Faith and Practice
Core Values: This statement of Core Values was created in consultation with local churches, and approved by Northwest Yearly Meeting in 1997.
- Jesus Christ is present.
Jesus Christ is actively present with us as Savior, Teacher, Lord, Healer, and Friend. Christ is immediately accessible to all who believe in Him. Those who take time to listen to Christ can hear His voice and follow Him, individually and collectively.
- Scripture calls us to account and helps us know God’s will.
The Bible, as interpreted by the Holy Spirit, shows us what God requires of us and provides authoritative and unfailing spiritual guidance for our lives today.
- God is the source of life, and all human life is sacred.
All life has its origin in the creative work of God, and human life is to be regarded as a sacred gift from God. Because all persons have equal value and are created in the image of God, we must treat others with respect and dignity, regardless of human measures of merit or value.
- The Holy Spirit transforms and empowers us.
The Holy Spirit enlightens our paths and transforms our lives. As we yield our lives to God and become immersed in the life of the Spirit, things change. Despair gives way to hope, and weakness gives way to empowerment. All things indeed become new.
- We are called to be and to make followers of Christ.
Christ through His Spirit transforms us to be more like Himself. He enables us to live lives of integrity and righteousness and calls us to bring others into this relationship. We listen to Christ, we obey Him, and we teach others how to do the same.
- We are called to live out Christ’s love.
Jesus reveals the fullest measure of God’s love by His example in His death on the cross. As we become more Christ-like, we hope to display this same quality of love corporately and individually to those around us.
- We are called to be agents of God’s peace and love to everyone.
We are called to work for justice and to be agents of peace in a broken world. Whether situations of conflict and confusion are personal, national, or global – within the church or beyond it – we are called to be agents of the same healing and love we have received from God.
Mission Statement: This mission statement was approved by Northwest Yearly Meeting in 2005.
Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (NWYM) is a covenantal community of evangelical Friends churches that make Jesus Christ known by
- Teaching and obeying the whole gospel as revealed by the Holy Spirit and recorded in Scripture;
- Loving and mutually supporting each other; and
- Equipping and releasing people to continue His mission in the world
Vision Statement: This vision statement was approved by Northwest Yearly Meeting in 2005.
Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (NWYM) is a growing family of Christ-centered, evangelical Friends churches reaching out to the greater Northwest and beyond in creative mission that reflects the whole gospel of Jesus Christ. We seek to know Christ intimately, worship and follow Him faithfully. Joined in the bond of fellowship, we have a sense of shared identity and common vision for ministry that focuses on:
- Discernment: Since Jesus Christ is head of the church and present among us as our Teacher and Guide, we commit ourselves to listening to and obeying Him. In our manner of worship and decision making and in the way we order ourselves as a church, we continue to learn how to better listen to and obey Christ together.
- Spiritual Transformation/Discipleship: We are a community of disciples being transformed into the image of Christ and partnering in His mission to transform the world. In faithfulness to Scripture and the ongoing leadership of the Holy Spirit, we bear witness to the reality of Christ by our changed and changing lives and in our commitment to live out the values of Jesus’ Kingdom in all that we do. Through our joint ministries and shared resources, we equip our local faith communities to educate people of all ages to follow Christ.
- Friends Identity: We believe God has called us to a unique expression of the Christian life that is an important contribution to the overall mission of God in the world. As the Friends of NWYM, our common life is described by our Faith and Practice. Together, we seek to live in obedience to the same Life and Power that called early Friends to courageous evangelism, compassionate service, community, integrity, simplicity, equality and peacemaking in ways that speak to the present culture.
- Leadership Development and Support: All people are called to ministry. Some are called to unique leadership roles that help us be the faithful people God intends. Therefore, we intentionally identify, equip and release all kinds of leaders to serve among us. Men and women called to pastoral service are well trained and adequately supported. Clerks, elders, and representatives find joy and purpose in their ministry because they understand their roles and are trained to serve well. Our young people have opportunity to explore their leadership gifts because we invest in their education and provide opportunities for service.
- Congregational Care: Our local faith communities take a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from traditional to house churches to new expressions yet to be defined in a changing culture. They may be urban or rural, more homogenous or inter-cultural. We actively cultivate vibrant and healthy churches and families within their care. Our NWYM staff and board structure encourage these local faith communities to be faithful, effective, growing, and outreach-oriented by providing ongoing training and resources.
- Local Outreach: We are engaged in holistic evangelism, social concern, peacemaking and church planting throughout the greater Northwest. We are developing a culture of service in NWYM in which Friends of all ages understand their call to ministry and find support as they serve Christ in their communities.
- Global Outreach: Our ministry and church planting extends beyond the Northwest, as we reach out to the rest of the world with the love of Jesus Christ. We send people of all ages across the globe to share in word and deed the gospel that is good news to the lost, the poor and the suffering.
- Connection/Communication: Joined as we are in Christ, we continually work at improving our interconnection and being mutually supportive. Through the NWYM staff and our creative use of media, we communicate with each other and those around us who we are as Friends and how God is active in us for the sake of the world.
The Early Movement
The Friends Church (Quaker) arose from a movement of Christian renewal that began in England during the seventeenth century. The major leader of this renewal was George Fox, who as a sensitive youth experienced cold formalism and power politics in the church and was repulsed by empty pleasure seeking outside the church. Young Fox studied the Bible and longed for an authentic faith to match its Christian message. This longing remained unfulfilled, even frustrated, by human counselors until he looked beyond them. Then he discovered One who could (as phrased in Fox’s Journal) “speak to thy condition,” and he reported that his heart “did leap for joy”.
George Fox found this experience with the living Christ so compelling that he quickly told others about it. He shared the good news that Christ could free persons from the guilt and power of sin. To this message people responded eagerly. They were seekers, disillusioned by dry and formal religion, and they were attracted to the warm, evangelical message preached by this earnest young messenger. Scores of young men and women were “raised up of the Lord” for a ministry across England and beyond. Known as the “valiant sixty,” they proclaimed that Christ could be experienced in the present, not just read about in the Bible or remembered through ritual observance. This is how George Fox perceived his ministry:
Now I was sent to turn people from darkness to the light that they might receive Christ Jesus, for to as many as should receive him in his light, I saw that he would give power to become the sons of God, which I had obtained by receiving Christ. And I was to direct people to the Spirit that gave forth the Scriptures, by which they might be led into all Truth. . . I was to turn them to the grace of God, and to the Truth in the heart, which came by Jesus, that by this grace they might be taught, which would bring them into salvation. . . .
—Journal, Nickalls edition, Cambridge, 1952, p. 34
George Fox explained grace in terms of the Light of Christ, using the terms found in the Gospel of John. By this inward light, said Fox, people can understand Jesus Christ as “their Saviour and Redeemer, who shed his blood and died for them, who is the way to God, the truth and life.” (Journal, pp. 225-6)
The Quaker Awakening constitutes one of the great revivals within Christianity. Particularly significant was its challenge to official religion. The first Friends believed that religious monopolies, whether Protestant or Catholic, weakened the Christian faith and fostered unspiritual, time-serving ministry. Therefore they urged freedom of religion, trusting the power of the Lord, rather than civil coercion, to advance the Gospel. Friends were a people gathered to Christ, communing with God in vital worship and fellowship, witnessing the good news of Christ’s Kingdom in a world shattered by civil and religious conflict. Their message met resistance. Thousands suffered imprisonment, and hundreds died for religious freedom.
These Christians first referred to themselves as “publishers of Truth,” “children of the Light,” or “the camp of the Lord.” Gradually they came to prefer the term “Friends” in accordance with Jesus’ words: “You are my friends if you do whatever I command” (John 15:12-15). Their critics dubbed these enthusiastic Christians “Quakers,” a nickname that has become a symbol of integrity rather than a term of derision.
Friends used the word “church” to describe the people of God, not the building in which the people met. “Meetinghouse” became their word for the building in which the church gathered to worship. About a century after the movement began, the term “Society of Friends” came into general use. At that time the word “society” conveniently distinguished Friends and other legal but dissenting groups from the established Church of England. In the twentieth century, however, because of confusion about the term “society” and a desire to recover the biblical term for the gathered people of God, “Friends Church” became the preferred term in some yearly meetings, including Northwest Yearly Meeting.
The Quaker Awakening constituted a fast-growing missionary movement during its earliest decades. People in England joined by the thousands. Within a few years Friends became a major force in Colonial North America. People welcomed a Christianity freed from state authority and priestly ritual. They were drawn to an emphasis upon Christ’s inward baptism with the Holy Spirit and the Quaker concern for practical holiness.
The Developing Church
The Friends teaching about the real and sanctifying presence of Christ with His people resulted in strong ethical testimonies. These included support for religious and political freedom, opposition to slavery and civil bondage, just relationships with aboriginal and minority persons, honesty in business, humane and remedial treatment of offenders, compassionate care of the mentally ill, and aid to war victims and others in distress.
Friends opposed war and practiced peacemaking. They took their standards from the New Testament and from the example of Christian pacifism during the early Christian centuries. Quakers urged Christians to use the weapons of the Holy Spirit rather than the weapons of violence, believing such a choice to be both right and practical. They emphasized a single standard for truth, rejecting legal oaths out of faithfulness to the express command of Christ (Matt. 5:33-36).
These ethical testimonies produced significant results. Religious freedom is now widely acknowledged as basic to the social good. Oppression by courts has diminished. The right to conscientious objection to war has been widely supported by religious bodies and honored in many nations. Over the years the Quakers have often served as the conscience of the Church. Such moral leadership has sometimes been a heavy burden. Friends have not always lived up to their reputation. Sometimes they became preoccupied with ethical concerns to the neglect of evangelistic proclamation. At other times, in reaction to this burden, or to their own legalism, they became preoccupied with evangelism to the neglect of social testimonies.
It is sometimes forgotten that early Friends had a vision to evangelize the world at a time when most Protestants had not awakened to missionary responsibility. The first Quaker efforts may have lacked organization, but they did display a global vision. This missionary vision waned during the decades of colonizing in the New World, although there was some outreach to Native Americans. In the late nineteenth century the missionary expansion resumed, and Friends missionary endeavors have been the most significant factor in the growth of the Quaker movement over the last century.
Quakers first organized their local gatherings for worship into regional clusters called “yearly meetings.” In Europe the first yearly meetings were in England (London) and Ireland (Dublin). In the colonies, the yearly meetings of New England, North Carolina, Philadelphia, New York (1695), and Baltimore came into being. With the westward migrations of the nineteenth century, new groups became established across North America.
William Penn’s colony in the New World is the most widely known example of colonial Christian outreach. For seventy years the Quakers sought to make Pennsylvania a society embodying Christian values. The colony became a haven for oppressed persons and an example of respectful relationships with the Indian nations. But the French and Indian War brought such pressures to compromise their convictions that in 1755 the Quakers relinquished control of the colony.
A retreat from worldly affairs followed. This era in Friends history was marked by plain dress, silent worship, moral scrupulosity, and rigorous church discipline. Although their evangelistic outreach diminished, their social concerns did not. In their persistent and Spirit-led opposition to slavery, John Woolman of America and William Allen of England illustrate the quietist period at its best.
In the westward migrations the colonizing tendency persisted until twentieth century urbanization changed the pattern. Quaker centers were reinforced by the establishment of schools, the preservation of a distinctive lifestyle, and a strong sense of community. These communities sustained ethical standards but tended to isolate members from spiritual renewals around them.
During the nineteenth century two major separations took place. The first caused serious divisions. The orthodox party emphasized biblical authority and the historical aspects of salvation, and the liberal party (Hicksite Friends) emphasized individual conscience and the inward aspects of religion. Later in the century differences arose within the orthodox party concerning the appropriateness of planned worship and ministry. The Wilburites (Conservative Friends) wanted to preserve the quietist tradition of immediate spiritual guidance; the Gurneyites (Orthodox Friends) wanted to acknowledge biblical and rational preparation for ministry under the Spirit’s guidance. The latter position proved to be more successful in accommodating Quakerism to a westward moving, pioneering North America.
After the Civil War, touched by revivals that swept North America, Friends rekindled their banked fires of evangelism and joined other Christians in new evangelistic forms. Revival meetings with singing and altar calls characterized the new mode of outreach. Traveling ministers became settled ministers; and thus arose the pastoral system, which would become prevalent among American Quakers. Rapid growth occurred during the latter decades of the nineteenth century. To coordinate growth and to articulate Quaker faith and practice, several uniting conferences were held. Widely representative, these conferences led to programs of missionary outreach to Mexico, Africa, Alaska, the Caribbean, India, China, and Japan. Twelve North American yearly meetings established a delegate organization, the Five Years Meeting, in 1902, each affirming their bonds of spiritual unity by approving a significant document, the 1887 Richmond Declaration of Faith.
This unity was broken by a modernist-fundamentalist rift in American Protestantism between World Wars I and II. Polarization developed between those who stressed evangelism and doctrinal essentials and those who stressed humanitarian concerns and doctrinal liberty. This rift affected Friends, also. In 1926 Northwest Yearly Meeting (then called Oregon Yearly Meeting) withdrew from the Five Years Meeting (now called Friends United Meeting). In several other yearly meetings withdrawals occurred, or disaffected evangelicals formed association with fragmented Protestants (particularly Wesleyan). Loyalty to Quaker connections and testimonies became weakened as a result of these schisms. During these decades Protestant liberalism dominated the churches of Europe and North America, and Evangelical Friends found themselves at odds with these tendencies along with other conservative Christians. At the same time, Evangelical Friends have opposed the more militaristic and fundamentalist tendencies of conservative Christians, calling for closer adherence to the teachings and example of Jesus.
Friends in the World Today
The evangelical-modernist polarities have continued in various forms, with liberal theology remaining the characteristic stance in Europe, Britain, and some parts of the Americas. But in the latter decades of the twentieth century, the pendulum swung the other way for much of North America and the world. Evangelicalism became more definitive, offering strong leadership in the United States and beyond. Various theological movements following World War II helped Quakers also recover a more historic and traditional theology, with evangelistic fervor and social concern becoming more often paired than polarized. Several movements for spiritual renewal bore fruit in membership gains, in the enrichment of spiritual life, and in doctrinal clarity. Scholarly research and writing reaffirmed for contemporary application the Christ-centered, prophetic character of the early Quaker Awakening. Since 1959 the journal Quaker Religious Thought has provided a useful scholarly forum for such concerns.
The middle 20th century saw a reunion of five yearly meetings divided in the 1820s during the Hicksite- Orthodox separations. As yearly meetings in New England, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Canada reunited, four of the five new yearly meetings came to share joint membership in Friends United Meeting and Friends General Conference. While the reunion of Friends within these yearly meetings was welcomed, it also created a new set of tensions within the larger bodies, as more conservative Friends felt FGC was too liberal, and more liberal Friends felt FUM was too conservative. This led to a realignment effort in the 1990s, causing FUM to reaffirm its commitments to biblical authority and the centrality of Christ, although Southwest Yearly Meeting withdrew from FUM and joined EFI during the process. Most FUM meetings are pastoral, and most FGC meetings are unprogrammed.
Over the last century or more, the emergence of Evangelical Friends has been one of the most significant developments within the history of Quakerism since its inception. From the revivalist movement after the Civil War emerged a vital form of pastoral Quakerism. In the sending out of missionaries to the majority world, the size of the movement has more than doubled. In joining together with like-minded Evangelical Friends, new vitality has emerged in terms of identity and outreach. As a result, the Association of Evangelical Friends, meeting triennially from 1947 until 1970, restated the evangelical character of Quaker beginnings. This movement gave rise to the Evangelical Friends Alliance (EFA), formed in 1965 by four independent yearly meetings, including Northwest Yearly Meeting, Evangelical Friends Church—Eastern Region, Mid-America Yearly Meeting, and Rocky Mountain Yearly Meeting. In 1989 EFA was instrumental in the formation of Evangelical Friends International (EFI) within five global regions: Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and North America. It is now called Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI). EFCI-Southwest and Alaska Yearly Meeting joined EFCI-North America in the 1990s. Regionalism has been reduced for these Friends, as they have cooperated in missions, publications, education, social concerns, youth work, and evangelism.
National pastors’ conferences have brought together American ministers from both Friends United Meeting and Evangelical Friends Church International. Various regional and world youth gatherings have strengthened Quaker identity. The All-Friends Conference at St. Louis in 1970 became a catalyst for renewal for a generation. The subsequent Faith and Life movement, with its various conferences and study materials, had similar results, and the 1985 World Gathering of Young Friends held in Greensboro, North Carolina created new sets of dialogues across divisions among the worldwide Friends movement. The publications and visiting ministry of the New Foundation movement have also brought spiritual renewal, especially to non-pastoral Friends. The Friends Educational Council and the Friends Association of Higher Education have facilitated spiritual concern for Friends schools. The Friends World Committee for Consultation, begun in 1937, has been used by the various yearly meetings for exchanging information and effecting dialogue. Its regional and periodic world conferences have enhanced mutual understanding, clarified differences, reduced provincialism, deepened spirituality, and opened the way for a more global Friends witness. Northwest Yearly Meeting became an affiliate member of FWCC in 2002.
Tension points remain within the larger Quaker movement, however, as doctrinal differences range along the full theological spectrum. Some Friends consider themselves fundamentalist Christians of various sorts, while others assert that one need not become a Christian, or even a believer in God, to be a Quaker. Obviously, these differences pose real obstacles to affiliation and cooperation between different groups of Friends. Worldwide, most Friends are Christ-centered and evangelical, but some meetings and yearly meetings seek to embrace divergent beliefs and practices. Differences along lines of political, moral, and social stands also make spiritual unity difficult. In some ways the older churches find renewal from younger Quaker groups in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, which have encountered less polarity between doctrinal beliefs and social witness than do Friends in North America.
As of 2010, more than three quarters of the more than 500,000 Friends in the world are persons of non-European origin. Counting Friends of all persuasions, the largest grouping of Friends is found in Africa (over 350,000 in Kenya and East Africa; over 60,000 in Burundi and Rwanda), followed by North America (over 95,000) and Latin America (over 30,000 in Bolivia and Peru, 30,000 in Guatemala and Honduras, and 10,000 elsewhere) and Asia (about 20,000). Latin American yearly meetings have begun to engage in their own missionary outreach, as have Friends in Burundi, Taiwan, and elsewhere. Kenyan Friends continue to develop new organizational structures to accommodate their growth, now numbering 15 yearly meetings. Friends in Burundi and Rwanda have experienced terrible hardship during recent civil wars, but this and other forms of testing have also strengthened the churches.
Evangelical Friends Mission is a mission agency of EFCI/North America, and some Friends outside North America have developed their own mission agencies. Parallel to early Friends in Christian Britain and America, Friends in Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal face challenges as sometimes-persecuted minorities within Muslim, Roman Catholic, Hindu and Buddhist majority populations. In the United States most yearly meetings or associations belong to one of the following organizational structures.
- Friends United Meeting now includes thirteen yearly meetings in the Americas and sixteen Friends groups in Africa. In North America FUM membership numbers around 45,000, encompassing a broadly orthodox range of theology.
- Friends General Conference, generally liberal in theology, represents around 35,000 members, mostly in the United States (five FGC yearly meetings share joint membership with FUM).
- Conservative Friends, represent around 1500 adherents, mostly North American, following a Christcentered, non-pastoral, and plain tradition.
- Evangelical Friends Church International/North America, pervasively evangelical and biblically based, has around 40,000 members.
- Still other yearly meetings in North America remain unaffiliated, and most of these are unprogrammed and liberal.
The 20,000 Friends in Europe are organized within eleven yearly meetings, the largest of which are Britain and Ireland.
Such statistics and characterizations are always changing and are bound to be somewhat incomplete; they cannot fully measure the life of the Spirit within these groups. They cannot measure obedience to the Light. But they do map some ways Friends perceive themselves and act upon their Christian heritage.
Friends in the Northwest
Among the earliest Quakers to reach Oregon was the Lewelling family, who brought nursery stock to Milwaukie by oxen over the Oregon Trail in 1847. Other families settled in Ashland and the Willamette Valley. Robert and Sarah Lindsay, ministers from London, traveled to the Willamette Valley in 1859 to support the growing but scattered communities of Friends. Organizational direction, however, came in the 1870s through William Hobson, an Iowa Friend of Irish descent. His vision stimulated a major migration to the Chehalem Valley. Most families came from Iowa, which became the parent yearly meeting, although some, such as Jesse Edwards, came from Indiana. In 1893 the Quaker settlements in the Newberg and Salem, Oregon, area formed Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends.
Irrigation projects brought Friends families to Idaho’s Boise Valley during the first decade of the twentieth century, with early settlements at Star, Riverside, and Greenleaf. Oregon Yearly Meeting soon included churches in Washington, as well as Idaho. Puget Sound Quarterly Meeting arose following Quaker migrations from Indiana. An anticipated yearly meeting in Washington never developed, and in 1945 Friends from this area united with Oregon Friends. In 1971 the Yearly Meeting changed its name to Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church.
As a result of evangelical resurgence following World War II, the National Association of Evangelicals was formed. Oregon Yearly Meeting joined this organization in 1945. At the present time membership is through the Evangelical Friends Church International. Also in the Northwest is North Pacific Yearly Meeting (Independent), which is unprogrammed and more theologically and socially liberal. Just as Northwest Yearly Meeting Friends at times feel the need to clarify that the positions of some evangelicals do not speak for our Christ-centered commitments, we also find ourselves at times needing to clarify that our Quaker convictions on matters of faith and practice are not identical to those of other groups of Friends. Ultimately, our allegiance is to Christ and his Lordship, and we welcome the partnership of all who would aspire to follow his leadership and adhere to his example as revealed in Scripture.
Evangelism and outreach have become major emphases in the Yearly Meeting because of opportunities afforded by a developing region and because of deep spiritual convictions. These concerns were often expressed through various modes, including revival meetings, but they also find new means of expression, ranging from spiritual retreats to service projects. Believing that followers of Jesus are called to reach the lost individually, and also to touch society collectively, we believe that evangelism and social concern go hand in hand. In the year 2010 the membership of Northwest Yearly Meeting numbered approximately 7,000.
Missionary work among the Aymara people of South America began in 1930 and has been strongly sustained since that time. Bolivia Yearly Meeting was established in 1975, and Peru Yearly Meeting was established in 1997. Northwest Yearly Meeting supplies limited assistance, particularly in education and national missionary training. These Friends’ churches are now self-supporting and self-governing. The Yearly Meeting, through Evangelical Friends Mission and the EFCI Council, networks with ministry to Latinos in the United States, and ministries in Mexico, Central America, the Philippines, Rwanda, Taiwan, Burundi, Congo, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Russia, Hungary, Romania, Bhutan, Croatia, Serbia, Tanzania, Russia, North Africa, Israel, and India. It also maintains interests in the Bolivian Evangelical University in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and the Navajo people of the Southwestern United States.
Northwest Yearly Meeting outreach also includes social programs. In faithfulness to the peace testimony many young persons have engaged in relief work as an alternative to military service. Members often serve with agencies devoted to the alleviation of economic and cultural disparity in America or abroad. Inner-city ministries, peacemaking activities, and economic assistance to the needy receive local and Yearly Meeting direction. Yearly Meeting concern fostered construction of Friendsview Retirement Community.
Interest in education is evidenced by the establishment at Newberg, Oregon, of Pacific Academy in 1885 and Pacific College in 1891 (renamed George Fox College in 1949). In 1996 with the merger of George Fox College and Western Evangelical Seminary, the college became George Fox University. In 2000 the seminary was renamed George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Northwest Yearly Meeting established a Friends Center at the seminary in 2003, and a Friends Leadership Center was established at the University in 2009. Greenleaf Friends Academy in Idaho has been maintained by area Friends since 1908, maintaining an excellent Christian education experience from preschool through the twelfth grade. These schools have contributed significantly to Quaker and Christian leadership in the Northwest and throughout the world. Recently several local churches have included schools and day-care centers in their ministry.
