In our recent threshing session on becoming a monthly meeting, several friends expressed the thought that doing so would simply recognize a reality that already exists. Becoming a member works much the same way. As Patapsco Friends Meeting moves toward becoming a monthly meeting, now may be the time for you to consider membership.
Membership in Patapsco Friends Meeting and the Religious Society of Friends does not imply any responsibilities or privileges that go beyond simply being an active part of our community. Rather, if you are not already a member of any Meeting and if you share in the love, unity, and mutual nurture of our community, then applying for membership would simply recognize a reality that already exists, and we encourage you to do so. While the process can be quite routine, it is also an opportunity to deepen your understanding of what it means to be a Quaker as well as your own level of commitment to it.
The process of Patapsco becoming a monthly meeting is moving forward. On June 2, Sandy Spring Friends Meeting approved a minute to support our request to be recognized as a monthly meeting. Next, it goes to Quarterly Meeting, then to the interim meeting of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, and finally to the annual sessions of the yearly meeting in early August. At that time, we hope and expect to officially become a monthly meeting. As a monthly meeting, Patapsco will be able to recognize memberships in the Religious Society of Friends.
If you would like to apply for membership and would like to be accepted as a member at the first business meeting of Patapsco as a monthly meeting, then we urge you to apply as soon as possible. The timing is very tight. Attached is an excerpt from the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice about membership. Please take a look at it. But in a nutshell, here is how the process would work in the simplest cases.
First, you would write a letter addressed to Sherri Morgan as clerk of our meeting expressing your desire to become a member. It can be very simple, but it is helpful to explain why you feel drawn to the Religious Society of Friends.
Second, Sherri would forward your letter to Ministry and Oversight, which would consider your request and arrange for a clearness committee to discuss your request with you.
Third, Ministry and Oversight would then forward your request to the full business meeting, which would lay over the request for a second reading at the next business meeting, at which it would generally be approved. If your request can have its first reading at business meeting on July 28th, then your second reading and acceptance into membership could occur at Patapsco’s first business meeting as a monthly meeting on August 25th. Therefore, to meet this schedule, Ministry and Oversight needs to receive your request as soon as possible.
Applying for membership is not a mere formality. Rather, it recognizes a spiritual reality that we hope already exists for you. As a meeting, we aspire to have a loving community in which we share a mutual commitment to supporting each other on our spiritual journeys. We hope you share in that commitment.