Friends Meeting for Worship for Business
Another unique quality of the Quaker faith is Meeting for business. We do not vote. It is not majority rule. It is not consensus. It is Meeting for Worship for Business. We seek Gods wisdom.
We are seeking Gods guidance not the sharpest analysis of the most intelligent Friend or "this is the way we have always done it". Unity does not always mean that we each understand the issue in the same way. Quaker business is about hearts in unity. It is about Gods wisdom and will.
Instead of arguing - Friends pray and wait. Instead of getting our own way we look to the possibility of doing our business in Gods way. Group guidance is a Quaker essential.
Unity in the Spirit is the goal.
The Clerk is called to nudge and herd us to the place where we listen to each other, across divisions, beyond what we expect.
The Clerk prays us towards unity. The ultimate is when we as a group are prayed through and guided by God.
This Quaker meeting for worship for business is slow and can easily be manipulated. On the other hand, sense of the meeting decision-making involves a shared awareness of a place to which the Spirit has led the group. This deepens and enlivens our faith.
Friends decision making is rooted in the spiritual oneness of a religious community. We reject majority rule for the higher goal of reaching decisions in unity, through distinctive attitudes developed by Friends over the centuries. Our process is democratic in that everyone is urged to participate. However it goes beyond democracy in that it does not rely solely on human will or ability. Participants are expected to put aside personal desires and allow themselves to be led by a Guide beyond the self.
(Arthur Larrabee, from one of his workshops on Clerking.)
3. Meeting for Business
Are meetings for business held in a spirit of worship and prayerful search for the way of Truth? Are all members encouraged to use their talents in the service of the meeting? Do you undertake your proper share of the work and financial support of the meeting?
Faith and Practice, P 211
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