The Yearly Meeting since 1918 has supported programs of camping and now has several conference centers. These presently include Twin Rocks on the Oregon coast, Quaker Hill and Twin Lakes in central and north Idaho, and Quaker Cove on the Puget Sound and, Tilikum, a retreat center and day camp near Newberg. was established in 1970 as the result of a gift of property. It is an agency of George Fox University. These programs are widely used by the churches, and Northwest Yearly Meeting has been a leader in youth work, educational, and camping ministries.
In its various missionary, educational, and outreach ministries, Northwest Yearly Meeting continues dynamically in the Christian tradition of Friends. Its interests and strengths vary from time to time. Despite occasional misplacing of priorities, restoration to wholeness has also occurred, accompanied by unity and joy in the Lord. Currently the Yearly Meeting is engaged in new forms of outreach and evangelism, aimed at gathering into the Church persons whom the Holy Spirit is reaching through Christian proclamation and deeds of love. We invite you to join us in seeking to follow Christ together; in doing so, we not only celebrate what God has done in the past, but we look forward to being a part of what God is doing now and in the future.
Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church affirms as essential Christian truths the following teachings of the apostolic church the sovereignty of God; the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ; the atonement through Jesus Christ by which persons are reconciled to God; the resurrection of Jesus, which assures the resurrection of all true worshipers; the gift of the Holy Spirit to believers; and the authority of the Holy Scriptures.
The Yearly Meeting also endorses traditional statements of Friends, including those emphasizing an inward encounter with God, a worship of communion without ritual, an individual responsibility for ministry and service, and a striving for peace and justice. In addition, the Yearly Meeting speaks to contemporary issues concerning morality, human relationships, and Christian commitment.
Friends hold that an authentic Christian belief includes both an inward faith and an outward expression of that belief. Accordingly, the two parts “Faith Expressed as Doctrine” and “Faith Expressed Through Witness” constitute the set of beliefs endorsed by Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church.
Statements that more fully express Friends beliefs are given in two foundational documents ”George Fox’s Letter to the Governor of Barbados” and “The Richmond Declaration of Faith” and in earlier interpretations of the Yearly Meeting, shown in the Appendix as “Doctrines,” “Testimonies,” and “Fundamental Truths.” (see pp. 62- 67).
Faith Expressed as Doctrine
1. God as Creator
We believe God is the Creator and Sustainer of the cosmos, whose creative work provides the basis for order, beauty, purpose, and rationality. God is holy and eternal; He is loving, almighty, and all-wise. He reveals Himself and His will to His creation. He illuminates humankind through rational understanding, experience, and direct revelation. He speaks through the Scriptures. We believe that in redeeming humanity, God is bringing the universe into a glorious expression of His purpose. In joy of this hope we offer Him honor and praise.
2. God’s Revelation in Christ
We believe that the word of God spoken into every heart was supremely manifest in Jesus Christ, who in His virgin birth and sinless life was true God and perfect man. Christ is the Word. He is the Light that exposes our sin and brings us into the righteousness of God. He is the Redeemer through whose atoning death and resurrection we receive the forgiveness of God. He is Lord and to Him we give our obedience. Christ is the first and last word of divine wisdom by which God is drawing His creation into a new covenant of peace.
3. God’s Revelation by the Spirit
We believe God is the source of truth, that there are no spiritual insights or principles independent of His revelation. God’s Spirit teaches us through the Scriptures and through the creation. He convicts and instructs conscience, testifies to salvation through Christ, and gives wisdom and power for holy living. The Spirit gives discernment concerning the purposes of God through natural and social history. The Spirit enlightens reason and quickens human creativity that we might share in the work of the Creator.
4. God’s Revelation in the Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God. They are the divinely authorized record of the doctrines that we as Christians are bound to accept, and of the moral principles that are to regulate our lives and actions. By their own declaration, the Scriptures are able to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15 NIV). Interpreted by the Holy Spirit, they are an unfailing source of truth. We believe the Spirit will not lead persons or groups contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures.
5. Human Redemption
We believe that God created the human being, male and female, in His own image; but that when Adam and Eve fell from a state of holy obedience, the human race lost a perfect relationship to God, and self instead of the Creator became the center of life. Through the blood of Christ our Savior we may be recovered from the fall and made right (justified) before God. To those who put their faith in Christ, God offers forgiveness of sins, regeneration of affections and actions, and final glorification of the resurrected body.
6. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit
We believe Christ’s baptism to be the inward receiving of the promised Holy Spirit, whereby the believer is immersed in Jesus’ power, purity, and wisdom. This baptism is the essential Christian baptism: an experience of cleansing from sin that supplants old covenant rituals. The sanctification that is initiated with this experience is a continuing work of the Holy Spirit in which we are instructed into righteous living and perfected in love. Thus sanctification is the work of God’s grace by which our affections are purified and exalted to a supreme love of God.
7. The Church
We believe the Church is composed of persons who, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, have been born into His Kingdom and baptized with the Holy Spirit into the one Body. These persons agree together to follow Jesus as Lord. This Church is spiritual in nature, universal in scope, holy in character, and redemptive in purpose. Its head is Jesus Christ, who serves immediately as priest and ministers directly as teacher and prophet. The Church exists visibly in local meetings for worship and in groupings of these churches as they are united in common expressions of faith and action.
8. God’s Kingdom
We believe the Church is called to demonstrate in this life the righteous character of Christ’s present and coming Kingdom. The Kingdom is present now to the extent that the people of God hear His voice and obey it. The coming Kingdom will be initiated by the second appearing of Jesus Christ (as foretold by the prophets) and by the resurrection of the dead. The world will then be judged righteously by Jesus Christ and there will come everlasting punishment for the finally unrepentant wicked and everlasting blessedness for the righteous. At that time the world will be freed from the grip of evil and satanic power, and Christ will reign over a restored universe.
9. The Spiritual Experience
We believe that we may experience Christ directly and immediately without the necessity of priestly or ceremonial intervention and that this experience is available to every person. The spiritual life is nourished by the Holy Spirit, who teaches and guides us both individually and corporately according to His commandments. For Friends the supper of the Lord is an inward feeding on Christ by faith in response to His broken body and shed blood.
Worship is the adoring response of heart and mind to the Spirit of God. The meeting for worship brings a personal and corporate renewal, an edification and communion of believers, and a witness of the Gospel to the unconverted. We recognize the value of silence to center our thoughts upon God. We believe the Spirit speaks to worshipers through persons He has prepared and selected, whose message may be given in various modes by men or women, children or adults. We believe God calls some persons to a special preaching ministry, which the church should respectfully receive. Friends observe the first day of the week for corporate worship and for rest.
Faith Expressed through Witness
11. Christian Witness Through Ministry
We believe that the Holy Spirit bestows gifts on the followers of Christ for them to use on behalf of church and society (see “Gifts”) and that these gifts should be exercised in all of life, not just at religious gatherings. We believe God calls the Church to encourage the general ministry of all Christians and to facilitate the special work of the men and women He ordains for public ministry. Friends desiring to be of service should remain open to the leading of the Spirit. Service and ministry should spring from a devotion to the will of God.
12. Christian Witness to Peace
We believe the precepts of Christ our Lord and the whole spirit of His Gospel call us to live at peace with all people. Therefore we consider war and violence incompatible with the holiness we profess. We ask our leaders to choose nonviolent alternatives for sustaining economic and civil order. We respect government as an instrument of God to restrain evil and promote justice, and we submit to it in matters that do not interfere with obedience to Christ our Lord. When conflicts arise among persons, we will resolve them in a spirit of humility, with love for those who oppose us, and in accordance with biblical methods of peacemaking. (See Matthew 18 and George Fox’s “Gospel Order.”)
13. Christian Witness to Justice
We witness to the dignity and worth of all persons before God. We repudiate and seek to remove discrimination based on gender, race, nationality, or class. We deplore the use of selfish ends to gain unfair advantage, and we urge political, economic, and social justice for all peoples. We consider civil order most just when conscience is free and religious faith uncoerced.
14. Commitment to Simplicity
As Friends we have a long tradition for adhering to scriptural injunctions for plain living. In this respect, we are encouraged to work toward transforming the values of our culture rather than conforming without question. We recognize our responsibility for the care and use of the earth and, therefore, our obligation to maintain a style of living that will conserve resources for future generations.
15. Commitment to Integrity
We believe that integrity of speech and action honors Christ as it advances truth and, therefore, should characterize our social and business relationships. In allegiance to Christ’s command, we refrain from swearing oaths and from profanity of speech. We consider integrity a mark of Christian holiness.
16. Respect for Human Life
We reject the unchristian preempting of God’s authority over human life. Because we trust God as the righteous and final judge before whom we spend our lives in probation, we oppose capital punishment. Because we believe in the sacredness of human life, we oppose abortion for personal convenience.
17. Respect for the Body
We affirm the sacredness of body, mind, and spirit, and the necessity for Christians to conduct themselves in ways that honor God. Out of respect for ourselves and consideration for those we influence, we refuse to be defiled by salacious literature and amusements, and we reject involvement that could lead to drug or alcohol abuse, or to occult religious practices. We consider the body a temple of God to be cared for with respect, the mind a gift from God to be developed for personal and social enrichment, and the spirit an inner place for God to dwell.
18. Christian Witness to Human Sexuality
We hold that only marriage is conducive to godly fulfillment in sexual relationships for the purposes of reproduction and enrichment of life. We consider sexual intimacy outside marriage as sinful because it distorts God’s purposes for human sexuality. We denounce, as contrary to the moral laws of God, acts of homosexuality, sexual abuse, and any other form of sexual perversion (see “Human Sexuality”). The church, however, as a community of forgiven persons, remains loving and sensitive to those we consider in error. Because God’s grace can deliver from sins of any kind, we are called to forgive those who have repented and to free them for participation in the church.
19. Christian Witness to the Home
We believe the church sustains the home whether the home consists of immediate family members, persons together because of need, or one person alone. We value the single person and respect singleness whether by choice or circumstance. Gospel order affords equality to single and married persons. We believe that marriage is ordained of God to order the human family in love and that it is a lifetime commitment, not to be broken except on scriptural grounds; but we also recognize the church as a place for the healing of hurts, including those of broken marriages. We hold the godly home accountable for the nurture and care of those within its circle, particularly the children and the aged. For all in our various homes, the church provides support for the disciplines of truth and love and sustenance in times of distress.
20. Commitment to Christian Faith and Witness
We believe the Christian life is characterized by disciplined devotion and commitment, by a hunger for God and a thirst for righteousness. This commitment is strengthened by habits of prayer and Bible reading. For us this Christian faith involves commitment to the work of Friends. Although we respect freedom of conscience and honor diversity in the family of God, we affirm our covenant with God as Friends people. Therefore, we aim to be faithful to those structures of our denominational life through which our Gospel witness is made clear.
The Queries are thoughtful questions that remind people of the spiritual and moral values Friends seek to uphold. They help individuals and the church to consider the true source of spiritual strength, to nurture loving relationships, and to maintain a strong Christian witness to society. The Queries should be read frequently, as a whole or in part, in meetings for worship and business and other gatherings of Friends, and in private devotions. Always there should be time for reflection. Reading the Queries is a tradition of Friends.
Do you live in vital relationship with God, trusting in Jesus Christ as your saving Lord and obeying the leadings of the Holy Spirit? Is Christ’s presence evident in your life?
Do you cultivate your spiritual growth through prayer and Bible reading and through attendance at meetings for worship and study? Are you finding joy in the Lord?
Does your inward faith turn outward? Do you pray for your friends and associates and for those engaged in spreading the Gospel? Have you examined your beliefs and prepared yourself to share them, with sensitivity and humility, as the Holy Spirit leads?
Do you acknowledge God’s ownership of all that is under your care? Do you give of your time and abilities in service to church and community and gratefully use your possessions as a trust to honor God?
The Individual and the Church
Are meetings for worship and business duly held, and are you regular in attending them? Do you come ready to commune with God and to fellowship with believers, willing to participate in contemplation or in spoken ministry?
As followers of Christ do you love and respect each other? Do patience and consideration govern your interactions; and when differences arise, do you resolve them promptly in a spirit of forgiveness and understanding? Are you careful with the reputation of others?
Do you give generous financial support to the work of Friends? Do you contribute regularly to the ministry of your church and to the wider outreach of the Yearly Meeting? Are you and your meeting aware of those likely to require material aid, and do you give freely to those in need?
Do you uphold the standards of Friends? Are you careful in appointing officers and Sunday school teachers, in calling pastors and special speakers, in sending out missionaries and recording ministers, to see that they are in harmony with the principles of Friends as stated in the Faith and Practice of Northwest Yearly Meeting?
Marriage, Children, Home
Do you conduct yourself in a manner that supports and preserves the sanctity and permanence of marriage? Do you who are married yield to each other in decisions and build up each other as individuals, always cherishing your common bond?
Do you who have children under your care educate them for upright and useful lives? Do you nurture them toward Christian faith and commitment, giving them the Scriptures for their guide? Are you watching over your young people with loving concern and providing a place for each one in the life of the church?
Are you teaching your children the ways of Friends? Do you encourage them to participate in Friends programs and to attend Friends schools?
Do you and your family use your free time in ways that refresh the spirit and benefit mind and body, that encourage creativity and friendliness? Is your home a pleasant, peaceful place?
Manner of Living
Is your life marked by simplicity? Are you free from the burden of unnecessary possessions? Do you avoid waste? Do you refuse to let the prevailing culture and media dictate your needs and values?
Are you careful to live within your income? Do you avoid involving yourself in business beyond your ability to manage or in highly speculative ventures? Are you willing to accept a lower economic standard rather than compromise Christian values?
Are you honest and just in your dealings? Are you true to your promises, prompt in paying your debts, and responsible in handling money or property entrusted to you?
Do you discipline your mind and body to serve as instruments of the Lord? Do you avoid pornography? Do you abstain from harmful, addictive, and unnecessary drugs—including alcoholic beverages, tobacco, marijuana, and cocaine—and from profiting through their use? Do you refrain from gambling and taking part in lotteries?
Concerns for Society
Do you exercise your civic responsibilities and support acceptable legislation? Do you pray for those in authority? Are you careful to avoid defrauding the public treasury? In or out of court do you affirm instead of taking oaths?
Do you speak out for justice and morality, and against oppression, exploitation, and public wrong? Do you recognize the equality of persons regardless of race, gender, or economic status?
As a Christian steward, do you treat the earth with respect and with a sense of God’s splendor in creation, guarding it against abuse by greed, misapplied technology, or your own carelessness?
Do you observe and teach the Friends testimony against military training and service, making clear that war is incompatible with the spirit and teachings of the Gospel? Do you find appropriate ways to work for peace?
We own and believe in the only wise, omnipotent, and everlasting God, the Creator of all things both in heaven and earth, and the Preserver of all that He hath made; who is God over all, blessed forever; to whom be all honor, glory, dominion, praise, and thanksgiving, both now and for evermore.
And we own and believe in Jesus Christ, His beloved and only begotten Son, in whom He is well pleased; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary; in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the express image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, by whom were all things created that are in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him. And we own and believe that He was made a sacrifice for sin, who knew no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; that He was crucified for us in the flesh, without the gates of Jerusalem; and that He was buried, and rose again the third day by the power of His Father, for our justification; and that He ascended up into heaven, and now sitteth at the right hand of God. This Jesus, who was the foundation of the holy prophets and apostles, is our foundation; and we believe that there is no other foundation to be laid but that which is laid, even Christ Jesus; who tasted death for every man, who shed His blood for all men, is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world according as John the Baptist testified of Him when he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) We believe that He alone is our Redeemer and Saviour, the Captain of our salvation who saves us from sin, as well as from hell and the wrath to come, and destroys the devil and his works; He is the Seed of the woman that bruises the serpent’s head, to wit, Christ Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. He is (as the Scriptures of truth say of Him) our wisdom, righteousness, justification, and redemption; neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we may be saved. He alone is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls; He is our Prophet, whom Moses long since testified of, saying, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you; and it shall come to pass, that every soul that will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22, 23)
He is now come in Spirit “and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true.” He rules in our hearts by His law of love and of life, and makes us free from the law of sin and death. We have no life, but of Him; for He is the quickening Spirit, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, by whose blood we are cleansed, and our consciences sprinkled from dead works, to serve the living God. He is our Mediator, who makes peace and reconciliation between God offended and us offending; He being the Oath of God, the new covenant of light, life, grace, and peace, the author and finisher of our faith. This Lord Jesus Christ, the heavenly man, the Emmanuel, God with us, we all own and believe in; He whom the high-priest raged against, and said He had spoken blasphemy; whom the priests and elders of the Jews took counsel together against, and put to death; the same whom Judas betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, which the priests gave him as a reward for his treason; who also gave large money to the soldiers to broach a horrible lie, namely, “That his disciples came and stole him away by night while they slept.” After He was arisen from the dead, the history of the Acts of the Apostles sets forth how the chief priests and elders persecuted the disciples of this Jesus, for preaching Christ and His resurrection. This, we say, is that Lord Jesus Christ, whom we own to be our life and salvation.
Concerning the Holy Scriptures, we believe that they were given forth by the Holy Spirit of God, through the holy men of God, who (as the Scripture itself declares, 2 Peter 1:21) “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” We believe they are to be read, believed, and fulfilled (He that fulfills them is Christ); and they are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works,” and “are able to make wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
—Autobiography of George Fox,
edited by Henry Stanley Newman
It should be understood that the quotations from Scripture are made from the Authorized Version unless stated to be
from the Revised Version.
It is under a deep sense of what we owe to Him who has loved us that we feel called upon to offer a declaration of those fundamental doctrines of Christian truth that have always been professed by our branch of the Church of Christ.
We believe in one holy (Isaiah 6:3, 57:15), almighty (Genesis 17:1), allwise (Romans 11:33, 16:27), and everlasting (Psalm 90:1, 2) God, the Father (Matthew 11:25-27), the Creator (Genesis 1:1) and Preserver (Job 7:20) of all things; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, by whom all things were made (John 1:3), and by whom all things consist (Colossians 1:17), and in one Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son (John 15:26; 16:7), the Reprover (John 16:8) of the world, the Witness for Christ (John 15:26), and the Teacher (John 14:26), Guide (John 16:13), and Sanctifier (2 Thessalonians 2:13) of the people of God; and that these three are one in the eternal Godhead (Matthew 28:19, John 10:30, 17:21), to whom be honor, praise, and thanksgiving, now and forever. Amen.
The Lord Jesus Christ
It is with reverence and thanksgiving that we profess our unwavering allegiance to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him (John 1:18). In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 14). He is the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 19), through whom the light of truth in all ages has proceeded from the Father of lights (James 1:17). He is the eternal Word (John 1:1) who was with God and was God, revealing Himself in infinite wisdom and love, both as man’s Creator (Colossians 1:13-16) and Redeemer (Colossians 1:14); for by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible. Conceived of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:20), born of the virgin Mary (Matthew 1:23-25; Luke 1:35), the word was made flesh (John 1:14), and dwelt amongst men. He came in the fullness (Galatians 4: 4) of the appointed time, being verily foreordained before the foundation of the world (I Peter 1:20) that He might fulfill (Isaiah 11:1-5; 52:13-15) the eternal counsel of the righteousness and love of God for the redemption of man (Isaiah 53). In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2: 9). Though He was rich, yet, for our sakes, He became poor, veiling in the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7) the brightness of His glory, that, through Him, the kindness and love of God (Titus 3:4) toward man might appear in a manner every way suited to our wants and finite capacities. He went about doing good (Acts 10:38); for us He endured (Isaiah 53:4; Luke 12:50; 19: 41; 22:44) sorrow, hunger, thirst, weariness (John 4:6), pain, unutterable anguish (Luke 22:43, 44) of body and of soul, being in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Thus humbling Himself that we might be exalted, He emphatically recognized the duties and the sufferings of humanity as among the means whereby, through the obedience of faith, we are to be disciplined for heaven, sanctifying them to us, by Himself performing and enduring them, leaving us the one perfect example (1 Peter 2:21) of all righteousness (Matthew 3:15) in self-sacrificing love.
But not only in these blessed relations must the Lord Jesus be ever precious to His people. In Him is revealed as true God and perfect man (Ephesians 4:13), a Redeemer, at once able to suffer and almighty to save. He became obedient (Philippians 2:8) unto death, even the death of the cross, and is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2); in whom we have redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:7), the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace. It is our joy to confess that the remission of sins which any partake of is only in and by virtue of His most satisfactory sacrifice and not otherwise. (Barclay’s Apology, Propos. v. and vi. par. 15, p. 141) He was buried and rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4) according to the Scriptures, becoming the first fruits (1 Corinthians 15:23) of them that sleep, and having shown Himself alive after His passion, by many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3), He ascended into heaven, and hath sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Hebrews 1:3; 9:24). With the apostles who beheld His ascension, we restin the assurance of the angelic messengers, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11, and see v 7). With the Apostle John, we would desire to unite in the words, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). And now, whilst thus watching and waiting, we rejoice to believe that He is our King and Savior. He is the one Mediator of the new and everlasting covenant (1 Timothy 1:5; Hebrews 9:15), who makes peace and reconciliation between God offended and man offending (George Fox’s Epistle to the Governor of Barbados); the great High Priest whose priesthood is unchangeable (Hebrews 4:14; 7: 24). He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25). All power is given unto Him in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18). By Him the world shall be judged in righteousness (Acts 17:31); for the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father (John 5:22, 23). All that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment (John 5:28, 29 RV).
We reverently confess and believe that divine honor and worship are due to the Son of God, and that He is in true faith to be prayed unto, and His name to be called upon, as the Primitive Christians did, because of the glorious oneness of the Father and the Son; and that we cannot acceptably offer prayers and praises to God, nor receive from Him a gracious answer or blessing, but in and through His dear Son (Declaration of 1693, in Sewell’s History, vol. II, 379).
We would, with humble thanksgiving, bear an especial testimony to our Lord’s perpetual dominion and power in His church. Through Him the redeemed in all generations have derived their light, their forgiveness, and their joy. All are members of this church, by whatsoever name they may be called among men, who have been baptized by the one Spirit into the one body; who are builded as living stones upon Christ, the Eternal Foundation, and are united in faith and love in that fellowship which is with the Father and with the Son. Of this church the Lord Jesus Christ is the alone Head (Ephesians 1:22). All its true members are made one in Him. They have washed their robes and made them white in His precious blood (Revelation 7:14), and He has made them priests unto God and His Father (Revelation 1:6). He dwells in their hearts by faith, and gives them of His peace. His will is their law, and in Him they enjoy the true liberty, a freedom from the bondage of sin.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is, in the unity of the eternal Godhead, one with the Father and with the Son (Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14). He is the Comforter “Whom,” saith Christ, “the Father will send in my name” (John 14:26). He convinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8). He testifies of and glorifies Jesus (John 16:14). It is the Holy Spirit who makes the evil manifest. He quickens them that are dead in trespasses and sins, and opens the inward eye to behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (Ephesians 2:1). Coming in the name and with the authority of the risen and ascended Savior, He is the precious pledge of the continued love and care of our exalted King. He takes of the things of Christ and shows them, as a realized possession, to the believing soul (John 16:14). Dwelling in the hearts of believers (John 14:17), He opens their understandings that they may understand the Scriptures, and becomes, to the humbled and surrendered heart, the Guide, Comforter, Support, and Sanctifier.
We believe that the essential qualification for the Lord’s service is bestowed upon His children through the reception of and baptism with the Holy Ghost. This Holy Spirit is the seal of reconciliation to the believer in Jesus (Ephesians 1:13, 14), the witness to his adoption into the family of the redeemed (Romans 8:15, 16), the earnest and the foretaste of the full communion and perfect joy which are reserved for them that endure unto the end.
