Business Meeting approves the recommendation, an ongoing Support Committee is then set up (again by Oversight, and perhaps with continuity in membership, from Clearness to Support phase). The commitment is usually not open-ended i.e. Oversight will want annual reports from the Support Committee, an opportunity for the wider Meeting to catch up on who has been released. Oversight also provides traveling minutes, basically letters of introduction, to these Released Friends.
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