The role of membership for Montreal Quakers

Some people attend meeting and even serve on Quaker committees for many years without being a member. Anyone, member or attender, is welcome at meeting; anyone may attend and even share ministry at meeting and at business meeting; members and regular attenders can serve on committees.

That said, membership is important, even if there are few specific distinctions or privileges that come with it.

The purpose of membership

  • We are all shaped by experiences. At some point, becoming a member — “being” a Quaker — is simply an honest statement that we have been shaped by this Quaker community, among many other influences
  • Membership should be a leading from Spirit, in other words, an expression of love for and within this community, our membership in a kind of spiritual family
  • The purpose of the membership process is to discern whether this love is present, and if so, to recognize and celebrate it
  • Membership also may serve to signal a desire for inclusion and contribution

The membership process

  1. The interested person writes a letter to the Clerk stating a wish to apply for membership. This letter can be long or short and may answer questions such as:
    • How long have you been attending?
    • How involved are you?
    • What makes you want to be a member?
    • What has your faith journey been like?
  2. Give that letter to the clerk by hand, mail, or email
  3. Someone from the Ministry & Counsel committee will be in touch to ask about who would be best to serve on the clearness committee for membership
  4. The Clerk will read your letter and form a committee at the next business meeting
  5. At the clearness committee meeting, committee members will ask the prospective member questions about their faith journey, relationship with wider Quakerism, about their place in the community
  6. Once things are clear, which may not happen at the first meeting, the clearness committee may craft a recommendation to be presented at the next business meeting
  7. The community will either accept or request further discernment about the recommendation of the clearness committee
  8. If accepted, the most important step: party! Community is worth celebrating

For more information, see the section on Membership of the Canadian Yearly Meeting’s Organization & Procedure, page 24.