We own no principle of spiritual light, life, or holiness, inherent by nature in the mind or heart of man. We believe in no principle of spiritual light, life, or holiness, but the influence of the Holy Spirit of God, bestowed on mankind in various measures and degrees through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is the capacity to receive this blessed influence, which, in an especial manner, gives man pre-eminence above the beasts that perish; which distinguishes him, in every nation and in every clime, as an object of the redeeming love of God; as a being not only intelligent but responsible; for whom the message of salvation through our crucified Redeemer is, under all possible circumstances, designed to be a joyful sound. The Holy Spirit must ever be distinguished, both from the conscience which He enlightens, and from the natural faculty of reason, which when unsubjected to His Holy influence, is, in the things of God, very foolishness. As the eye is to the body, so is the conscience to our inner being, the organ by which we see; and as both light and life are essential to the eye, so conscience, as the inward eye, cannot see aright without the quickening and illumination of the Spirit of God. One with the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit can never disown or dishonor our once crucified and now risen and glorified Redeemer. We disavow all professed illumination or spirituality that is divorced from faith in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, crucified for us without the gates of Jerusalem.
The Holy Scriptures
It has ever been, and still is, the belief of the Society of Friends that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God; that, therefore, there can be no appeal from them to any other authority whatsoever; that they are able to make wise unto salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ. “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). The Scriptures are the only divinely authorized record of the doctrines which we are bound as Christians to accept, and of the moral principles which are to regulate our actions. No one can be required to believe, as an article of faith, any doctrine which is not contained in them; and whatsoever any one says or does, contrary to the Scriptures, though under profession of the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit, must be reckoned and accounted a mere delusion. To the Christian, the Old Testament comes with the solemn and repeated attestation of his Lord. It is to be read in the light and completeness of the New; thus will its meaning be unveiled, and the humble disciple will be taught to discern the unity and mutual adaptation of the whole, and the many sidedness and harmony of its testimony to Christ. The great Inspirer of Scripture is ever its true Interpreter. He performs this office in condescending love, not by superseding our understandings, but by renewing and enlightening them. Where Christ presides, idle speculation is hushed; His doctrine is learned in the doing of His will, and all knowledge ripens into a deeper and richer experience of His truth and love.
Man’s Creation and Fall
It pleased God, in His wisdom and goodness, to create man out of the dust of the earth, and to breathe into his nostrils the breath of life, so that man became a living soul; formed after the image and likeness of God, capable of fulfilling the divine law, and of holding communion with his Maker (Genesis 2:7; 1:26, 27). Being free to obey or to disobey, he fell into transgression, through unbelief, under the temptation of Satan (Genesis 3:1-7), and, thereby, lost that spiritual life of righteousness in which he was created; and, so, death passed upon him, as the inevitable consequence of his sin (Romans 5:12). As the children of fallen Adam, all mankind bear his image. They partake of his nature, and are involved in the consequences of his fall. To every member of every successive generation, the words of the Redeemer are alike applicable, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). But while we hold these views of the lost condition of man in the fall, we rejoice to believe that sin is not imputed to any until they transgress the divine law, after sufficient capacity has been given to understand it; and that infants, though inheriting this fallen nature, are saved in the infinite mercy of God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
Justification and Sanctification
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We believe that justification is of God’s free grace, through which, upon repentance and faith, He pardons our sins, and imparts to us a new life. It is received, not for any works of righteousness that we have done (Titus 3:5), but in the unmerited mercy of God in Christ Jesus. Through faith in Him, and the shedding of His precious blood, the guilt of sin is taken away, and we stand reconciled to God. The offering up of Christ as the propitiation for the sins of the whole world is the appointed manifestation both of the righteousness and of the love of God. In this propitiation the pardon of sin involves no abrogation or relaxation of the law of holiness. It is the vindication and establishment of that law (Romans 3:31), in virtue of the free and righteous submission of the Son of God Himself to all its requirements. He, the unchangeably just, proclaims Himself the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus (Romans 3:26). From age to age, the sufferings and death of Christ have been a hidden mystery, and a rock of offense to the unbelief and pride of man’s fallen nature; yet, to the humble penitent whose heart is broken under the convicting power of the Spirit, life is revealed in that death. As he looks upon Him who was wounded for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5), and upon whom the Lord was pleased to lay the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6), his eye is more and more opened to see, and his heart to understand, the exceeding sinfulness of sin for which the Savior died; whilst, in the sense of pardoning grace, he will joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (Romans 5:11).
We believe that in connection with justification is regeneration; that they who come to this experience know that they are not their own (1 Corinthians 6:19), that being reconciled to God by the death of His Son, we are saved by His life (Romans 5:10); a new heart is given and new desires; old things are passed away, and we become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17) through faith in Christ Jesus; our wills being surrendered to His holy will, grace reigns through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:21).
Sanctification is experienced in the acceptance of Christ in living faith for justification, in so far as the pardoned sinner, through faith in Christ, is clothed with a measure of His righteousness and receives the Spirit of promise; for, as saith the apostle, “Ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). We rejoice to believe that the provisions of God’s grace are sufficient to deliver from the power, as well as from the guilt, of sin, and to enable His believing children always to triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14). How full of encouragement is the declaration, “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29). Whosoever submits himself wholly to God, believing and appropriating His promises, and exercising faith in Christ Jesus, will have his heart continually cleansed from all sin by His precious blood, and through the renewing, refining power of the Holy Spirit, be kept in conformity to the will of God, will love Him with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength and be able to say, with the Apostle Paul, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). Thus, in its full experience, sanctification is deliverance from the pollution, nature, and love of sin. To this we are every one called, that we may serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life (Luke 1:74, 75). It was the prayer of the apostle for the believers, “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24). Yet the most holy Christian is still liable to temptation, is exposed to the subtle assaults of Satan, and can only continue to follow holiness as he humbly watches unto prayer, and is kept in constant dependence upon his Savior, walking in the light (I John 1:7), in the loving obedience of faith.
The Resurrection and Final Judgment
We believe, according to the Scriptures, that there shall be a resurrection from the dead, both of the just and of the unjust (Acts 24:15), and that God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ whom He hath ordained (Acts 17:31). For, as saith the apostle, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
We sincerely believe, not only a resurrection in Christ from the fallen and sinful state here, but a rising and ascending into glory with Him hereafter; that when He at last appears we may appear with Him in glory. But that all the wicked, who live in rebellion against the light of grace, and die finally impenitent, shall come forth to the resurrection of condemnation. And that the soul of every man and woman shall be reserved, in its own distinct and proper being, and shall have its proper body as God is pleased to give it. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44); that being first which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. And though it is said, “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53), the change shall be such as will accord with the declaration, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:50). We shall be raised out of all corruption and corruptibility, out of all mortality, and shall be the children of God, being the children of resurrection (Luke 20:36). (See also Declaration of 1693, SewelI’s History, vol. II, pp. 383-384.)
“Our citizenship is in heaven” (RV), from whence also we look for the Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself (Philippians 3:20, 21).
We believe that the punishment of the wicked and the blessedness of the righteous shall be everlasting; according to the declaration of our compassionate Redeemer, to whom the judgment is committed, “These shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46, RV).
We would express our continued conviction that our Lord appointed no outward rite or ceremony for observance in His church. We accept every command of our Lord, in what we believe to be its genuine import, as absolutely conclusive. The question of the use of outward ordinances is with us a question, not as to the authority of Christ, but as to His real meaning.
We reverently believe that, as there is one Lord and one faith, so there is, under the Christian dispensation, but one baptism (Ephesians 4:4, 5), even that whereby all believers are baptized in the one Spirit into the one body (1 Corinthians 12:13, RV). This is not an outward baptism with water, but a spiritual experience; not the putting away of the filth of the flesh (1 Peter 3:21), but that inward work which, by transforming the heart and settling the soul upon Christ, brings forth the answer of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in the experience of His love and power, as the risen and ascended Savior. No baptism in outward water can satisfy the description of the apostle, of being buried with Christ by baptism unto death (Romans 6:4). It is with the Spirit alone that any can thus be baptized. In this experience the announcement of the forerunner of our Lord is fulfilled, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11). In this view we accept the commission of our blessed Lord as given in Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came to them and spake unto them saying, ‘All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’ ” (RV). This commission, as we believe, was not designed to set up a new ritual under the new covenant, or to connect the initiation into a membership, in its nature essentially spiritual, with a mere ceremony of a typical character. Otherwise it was not possible for the Apostle Paul, who was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostle (2 Corinthians 1:15), to have disclaimed that which would, in that case, have been of the essence of his commission when he wrote, “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17). Whenever an external ceremony is commanded, the particulars, the mode, and incidents of that ceremony become of its essence. There is an utter absence of these particulars in the text before us, which confirms our persuasion that the commission must be construed in connection with the spiritual power which the risen Lord promised should attend the witness of His apostles and of the church to Him, and which, after Pentecost, so mightily accompanied their ministry of the word and prayer, that those to whom they were sent were introduced into an experience wherein they had a saving knowledge of, and living fellowship with, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Supper of the Lord
Intimately connected with the conviction already expressed is the view that we have ever maintained as to the true supper of the Lord. We are well aware that our Lord was pleased to make use of a variety of symbolic utterances, but He often gently upbraided His disciples for accepting literally what He had intended only in its spiritual meaning. His teaching, as in His parables or in the command to wash one another’s feet, was often in symbols, and ought ever to be received in the light of His own emphatic declaration, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6: 63). The old covenant was full of ceremonial symbols; the new covenant, to which our Savior alluded at the last supper, is expressly declared by the prophet to be “not according to the old” (Jeremiah 31:32; Hebrews 8:9). We cannot believe that in setting up this new covenant the Lord Jesus intended an institution out of harmony with the spirit of this prophecy. The eating of His body and the drinking of His blood cannot be an outward act. They truly partake of them who habitually rest upon the sufferings and death of our Lord as their only hope, and to whom the indwelling Spirit gives to drink of the fullness that is in Christ. It is this inward and spiritual partaking that is the true supper of the Lord.
The presence of Christ with His church is not designed to be by symbol or representation, but in the real communication of His own Spirit. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). Convincing of sin, testifying of Jesus, taking of the things of Christ, this blessed Comforter communicates to the believer and to the church, in a gracious, abiding manifestation the REAL PRESENCE of the Lord. As the great Remembrancer, through whom the promise is fulfilled, He needs no ritual or priestly intervention in bringing to the experience the true commemoration and communion. “Behold,” saith the risen Redeemer, “I stand at the door, and knock if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). In an especial manner, when assembled for congregational worship, are believers invited to the festival of the Savior’s peace, and, in a united act of faith and love, unfettered by any outward rite or ceremonial, to partake together of the body that was broken and of the blood that was shed for them, without the gates of Jerusalem. In such a worship they are enabled to understand the words of the apostle as expressive of a sweet and most real experience “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body for we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16, 17).
Worship is the adoring response of the heart and mind to the influence of the Spirit of God. It stands neither in forms nor in the formal disuse of forms; it may be without words as well as with them, but it must be in spirit and in truth John 4: 24). We recognize the value of silence, not as an end, but as a means toward the attainment of the end; a silence, not of listlessness or of vacant musing, but of holy expectation before the Lord. Having become His adopted children through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is our privilege to meet together and unite in the worship of Almighty God, to wait upon Him for the renewal of our strength, for communion one with another, for the edification of believers in the exercise of various spiritual gifts, and for the declaration of the glad tidings of salvation to the unconverted who may gather with us. This worship depends not upon numbers. Where two or three are gathered together in the name of Christ there is a church, and Christ, the living Head, in the midst of them. Through His mediation, without the necessity for any inferior instrumentality, is the Father to be approached and reverently worshipped. The Lord Jesus has forever fulfilled and ended the typical and sacrificial worship under the law, by the offering up of Himself upon the cross for us, once for all. He has opened the door of access into the inner sanctuary, and graciously provided spiritual offerings for the service of His temple, suited to the several conditions of all who worship in spirit and in truth. The broken and the contrite heart, the confession of the soul prostrate before God, the prayer of the afflicted when he is overwhelmed, the earnest wrestling of the spirit, the outpouring of humble thanksgiving, the spiritual song and melody of the heart (Ephesians 5:19), the simple exercise of faith, the self-denying service of love, these are among the sacrifices which He, our merciful and faithful High Priest, is pleased to prepare, by His Spirit, in the hearts of them that receive Him, and to present with acceptance unto God.
By the immediate operations of the Holy Spirit, He, as the Head of the church, alone selects and qualifies those who are to present His messages or engage in other service for Him; and hence, we cannot commit any formal arrangement to any one in our regular meetings for worship. We are well aware that the Lord has provided a diversity of gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-6) for the needs both of the church and of the world, and we desire that the church may feel her responsibility, under the government of her Great Head, in doing her part to foster these gifts, and in making arrangements for their proper exercise.
It is not for individual exaltation, but for mutual profit, that the gifts are bestowed (1 Corinthians 12:7); and every living church, abiding under the government of Christ, is humbly and thankfully to receive and exercise them in subjection to her Holy Head. The church that quenches the Spirit and lives to itself alone must die.
We believe the preaching of the Gospel to be one of the chief means, divinely appointed, for the spreading of the glad tidings of life and salvation through our crucified Redeemer, for the awakening and conversion of sinners, and for the comfort and edification of believers. As it is the prerogative of the Great Head of the church alone to select and call the ministers of His Gospel, so we believe that both the gift and the qualification to exercise it must be derived immediately from Him, and that, as in the primitive church, so now also, He confers spiritual gifts upon women as well as upon men, agreeably to the prophecy recited by the Apostle Peter, “It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17), respecting which the apostle declares, “The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). As the gift is freely received so it is to be freely exercised (Matthew 10:8; see also Acts 20:33-35), in simple obedience to the will of God.
Spiritual gifts, precious as they are, must not be mistaken for grace; they add to our responsibility, but do not raise the minister above his brethren or sisters. They must be exercised in continued dependence upon our Lord, and blessed is that ministry in which man is humbled, and Christ and His grace exalted. “He that is greatest among you,” said our Lord and Master, “let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve . . . I am among you as he that serveth” (Luke 22:26, 27).
While the church cannot confer spiritual gifts, it is its duty to recognize and foster them, and to promote their efficiency by all the means in its power. And while, on the one hand, the Gospel should never be preached for money (Acts 8:20; 20:33-35), on the other, it is the duty of the church to make such provision that it shall never be hindered for want of it.
The church, if true to her allegiance, cannot forget her part in the command, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Knowing that it is the Spirit of God that can alone prepare and qualify the instruments who fulfill this command, the true disciple will be found still sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening that he may learn, and learning that he may obey. He humbly places himself at his Lord’s disposal, and, when he hears the call, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” is prepared to respond, in childlike reverence and love, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
Prayer and Praise
Prayer is the outcome of our sense of need, and of our continual dependence upon God. He who uttered the invitation, “Ask, and it shall be given you” (Matthew 7:7), is Himself the Mediator and High Priest who, by His Spirit, prompts the petition, and who presents it with acceptance before God. With such an invitation, prayer becomes the duty and the privilege of all who are called by His name. Prayer is, in the awakened soul, the utterance of the cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13), and, at every stage of the believer’s course, prayer is essential to his spiritual life. A life without prayer is a life practically without God. The Christian’s life is a continual asking. The thirst that prompts the petition produces, as it is satisfied, still deeper longings, which prepare for yet more bounteous supplies, from Him who delights to bless. Prayer is not confined to the closet. When uttered in response to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, it becomes an important part of public worship, and, whenever the Lord’s people meet together in His name, it is their privilege to wait upon Him for the spirit of grace and supplications (Zechariah 12:10). A life of prayer cannot be other than a life of praise. As the peace of Christ reigns in the church, her living members accept all that they receive as from His pure bounty, and each day brings them fresh pledges of their Father’s love. Satisfied with the goodness of His house, whether as individuals, in families, or in congregations, they will be still praising Him (Psalm 84:4), heart answering to heart, “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name” (Psalm 103:1).
Liberty of Conscience in Its Relation to Civil Government
That conscience should be free, and that in matters of religious doctrine and worship man is accountable only to God, are truths which are plainly declared in the New Testament; and which are confirmed by the whole scope of the Gospel, and by the example of our Lord and His disciples. To rule over the conscience, and to command the spiritual allegiance of His creature man, is the high and sacred prerogative of God alone. In religion every act ought to be free. A forced worship is plainly a contradiction in terms, under that dispensation in which the worship of the Father must be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We have ever maintained that it is the duty of Christians to obey the enactments of civil government, except those which interfere with our allegiance to God. We owe much to its blessings. Through it we enjoy liberty and protection, in connection with law and order. Civil government is a divine ordinance (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13-16), instituted to promote the best welfare of man, hence magistrates are to be regarded as God’s ministers who should be a terror to evil doers and a praise to them that do well. Therefore, it is with us a matter of conscience to render them respect and obedience in the exercise of their proper functions.
Marriage is an institution graciously ordained by the Creator Himself, for the help and continuance of the human family. It is not a mere civil contract, and ought never to be entered upon without a reference to the sanction and blessing of Him who ordained it. It is a solemn engagement for the term of life (Matthew 19:5, 6), designed for the mutual assistance and comfort of both sexes, that they may be helpmeets to each other in things temporal and spiritual. To this end it should imply concurrence in spiritual as well as temporal concerns, and should be entered upon discreetly, soberly, and in the fear of the Lord.
We feel bound explicitly to avow our unshaken persuasion that all war is utterly incompatible with the plain precepts of our divine Lord and Law-giver, and the whole spirit of His Gospel, and that no plea of necessity or policy, however urgent or peculiar, can avail to release either individuals or nations from the paramount allegiance which they owe to Him who hath said, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27). In enjoining this love, and the forgiveness of injuries, He who has bought us to Himself has not prescribed for man precepts which are incapable of being carried into practice, or of which the practice is to be postponed until all shall be persuaded to act upon them. We cannot doubt that they are incumbent now, and that we have in the prophetic Scriptures the distinct intimation of their direct application not only to individuals, but to nations also (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:1). When nations conform their laws to this divine teaching, wars must necessarily cease. We would, in humility, but in faithfulness to our Lord, express our firm persuasion that all the exigencies of civil government and social order may be met under the banner of the Prince of Peace, in strict conformity with His commands.
We hold it to be the inalienable privilege of the disciple of the Lord Jesus that his statements concerning matters of fact within his knowledge should be accepted, under all circumstances, as expressing his belief as to the fact asserted. We rest upon the plain command of our Lord and Master, “Swear not at all” (Matthew 5:34); and we believe any departure from this standard to be prejudicial to the cause of truth and to that confidence between man and man, the maintenance of which is indispensable to our mutual well being. This command, in our persuasion, applies not to profane swearing only, but to judicial oaths also. It abrogates any previous permission to the contrary, and is, for the Christian, absolutely conclusive.
The First Day of the Week
Whilst the remembrance of our Creator ought to be at all times present with the Christian, we would express our thankfulness to our Heavenly Father that He has been pleased to honor the setting apart of one day in seven for the purpose of holy rest, religious duties, and public worship; and we desire that all under our name may avail themselves of this great privilege as those who are called to be risen with Christ, and to seek those things that are above where He sitteth at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1). May the release thus granted from other occupations be diligently improved. On this day of the week especially ought the households of Friends to be assembled for the reading of the Scriptures and for waiting upon the Lord; and we trust that, in a Christianly wise economy of our time and strength, the engagements of the day may be so ordered as not to frustrate the gracious provision thus made for us by our Heavenly Father, or to shut out the opportunity either for public worship or for private retirement and devotional reading.
In presenting this declaration of our Christian faith, we desire that all our members may be afresh encouraged, in humility and devotedness, to renewed faithfulness in fulfilling their part in the great mission of the church, and through the church to the world around us, in the name of our crucified Redeemer. Life from Christ, life in Christ, must ever be the basis of life for Christ. For this we have been created and redeemed, and by this alone can the longings of our immortal souls be satisfied.
Friends Practice: The Form of Government
The denomination of Friends consists of yearly meetings with their constituent branches and delegate structures around the world. The bond of union is maintained by annual correspondence between them, by issuing and receiving the credentials of ministers, by granting and receiving certificates of membership, by joint participation in various ministries, and by occasional gatherings. Each yearly meeting is independent from others in the declaration of its doctrinal covenant and the transaction of its business. Cooperation has resulted in groupings of yearly meetings and shared statements of faith, as described in the “Historical Statement.”
Friends recognize and emphasize that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, that He dwells in the midst of His people as well as in their hearts, and that He guides the understanding of believers, thus enabling them individually and corporately to obey His will. Friends believe that Christ confers upon each believer some special gift or gifts to be exercised faithfully according to ability. In the church, members have equal rights and privileges varying only in accordance with the nature of their gifts and their faithfulness in exercising them. There are no distinctions in the rights, privileges, or responsibilities of members because of gender, color, or race. Friends polity is connectional, rather than congregational or episcopal; therefore the yearly meeting represents the highest court of appeal in matters of faith and practice.
The business of the church is transacted in regular, announced sessions, in which every active member has a right to participate. Deliberations are aimed at determining the will of God rather than collecting majority opinions. It is expected, therefore, that worship shall surround business deliberations and that policies and practices shall reflect Christian unity.
Organization. Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church is an Oregon nonprofit religious corporation which was officially incorporated on June 15, 1894. This corporate organization comprises the affiliated local churches and ministry points, and the individual members thereof. It is also commonly known as Northwest Yearly Meeting, Yearly Meeting, Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends, and NWYM. These terms are used herein to refer to the above named corporate organization. As indicated by the context, the term “Yearly Meeting” may also refer to the annual yearly session for business and worship.
Admission to Membership
The churches of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends welcome into membership all who make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, whose lives testify to their union with Him, and who accept Christian beliefs as held by Friends (see “What Friends Believe”).
A Friends Church
A congregation of Friends fully established is called a local church (or meeting). Its organization consists of all persons recorded on its list of members. Clerks, elders, and pastors provide spiritual and moral guidance. It is through official recognition of spiritual gifts and qualities in certain persons that positions of leadership in public ministry are filled. Appointments are made to other positions.
Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends is committed to the spread of the Gospel through proclamation, fellowship, and service. The underlying purpose of each office, department, and activity of the local church and the Yearly Meeting is to exalt Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and to so witness the Gospel that persons will be converted and brought into Christ’s Kingdom.
Local churches are organized into regional Areas, which sponsor rallies and conferences of various kinds for the common good of the churches. Business matters are minimal.
Yearly Meeting Sessions
Yearly Meeting sessions occur annually, providing opportunity for inspiration, fellowship, and edification, as well as for the transaction of business. Local churches send official representatives (See Representatives). Various boards and committees submit their reports and hold their meetings.
Leadership: nomenclature and terms of office
The word “clerk” is used uniformly to designate presiding officers of the Yearly Meeting, its constituent bodies, and its local churches. The term “secretary” especially for committees, may be an accepted alternative to “Recording Clerk.” Instead of “vice-chairman,” “Assistant Clerk” is used. Descriptively, the terms “preside over” and “Presiding Clerk” are appropriate. In case of absence or incapacity, leadership passes from Presiding Clerk to Assistant Clerk to Recording Clerk. For related organizations connected with Northwest Yearly Meeting, these terms need not apply. For them, “director” or “president” may be appropriate alternatives to “chairman” or “clerk.”
In order to develop spiritual and administrative leadership, it is recommended that local and Area appointments and the internal appointments of the Yearly Meeting generally should not extend beyond six to ten continuous years in any particular responsibility. At the Yearly Meeting level, where some organizations have representation named from different sources, a combined period of up to ten years continuous service may be considered adequate.
Only active members may serve the local church as officers, elders, ministers, trustees, or clerks of standing committees; only active members may serve on the Nominating Committee or as representatives to Yearly Meeting.
Sunday and midweek meetings for instruction, worship, evangelism, and discipleship are held as scheduled. Special meetings and changes of schedule should be given sufficient announcement.
Regularly scheduled business sessions occur at intervals of not more than three months. If business must be continued at the call of the clerk, it shall be so announced in a regular Sunday morning meeting for worship prior to the session. A special business session may be called if it seems necessary in the judgment of the Presiding Clerk or the pastor and if similar provision is made for its advertisement. All active members are encouraged to participate in speaking to business and making decisions in these business meetings. A quorum consists of members in attendance at a regular meeting, or at a special meeting that has been properly called.
