On Becoming a Member

Information on Applying for Membership

For many, becoming a member of a Friends Meeting simply recognizes a reality that already exists. Is now 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.  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.

An excerpt from the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice has more to say 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 the clerk of our meeting expressing your desire to become a member. It can be very simple, but it may help you clarify why you feel drawn to the Religious Society of Friends.

Second, the clerk would forward your letter to our Ministry and Care Committee, which would consider your request and arrange for a clearness committee to discuss your request with you.

Third, Ministry and Care 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.  (One advantage of laying over the request for a second reading is to give individuals an opportunity to privately express any concerns they may have (which is rare) to the committee and thus avoid any potential embarrassment.)

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.

Also see A Quaker Path: A Spiritual Journey From Visitor To Attender To Member (pdf) by Western Quarterly Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting).