Quakers are a diverse people known for tolerance and peace. There are unprogrammed meetings without a Pastor and programmed meetings with a Pastor. Forsyth Friends Meeting is a programmed meeting. Whether the meeting is programmed or not, Quakers are known for believing that all are equal in value and calling. It is believed that each member has an individual and distinct call from God and each member’s calling is as original, unique and important as is the member themselves.
Each member is of the same value as every other member – including the Pastor. All have equal access to God and all are to be treated as equally important to God and each other. No member is above or beneath another. Therefore, a consensus is very important in a healthy meeting. Since all Quakers are important and of equal importance, no Quaker may have a more important call than another, including the Pastor.
This understanding of the individual value of each believer leads to a multiplicity of leadership. There are no one-man shows in a healthy Quaker Meeting.
What to Expect: Therefore a healthy Quaker Meeting has two very important bodies that direct the meeting
- Ministry and Counsel is literally the soul of the meeting. Or perhaps better stated, the conscience of the meeting and is responsible for spiritual Direction.
- The Monthly Meeting is the business arm of the meeting and effectively applies the spiritual conscience determined by the ministry and counsel.
The overall views of Tolerance and respect for all people come from this broad-minded means of governing the church. While the clerk of Ministry and Counsel is the final Arbiter in that body, it is the assignment of the Ministry and Counsel clerk to follow the combined (1) counsel and conscience of God and (2) the mutual agreements and heart of the meeting. 3 And while the clerk of the monthly meeting is the final authority, it is with the understanding that the agreed-upon mind of the meeting is what the monthly meeting clerk seeks to operate by.