Responsibilities of the Local Church
The local church is a general policy-making body. It has authority to call and contract pastoral services; to adopt the annual budget; to accept and dismiss members; to hold and administer real estate and other property for the use of the church; to initiate and sponsor an ministry point or mission congregation; to consider, adopt, and carry out measures in the interest of the church and of the community at large.
Use of Local Church Property
While worship and education are primary purposes, local church property may be used for many other ministry purposes including, but not limited to, social functions, playgrounds, sports facilities, walking/bike trails and meditation/contemplation. Such uses may be either for the primary benefit of the local church attendees or for the community. Use of such property for commercial purposes may subject that portion of the property to assessment of real property taxes.
Local churches are encouraged to secure legal incorporation, in harmony with the Faith and Practice of Northwest Yearly Meeting and state laws.
Authority of the Yearly Meeting
As an affiliate of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church, each local church acknowledges that the Yearly Meeting has complete authority in all matters affecting the Yearly Meeting and its affiliated churches. (See also “Organization of the Yearly Meeting” 1.01 “Composition and Powers”).
Representation in the Area
Each local church is a member of an Area (see “Organization of Areas”), and is encouraged to participate actively in the life of its Area by attending and hosting Area gatherings, assisting with the Area nominating process, and submitting matters for Yearly Meeting attention to the Area for consideration.
Communication with the Yearly Meeting
A local church or ministry point will send carefully discerned concerns and proposals as a minute from their business meeting to their Area meeting for wider discernment and clarification. The Area will take action on the concern as specified by Faith and Practice (see Organization of Areas section 4.03, Area Minutes to the Yearly Meeting). When time and/or function of the Area does not allow a local church’s minute to be brought, concerns and proposals may be sent directly to the presiding clerk of the Yearly Meeting. When a minute is sent directly to the presiding clerk, the clerk will help discern where it can best be addressed, whether by one of the boards or by the Yearly Meeting as a whole.
Representation in the Yearly Meeting Sessions
The local church makes annual appointments to the Council of Representatives. It may appoint one person for each fifty resident active members or major fraction thereof as of the previous Yearly Meeting statistical report. Each local church is entitled to at least two representatives; each ministry point is entitled to one. If the church has an Administrative Committee, at least one of these representatives shall serve on it. An additional representative may be appointed by a ministry point at the discretion of the mother church or the Yearly Meeting. Alternates may be appointed at the discretion of the church.
A member of the church is appointed annually to preside over all business sessions. The Presiding Clerk, acting on behalf of the church, signs all of its official documents except those designated to the trustees. The clerk gives guidance to the committees and is an ex officio officer of them. Qualities desired in a clerk are sound judgment, spiritual discernment, and ability to determine the will of the body in business deliberations. The church also appoints annually a Recording Clerk to keep faithful records of all business proceedings and to provide copies to those authorized to request them. An Assistant Clerk and/or reading clerk also may be appointed.
Each church appoints one of its members to serve as treasurer; another person, perhaps the Recording Clerk, to serve as statistician for keeping accurate records of membership, births, deaths, marriages, and transfers; and other officers as needed. Each church selects a reporter to release items of interest to the NWYM Connection or Friends Voice and other media and to secure suitable memorials for deceased Friends and forward them to the Yearly Meeting sessions.
All officers, trustees, elders, and committee clerks, and all persons on the Nominating Committee and the Administrative Committee are to be resident active members of the church.
The Committee of Elders is composed of three or more active members of the church (men and women) who are collectively responsible to the church for its pastoral leadership and for the oversight of its spiritual and moral welfare. Elders should be recognized for lives guided by the Holy Spirit and for spiritual discernment and maturity. They should be experienced in Friends practices and committed to Friends beliefs as set forth in this book of Faith and Practice. They serve for terms of three years, the terms of one-third expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. When circumstances require, subcommittees or individuals may be appointed for special responsibilities, such as counseling, pastoral relations, evangelism, and fine arts if there is no separate committee; and some tasks may be delegated to the Administrative Committee. Although the Committee of Elders is to maintain oversight of the church generally, it is specifically charged with the following responsibilities:
- Uphold the Christian beliefs of Friends as set forth in this Faith and Practice and see that officers, ministers, missionaries, and teachers affirm them.
- Determine policies concerning worship and Christian fellowship; encourage members of the church to attend these meetings faithfully; appoint and supervise ushers and greeters for all regular church meetings.
- Recommend to the church the calling of pastors and other ministers, with their terms of service, after consulting the general superintendent of the Yearly Meeting.
- Support the pastoral ministries through cooperation and counsel.
- Oversee programs of evangelism, discipleship, and community outreach; arrange for special and supply ministry in consultation with the pastor.
- Seek out those whom God may be calling into ministry or missionary service, nurturing their spiritual growth, discerning and fostering their gifts, and, as appropriate, facilitating their process of recording if they are in harmony with the Faith and Practice of the Yearly Meeting.
- Counsel members in respect to their spiritual welfare and maturity, possibly providing a loving discipline of members whose conduct is unbecoming the Gospel (see pp. 66 for guidance in dealing with offenses).
- Review, prepare, and recommend applicants for membership.
- Encourage private devotions and the practice of Bible reading and prayer in families.
- Encourage the formation and maintenance of Bible study groups.
- Foster a concern for ministry points and ministry points, and help secure persons for such outreach ministry.
- Nominate members to serve on the church Nominating Committee.
- Keep in touch with nonresident members.
- Consider a member’s request for short-term service within the Yearly Meeting.
The Education Committee is composed of three or more persons appointed for terms of three years, the terms of onethird expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. The Committee initiates and supervises the education of children, youth, and adults. Its concerns include Sunday school, day school, Friends Youth, vacation Bible school, clubs, camping and retreats, and the church library. With subcommittees or individuals appointed for special areas, the Committee carries these responsibilities:
- Coordinate church education ministries, to avoid overlap and conflict either in schedule or personnel, and provide leadership training.
- Appoint personnel involved in these ministries and nominate to the church the general superintendent of the Sunday school.
- Cooperate with the elders in calling and appointing youth ministers or directors.
- Select suitable curricula for all educational activities, using approved Yearly Meeting or Evangelical Friends International programs.
- Recommend improvements in physical facilities and equipment.
- Make sure that Friends beliefs are understood and taught.
- Provide for nursery care and children’s worship.
- Encourage the youth of the church to attend a Friends school or college; admonish all, especially those who attend secular schools, to maintain a consistent Christian witness.
- Promote individual and church support for the schools sponsored by Northwest Yearly Meeting, such as George Fox University and local church-sponsored schools such as Greenleaf Friends Academy.
- Encourage members to participate in local school organizations.
The Missions Committee is composed of three or more persons appointed for terms of three years, the terms of onethird expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. Using subcommittees or individuals for special duties, the Committee carries these responsibilities:
- Keep the church informed about missions and encourage prayer and financial support.
- Cooperate with other churches in planning and conducting Area missions conferences.
- Nurture the spiritual growth and gifts of those interested in missionary service, encouraging them to seek appropriate education and cross-cultural preparation.
- Promote intercultural communication, visitation, and activities.
Peace and Social Concerns
The Peace and Social Concerns Committee is composed of three or more persons appointed for terms of three years, the terms of one-third expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. Using subcommittees or individuals for special duties, the Committee carries the following responsibilities:
- Provide programs of physical assistance to those in need, whether members or not.
- Recommend and promote special relief and development projects, local and world-wide, giving priority to those sponsored by the Yearly Meeting Board of Peace and Social Concerns.
- Foster throughout the church the Friends peace testimony.
- Counsel youth about conscientious objection to military service.
- Encourage careful preparation for marriage and promote programs that foster successful family living.
- Provide instruction about dangers in the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- Encourage the church to support legislation conducive to sound moral principles and to protest morally destructive legislation or policies.
- Support suitable sex education.
- Provide guidance in respect to the popular media.
The Stewardship Committee is composed of three or more persons appointed for terms of three years, the terms of one- third expiring each year. Of these, three or more active members of the church are appointed to serve as trustees for terms of three years, the terms of one-third expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. The Committee includes the church treasurer in its membership. Using subcommittees or individuals for special duties, the Committee with advice and assistance from the pastor carries the following responsibilities:
- Prepare an annual budget in consultation with other committees, and present it for approval to the church in business session.
- Consider and approve proposals for special offerings and non-budget expenditures.
- Supervise the treasurer and provide for an audit of the books.
- Plan budget funding in cooperation with the church.
- Promote education in the stewardship of time, talents, and money.
- Give guidance in estate planning.
- Provide adequate retirement coverage for ministers, in cooperation with other churches.
The duties of the trustees as legal agents of the church are as follows:
- Hold and care for all church properties.
- Receive and administer all proceeds from wills, endowments, and other gifts as directed by the donors and the church.
- Provide archival custody of all except current church records.
- Transact real estate purchases and sales and execute mortgages and other legal instruments as directed by the church.
- Secure and maintain adequate insurance.
- Budget payable taxes and insurance premiums.
- Employ and supervise custodial services.
- Establish policies about the use of church facilities.
The Nominating Committee is appointed by the church upon nomination by the elders. It is composed of three or more active members of the church, the terms of one-third expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. The Committee retains its identity throughout the year in order to act when there is a vacancy in any office under its jurisdiction. By the last business session of the church year, the committee with advice and assistance from the pastor presents nominations to the church for all offices and committee memberships, having endeavored to secure the best information possible regarding capabilities appropriate to the different offices. If so instructed, it designates by name the clerks of the main committees.
The Administrative Committee (optional)
Some local or ministry points may find it useful to appoint an Administrative Committee. This committee is accountable to the church, and it reports its actions to the business sessions. It consists of the pastor, the presiding and Recording Clerks, the Presiding Clerks of the main committees, and at least one of the representatives to the Yearly Meeting. Other active members may be included at the discretion of the church. If the business sessions of the church are held quarterly, the Administrative Committee meets each month in the interim between sessions. Additional meetings may be called by the Presiding Clerk and/or the pastor, either of whom may be designated by the church to preside over the meetings of the Committee.
Fine Arts (optional)
The Fine Arts Committee is composed of three or more persons appointed for terms of three years, the terms of onethird expiring each year. Normally, service is limited to no more than two consecutive terms unless another qualified person is unavailable. The Committee is accountable to the elders, but if no such committee is appointed, the duties devolve upon the elders. Using special subcommittees or individuals, the Committee carries the following responsibilities:
- Plan music appropriate for worship.
- Plan and implement musical programs for social occasions.
- Encourage development and use of gifts in the arts.
- Encourage programs utilizing drama for Christian purposes.
- Foster an appreciation of the arts on a high moral and cultural level.
- Plan exhibits of arts and crafts.
A new church planting effort may be initiated by the elders of an existing local church, by several churches working together in their Area, or by the NWYM Board of Local Outreach (BoLO) in cooperation with the local Area. When a group desires to be recognized within NWYM as an official church plant, the people involved will work with the BoLO, or its church planting subcommittee, to discern their readiness and sense of fit as a Friends church within NWYM. All recognized church plants and their sponsoring groups agree to work under the support and guidance of the BoLO.
Church planting efforts within NWYM will seek to develop healthy, well-functioning local churches. These may be of varied form and expression and will reflect the values of Friends in ways that are appropriate to the local community in which they exist. Regardless of whether a local church is more traditional in form, is designed to be a network of house churches or takes on a more innovative or fluid expression, NWYM is committed to seeing our local churches grow to be mature communities of worship, fellowship and service.
A process for identifying, equipping and releasing church planters and establishing church plants is detailed in the BoLO policy manual.
From the time a church planting effort is officially recognized by the BoLO, it will be assigned “ministry point” status within NWYM. Generally, a ministry point is either a new church plant or an ongoing outreach effort that is attempting to establish a clear sense of mission, stability, functional structures, and appropriate autonomy. At times, a ministry point may meet infrequently, have very little organization, and meet in a variety of places.
Some ministry points may differ significantly from established NWYM churches in their leadership style, form of worship, and ministry function within their community. It is the desire of the BoLO to use this flexible approach of church planting to see otherwise unreached people evangelized and the ministry and impact of NWYM increased.
The process of becoming a recognized ministry point within NWYM is detailed in the BoLO policy manual. It includes an initial interview between leaders of the church plant and either the NWYM superintendent or representatives from the BoLO; education and orientation about NWYM Friends provided by the NWYM staff or board; and a commitment to work under the care and support of the BoLO. There must also be a primary pastoral contact or leadership group that will be accountable to and committed to the Faith and Practice of NWYM when the group is to be recognized as a ministry point. As a ministry point within NWYM, the group will receive the spiritual care, support and available resources of the NWYM Yearly Meeting and staff to help the ministry grow and mature.
After being approved by the BoLO as a ministry point, the church plant may receive financial support from either NWYM or a local church or Area churches, depending on the needs of the ministry point and availability of resources. General guidelines for financial support are detailed in the BoLO policy manual. Sources of financial support for ministry point leadership include bi-vocational employment, a multiple-church support network, BoLO funds and/or raising personal support. The BoLO will assist released ministers in developing a composite plan for raising adequate financial support.
In the event a fellowship undergoes a change in pastoral leadership, the ministry point will work with the BoLO church planting subcommittee to identify and approve a replacement. Other major decisions affecting the mission, direction or future of the ministry point will also be made in consultation with the BoLO church planting subcommittee.
A ministry point is responsible to contribute to the financial support of NWYM. Its proportionate share of the Yearly Meeting budget is considered the same as any NWYM local church. All property rights involved in connection with a ministry point are vested in the Yearly Meeting through its Trustees. Ministry Points normally will not be incorporated and most will not own real property. Exceptions might include local churches who have moved into ministry point status or existing congregations which have been adopted. Incorporation or ownership of real property in its own name by a ministry point shall be considered an exception which will require approval of the BoLO. (Also see the section on “Nomenclature”).
Each ministry point will be part of a NWYM Area as determined by the NWYM office. All ministry points may designate one member to serve as a representative to NWYM annual sessions.
A group may remain as a ministry point for an undetermined length of time. While most ministry points will be encouraged in steps toward being designated as a local church within NWYM, some types of outreach ministries may appropriately continue on as a ministry point.
From Ministry Point to Local Church
A ministry point may request the BoLO to take proper steps toward its establishment as a NWYM local church. Upon receiving notification of BoLO approval, the ministry point is authorized to proceed with full organization as a local church. A ministry point may petition the BoLO to become a local church when the following conditions are met:
- A historical statement has been written and approved by the participants. This statement should include the history of the group, the names of leaders and participants, and the founding purpose of the group.
- A written mission statement describing their current purpose and objectives.
- A written statement of agreement with Friends beliefs as recorded in the Faith and Practice and a stated desire to be actively involved in the common mission and fellowship of NWYM.
- Agreement between the BoLO, any sponsoring church, and the ministry point on pastoral leadership for the new local church.
- Evidence that an effective and adequate organizational structure is in place. At a minimum, the group will have identified officers (clerk, Recording Clerk, treasurer) and a committee of at least three elders. If property is owned or being rented by the group, at least three trustees will also be named. Other committee or task groups should be created and maintained as part of a functional structure that enables the church to carry out their ministry priorities.
- All property rights involved in connection with any new local church are vested in the Yearly Meeting or, at the discretion of the BoLO, in some incorporated NWYM church. When a change in status from ministry point to local church has been approved, the new local church is encouraged to incorporate in its respective state. (See “PROCEDURES AND FORMS. Incorporation of Local Churches”).
- A process of teaching and welcoming members into the local church. Membership records will be accurately kept and communicated to the NWYM office.
- The church is generally self-supporting financially, including adequate pastoral support when appropriate.
- The church demonstrates and is committed to continuing financial support of NWYM.
- The church has demonstrated the capacity to accomplish its goals and objectives without outside supervision beyond its normal relationship to the NWYM staff, boards and ministries.
- The local church will name and assign the appropriate number of representatives to the NWYM sessions.
Adopting an Existing Congregation
Occasionally an existing, independent church from outside NWYM will desire to become part of NWYM. In such a case, a process for discerning the appropriateness and timing of such a partnership will be governed by the following guidelines:
In the case of an independent, unaffiliated congregation:
- The church leadership will contact the NWYM superintendent for an initial meeting to discuss the reasons for interest, history of the church, compatibility with NWYM Faith and Practice, and other practical matters of possible affiliation.
- The superintendent (or delegate) will schedule a meeting to visit the church for worship (or another gathering) and talk with other members of the fellowship about a relationship with NWYM.
- After reviewing the NWYM Faith and Practice and agreeing to the steps necessary to become a ministry point within NWYM, the interested church will make formal application to the NWYM superintendent and the BoLO to be recognized as such.
- In the event that the church has a long history and well-developed structure, they may work with the BoLO on a process for becoming recognized as a local church within NWYM, using the same guidelines as other ministry points after one year of involvement in NWYM. Otherwise, movement toward local church status will proceed as the fellowship naturally matures and develops under the care of the BoLO.
- If the existing congregation is incorporated at the time it is accepted to become a part of NWYM, it shall file amended or restated articles of incorporation within its state of incorporation which comply with the provisions of Faith and Practice section “PROCEDURES AND FORMS. Incorporation of Local Churches”
. This expectation will apply whether the congregation is accepted as a ministry point or a local church. The NWYM Trustees will provide assistance in filing amended or restated articles of incorporation.
Merger of Churches
When two or more local churches or ministry points propose to unite into one new local church, each fellowship must give careful consideration to the merger. After they have consulted the superintendent and after each has taken official action to approve the merger, the superintendent will carry their request to the NWYM Board of Elders. When sanction by this Board has been secured, the churches proceed to unify their business sessions, their officers and committees, their services, and their holdings. They will consult the Yearly Meeting Trustees about proper handling of real estate and other assets and meeting state corporation department requirements. The united church will select its official name and choose the site and facilities appropriate to its need. Membership of merging churches will be transferred en bloc to the new church. If the constituent churches are located in different Areas, the new church will petition the NWYM office for affiliation with the Area of its choice.
Local churches may petition the Yearly Meeting to establish, discontinue, divide, or redefine an Area, or to unite two or more Areas (see below). They may also request transfer of their affiliation from one Area to another.
New Yearly Meetings
Areas whose members wish to be set off and established as a new yearly meeting should inform the Yearly Meeting of that desire and of the concurrence of the constituent churches in the proposal. The Yearly Meeting then considers the proposal and makes a decision. If action is favorable and a new yearly meeting is to be established, the Yearly Meeting appoints a committee, not to exceed ten in number, to attend the opening of the new yearly meeting and to present the authorizing minute and inaugurate sessions in accordance with Friends form of government.
Under the Care of the NWYM Board of Elders
When a NWYM local church is experiencing a significant crisis, loss of spiritual vitality and impact or another serious impediment to ministry, the church may request to come under the care of the NWYM Board of Elders (BoE).
When a local church comes under the care of the BoE, the goal will be to strengthen and equip the church to spiritual vitality, effective ministry and loving fellowship. Being under the care of the BoE is never punitive but rather restorative.
At the time a local church comes under their care, the BoE will appoint a Local Church Care Committee (LCCC) to assess the situation within the local church. The LCCC may include skilled and gifted individuals not serving on the BoE. It will include at least one member of the NWYM staff and at least one member of the local church pastoral staff (if one is present). Expenses related to the service of these individuals will be met by the local church. The BoE may provide financial assistance if necessary.
After assessing the situation and determining areas of need, the LCCC will discern a plan for restoration and redevelopment. This may include a reorganization of the local church structure, conflict resolution and mediation, a revised budget proposal, initiating a long-range planning process, etc. The plan will be appropriate to the particular needs and circumstances of the local church. Engaging the professional services of others may be considered at this point, if it is determined they would be useful. Expenses related to the service of these individuals will be met by the local church. The BoE may provide financial assistance if necessary.
While under the care of the BoE, decision-making authority in the church will be shared between the LCCC and selected members of the local church. Those members of the local church will be named by the LCCC after their period of assessment is complete.
The church will remain under the official care of the BoE until, upon recommendation by the LCCC, it is discerned by the Board of Elders that the church is ready to return to independence. Such a recommendation will generally come to the BoE after the local church has completed work and/or changes outlined in the initial plan for reconciliation and redevelopment. Until then, the leadership team will make regular reports to the BoE regarding progress in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the effort.
While the decision to come under the care of the Elders is usually initiated by the local church, there are times when the BoE may choose to propose such an arrangement first. Exceptional cases where the church is in severe decline, is experiencing unresolved conflict, or is out of compliance with Faith and Practice in a way that is shattering to the local church or Yearly Meeting community, may prompt the BoE to intervene and place the local church under their care. In these instances, as in cases where the local church invites help from the BoE, the LCCC that is established will seek to work closely with leaders from the local church to establish a mutually agreed upon plan of action.
In situations in which a ministry point or local church continues to deteriorate, remains ineffective or out of unity with NWYM Faith and Practice, the BoE, acting for the Yearly Meeting, may discontinue the church or the association of the church with Northwest Yearly Meeting, or it may effect a union with another Friends church. It will then transfer the membership en bloc. Upon discontinuance of a church or the discontinuance of its association with Northwest Yearly Meeting any owned real or personal property shall be transferred to the Yearly Meeting. The Trustees, the Elders, and the Administrative Council may consider an arrangement in which the property would be transferred to the continuing church.
Local churches and ministry points within NWYM are joined together in a covenantal relationship. Spiritually, we are connected to each other in the common bond of fellowship and united by the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Organizationally, we agree to be united in purpose, through our joint identity and mission, and by our willingness to affirm and be guided by our Faith and Practice. We are committed to mutual support, accountability, and to being a people who love one another as we have been commanded by Jesus. In doing so, we witness to the world that we are, indeed, His people.
As NWYM Friends, we expect all of our local churches and ministry points to closely identify with the work of our Yearly Meeting. We believe it is important to speak the truth and have integrity as we communicate who we are to the world around us. At the same time, we recognize there is value in being flexible about how each local church communicates within their immediate context. Therefore, in regard to the matter of nomenclature, we believe there are three expressions of the name of a local church that should be considered and selected using the following, common guidelines:
1) The legal name is the name which will be shown in the articles of incorporation of incorporated local churches and in the names of other local churches and ministry points which are registered with the respective states. The legal
name should be carefully chosen and it is strongly encouraged that the legal name be used for all other purposes. Anything else may cause problems and additional cost. If the legal name is significantly different from the published
name or common name, it may be necessary to register the published and common names with the respective state as an “assumed” or “trade” name. All three states in which we operate require such registration and it may protect the name from use by others.
Legal names of incorporated local churches are registered through the incorporation process. Legal names of unincorporated ministry points should be registered with the applicable state by the Yearly Meeting or by another sponsoring incorporated local church. Unincorporated local churches should register their name with the applicable state, or preferably incorporate in accordance with Faith and Practice section “Incorporation of Local Churches” (see Procedures and Forms). Whenever a legal name is changed, the change must be registered with the applicable state. Proper registration will identify the group as a part of Northwest Yearly Meeting.
The legal name of any local church or ministry point must identify it as a Friends organization. Examples may include:
- Flowing Water Friends Church
- Flowing Water Friends Meeting
- Flowing Water Community Friends Church
- Flowing Water Community Church, a ministry of Friends
- Flowing Water Fellowship, a ministry of Friends
2) The published name is applicable to local churches and ministry points, and will be used on bulletins, stationary, fliers, brochures, and websites. It should in some form associate the worshipping community with Friends or Quakers. Examples may include:
- Flowing Water Friends Church
- Flowing Water Friends Meeting
- Flowing Water Community Friends Church
- Flowing Water Community Church, a ministry of Friends
- Flowing Water Fellowship, a ministry of Friends
3) The common name is applicable to local churches and ministry points and will be used on the sign and in conversation. It may be shorter than the legal and published names but should include the first words of the legal
name. Identification with Friends is strongly encouraged. Examples may include:
- Flowing Water Friends Church
- Flowing Water Friends Meeting
- Flowing Water Community Friends Church
- Flowing Water Community Church
- Flowing Water Fellowship
Obviously, there are many possible combinations. What is required is that the legal and published names include a phrase of association with Friends/Quakers. The published name would be used on all promotional material or bulletins in order to authentically represent ourselves to our community. It is also encouraged that a reference be made to the association with Northwest Yearly Meeting someplace in the published materials.
A local church may apply to the Board of Local Outreach for an exception to the requirement that the published name include a phrase of association with Friends/Quakers, if the church discerns that its outreach and relationship with its community would thereby be improved.
3.01 Appointment of officers. All officers are nominated to the Area in business session by a task force composed of the named Yearly Meeting Representatives from each local church. The Area Clerk will convene and instruct the Representatives in this task, presiding until the Representatives select a member of their group to serve in a clerking role during the nominating process. The Area Clerk may assist the Representatives in the nomination process, but will be excused during discussions regarding the annual appointment of the Area Clerk.
3.02 Clerk. The Area Clerk serves as a primary organizer for Area gatherings and presides over the business agenda and discernment process. Additionally, this person functions as a primary connection to the Yearly Meeting office and NWYM Presiding Clerk for matters related to Area functioning.
3.03 Recording Clerk. The Recording Clerk takes and maintains minutes from Area meetings, and distributes them to local church clerks.
3.04 Treasurer. If an Area chooses to maintain its own funds and bank account, the Area should appoint an Area treasurer who will be responsible for maintaining that account and providing periodic reports to the Area. The Area treasurer is responsible to follow proper procedures in the handling of Area funds. The Area is encouraged to require two signatures on all checks written out of the Area bank account. The Yearly Meeting Treasurer is available to assist the Area in setting up proper guidelines and procedures for handling Area funds.
3.05 Area member of NWYM Nominating Committee. The Representatives from each local church are responsible to recommend to their Area an individual from their region who will serve a three-year term of service on the NWYM Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee member cannot be a member of any Yearly Meeting board or standing committee. The Area will consider this recommendation at their Spring gathering and report the name of their appointee to NWYM at its annual sessions. (See “ORGANIZATION OF THE YEARLY MEETING” 8.10, for further description of this position)
4.01 Responsibilities. Area gatherings are planned and supervised by the Area officers or an Area task force charged with these responsibilities. The Communication Board and NWYM office will work in cooperation with the Yearly Meeting boards and Area Clerks to provide information, resources and programming to support these events. Area Clerks are encouraged to contact the Yearly Meeting office regarding program elements or training opportunities that might be offered during the gathering. Yearly Meeting Representatives from each of the constituent churches will attend the Area gatherings, in order to give reports from their local churches and to consider business that may be considered at the upcoming NWYM annual sessions.
4.02 Area business. The Spring Area Gathering must incorporate a business session in order to elect officers, appoint a person for the NWYM Nominating Committee, consider and approve concerns to be forwarded from local meetings to the boards or the Yearly Meeting, and if applicable, hear the financial report and approve an annual budget. Special business sessions may be called by the Area Clerk at the request of two or more clerks of local churches or the Yearly Meeting Superintendent. Notification and agenda for such meetings will be sent to the clerks of local and ministry points at least two weeks in advance of a special meeting.
4.03 Area minutes to the Yearly Meeting. In addition to minutes that arise from Area discussions, an Area may receive minutes of concern or minutes of support from the clerk of a local church, raising questions or proposing challenges beyond the scope of the local meeting. After publishing the concern for consideration among the Area churches, the Area gathering will meet for worship, to seek the leading of Christ in responding to the question or challenge. This process is intended to allow individual or corporate leadings to be checked and affirmed by both the local meeting and the Area, to build awareness and support on the local level, and give weight to items before consideration on the floor of the Yearly Meeting. Several possible actions may result from the Area’s consideration of such minutes:
- The question or concern may be validated and given weight, possibly in a revised form, then be referred via the YM Clerk to the Yearly Meeting Representatives or the appropriate board.
- Even without agreement about the minute at the Area level, the gathered body may still approve forwarding the question or concern to the Yearly Meeting for consideration. It would then be referred via the YM Clerk to the Yearly Meeting Representatives or the appropriate board.
- The gathered body may discern that the question or challenge is not to be forwarded at this time, but will be returned to the local meeting for their continued consideration and prayer.
Such minutes would be considered at the spring Area gathering, following any monthly meetings that occurred after the YM agenda was released to Representatives in late April. If a concern arises after that time and a specially called Area meeting cannot be arranged, the Representatives, gathered on the first day of Yearly Meeting sessions, will act on behalf of the Area gathering.
1.02 Time and purpose of the annual sessions. The annual sessions of Northwest Yearly Meeting are held at Newberg, Oregon, at times determined by the Yearly Meeting or its Administrative Council. (See Yearly Meeting Minutes for current schedule.) Sessions may be held elsewhere by adjournment or action of the Meeting. The sessions are opened by the Presiding Clerk. If the Presiding Clerk is absent, the sessions are opened in turn by the Assistant Clerk or the Recording Clerk. These annual sessions are held in order for Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends to determine policies and procedures appropriate to its mission, to communicate them to members of the churches, and to find fellowship and unity through worship and instruction.
1.03 Business procedures
1.03.01 Business presented as an expression of concern is forwarded from Areas, from constituent bodies of the Yearly Meeting, or from other yearly meetings through official correspondence. Business originating from local churches will be reviewed by the Area gathering before being forwarded to the Yearly Meeting (see “Organization of Areas,” 4.03). In unusual circumstances, with the consent of the Presiding Clerk, business may be laid before the Yearly Meeting by any of its members. Information regarding anticipated items of business will be sent to local churches at least ninety days prior to annual Yearly Meeting sessions. The Council of Representatives approves the agenda and order of business at or prior to the first business meeting. A quorum consists of members in attendance at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Yearly Meeting, or at a special meeting that has been properly called.
1.03.02 The Meeting may take action in one of the following ways: a) The clerk may call for action by the Meeting. b) If the matter requires discussion or investigation beyond what can be handled in open session, the clerk may refer it to the Council of Representatives or to a special committee for consideration and recommendation before the Meeting takes formal action. c) The clerk may, with the approval of the Meeting, refer some matters to a separate meeting of the Council of Representatives for final decisions, which will be reported back to the Meeting.
1.03.03 Proposals from the churches or Areas are to be submitted in writing as excerpts from their minutes and are to be held over at least one day subsequent to their introduction in order to allow deliberation (see “Organization of Areas,” 4.03). All proposals for amendment to this Faith and Practice must be submitted in writing and referred after preliminary approval to the Revision Committee before final action (see 8.09).
1.03.04 The Board of Elders reports to the Yearly Meeting in plenary session its summary of the state of the church, allowing time for prayerful consideration of issues raised by the report and by any attached judgments or interpretations offered by the Board of Elders.
2.02 The number of persons serving a Yearly Meeting organization varies according to its need (see sections 6.01.01, 8.03 and 8.10.01). The number on the Council of Representatives is determined by a formula based upon local church memberships.
2.03 Persons serving on councils, boards, commissions, and committees, and as trustees are appointed by the Yearly Meeting through appropriate nominating procedures. From its own number each organization nominates a person to serve as its Presiding Clerk and appoints other officers as needed. The Clerk of the Nominating Committee, however, is nominated by the Administrative Council and approved on the floor of the Yearly Meeting. Organizations receive their funding through annual appropriations by the Yearly Meeting.
2.04.01 Regular and special meetings. Organizations meet at scheduled midyear and Yearly Meetings sessions or otherwise as scheduled by the organization as regular meetings and recorded in the minutes of the organization. Such meetings are “regular meetings.” “Special meetings,” held at other times, may also be called by the organization’s Presiding Clerk. Notice is not required for regular meetings. For all special meetings, notice must be given not less than two (2) days or more than forty five (45) days prior to the meeting, describing the agenda for the meeting, or as may otherwise be described in the duties and responsibilities of a particular organization. Attendance in person or other participation in a meeting shall be considered a waiver of notice of that meeting.
2.04.02 Meeting in person. Meetings will normally be held with members of the organization present in person, with all participating members able to hear and participate in the discussion. A member may participate in a meeting by telephone provided that he or she can hear and participate in the discussion. A meeting may be held by a conference telephone call provided that all participating members may hear and participate. Meetings held by electronic means will qualify as meetings in person, provided that participating members are networked together in such a way that each one can send an electronic message which will be received simultaneously by the other participants, and each one may respond and all others may read the response at the same time. Quorum and approval procedures provided for each organization shall apply to all meetings held in this manner. When some or all of the participating members are in a meeting by telephone or electronically, they must be informed that it is a meeting at which action may be taken and not merely an informal discussion. (See also “Procedures and Forms: Conduct of Business”).
2.04.03 Action without meeting. When necessary or desirable, any action required or permitted to be taken by the Administrative Council or any board or committee, including the Trustees, may be taken without a meeting if approved by all members of the organization. Each one signs a written consent describing the action taken, and the consents are filed with the records of the organization. Actions taken by consent are effective when the last member signs the consent unless the consent specifies a different effective date. “Sign” shall include electronic signature defined as a sign, symbol or process which a person adopts to communicate his or her signature. A reply to an outgoing message which described the proposed action is one way to show to what the member is consenting; and stating “I approve,” with the member’s full name typed below will meet the requirements of a signed consent. Quorum rules do not apply in the approval of such actions without meeting; all members must approve an action taken in this way. A consent signed under this section has the effect of a meeting approval and may be so described in any document.
2.05 Each organization determines how statistics and other information about its work may best be presented to the Yearly Meeting in session. To this end it secures information from local churches and committees, Area clerks, or task forces. The Yearly Meeting may provide forms for such reporting. Scheduling is under direction of the Yearly Meeting clerks.
2.06 Vacancies. Vacancies are filled according to approved procedures. These vacancies may be caused by voluntary resignation, by Yearly Meeting appointment (in the case of boards) to another board or official position, by removal of residence from the Yearly Meeting, by disownment or deposition from the ministry, or by death. The vacancy may be filled provisionally by the organization concerned if it occurs before its last interim meeting. The Nominating Committee will bring a name to fill the vacancy at the next Yearly Meeting sessions or at the next mid-year Representatives meeting. Lack of interest, or failure to attend annual and midyear meetings, may result in suspension of membership in that organization after a year, provided the clerk of the organization gives ample notice of intent and sufficient opportunity to respond. If by the next scheduled meeting the one whose position is in question has failed to show cause for delinquency of interest or intention, a vacancy is declared and a new appointment secured according to approved procedures.
3.01.01 The Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting serves as correspondent receiving and answering official communications, signing epistles and other documents issued to yearly meetings or associations, endorsing official certificates for members liberated for service in foreign lands, and signing certain documents and transcripts of record that require official certification.
3.01.02 At an early business session, the Nominating Committee presents the nominations for Presiding Clerk, assistant Presiding Clerk, and Recording Clerk. To the extent possible the clerks will serve for a three year term, with one of the positions being considered each year for reappointment or replacement. The new terms will begin upon the close of the Yearly Meeting sessions.
3.02 Assistant Clerk and Recording Clerk. The Yearly Meeting also appoints on nomination by the Nominating Committee the following officers: an Assistant Clerk, who reads official communications to the Meeting, assists in the clerking process, and keeps sufficiently informed about the business agenda to take the place of an absent Presiding Clerk; and a Recording Clerk, who records and reads the minutes of the sessions.
3.03 Superintendent. On nomination by the Administrative Council the Yearly Meeting appoints a person to serve as Superintendent, one who is well qualified by maturity, experience, and executive ability to exercise general supervisory care over all work in the Yearly Meeting. The initial appointment is for a term of three years. Each year the Administrative Council will review the work of the Superintendent, giving encouragement and constructive suggestions. At the close of the second year and every two years thereafter as service proves to be satisfactory, effective, and in the will of the Lord, the Administrative Council may bring to the Yearly Meeting sessions a recommendation to extend the appointment for up to three additional years. This system of advance appointment permits long-range planning and a smooth transition to a successor. The Superintendent is authorized to convene any board or committee of the Yearly Meeting in case of a vacancy in the presiding office, and is an ex officio member of all administrative units. The Superintendent gives special administrative concern to:
- servant leadership, vision and strategic planning for NWYM
- oversight and coordination of NWYM staff and ministries
- recommendation of new staff appointments to the Administrative Council
- programs of evangelism and Christian discipleship
- placement, encouragement, and counsel of pastors, evangelists, and missionaries
- church and pastor visitation and support
- promotion of conferences leading to spiritual renewal and nurture
- church planting
- leadership development
- connection with NWYM-related organizations and ministries
3.04 Other ministry and support staff positions. All other employees of the YM are designated as either ministry staff or support staff, and report directly to the Superintendent. All staff positions will be funded through the Yearly Meeting’s Annual Budget. A list of all positions, along with their descriptions, will be published in the Yearly Meeting minutes. Each year, all NWYM ministry staff will develop a ministry plan, in conjunction with the Superintendent, based on their prayerful discernment, job description and needs within the organization. This ministry plan will also serve as the basis of an annual evaluation. Every NWYM staff person will serve as a primary contact for one or more NWYM board, including the Nominating Committee.
3.04.01 Ministry staff positions. Ministry staff other than the Superintendent will be approved for hire by the NWYM Administrative Council at the recommendation of the Superintendent. As ministry staff positions become vacant, the Superintendent will assemble a search team of appropriate and relevant persons to assist in the search and recommendation process. Ministry staff will be assigned liaison and support roles for specific boards that are closely related to their areas of ministry.
3.04.01.01 Associate superintendents. Associate superintendents have responsibility for overseeing major ministries of the Yearly Meeting. Their number and specific areas of responsibility may change from time to time.
3.04.01.02 Director of Finance and Development. A full-time position within the NWYM ministry staff, the Director of Finance and Development serves as treasurer of NWYM, responsible for overseeing and directing NWYM finances and development. As NWYM Treasurer, the Director is authorized to receive and issue official receipts for all legacies, donations, or other funds requiring formal acknowledgment, and to submit annual reports. This position reports to the NWYM Superintendent. Duties include, but are not limited to:
- Serving as Executive Director of the NWYM Foundation
- Working closely with several finance committees within NWYM
- Assisting all NWYM boards in finance and budget matters
- Helping local churches address budgeting, finance and staff insurance needs
- Representing the Yearly Meeting in relationships with brokers, auditors, and other financial managers
- Supervising the NWYM bookkeeper and administrative secretary
- Assisting with day-to-day oversight of NWYM support staff
3.04.01.03 Other ministry staff. Other ministry staff positions may be created as needed to support specific areas of ministry.
3.04.02 Support staff positions. All NWYM support staff positions will be filled by the Superintendent, assisted by the Director of Finance and Development. These appointments will be reported to the Administrative Council, but do not require its approval.
3.04.02.01 Administrative Secretary. The Administrative secretary provides secretarial and office support for the Yearly Meeting staff.
3.04.02.02 Other support staff positions may be created as needed to support the administrative, financial, clerical and communications work of the Yearly Meeting.
3.04.03 Archivist. On nomination by the Administrative Council, the Yearly Meeting appoints a person to serve as Yearly Meeting archivist, accountable to the Administrative Council. The term of office is two years, with reappointment subject to the discretion of the Yearly Meeting. The one selected must evidence an active interest in history and an understanding of the value of documents for the writing of history. The responsibilities of the archivist are to gather, evaluate, and preserve various documents of the past, and to make them conveniently available for scholars. The Archivist may advise Yearly Meeting bodies and local churches on the proper management, preservation, retention and disposition of their records. The Yearly Meeting provides a repository suitably located with conditions appropriate for preservation of perishable materials. The Yearly Meeting may enter into agreements with George Fox University, local churches, and other appropriate bodies and institutions, to accomplish the purposes of this section.
4.02 Meetings. The Council of Representatives meets in conjunction with the annual sessions of the Yearly Meeting but may be called to meet at times between the annual sessions with the concurrence of the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting, and the Superintendent of the Yearly Meeting. The Council of Representatives meets prior to the first business meeting for the purposes of seating Representatives and approving the agenda for the business meeting. All other scheduled Council of Representatives meetings are held during Yearly Meeting business session. A quorum consists of members in attendance at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Council of Representatives, or at a special meeting that has been properly called.
4.03 Term of office. Their local church appoints representatives for a term of not less than two years commencing with the start of the calendar year. Terms should last either two or three years, a proportionate number being replaced each year.
4.04 Duties. The Council of Representatives attends to any business that it initiates or that the Yearly Meeting organizations, Areas, or local churches refer to it. It is also specifically responsible to:
4.04.01 Serve as a primary link between the whole Yearly Meeting and the local church.
4.04.02 Communicate to the local church the work, decisions, concerns and vision of NWYM.
4.04.03 Convey concerns, actions, information and matters of business to the NWYM, either at the annual sessions, or through the Presiding Clerk at other times of the year.
4.04.04 Along with others gathered during Yearly Meeting, prayerfully discern matters of business.
4.04.05 Encourage the Presiding Clerk, when appropriate, to limit the discussion on the floor of the Yearly Meeting to representatives.
5.02 Criteria for Appointment. The Board of Elders will nominate people to the Administrative Council, based upon the candidates’ spiritual maturity, gifts of discernment and demonstrated commitment to the entire ministry of NWYM. Nominees must be active members of a local NWYM church, experienced in Friends practices, and committed to the Christian principles as set forth in Faith and Practice. The Elders will strive to achieve geographic, age, cultural and gender diversity on the Administrative Council. No more than three of the nine at-large members may be named from any one Area within NWYM.
5.03 Terms of Service. Members will serve three-year rotating terms with approximately one third of the terms expiring each year. Council members who wish to continue serving must be re-nominated by the Board of Elders at the end of each three-year term and may serve up to three consecutive terms. Following the third three-year term, a member must remain off the Council at least one year before reappointment.
5.04 Meetings. The Administrative Council will announce its regular schedule of meeting times to the entire Yearly Meeting. The Council may meet at additional times, as needed. (See 2.04.01)
5.05 Responsibilities. The NWYM Administrative Council serves as a group of spiritually mature and discerning individuals who affirm the values, cradle the mission and help NWYM remain focused on its collective vision. It is given these specific responsibilities:
5.05.01 Oversee and assess the NWYM visioning process.
5.05.02 Review and evaluate the Annual Ministry Plan of each NWYM board, meeting frequently with board clerks to discuss ministry goals and budget requests for the coming year. In working with each board, the Administrative Council will strive to:
- ensure the annual Ministry Plan of each board is in harmony with the overall vision of NWYM;
- eliminate redundancy and foster cohesion in NWYM ministries;
- foster a prayerful, discernment-based environment for strategic planning.
5.05.03 Develop an annual budget proposal in concert with board clerks, based upon Annual Ministry Plans, the overall vision of NWYM, and anticipated resources for the coming year. The Administrative Council will present the annual budget and a summary of Annual Ministry Plans to the Yearly Meeting for approval.
5.05.04 Work with the Finance Committee to challenge local churches to fully fund the annual budget and meet long-term financial goals.
5.05.05 Evaluate any request by a NWYM organization for raising funds outside the normal budget process.
5.05.06 Manage the use of the NWYM Ministry Reserve Fund under the care of this Council.
5.05.07 Advise the Presiding Clerk on the establishment of an agenda for business during Yearly Meeting sessions.
- Disseminate information about items for discussion and the anticipated business schedule for Yearly Meeting sessions. This information will be sent to local churches through the Council of Representatives.
- Receive matters of business or concern arising from local churches, and requiring deliberation or action by the Yearly Meeting as a whole. These concerns should normally have been reviewed by the Area gathering, and forwarded by it to the Yearly Meeting.
- Appoint a task force or study group as needed.
5.05.08 Prepare recommendations whenever a NWYM board seeks the Council’s discernment about a matter prior to its consideration at Yearly Meeting for approval.
5.05.09 When the Yearly Meeting is not in session, and the matter under consideration is time sensitive, the Administrative Council is authorized to take action on behalf of the entire Yearly Meeting, reporting such action to the Yearly Meeting in a timely manner. The Administrative Council is always authorized to take action on matters within its designated areas of responsibility.
5.05.10 Provide primary oversight of the Superintendent. This includes providing the Superintendent with an annual evaluation and making recommendations to the Yearly Meeting regarding continuing the call of the Superintendent.
5.05.11 Oversee the development and ongoing revision of the NWYM staff policy manual.
5.05.12 Recommend salary and expense accounts for NWYM staff. The Administrative Council has the authority to determine the portion of staff salary that is designated as annual housing allowance.
5.05.13 Act on the Superintendent’s recommendations on all staff appointments and position changes.
5.05.14 Represent the Yearly Meeting whenever the interests or reputation of Friends requires immediate action or deliberation, reporting all such proceedings to the Yearly Meeting.
5.05.15 Consider and act upon questions regarding organization, policy or procedure raised by officers or bodies of NWYM.
5.05.16 Maintain relationships with NWYM-related organizations, such as Friendsview Retirement Community, NWYM-affiliated camps, George Fox University and other schools. In cooperation with NWYM staff, the Administrative Council will foster connection, cooperation, and appropriate partnerships for risk management.
5.05.17 Review nominees to the board of George Fox University and make recommendations to the Yearly Meeting. The Yearly Meeting will approve nominees to the board of GFU. In exceptional cases, the Administrative Council is authorized to approve a nominee if doing so will allow the new GFU board member to begin service in time to attend the spring board meeting of GFU. (See “Related Organizations. George Fox University”).
5.05.18 Provide thorough and timely reporting of all their activities to the Yearly Meeting.
5.05.19 Welcome representatives from local churches or Areas when these representatives wish to raise concerns or matters of business when the Administrative Council is in session.
5.05.20 Write and maintain a policy on conflicts of interest for Yearly Meeting officers, staff and organizations.
NWYM boards help carry out those ministries that we are able to do more effectively together than as individual churches. Boards will be a resource to the effective and vital functioning of our local churches. Our goal is to establish boards that listen to God, are engaged in meaningful ministry, have a clear mission, and are given the responsibility and authority to impact the overall ministry of NWYM. Under each board, both subcommittees and ministry teams may be established to carry out their work with greater flexibility and innovation.
6.01 Board appointment and responsibilities
6.01.01 Composition. Boards will have from 12 to 18 members, the actual size of each to be determined by the board itself, and communicated to the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee will strive to achieve geographic, age, racial, cultural and gender diversity on each board. Area representation will not be required, but no more than five members may be named to a board from any one Area. A quorum for a board or its subordinate bodies consists of a majority of the members. An exception is made for the Board of Elders (see 7.01). When determining a quorum, members participating in a meeting by telephone will be counted as present.
6.01.02 Criteria for appointment. Board members must be active members of a local NWYM church, experienced in Friends practices, committed to the Christian principles set forth in Faith and
Practice, and have both a passion for and a call to the mission of their particular board. Each member is expected to participate actively in the ministry of the board, generally through involvement on a subcommittee or ministry team. Each candidate for nomination will be given education about the work of the Board, and opportunity to indicate his/her response and commitment by signing a nomination response form that will be forwarded to the Nominating Committee. As well as nomination by others, any interested person may self-nominate. Forms may be obtained from a local church Yearly Meeting representative, or the Yearly Meeting office or website.
6.01.03 Terms of service. Board members will be recommended by the Nominating Committee for approval on the floor of the Yearly Meeting. Members will serve three-year rotating terms with approximately one-third of the terms expiring each year. Terms of service begin and end immediately following annual Yearly Meeting sessions. Board members who wish to continue serving must be re-nominated by the Nominating Committee at the end of each three-year term and may serve up to three consecutive terms. Following the third three-year term, a member must remain off the board at least one year before re-appointment. Filling a vacated position is considered a full term for purposes of reappointment. (See also 2.06)
6.01.04 Clerks. Each board is responsible to name its own clerk, Assistant Clerk and Recording Clerk. The clerk’s appointment must receive the approval of the Yearly Meeting.
6.01.05 Mission statement. Each board will create a mission statement for its work, reviewing it regularly and revising as necessary.
6.01.06 Annual ministry plans. Each board will submit to the Administrative Council an Annual Ministry Plan for the next calendar year (see 5.05.02), along with its budget proposal. At the end of each year, the board will use this Plan as a basis for its self-evaluation, to be conducted in cooperation with the Administrative Council.
6.01.07 Subcommittees. Each board may create subcommittees under its care, defining their purposes and appointing their members. At least one member of the sponsoring board will serve as an active member and liaison on each subcommittee (see 6.01.02). NWYM staff and the Nominating Committee may be called upon to provide suggestions for potential members. The formation of new subcommittees will be reported to the Yearly Meeting and recorded in the minutes.
6.01.08 Ministry teams. Each board may create short term ministry teams under its care, defining their purposes and appointing their members. At least one member of the sponsoring board will serve as an active member and liaison on each ministry team (see 6.01.02). The formation of ministry teams will be reported to the Yearly Meeting and recorded in the minutes.
6.01.09 Manuals. Boards may create manuals to establish principles, policies and procedures for their ongoing ministries and for the work of their subcommittees and ministry teams. Boards must ensure their manuals are in harmony with Faith and Practice, operate according to their manuals, and make them available for examination.
6.02.01 Creation of subcommittees. Boards may create subcommittees, developing a clear set of responsibilities for each subcommittee under their care.
6.02.02 Members. The sponsoring board is responsible to determine the size of each of its subcommittees, and to recruit and appoint their members. Criteria for appointment are the same as for board service (see 6.01.02). Members will serve three-year rotating terms with approximately one-third of the terms expiring each year. At least one member of the subcommittee will be a member of the sponsoring board, and will serve as liaison with the board. Other subcommittee members need not be members of the sponsoring board. NWYM boards may appoint to any of their subcommittees not more than one non-member of a NWYM Friends church to serve for a one-year term renewable at the discretion of the board. Such an individual will be added by the board because his/her call, expertise, passion, and/or experience enhances the overall effectiveness and impact of the subcommittee, and that expertise has not been found among NWYM members. The appointee will be a follower of Jesus Christ, and understand and affirm the Faith and Practice of NWYM as it applies to the work of the subcommittee. This appointee may not clerk the subcommittee, but will be a full participant in the work of the subcommittee, and agree to serve within the same expectations and responsibilities as other members. Each candidate for appointment will be given education about the work of the subcommittee, and opportunity to indicate his/her response and commitment by signing an appointment response form. Forms may be obtained from a local church Yearly Meeting representative, or the Yearly Meeting office or website.
6.02.03 Clerks. The sponsoring board will name the clerk for each subcommittee under its care.
6.02.04 Funding. The sponsoring board will include the funding of its subcommittees in its own budget.
6. 03 Ministry teams
6.03.01 Creation of ministry teams. Boards may create ministry teams to address short-term needs or concerns. Groups of concerned people, who wish to be established as a ministry team, may request that the board consider their proposals. The purpose of the teams will be to carry out ministry, rather than to set policy. Boards may create ministry teams without a revision to Faith and Practice, but should report newly created teams to the Administrative Council and the Yearly Meeting.
6.03.02 Members. The sponsoring board will determine the size of its ministry teams, and appoint members. At least one active member of the ministry team will be a member of the sponsoring board, and will serve as liaison to it. Other ministry team members need not be active members of a local NWYM church.
6.03.03 Terms. Ministry teams are intended to be of short duration. If the work of any ministry team lasts beyond two years, the sponsoring board should create a subcommittee to perform the work. Appointments will be for one year, with annual re-appointments, should the work of the team last more than one year.
6.03.04 Funding. The sponsoring board will include the funding of its ministry teams in its own budget requests, except in cases of emergency need, when the Administrative Council will request funding.
7.01 Board of Elders. The NWYM Board of Elders is a group of wise, discerning, and spiritually mature Friends who help encourage the overall, spiritual welfare of NWYM. A quorum for the Board of Elders consists of three-fifths of the members. Members participating in a meeting by telephone will be counted when determining a quorum. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.01.01 Pray diligently for the ministry of NWYM individuals and churches.
7.01.02 Reflect prayerfully on the needs of the NYWM faith communities and Yearly Meeting activities and lay concerns before representatives, boards or other organizations as the Spirit may direct.
7.01.03 Serve in an advisory capacity to the General Superintendent, Yearly Meeting clerks, and the NYWM as a whole.
7.01.04 Respond to crises and serve as peacemakers in the NWYM, offering and implementing a process for reconciliation as needed.
7.01.05 Oversee matters of church discipline and doctrinal dispute.
7.01.06 Whenever necessary, investigate problems in a local church or ministry point, endeavoring to help the church maintain its active relationship with the Yearly Meeting and with the community. If the Board judges that this cannot be achieved, it may take action it deems necessary including, but not limited to, discontinuing the church, effecting a union with another Friends Church, or changing its status to a ministry point. (See “Organization of the Local Church. Opening and Closing Churches”)
7.01.07 In the case of moral failure among pastoral ministers, establish and oversee a process for assisting the church, discerning any necessary steps of discipline and the restoration of those involved.
7.01.08 Disseminate and review annual accountability forms to each NWYM local church. In cooperation with other boards, respond to needs, questions, and requests for assistance.
7.01.09 Provide assistance, counsel, and support to local church elders.
7.01.10 Assist in redesigning and maintaining the NWYM Elder’s Handbook.
7.01.11 Consider proposals for the merger of churches as provided in the section of this Faith and Practice under “Opening and Closing Churches” and “Merger of Churches.” (See “Organization of the Local Church”)
7.01.12 Design a clear and helpful application process and guidelines for maintaining a NWYM annual minister’s license.
7.01.13 Issue annual licenses for all non-recorded, NWYM pastors and other ministers.
7.01.14 Act on recommendations received from the Board of Leadership Development (or a subcommittee) for the recording of ministers, and make appropriate recommendations to the NWYM.
7.01.15 Consider the request of a minister or other member who wishes to be liberated for short-term service outside the Yearly Meeting.
7.01.16 Choose Yearly Meeting speaker(s) and select worship planning team members.
7.01.17 Make policies concerning the Yearly Meeting sessions in consultation with the Yearly Meeting clerks and the General Superintendent.
7.01.18 Nominate nine persons to serve with the Presiding Clerk, Assistant Presiding Clerk and General Superintendent on the NWYM Administrative Council, and forward recommendations to the Yearly Meeting in session.
7.01.19 Oversee the Beebe Fund, established for the support of pastors in financial need of counseling assistance.
7.02 Board of Leadership Development and Enrichment. The NWYM Board of Leadership Development and Enrichment is comprised of Friends who are passionate and gifted in identifying, equipping, and releasing leaders to serve faithfully and effectively within NWYM and beyond. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.02.01 Provide training and resources for all levels of local leadership, including clerks, and representatives by:
- developing and maintaining training/resource handbooks for these roles;
- collaborating with the Board of Elders in the preparation of an Elders Handbook;
- developing regular training opportunities for local church leaders, to be offered on a local, regional or Yearly Meeting-wide basis.
7.02.02 Work with NWYM staff to develop and oversee continuing education opportunities for pastors, such as Focus Conference, Pastors’ Conference, reading programs, and small learning communities.
7.02.03 Work with NWYM staff to create an annual new pastor orientation retreat for those who are just beginning service or returning to service in NWYM.
7.02.04 Promote, develop, and oversee the NWYM Mentoring Program, encouraging participation by church planters, emerging leaders and ministry point leaders.
7.02.05 Work in concert with the Board of Youth and Young Adults to support youth and young adult leadership development opportunities, such as Samuel School, and provide appropriate follow up with those who participate in it.
7.02.06 Work with NWYM staff to plan and implement the NWYM Call to Ministry conference or small, regional workshops.
7.02.07 Assist local churches with resources for identifying, equipping and releasing members for service—including young people.
7.02.08 Oversee the process of recording candidates for ministry that are submitted by local churches.
7.02.09 Maintain an active list of recorded ministers.
7.02.10 Provide oversight for the NWYM Friends Center.
7.02.11 Encourage Friends to attend George Fox University and Seminary by such methods as:
- Encouraging leadership development options within the University;
- Considering revising and overseeing the Quaker Leaders Program to assist young Friends attending GFU.
7.03 Board of Local Outreach. The NWYM Board of Local Outreach is comprised of Friends with gifts, passion and expertise in outreach ministries. This board encourages the work of calling people into lifechanging relationships with Jesus Christ, fostering the growth of NWYM churches, and promoting peacemaking, social justice, environmental responsibility and compassionate service in the Northwest. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.03.01 Develop consistent language to identify the corporate expressions of Body life that are developing within NWYM.
7.03.02 Develop a procedure that enables our non-traditional faith communities to become officially recognized as “local churches” with appropriate privileges and responsibilities within NWYM.
7.03.03 In cooperation with the NWYM staff, revise a church planting culture and strategy for NWYM by:
- encouraging existing NWYM churches and Areas to consider establishing new faith communities;
- continuing to develop Simple/House/Other church models that are fully integrated into NWYM through another local church when possible;
- advancing the work of Latino and other cross-cultural church planning in a way that leads to a fully integrated Yearly Meeting;
- developing a strategy for identifying, equipping and releasing church planters;
- continuing to maintain and encourage the progress of new faith communities, helping them to understand and follow established guidelines.
7.03.04 Provide resources and training for local faith communities to effectively build bridges of outreach by utilizing evangelism, teaching, compassion, peacemaking and other tools relevant to the needs of their communities.
7.03.05 Support and communicate to others effective and creative outreach efforts that are operating in NWYM.
7.03.06 Through resources and training, help our local faith communities effectively share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others and to call people into lifestyles of committed discipleship and Christian community.
7.03.07 Research and consider developing volunteer options for NWYM people that will encourage both a culture of service and life-long commitments to social concerns/evangelism.
7.03.08 Encourage existing and possibly new service opportunities for retired and otherwise liberated Friends.
7.03.09 Provide education, resources and suggested action for Friends to consider in regard to specific social justice, environmental, peace and moral issues in the Northwest: for example, prison ministries, compassionate services, disaster or poverty relief, peacemaking and justice.
7.04 Board of Global Outreach. The NWYM Board of Global Outreach is comprised of Friends with gifts, passion, and expertise in cross-cultural and overseas outreach ministries. Like the Board of Local Outreach, this board aims to encourage evangelism, church planting, peacemaking, social justice, environmental responsibility, and compassionate service but with a global emphasis. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.04.01 Oversee church planting and evangelism ministries in cultures outside of the Northwest by:
- providing care, administrative support, and encouragement to those serving on mission fields;
- providing relevant services through culturally sensitive ministries;
- sharing Christ through friendship evangelism;
- building self-multiplying Christian communities;
- developing independent national leadership and self-supporting, self-replicating ministries;
- developing a support network for cross-cultural workers.
7.04.02 Assist individuals in discerning a call to missionary service, provide standards for their qualification, and establish appropriate procedures for their preparation, education, and ministry.
7.04.03 Identify, equip and release those individuals who are called to serve in cross-cultural ministries.
7.04.04 Encourage a cross-cultural ministry focus by NWYM churches and challenge local churches to support missions with prayer and finances.
7.04.05 Evaluate prayerfully possible new fields for mission activity.
7.04.06 Expand global ministry opportunities for NWYM people by:
- researching possible new NWYM outreach ministries in such fields as peacemaking, hunger relief, and social concerns;
- connecting NWYM individuals and churches with service in short-term global ministries, such as medical teams, hunger or disaster relief, peacemaking, environmental and social concerns that are compatible with NWYM;
- assist those called to participate in ministries identified as NWYM-supported works, by providing publicity, recruitment, personnel oversight, and opportunities for raising financial support.
7.04.07 Provide local churches with educational resources for teaching about the biblical and Friends’ concern for mission and service.
7.04.08 Provide educational resources regarding global issues as they relate to Christian faith and practice.
7.04.09 Work in cooperation with the NWYM staff to promote mission/outreach awareness, facilitate missionary deputation, and other education in the local church.
7.04.10 Participate actively in the outreach of EFM through designated representatives, communication, and financial support.
7.04.11 Determine personnel and policy matters for each program, including financial support for the workers.
7.04.12 Oversee the Teaching Abroad program and consider other short term ministry options for NWYM people in outreach ministries.
7.05 Board of Congregational Care. The NWYM Board of Congregational Care is composed of Friends with gifts, passion and expertise in helping our churches be healthy, faithful, and effective communities of worship, service, and fellowship. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.05.01 Identify specific needs within individual NWYM churches.
7.05.02 Encourage our churches to actively listen to God by providing discernment training and resources for Quaker business meetings.
7.05.03 Develop and promote resources and models for assisting churches with refocusing, re-visioning, and renewal; including such tools as Natural Church Development, strategic planning, and visioning.
7.05.04 Assist local churches with information relevant to the care and development of their facilities, including such matters as sound equipment, building maintenance, and computer programs.
7.05.05 Promote and encourage Friends membership through the development of new and creative resource, utilizing such options as written form, web-based access, or DVD.
7.05.06 Promote and oversee the Share Call fund for NWYM churches.
7.05.07 Develop a list of resources available to local churches, such as workshops, speakers and other types of training in matters related to congregational life;
7.05.08 Assist churches in providing care and compassion to seniors and people with disabilities.
7.05.09 Develop and promote practices of personal and corporate stewardship.
7.05.10 Develop and encourage various models of worship.
7.05.11 Promote and encourage the development and use of fine arts throughout the NWYM.
7.05.12 Develop creative ways to encourage interaction among attendees at the annual NWYM sessions.
7.05.13 Encourage healthy, loving, and spiritually-enriching relationships within the local church by:
- providing resources and training for conflict resolution;
- providing training and resources for healthy marriages and family concerns;
- providing counseling information;
- providing suggestions and resources for meeting needs within the local church; including such opportunities as Mennonite Mutual Aid, and lists of resources to share within the local congregation.
- promoting activities that build community and unity;
- promoting small groups as both an outreach and nurturing tool for the local churches;
- encouraging mentoring, spiritual friendships, and other intentional spiritual relationships.
7.06 Board of Christian Education and Discipleship. The Board of Christian Education and Discipleship is composed of Friends with gifts, expertise and passion for assisting others to follow Christ faithfully and to be transformed into His image. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.06.01 Identify and develop resources and training for children’s ministry.
7.06.02 Oversee programming for Children’s Yearly Meeting during our annual sessions, giving careful attention to the focus and content for the program, and providing suitable leadership.
7.06.03 Oversee NWYM and local church policies for child abuse prevention and safety awareness; receiving advice from the Board of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in matters relating to youth programs, camps and similar activities.
7.06.04 Assist local churches in finding or developing appropriate resources for spiritual growth, discipleship and spiritual formation for all ages; enhancing the vitality of Sunday school for all ages, weekday clubs and activities, Vacation Bible School, small groups, and new educational models.
7.06.05 Foster the development of new retreats, workshops, and regional gatherings to address spiritual growth/discipleship issues.
7.06.06 Publicize and encourage NWYM-sponsored spiritual formation activities and programs, camps, and retreats.
7.06.07 Work with NWYM-related camps to develop suitable programming and to foster mutually beneficial relationships between the Yearly Meeting and our affiliated camps.
7.06.08 Provide connection and encouragement to Friends schools in the NWYM.
7.06.09 Cooperate with other EFI yearly meetings in joining education-related efforts. Send representatives to serve on relevant organizations outside the Yearly Meeting.
7.06.10 Promote and develop appropriate teacher education training throughout NWYM.
7.06.11 Encourage Bible reading, literacy and understanding among all Friends.
7.06.12 Promote peace and justice education within NWYM, including information on conscientious objection for young Friends.
7.06.13 Develop and promote resources for Friends education, history, testimonies, spirituality, and ministry.
7.06.14 Maintain and publish lists of recommended books, audio-visual resources, and other media that encourage Christian/Friends belief and practice for use in local churches and homes.
7.07 Board of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. The Board of Youth and Young Adult Ministry (middle school through age 25) is composed of Friends with gifts, expertise, and passion for youth and young adult ministry. This board helps develop a community of young people who are committed to Jesus, involved in service and connected to one another as Friends. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.07.01 Assist the NWYM staff member(s) in youth and young adult program development and ministry.
7.07.02 Provide support, encouragement, ideas and advice for the NWYM youth and young adult staff.
7.07.03 Provide support and accountability for Friends Youth Exec, a group of college-age students who plan and organize events for NWYM youth.
7.07.04 Provide support and oversight of the Bible Quiz Program, Youth Yearly Meeting, and other developing programs.
7.07.05 Advise the Board of Christian Education and Discipleship in the development and oversight of NWYM and local church policies for child abuse prevention and safety awareness, as used in youth programs, camps and similar activities.
7.07.06 Encourage comprehensive training and programming in Christian education, spiritual formation, and biblical foundations that foster mature discipleship and service.
7.07.07 Encourage, support, and provide training for youth workers serving in Christian ministry to youth and young adults.
7.07.08 In cooperation with the Board of Leadership Development, oversee Samuel School and insure that Young Friends are encouraged in their development as emerging leaders.
7.07.09 Develop new opportunities for service and ministry for youth and YAFs (Young Adult Friends).
7.07.10 Encourage youth mentoring in local churches and assist Young Friends who need help locating a mentor.
7.07.11 Encourage youth involvement in NWYM camps and retreats.
7.07.12 Support youth in the transition to adulthood, developing ministries and opportunities that encourage connection and continuing involvement in NWYM.
7.07.13 Maintain contact and communication with Young Adult Friends (YAFs) who attend college or relocate outside NWYM.
7.08 Board of Communication. The NWYM Board of Communication is composed of Friends with gifts, expertise, and passion for developing connection and fostering communication. This board uses a variety of media to tell the story of God’s action in and through NWYM. The board is specifically responsible to:
7.08.01 Provide advice and oversight for NWYM e-lists, e-letters, publications, materials, and other forms of communication.
7.08.02 Provide support and counsel to the NWYM staff and other NWYM boards in their written and other media materials.
7.08.03 Oversee the annual writing of the Epistle during Yearly Meeting sessions;
7.08.04 Maintain an active NWYM website.
7.08.05 Develop varied and creative ways to communicate NWYM’s ministry, identity, values, mission, and vision within our own faith community and to the wider world.
7.08.06 Develop creative and effective ways to share the stories of what is going on throughout NWYM churches and related ministries.
7.08.07 Develop a creative way to produce thoughtful and engaging summaries and highlights of our annual sessions for reports in our local churches.
7.08.09 Develop an information and resource center to promote the materials and ministries of NWYM boards.
7.08.10 Develop a regular written communication that is sent to NWYM homes, local churches and Area gatherings. This communication will be focused on building connection and unity; and communicating NWYM news, values, mission, vision, and ministries.
7.08.11 Assist in developing promotional materials for NWYM sessions, local churches, and other events.
7.08.12 Assist in the creation of materials and media for Hispanic and other cross-cultural Friends churches and individuals.
7.08.13 Promote Friends publications, books, and Barclay Press resources.
7.08.14 Identify ways to further support the ministry of Barclay Press.
7.08.15 Cooperate with other EFI yearly meetings in joint efforts related to communication, and send representatives to serve on relevant commissions organizations outside NWYM.
Standing committees necessary for the functioning and purposes of the Yearly Meeting are accountable to and function under the care of the Administrative Council. The following standing committees are established. Other standing committees may be established with approval by the Yearly Meeting.
- Finance Committee, with subcommittees defined as:
- Friends Church Extension Fund
- Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Foundation
- Faith and Practice Revision Committee
- Nominating Committee
8.01 Members of these committees, with the exception of the Nominating Committee itself (see 8.10.02), will be recommended by the Nominating Committee and will be approved on the floor the Yearly Meeting. (See also 2.06)
8.02 Gender, age, racial, cultural and geographic diversity will be encouraged in the nomination process for all standing committees.
8.03 The size of standing committees will vary, based on the needs of the particular group. A quorum consists of a majority of the members. An exception is made for the Trustees (see 8.07.02.05. below). When determining a quorum, members participating in a meeting by telephone will be counted as present.
8.04 Committee members must be active members of local NWYM local churches or ministry points, experienced in Friends practices and committed to the Christian principles set forth in Faith and Practice.
8.05 Terms of service will be divided into rotating, three-year appointments with approximately one-third of all members rotating off each. Members may serve up to three consecutive terms. (However, the number and length of terms is different for Trustees: see 8.07.01, below) (See also 2.06)
8.06 Each standing committee is responsible to name its own clerk, Assistant Clerk and Recording Clerk. The clerk’s appointment must receive the approval of the Yearly Meeting.
8.07.01 Appointment: On nomination by the Nominating Committee, the Yearly Meeting appoints five persons to constitute the Yearly Meeting Trustees, naming one trustee each year for a term of five years. Trustees shall also be appointed for shorter terms to fill vacancies resulting from resignation or other reasons so that the term of one trustee will expire each year. The Trustees select their own clerk. The Trustees are the legal representatives of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church, also referred to herein as “Yearly Meeting” or “NWYM.”
8.07.02 Responsibilities: The Trustees are responsible to:
8.07.02.01 Take action as necessary to maintain “Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church” as a corporation in good standing in the State of Oregon, with authority to hold property and conduct business in Oregon and other states or countries as considered necessary.
8.07.02.02 Cause the titles of all real and personal property owned by NWYM to be vested in its corporate name. Such titles shall be recorded in official records of the state or county or in such other place where the title to such property is normally recorded.
8.07.02.03 Be responsible for the receipt of all funds and other property received by bequest or donation and see that title to such assets is properly vested in NWYM’s corporate name, to be administered in accordance to the wishes of the donors by the Administrative Council. This responsibility is not intended to extend to routine contributions received in the normal course of business by the Yearly Meeting or its constituent churches and other organizations.
8.07.02.04 Assist with the transfer to NWYM of property and funds that come from the discontinuance of a local church or other NWYM organization. In these cases, title is to be transferred to NWYM’s corporate name or otherwise brought under the control of the Yearly Meeting. The Administrative Council will administer assets realized from these transfers, provided that any property or funds donated for a specific purpose are to be administered in accordance with the wishes of the original donor.
8.07.02.05 Execute legal instruments essential to normal procedure in business affairs and ownership of property held by the Yearly Meeting and the local churches. Transactions requiring such execution or signature are to be approved by Northwest Yearly Meeting in session, by the Administrative Council, or by the trustees. The approval may provide for any two of the trustees to sign legal documents for the approved transaction who are available to provide approval. A quorum for Trustee approval shall consist of three. The Trustees must exercise care to observe the requirements of the statutes of the states within which their transactions are made.
8.07.02.06 Report all transactions to the Yearly Meeting in session.
8.07.02.07 Insure policies are in place throughout NWYM to address risk management issues (e.g., child/youth safety, transportation issues, background checks, property and finance protection).
8.07.02.08 Review how organizations described in the section “Organizations Serving NWYM,” as well as other connected groups and NWYM sponsored camps/programs are accountable within NWYM. Make appropriate recommendations to insure risk management procedure and policies are in place.
8.07.03 Conflict of Interest. No trustee may participate in approval or the signing of documents for a transaction if they or any member of their family have any conflict of interest in the transaction. In such a case, the other trustees may acknowledge the conflict and proceed with approval and execution of the documents. As an alternative, the remaining trustees may ask for the approval of the Administrative Council and instructions for the execution of documents.
8.08 Finance Committee. The NWYM Finance Committee is a standing committee under the care of the NWYM Administrative Council.
8.08.01 Composition. This committee of six will be made up of five members and the NWYM Director of Finance.
8.08.02 Criteria for appointment. Individuals nominated must not be members of NWYM boards or other standing committees. Committee members must be active members of a local NYWM church, experienced in Friends practices, and committed to the Christian principles set forth in Faith and Practice.
8.08.03 Terms of service. Finance Committee members are recommended by the Nominating Committee and approved on the floor of the Yearly Meeting. Members will serve three-year rotating terms, with one or two terms expiring each year. Committee members who wish to continue serving must be re-nominated by the Nominating Committee at the end of each threeyear term, and may serve up to three consecutive terms. Following the third three-year term, a member must remain off the committee at least one year before reappointment. Filling a vacated position is considered a full term for purposes of reappointment.
8.08.04 Meetings. Throughout the year, members will meet as needed to fulfill the committee’s task.
8.08.05 Responsibilities. The Finance Committee is a group of spiritually mature individuals with practical skills in financial management, who seek to enable the mission of NWYM through sound business practices. It is given the following specific responsibilities:
8.08.05.01 Receive financial commitments from the churches and summarize them along with other expected income, recommending total expected revenue to the Administrative Council.
8.08.05.02 Monitor the budget throughout the year, providing updates to the Administrative Council regarding current and projected finances of NWYM.
8.08.05.03 In cooperation with the Administrative Council, periodically challenge local faith communities to fully fund the annual budget and long-term financial goals.
8.08.05.04 Provide support and accountability for the NWYM Director of Finance.
8.08.05.05 Nominate NWYM members to its subcommittees, including the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Foundation and the Friends Church Extension Fund, providing oversight and maintaining accountability to each subcommittee.
8.08.06 Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Foundation. A subcommittee of NWYM Finance Committee, the Yearly Meeting Foundation is a nonprofit religious corporation with a mission of assisting members with free resources for planning their estates. The Foundation gives NWYM members opportunities for deferred gifts that benefit Yearly Meeting ministries and local churches. The Fund’s nine board members are nominated by the Yearly Meeting Finance Committee and approved by the Administrative Council for terms of three years, one third of the terms expiring each year. The Fund’s Board elects its own officers.
8.08.07 Friends Church Extension Fund. A subcommittee of NWYM Finance Committee, the Extension Fund is a nonprofit religious corporation that secures funds from investors or gifts from donors and lends those funds to constituent churches or other organizations of NWYM, usually for construction or development purposes. The Fund’s nine board members are nominated by the Yearly Meeting Finance Committee and approved by the Administrative Council for terms of three years, one third of the terms expiring each year. The Fund’s Board elects its own officers.
8.09 Faith and Practice Revision Committee. The Faith and Practice Revision Committee of five persons handles all matters pertaining to proposed revisions to Faith and Practice. The committee itself or any officer or official body of the Yearly Meeting may initiate proposals for amendment. Any proposal originating elsewhere than in the committee is referred to it through its clerk before being presented on the floor of the Yearly Meeting; this is to insure consistency with Faith and Practice as a whole and uniformity of style and expression. All proposals will be read twice for approval. Substantive amendments to either reading require that the proposal be resubmitted for first reading. Proposals treating matters of Friends faith or rules of discipline must be read the second time at the subsequent annual sessions. Proposals treating matters of government, procedures, and organizations may, with the approval of the business meeting, be read twice for approval at the same annual sessions, provided that the readings do not occur on the same or consecutive days, and that notices of the proposed changes have been given to the monthly meetings at least three months prior to the Yearly Meeting sessions.
8.10 Nominating Committee. The NWYM Nominating Committee is a standing committee under the care of the NWYM Administrative Council.
8.10.01 Composition. The committee will have nine members, including one representative from each of the eight Areas of NWYM, and a clerk.
8.10.02 Criteria for appointment. Nominating Committee members representing Areas will be nominated by the Representatives from their Area, and approved at the Spring Area gathering. These members are reported to the floor of NWYM. Representatives from each Area are encouraged to seek input from their local churches and Areas prior to nominating individuals for this committee. Individuals nominated must not be members of NWYM boards. Committee members must be active members of a local NYWM church, experienced in Friends practices, and committed to the Christian principles set forth in Faith and Practice.
8.10.03 Terms of service. Members will serve three-year rotating terms, with three terms expiring each year. Committee members who wish to continue serving must be re-nominated by the Representatives from their Area at the end of each three-year term, and may serve up to three consecutive terms. Following the third three-year term, a member must remain off the committee at least one year before reappointment. Filling a vacated position is considered a full term for purposes of reappointment.
8.10.04 Clerk. The Administrative Council will nominate the clerk. The clerk’s appointment must receive approval on the floor of NWYM.
8.10.05 Meetings. Members will attend NWYM sessions in order to be introduced, oriented to the work of the Nominating Committee, and meaningfully further their work in community. Throughout the year, members will meet as necessary to fulfill the committee’s task.
8.10.06 Responsibilities. The Nominating Committee’s task is to find individuals who are called, gifted and passionate to serve on NWYM boards, on standing committees, and in other designated NWYM roles. It is given these specific responsibilities:
8.10.07 Work with the designated NWYM staff person on an on-going basis for support and administrative assistance, keeping a database file at the Yearly Meeting office for future reference.
8.10.08 Seek possible candidates by:
- Becoming familiar with people in the member’s Area who would serve well within NWYM.
- Consulting board clerks annually for possible nominees and/or re-nominations, carefully discerning all reappointments, rather than making automatic reappointments.
- Establishing communication with local churches’ YM Representatives, Area churches, Area gatherings, and NWYM staff for possible nominations.
- Paying particular attention to new and young people who may be called to serve.
8.10.09 Invite expressions of interest by:
- Publishing a job description of each board so that people may consider positions of service.
- Maintaining avenues by which individuals can make known their interest in serving on a NWYM board or committee.
- Ensuring that avenues for submission of names to the Nominating Committee are well publicized.
8.10.10 Make nominations by:
- Nominating individuals for NWYM boards and for standing committees under the care of the Administrative Council.
- Providing nominations for NWYM Presiding Clerk, Assistant Presiding Clerk, and Recording Clerk.
- Presenting a full slate of nominees for Representatives to review in the spring prior to NWYM annual sessions.
- Presenting names of nominees to the floor of NWYM for approval.
9.01 Budget process. The Administrative Council presents to the Yearly Meeting in its annual sessions a budget by which to provide overall funding of the mission of NWYM. The budget process is as follows:
9.01.01 The Administrative Council receives annual ministry plans and proposed budgets from each Board. The plans and budgets of each Board must be inclusive of the plans and budgets for subcommittees and ministry teams under the care of that Board.
9.01.02 The Administrative Council receives projected NWYM income from the Finance Committee, taking into account pledges of Local Church Support from local meetings and projected restricted gifts from churches and individuals.
9.01.03 The Administrative Council coordinates the ministry plans, budget, and income, combining them into an operating plan and budget supportive of the plans of each Board, and consistent with the vision of NWYM and the resources of the churches. The ministry plans and budget are fully integrated, as the budget is the consolidation of the ministry plans which fully describe anticipated expenditures of the Yearly Meeting. All expenditures and all uses of board designated reserves and donor restricted funds are delineated in the Yearly Meeting Budget.
9.01.04 The NWYM annual budget is presented to the annual sessions of NWYM for approval.
10.01 Annual reports: June 1 to May 31.
10.02 Church and Area officers: July 1 to June 30.
10.03 Representatives: from the start of the calendar year until the end of their appointment.
10.04 Members of boards and other organizations and Yearly Meeting officers: one Yearly Meeting annual session through the next, as appointed in these sessions.
10.05 General Superintendent and other administrators: July 1 to June 30.
10.06 Pastors: July 1 to June 30.
10.07 Fiscal matters, including the budget: to coincide with the calendar year.
Rules of Discipline
An active member of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church is a person—adult, young adult, or adolescent— who has made a credible profession of faith, and who, either on that profession or by certificate from another Friends church, has been admitted to full membership by the church. Active members may be resident or nonresident. An active resident member is one to whom the place of worship is reasonably accessible by ordinary means of travel and who gives priority to the church in attendance and support. These members make the church what it is by their ready participation in its activities and services, their genuine interest in its objectives, and their faithful financial and material support.
A non-resident member is one who, on account of distance or some other equally valid reason, attends and supports a church other than the one in which membership is held. In urban areas distance is relative and sometimes less determinative than other factors.
Preparation for Membership
Preparation in a membership class or other forms of instruction should precede application for membership. The pastor or local elders may provide such instruction. At the conclusion of the preparatory period, appropriate membership, whether active or affiliate, will be considered.
Application for Membership
A person desiring to unite with a church as an active member makes application in writing or in person to the local or ministry point through the pastor or local elders.
Action on the Request
Upon receiving the request, the elders ascertain whether the applicant:
- Makes a credible profession of faith in Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord,
- Lives consistently with that profession,
- Accepts the beliefs of Christianity as held by Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends (see “Friends Faith”) and will conform to its spiritual disciplines.
The elders refer the application, with their judgment, to the local or ministry point, which acts to accept or reject the applicant or to recommend affiliate membership. The clerk notifies the applicant as to the action of the church.
Reception into Membership
New members are accorded public recognition at a previously announced meeting for worship so that all members may extend them welcome.
Children of members are, with the consent of the parents or guardians, enrolled by the statistician as associate members. Children of persons applying for membership may be so enrolled on application by the parents or guardians or by the request of one parent and the consent of the other. Children of non-members may be so enrolled on their request and with the consent of the parents. Children are thus recognized as participants in the church, not because of a birthright or family connection, but because of the hope that through Christian nurture they will come to God early in life and will then take a living interest in the church. It is hoped that they will thus confirm experientially what they have learned and observed in church and home.
From Associate to Active Membership
Associate members may be enrolled as active members when they have made a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, have participated in a membership class or received other formal instruction, and have accepted the Christian beliefs as held by Friends (see “What Friends Believe”). Associate members should be encouraged to seek active membership by the age of twenty-one. If they do not, the local elders may recommend to the church that their names be removed from the membership list.
Persons who desire to participate in a local church but who are not ready for active membership because of temporary residence, tentativeness about Friends faith, or other substantial reason may apply for affiliate membership. They may be granted affiliate membership if they are in harmony with one of the following, the local elders determining their readiness:
- “What Friends Believe”.
- The following essential Christian doctrines: the sovereignty of God; the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ; the atonement through Jesus Christ by which persons may be reconciled to God; the resurrection of Jesus, which assures the resurrection of all true worshipers; the gift of the Holy Spirit to believers; and the authority of the Scriptures.
- The Statement of Faith of the National Association of Evangelicals, in which Northwest Yearly Meeting has membership.
Responsibilities and Privileges
Affiliate members recognize and fulfill the obligation of regular attendance in meetings of the church, giving moral and financial support to its programs. Their children may become affiliate members also or, at the request or by consent of their parents, associate members. Affiliate members are given certificates indicating their relationship to the church. They are numbered separately on membership rolls. Only active members, however, may serve on the Nominating Committee of the church or as officers, elders, ministers, trustees, or clerks of standing committees. Only active members may act as representatives to Yearly Meeting or serve on its councils, boards, or commissions. Affiliate members are encouraged, therefore, to prepare themselves for active membership through a membership class or pastoral instruction.
When a member in good standing, or an associate member, has removed to the limits of another church, a certificate of membership is issued upon request of the member, or at the initiative of the local church but with the consent of the member. Transfer of membership becomes complete when acknowledgment has been received from the accepting church.
With Other Denominations
When an applicant for membership produces a letter of transfer from another Christian denomination, the church will require a membership class or other appropriate preparation. The church may receive the applicant into membership on the basis of transfer recommendation or upon profession of faith. The church may also delay or reject the application, or recommend affiliate membership as outlined above. In such cases the elders should interpret carefully to the applicant the judgment of the church. If a member in good standing wishes to unite with another Christian body, the church may grant a certificate of recommendation to the church of that member’s choice. After acknowledgment that this certificate has been received, this person’s membership with Friends is terminated.
Transfer of Ministers
To be determined.
Record of Transfers
The acceptance and issuance of all certificates are to be recorded in the minutes of the local church, the lists of members corrected accordingly by the statistician. The statistician must maintain a current list of members.
Resignation of membership is submitted to the church in writing. The church may then exercise its discretion about accepting it.
Uniting with another Denomination
When a member has united with another religious body that functions as a denomination, information verifying the fact authorizes the church to remove the name from its membership list. The clerk informs the person of the action.
Members who remove to places remote from any Friends church should correspond with their churches, and the churches, through their elders, with them. When no communication has been received from a non-resident member for three years and when after this period the Committee of Elders has made a reasonable effort to communicate, the church at its discretion may instruct the statistician to remove the name from its list of members.
The elders of a local church initiate arrangements for pastoral services, consulting with the general superintendent of the Yearly Meeting and after prayerful deliberation making recommendation to the church. When the church unites with the judgment of the elders, it extends the call to a minister for pastoral leadership. When a new pastor comes from another Friends yearly meeting and when this person’s membership and ministerial standing have been accepted, the church requests the clerk of the Yearly Meeting to issue a minister’s certificate. The pastor chosen should accept the Christian beliefs as held by Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church.
The pastor and elders share responsibility for the spiritual care of the church. The pastor should in no sense dominate the church but should serve it, helping members through individual encounter and organized endeavor to become more effective in Christian proclamation, fellowship, and service. The pastor should take care that in meetings for worship the members of the congregation are afforded opportunity for their exercise of ministry, as the Lord may lead. The pastor is particularly responsible, in agreement with the elders, to:
- Affirm through public ministry the Faith and Practice of the Yearly Meeting.
- Facilitate systematic religious visitation among members and other attenders.
- Provide individual counseling to persons seeking spiritual and moral guidance, and to those preparing for marriage.
- Call on the sick, the bereaved, and the needy, and facilitate the compassionate interest of others on their behalf.
- Preach for the edification of the church, as led of the Lord, working with the elders in arrangements for worship and other preaching ministries.
- Lead the church in programs of evangelistic outreach.
- Serve as an advisory member of the church committees and departments, giving counsel to organizations such as the Sunday school and Friends Youth, reinforcing their concerns through public ministry.
- Provide systematic preparation for membership.
In cases where it seems advisable for a church to call as pastor a person who is not yet a recorded Friends minister or for the Yearly Meeting Board of Evangelism to appoint an unrecorded minister to an ministry point, the Presiding Clerk of the Yearly Meeting, upon recommendation by the clerk of the Council of Elders and the general superintendent, issues this pastor an annual certificate of license. This certificate, which must be requested by the Council of Elders or the Board of Evangelism, authorizes temporary pastoral ministry, including the performance of wedding ceremonies when legal requirements have been met.
Annual Report by Pastors
Every pastor serving a local church within the Yearly Meeting sends an annual report to the general superintendent, using a form provided.
Pastoral Relationship with a Church
The church formulates a written understanding with the pastor regarding length of service, whether it is one year, a specified term of years, or an indefinite time. This arrangement may be renewed at the discretion of the church, with notice given not less than three months prior to the close of the pastoral year. When a pastor or church discerns that this particular pastoral service has been fulfilled or that the ministerial service is no longer required, the relationship can be terminated by either party. Written notice should be given at least three months in advance. When possible, termination should coincide with the close of the pastoral year. When the church initiates termination procedure, the pastor may request, and is entitled to, a hearing before the elders or before the church in business session. Any conflicts arising between a pastor and a church should be submitted to resolution by biblical methods. (See “Christian Witness to Peace”, in the section “What Friends Believe,” and Query 6)
Local elders may from time to time recommend, and the church may appoint at their discretion, members who are not recorded ministers to perform special types of service for the church. These include assistant pastors and youth pastors; music directors and vocal or instrumental musicians; evangelists and helpers for any other service that contributes to the spiritual ministry of the church. The church should bear in mind provisions for the certification of ministers.
Liberation and Recommendation
When a Christian worker as defined above feels led, and an opportunity has been offered, to perform some special type of service temporarily in another church, the concern is presented to the local elders. If they unite with the concern, they so recommend to the church, which may grant a certificate of service, with commendation, to the fellowship of Friends where the proposed ministry is to occur.
When there is evidence that a minister has lost the gift in ministry and usefulness to its work, or no longer represents the Yearly Meeting in that ministry, or can no longer affirm the Faith and Practice of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church, that minister’s right of recording is brought into question.
Initiation of Action
Request for a review of ministerial status may originate from Yearly Meeting superintendents, the elders of a local church, or the Council of Elders. Requests originating with the local elders or the superintendents will be forwarded to the Yearly Meeting Council of Elders.
Investigation and Final Action
Each case is investigated as thoroughly as possible by the Yearly Meeting Superintendent and the Yearly Meeting Council of Elders in conjunction with the local elders. The Yearly Meeting Council of Elders may designate representatives to work with the superintendents. If after laboring prayerfully and lovingly with the minister in question the investigating body finds the charges sustained, the minister is disciplined according to Council of Elders guidelines for disciplining and restoring erring ministers. During the restoration process the minister’s recording is not revoked, but is suspended. If the restoration process fails, the Council of Elders may recommend to the Yearly Meeting that the recording or credentials of the minister be rescinded. If the Yearly Meeting concurs in this recommendation, the certificate of recording must be surrendered. (An appeals procedure is outlined below.) If the restoration process is successfully completed, the recording status is promptly restored.
If there are erring members in the church, the elders are to initiate discipline and to do so with love and prayer. Actions that constitute sufficient cause include failure to live a consistent moral life, conduct unbecoming to a Christian, habitual and unreasonable neglect of meetings for worship, denial or repudiation of Christian beliefs as set forth in Faith and Practice.
Formal Complaints and Further Dealings
When the local elders have exercised proper pastoral care without avail, they lodge with the church a formal complaint in writing against the erring member, setting forth the charges and their efforts at restoration, if necessary calling upon the Yearly Meeting for assistance in conflict resolution. It must be evident that the elders have exercised loving care, shown the accused person the nature of the default, and sought to bring about repentance and restored communion with Christ and the church.
Final Action of Disownment
If the exercise of care and forbearance proves unavailing and the offender maintains the pattern of conduct at issue willfully or continues to neglect meetings for worship (the latter for a space of three years), the church executes a minute of disownment, the clerk furnishing the offender a copy thereof and so reporting to the next business session of the church.
In the conduct of business, Friends seek corporately to know the will of God in our decision making, rather than advocating positions or taking votes, thereby preserving greater unity in our conclusions. (See “Friends Practice: the
Form of Government)
Similarly, Biblical principles should guide us in settling disputes within the church. We are to settle differences between individuals within the church, rather than resorting to civil courts (I Corinthians 6:1-11). The settlement of a dispute in the early church is described in Acts 15. Jesus counsels us to deal with an offending brother or sister lovingly and honestly, and with respect for confidentiality (Matthew 18: 15-17). We recognize, however, that on occasion disputes and disagreements will arise that cannot be resolved within a local church. At times, too, individual members and ministers may need to be dealt with (according to procedures provided in the sections titled “Ministers,” and “Erring Members”) resulting in actions that are painful and controversial.
This section on “Appeals” is intended to provide an orderly procedure by which differences may be decided within the church, and to ensure the opportunity for review of that decision by a higher group.
Filing an Appeal
A member under dealings as an offender who is dissatisfied with the decision of the church may file with the church at its next business session, or the one succeeding it, an appeal to the Yearly Meeting Board of Elders for a review of the case. The church enters this appeal upon its minutes as a record, sends a copy to the Board, and appoints a committee of three to represent its position before the Board of Elders.
Procedure of the Board of Elders
The Board of Elders, after due deliberation upon the presentations by the church and the aggrieved member, may let stand the decision of the local church. Or it may find that the offense has not been correctly adjudged, or that the charge has not been sufficiently sustained, or that irregularities of procedure have infringed the rights of the appellant. If so, the Board sets aside the judgment of the church; the ground of the decision is entered upon the minutes; and the parties are so informed. If, and only if, the charge is dropped on the basis of irregularity of procedure, the church at its discretion may take up the case again.
An appellant who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Board of Elders may file an appeal with the next session of the Board of Elders or the succeeding one (but not later). The Board of Elders enters this appeal upon its minutes as a record, sends a copy to the Presiding Clerk of the Administrative Council, and appoints a committee to represent its position.
Appeal to the Administrative Council of the Yearly Meeting by Churches
A local church that is unsatisfied by the decision of the Board of Elders concerning a decision on an appeal from a member may appeal to the Administrative Council, following the procedures described above.
A local church may also appeal decisions made by the Board of Elders pursuant to the section of the Faith and Practice under “Under the Care of Elders”. In such event, a written appeal shall be mailed or delivered to the Presiding Clerk of the Administrative Council within 30 days of the church(s) having received notice of the decision of the Board of Elders. A copy of the appeal shall also be mailed or delivered to the clerk of the Board of Elders and the general superintendent of the Yearly Meeting. The appeal shall state the reasons why the decision of the Board of Elders should not be implemented. Upon receipt of the appeal by the Presiding Clerk of the Administrative Council, any action approved by the Board of Elders will be deferred pending further determination, except action that the Board of Elders may consider necessary to protect persons or assets. While such an appeal is pending, the church(s) will not make any transfer of assets, amend its articles of incorporation, or take any other action which would interfere with the decision of the Board of Elders. The taking of any such action by the church(s) will be considered a cancellation of the appeal and permit the immediate implementation of the decision of the Board of Elders.
Administrative Council Action
Upon receipt of an appeal, the Presiding Clerk of the Administrative Council shall arrange to hear the appeal at a regular or special meeting of the Administrative Council. At the option of the Administrative Council, a committee may be appointed either from within or without its membership which may hear the appeal in its behalf and submit its recommendation to the Council. The Administrative Council or its committee shall consider fully the statements of the appellant member and church, as applicable, and the statements and minuted records of the Board of Elders. The Administrative Council or its committee may also do such investigation and hear such testimony as it considers appropriate in rendering a decision in the matter. A written copy of the decision shall be presented to the Board of Elders and entered in its minutes and copies shall be provided to the church and appealing member, as applicable. The decision shall also be reported to the next session of the Yearly Meeting.
If the Presiding Clerk shall consider that he or she has a conflict of interest in the matter under appeal, the assistant Presiding Clerk or someone else may be appointed to preside over the Administrative Council to hear the appeal.
Procedures and Forms
A Devotional Period
Every session should begin with a devotional period, a time of waiting upon the Lord, so that minds and hearts may be united with Christ. During this period some may wish to offer prayer, testimony, or exhortation, or to read an appropriate Scripture passage. The clerk should determine that all minds are clear and ready for matters of business.
The Opening Minute
Business begins with the reading of the opening minute by the Recording Clerk. It is worded somewhat as follows “Pennville Friends Church has met in regular session January ___, 20____, at _____ p.m. (Some churches may want to preserve a continuing record of the age of the church; for example, “has met in its eighty-ninth regular session.”)
Reading of the Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting should be printed for distribution, or read aloud; their presentation at this time is for the information of those present. Usually the Recording Clerk formulates the minutes as business goes forward and reads them at the close of the session for correction and approval. If this has not been done, approval of the previous minutes is the first agenda item.
Presentation of Business
From an agenda drawn up by the Presiding Clerk, the meeting moves through old business, then postponed matters, then to reports and recommendations by standing and special committees, then to matters of new business on the agenda, and finally to new matters introduced from the floor of the meeting. Every active member of the church has a right to participate and therefore to introduce new business. It is customary among Friends to present matters of business in the form of a proposal or a suggestion rather than a motion.
Consideration of Business Matters
Persons proposing action do so, not with the idea of championing an idea and bringing the church to that point of view, but with a desire for united action based upon the Divine will. Accordingly, it is incumbent upon members to speak freely to the issue, from their particular perspectives. When this is done in humility and godly fear, it is frequently the case that the common thought of the people may shift to one or the other side of the proposal. When all who wish to do so have expressed their judgments, the Presiding Clerk gathers the collective judgment, asking for approval. When approval is voiced clearly, the clerk announces the will of the church, in words such as these “It is my judgment that Friends approve the action, but are there those who do not feel clear about it?” Unless objections are raised, or clarification required, the clerk then announces that it is the decision of the meeting. The Recording Clerk then formulates a minute embodying the proposition and the decision. The business session resorts to voting only when civil law requires it.
The Concluding Minute
After all matters have been considered and there is no further business to be presented, the Presiding Clerk, perceiving that all minds are clear, reads or has read a concluding minute, for example, “The session adjourned, to meet_________, 20____, or at the call of the clerk.”
Marriage is divinely ordained and ought to be entered with prayerful deliberation and in the fear of God. Young people, especially, are advised to seek the counsel of pastors or elders and to be guided by their admonitions so that there is a context of support by parents and others sufficient to sustain the establishment of a new home in Christian grace and love. Because of the spiritual nature of marriage, a wedding should be a religious rather than a civil occasion whether the marriage is solemnized in a meetinghouse, in a home, or elsewhere. Spiritual celebration, rather than social ostentation, should characterize the ceremony. Those who are united in marriage and the ministers who participate in wedding ceremonies must be careful to meet all legal requirements of the state in which they reside there should be a valid marriage license, proper certification and registration of the minister, authentication by witnesses, and prompt and official reporting of the marriage ceremony to appropriate civil authorities.
Forms of Marriage Ceremonies
Wedding ceremonies vary greatly according to family wishes and tradition. Basic to all of them is the public witnessing of the exchanged vows. In some states a certified minister is required to sign and return a portion of the marriage license. In all cases two or more witnesses should sign. Friends should ensure that the emphasis is upon the couple prayerfully and joyfully pledging faithfulness to each other in the presence of family and friends. An appropriate ceremony may be arranged with a minister presiding, or a traditional form of the Friends ceremony may be used, as follows:
After a time of silent waiting in a gathered meeting for worship, the man and woman should stand before the church and, taking each other by the hand, declare to the following effect: “In the presence of the Lord and before these witnesses, I take you, D.E. [using the full name], to be my wife, promising with Divine assistance to be unto you a loving and faithful husband, as long as we both shall live.”
“In the presence of the Lord and before these witnesses, I take you, A.B. [using the full name], to be my husband, promising with Divine assistance to be unto you a loving and faithful wife, as long as we both shall live.”
A minister or elder may then declare that they are husband and wife, directing the witnesses (or perhaps all those present) to sign the license and a certificate of record.
A certificate becomes the property of the bride and groom. Care should be taken that the legal document provided by the county clerk is filled out properly and returned by the official to the civil authorities.
(Signed)_______________________ Presiding Clerk
(Similarly, a sojourning minute may be drawn for persons desiring to visit among Friends, particularly in other yearly meetings and in other countries.)
I (name) _________________, having acknowledged Jesus Christ as my Savior and having studied the Christian beliefs of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church and accepted them, desire to become associated with fellow Christians of this faith and do hereby apply for active membership in ________________Friends Church.
I am ready to take advantage of opportunities for spiritual growth offered through the various ministries of the church and to take an interest in the business of the church and the work of the Yearly Meeting.
I understand that membership implies an obligation on my part to support the church in the following ways:
- by living a consistent and godly life (Romans 1:21),
- by using my gifts in ministry and service as God directs me (1 Peter 4:10),
- by attending the regular meetings for worship and fellowship unless hindered by reasons I can conscientiously give to my Lord (Hebrews 10:23-25),
- by making regular financial contributions to the ministry of the church (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
I am prepared to uphold the statements of Christian belief of Northwest Yearly Meeting, but if at any time I can no longer work in harmony with the faith and practice of Friends, I shall ask that my name be removed from membership. (Signed)_________________________________________________________Phone__________________________ Address________________________________________________________________________________________
Are you now a member of another church? _______________________
If so, where?_____________________________________________________________________________________
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Recommendation to the Business Meeting:
The Committee of Elders accepts this applicant and presents ___________________________for active membership.
(Signed)________________________________, Clerk of Committee of Elders
Date of business meeting and action taken_______________________________
Suggested Application for Affiliate Membership
I (name) _______________________, having acknowledged Jesus Christ as my Savior and having studied the Christian beliefs of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church, desire to become associated with fellow Christians of this faith and do hereby apply for affiliate membership in _________________ Friends Church. I am not yet ready for active membership for the following reason _____ (a) temporary residence, _____ (b) tentativeness about Friends beliefs, or _____ (c) other (specify) _________________________________________________________________________
I am ready to take advantage of opportunities for spiritual growth offered through the various ministries of the church and to take an interest in the business of the church and the work of the Yearly Meeting.
I understand that membership implies an obligation on my part to support the church in the following ways:
- by living a consistent and godly life (Romans 1:21),
- by using my gifts in ministry and service as God directs me (1 Peter 4:10),
- by attending the regular meetings for worship and fellowship unless hindered by reasons I can conscientiously give to my Lord (Hebrews 10:23-25),
- by making regular financial contributions to the ministry of the church (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
I am prepared to respect the statements of Christian belief of Northwest Yearly Meeting, but if at any time I can no longer work in harmony with the faith and practice of Friends, I shall ask that my name be removed from membership.
Single _________ Married__________
Are you now a member of another church? _____________
If so, where?_____________________________________________________________________________________
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Recommendation to the Business Meeting:
The Committee of Elders accepts this applicant and presents ___________________________for active membership.
(Signed)________________________________, Clerk of Committee of Elders
Date of business meeting and action taken_______________________________
Suggested Certificate for Active Membership
This is to certify that ___________________ has been granted active membership on the basis of a credible profession of faith in Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord, a manner of life consistent with that profession, an acceptance of the beliefs of Christianity as held by Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends, and a unity with its spiritual disciplines.
Children uniting as associate members:
(Name) __________________________________________________ Birth date______________________________
(Name) __________________________________________________ Birth date______________________________
(Name) __________________________________________________ Birth date______________________________
Approved in business session on (date)________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________ Friends Church
(Signed)_________________________________, Presiding Clerk
Suggested Certificate for Affiliate Membership
This is to certify that has been granted affiliate membership on the basis of harmony with one of the following:
- The Faith and Practice of Northwest Yearly Meeting
- The following essential Christian doctrines: the sovereignty of God; the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ; the atonement through Jesus Christ by which persons may be reconciled to God; the resurrection of Jesus, which assures the resurrection of all true worshipers; the gift of the Holy Spirit to believers; and the authority of the Scriptures.
- The Statement of Faith of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Accordingly, ___________________________ is granted the privilege of participating in the worship and business of this church within the limits set forth by Faith and Practice, and the obligation of faithful attendance at services of the church, active moral and spiritual support, and considerate giving toward its financial needs. This membership will be reviewed annually and may be terminated at any time by the member or by the church.
Approved in business session on (date) _______________________________________________________________
(Signed)________________________________, Presiding Clerk
Suggested Certificate for Persons Received by Transfer
This is to certify that __________________________ has been granted active membership on the basis of transfer from ___________________________ Friends Church (__________________ Yearly Meeting), which has issued a certificate of good standing and a commendation to Christian care and fellowship. Children uniting as associate members:
(Name) __________________________________________________ Birth date______________________________
(Name) __________________________________________________ Birth date______________________________
(Name) __________________________________________________ Birth date______________________________
Approved in business session on (date)________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________ Friends Church
(Signed)_________________________________, Presiding Clerk
Suggested Certificate of Transfer
This is to certify that ____________________________, who wishes to transfer to (church/address) ________________ ____________________________________ is a member of good standing with us, and we commend him/her to your Christian fellowship. On behalf of __________________________Friends Church, (address) ___________________ _________________________________________and by official action (date) ______________________. The transfer will be made official upon acknowledgment of this certificate.
_________________________________________ Friends Church
(Signed)_________________________________, Presiding Clerk
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Acknowledged on this date____________________________ by ___________________________ (presiding officer), ____________________________________ Church.
Note: Local churches, or the Yearly Meeting, may wish to prepare more extensive certificates embodying spiritual goals and covenants. Any such certificates should include as the statement of faith the summary document “What Friends Believe” from this Faith and Practice.
First, that somewhere in the paragraph on purpose or objective there be included this clause: “to conduct a local church in accordance with the provisions as set forth in the Faith and Practice, as amended, of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church, a nonprofit corporation in the State of Oregon.”
Second, in the paragraph on dissolution there be included this statement: “Though intended to be perpetual, in case of dissolution of the corporation, the assets shall become the property of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church, an Oregon nonprofit corporation, or its successors.”
Third, in the paragraph on membership there be included this statement: “Every person who has been admitted as a member of the ________________________ Friends Church in accordance with the said Faith and Practice, as amended, shall be a member of this corporation, and no other terms of admission into such corporation will be recognized or required.”
Fourth, in the paragraph on trusteeship there be included this statement: “The method of electing trustees and the duties of the trustees shall be in accord with the said Faith and Practice, as amended, of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church.”
Fifth, a paragraph be included which says: “These Articles of Incorporation cannot be changed or amended without the consent of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church…
If the exact wording as stated above is inconsistent with the statute of the state under which the church is seeking incorporation, differing wording will be allowed provided that it states in essence the concepts delineated above, and that the suggested change is approved by the Superintendent of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church.
Any changes or amendments of Articles of Incorporation under the fifth provision shown above must be approved by the Administrative Council of the Yearly Meeting upon the recommendation of the Superintendent. Requests for approval should be submitted to the Superintendent.
The name shown in the articles of incorporation will be the “legal name” of the church being incorporated. (See “Organization of the local church. Organizational Transitions. Nomenclature”). If the legal name and the common name are significantly different, it may be necessary to register the common name with the respective states as an “assumed” or “trade” name.
Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Foundation
See 8.08.06, under Finance Committee
Friends Church Extension Fund
See 8.08.07, under Finance Committee
Friends Youth provides leadership for high school and college-age young people. It has its own clerks, its own organizational structure, and a handbook detailing purposes and procedures. Friends Youth is related to the Yearly Meeting under the Board of Education and Youth, three members of whom serve, with an appointed adviser and the general superintendent of the Yearly Meeting, on its Executive Committee.
George Fox University
George Fox University, the Yearly Meeting institution of higher education, reports annually to the Yearly Meeting, which elects all its trustees. Of the forty-two trustees, not more than fourteen are elected each year for terms of three years. These are nominated as follows: not more than six by the Executive Council of the Yearly Meeting; not more than six by the University Board of Trustees; not more than two by the University Alumni Association. Members to fill vacancies occurring otherwise than by expiration of term are nominated by the group entitled to representation by the original nomination. University bylaws state that no change affecting the relationship between the University and the Yearly Meeting may be made without consent of the Yearly Meeting. The Center for Peace Learning is an agency of George Fox University with its own board of advisers.
Tilikum Center for Retreats and Outdoor Ministries
Tilikum, a Yearly Meeting camping ministry, reports annually to the Yearly Meeting, which approves all its Board of Directors. A representative of NWYM, as appointed by the Superintendent, shall be a member of the board. Directors of the board shall be members or active attendees of churches within the NWYM at a minimum ratio of four-sevenths (4/7) of the total number of board members. Those serving who are not members of churches within NWYM shall be active congregants of their home congregations (in accordance with the practice of their congregations). All board members shall be followers of Jesus Christ and shall subscribe in writing to a Statement of Faith in keeping with principles of Faith and Practice, and approved by the board. Tilikum bylaws state that no change affecting the relationship between Tilikum and the Yearly Meeting may be made without consent of the Yearly Meeting.
The Friendsview Retirement Community Corporation has had a close relationship with the Yearly Meeting. It came into being in the late 1950s when concerned members of the Yearly Meeting and the Board of Peace and Service called for the establishment of a retirement home. The Corporation, which manages Friendsview Retirement Community in Newberg, Oregon, consists of a board of not more than twenty-one directors; it is largely self-sustaining. Three directors are appointed by the Yearly Meeting through nomination by the Board of Peace and Social Concerns. Their terms are for three years, one director being named each year.
Northwest Yearly Meeting
The Barclay Press
Originally founded by Northwest Yearly Meeting, Barclay Press is a not-for-profit publishing house serving evangelical Friends through online and print communication. It is governed by a self-perpetuating board of directors.
Friends Men offers men of the Yearly Meeting an annual retreat for inspiration and fellowship and fosters interest in special projects of Christian outreach. The fellowship appoints its own officers.
Friends Women promotes missions by sharing and distributing literature, by praying for the missionaries and encouraging their families, and by contributing financial support. Friends Women sponsors an annual retreat. It appoints its own officers.
The Pastors Association
The pastors and other ministers of Northwest Yearly Meeting meet annually for fellowship and inspiration. The Pastors Association appoints its own officers. It also makes appointments to a related organization (see above).
Yearly Meeting Holds Membership
Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) consists of four regions of evangelical Friends: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and north America. By virtue of membership in Evangelical Friends Church International/North America, Northwest Yearly Meeting is a member of Evangelical Friends International.
Evangelical Friends Church International/North America
Northwest Yearly Meeting is a member of Evangelical Friends Church International/North America (EFCI/NA). It is represented by the general superintendent, two members from each appropriate board, and one member-at-large. EFCI/NA provides cooperative action in missions (Evangelical Friends Mission – EFM), education, and publications; and it represents the constituent yearly meetings in various Friends ecumenical activities. It holds national conferences periodically. Its Statement of Faith is found in the Appendix.
Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC)
Friends World Committee for Consultation, with which NWYM is affiliated, facilitates communication, intervisitation and fellowship among Friends worldwide. FWCC was founded in 1937 “to act in a consultative capacity to promote better understanding among Friends the world over.”
The National Association of Evangelicals
Northwest Yearly Meeting is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals, with representation through Evangelical Friends International/NA appointment. The Statement of Faith of the Association is found in the Appendix.
Northwest Yearly Meeting continues to look to the “Richmond Declaration of Faith” (1887) as a basic document of Friends belief. It also continues to set forth interpretations of Christian faith for contemporary Friends. A significant statement of faith was adopted in 1902, and major revisions were made in 1945, 1970, and 1987. For the 1987 adoption, see “What Friends Believe”.
In the section below are the most recent interpretations adopted by the Yearly Meeting prior to 1987. The following “Doctrines,” “Testimonies,” and “Fundamental Truths” are from the 1979 Constitution and Discipline; they include the official changes and additions made between 1979 and 1987.
The doctrines of the apostolic days are held by Friends as essentials of Christianity. The Fatherhood of God, the deity and humanity of the Son; the gift of the Holy Spirit; the atonement through Jesus Christ by which men are reconciled to God; the resurrection of our Lord, which gives us assurance of the resurrection of all true believers; the high priesthood of Christ, by whom we have access to the Father in the forgiveness of our sins; the individual priesthood of believers—these are most precious truths, to be held as vital, life-giving realities.
God’s Revelation in Christ
We profess unwavering allegiance to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We believe the Word of God spoken in every heart was supremely manifest in Jesus Christ, true God and perfect man. Through His life, His atoning death, and His resurrection we receive God’s forgiveness and are restored to holiness by His grace, as we walk in Christ’s light.
The Church as the People of God
We believe the church to be composed of persons who, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, have been born into His Kingdom and baptized by the Holy Spirit into the one body. Scripturally, the term “church” refers to various groupings of Christians as well as to the entire body of Christ. A denomination denotes Christians freely united by common biblical convictions, associated in worship, teaching, and public witness of the faith. The Friends Church is so denominated.
The Place and Authority of the Holy Spirit
We believe God reveals His truth to men. There are no spiritual insights or principles of truth apart from the revelation of God. By inspiration of His Spirit, God reveals Himself to us in Scripture. God by His Spirit enlightens reason and instructs conscience. Man may, therefore, receive from the Holy Spirit the wisdom and the power individually, and corporately through the church, to hear and obey the Lord.
The Place and Authority of Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures, inspired of God, are the divinely authorized record of the doctrines which Christians are bound to accept, and of the moral principles which are to regulate their lives and actions. Interpreted by the Holy Spirit, they are an unfailing source of spiritual truth.
We believe the Holy Spirit convicts man of sin and convinces him of Christ as the only hope of salvation. By faith in Christ, and His blood shed on Calvary, man knows himself forgiven of God. Having been regenerated and reconciled to God, the believer by faith receives Christ’s promised baptism with the Holy Spirit and so is enabled to live in victory over sin now, and prepared for the resurrection and eternal life in the world to come.
Our Lord’s Return
We believe the risen Lord, now present with His Church, will return in person to consummate His rule over men and nations. We believe His triumph will end the usurpations of Satan, and that, after the resurrection and final judgment of the wicked, the universe will be restored to the glory for which it was created.
The Worship and Work of the Church
We believe all Christians receive certain gifts from the Spirit for use in and for the church. Some may preach, others evangelize, teach, heal, administer, counsel, bear burdens, or help in a variety of ways to fulfill the Great Commission. The church seeks to encourage and rightly order the exercise of these gifts for the sake of the Kingdom. Gifts in the ministry often warrant official recognition and financial support by the church.
Friends worship on the basis of obedience to the Holy Spirit. Our communion with the Lord is unbroken by outward rite or ceremony. In the covenant of the promised Holy Spirit, Christ leads us both in worship and in the business of the church. In our meetings we provide opportunity not only for preaching but also for praise, silent and vocal prayer, song, testimony, exhortation, and the sharing of concerns for the furtherance of the Gospel. Friends observe the first day of the week for worship and rest. They also encourage daily private and family worship.
Integrity in Word and Deed
In allegiance to Christ and obedience to His clear commands, we refrain from swearing legal oaths and from profanity in speech. It is our conviction that openness toward others is not well served by Christians holding membership in secret societies. We seek to evidence Christian holiness by conducting our family, business, and civic responsibilities with honesty toward others and as good stewards before God.
Marriage and the Family
[Revised in 1982; third paragraph added in 1981] Marriage is ordained of God for the ordering of the human family in love and discipline. It is no mere civil act. We feel it should be entered into reverently within the church. The body of believers has a responsibility to pray for and encourage couples who are in marital distress, believing that diligent care within the Body may avert the tragedy of divorce. Marriage is for life and ought not be broken by divorce except on scriptural grounds. In all cases serious attempts should be made for forgiveness and for reconciliation.
Where divorce has occurred, it is the responsibility of Friends to demonstrate the love of God so that the divorced person may live purposefully within the Christian fellowship. Whether the person remains single or remarries, the church is to show love. If a remarriage occurs, the church is to encourage the new marriage relationship to be centered in Christ’s love. Persons who have been divorced but are living consistent Christian lives should not be hindered from joining the church or working in it. A central purpose of the church is to assure men and women that Christ brings a new beginning in life and its potential fulfillment. When there is forgiveness, there is no desire to remember the past. Just as Christ called and blessed those whom He forgave, so must we.
Friends affirm the state of singleness (nonmarriage) as an appropriate lifestyle chosen by some (1 Corinthians 7:6-9) as well as a state in which one may unwillingly find oneself. Not all are expected to marry and some may find the state of singleness preferred. A single person is considered qualified equally with others in regard to spiritual gifts and abilities for use in the Lord’s work.
Respect for the Body
[Revised in 1981] Believing that one’s body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit,” and that we should therefore “glorify God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), we exhort all believers to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 1:21). In view of this, we encourage members to give prayerful and conscientious consideration in regard to their reading matter, the amusements they attend, and the activities in which they participate. In contrast to any sensual obsession evidenced in the media, in style of dress, and in printed matter, Friends positively affirm the sacredness of the body and mind and urge Christians to deport themselves in a way that glorifies God. Members are warned against the production, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages and other habit-forming and body-defiling drugs, including marijuana, tobacco, beer, and wine. We urge vigorous opposition to the persistent traffic by society in such products.
[Added in 1982] Friends believe that the divine intent of marriage is to fulfill the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of humankind and that only within the bonds of marriage divinely ordained can there be a beautiful sexual relationship for the purposes of reproduction and life enrichment. Adultery and fornication are sinful because they distort the purposes of God for the right ordering of human sexuality.
Friends believe that the practice of sexual perversion in any form is sinful and contrary to the God-ordained purposes in sexual relationships. These perversions include sexual violence, homosexual acts, transvestism, incest, and sex acts with animals. The sin nature is capable of vile affections when humankind rejects the moral laws of God.
Scriptures relating to these distorted and perverse forms of sexuality include Genesis 19:1-13; Deuteronomy 22:5; Leviticus 18:20, 22, 23; Romans 1:24-28; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 2 and 6:9-20. Neither in the Scriptures nor in church history have these practices been regarded as consistent with righteous living.
Friends do not accept as members those involved in these perverse practices; neither do they permit them to hold positions of responsibility or leadership in the church. However, Friends believe that the grace of God is adequate to cleanse and deliver from all sin (1 John 19; 2 Corinthians 5:17), and they desire to be tender and sensitive to all people, ready to express kindness, love, and forgiveness. See also Jude 7, 8; Colossians 3:5-7; and Revelation 2:18, 27. When the erring one has been repentant, the past should not be remembered. As Christ called and blessed those whom He forgave, so must His followers. Friends must not hinder the forgiven person from holding membership or having responsibility in the church.
Friends churches should exercise concern for their members on matters of sexuality and should discipline offenders in love and truth (see “Rules of Discipline”).
Peace and War
The teachings of Jesus, the whole spirit of His gospel, and the provisions of His grace call us to live at peace with all men. We feel that war and violence are not consistent with the Christian holiness to which we are summoned in Christ. We encourage our members to find alternative ways in which to achieve civil justice and to work within civil society for the redress of wrongs.
The Christian and the State
All men stand accountable to God, whom they have the right to worship and serve freely without state control. We resist every effort of the State to usurp the prerogatives of God. We recognize, nonetheless, that civil government is an instrument of God to restrain evil and provide for the welfare of men. Out of Christian conviction, then, we respect and submit to the government within its proper function.
Sacredness of Life
[Second paragraph added in 1981] Because we trust God as the righteous judge before whom men spend their lives in probation, we oppose capital punishment. We feel it is an unchristian preempting of the authority of God over human life. As a leaven in society, Christians ought to lift civil government to a closer approximation to God’s laws for human affairs.
Because we believe human life is sacred and created in God’s image, we oppose induced abortion for personal convenience or population control. Under no circumstances should abortion be considered without competent medical, psychiatric, and spiritual counseling.
Although we recognize that social injustice arises in whatever situations individuals can gain selfish advantage of others, we believe the church ought firmly to bear public Christian witness to the justice due all mankind under God. We repudiate all efforts to discriminate on the basis of race, nationality, or caste. We seek to witness the dignity and worth of all before God. We seek to bind up the hurts of those who suffer injuries. In the fellowship of the church we strive to break down the artificial barriers created by the prejudice of human beings.
[Added in 1981] Because God entrusted man with the responsibility in the care and use of earth’s natural resources, Christians ought to maintain a lifestyle that will help to conserve and replenish resources important for the life of future generations. As Quakers, who have a long tradition of adhering to scriptural injunctions for plain living, we should seek to transform the values of our culture rather than to conform to them in this important area (Matthew 6 :4-34; Philippians 4:6; Romans 12:2; Genesis 1:28).
The Holy Scriptures were given by inspiration of God and are the divinely authorized record of the doctrines Christians are bound to accept, and of the moral principles which are to regulate their lives and actions. In them, as interpreted and unfolded by the Holy Spirit, is an ever fresh and unfailing source of spiritual truth for the proper guidance of life and practice.
The Spirituality of Religious Experience
The sinful condition of man, his proneness to yield to temptation, the world’s absolute need of a Savior, and the cleansing from sin in the work of forgiveness and sanctification through the blood of Jesus are clearly set forth in the gospel of salvation. The possession of spiritual life is thus assured through a personal faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior who through His love and sacrifice draws us to Him. The vital principle of the Christian faith is the truth that our salvation and higher life are personal matters between the individual soul and God. The teachings of Jesus Christ concerning the spiritual nature of religion, the impossibility of promoting the spiritual life by the ceremonial application of material things, the fact that faith in Jesus Christ Himself is all sufficient, and His presence in the believer’s heart—these virtually destroy every priestly system and point the soul to the only satisfying source of spiritual life and power. Friends accord to every person the right of equality with every other.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
Conviction for sin is awakened by the operation of the Holy Spirit, who causes the soul to feel its need of reconciliation with God. The Holy Spirit testifies of Christ as the only hope of salvation; as one yields to Him he is brought into newness of life through the regenerating power of the Spirit, and has a true realization of citizenship in the Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit witnesses further to the fact of a saved man’s adoption into the family of God and of a consequent sonship through Christ. A changed nature and life give evidence of this new relation. Thus established in grace, one is able to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit, which gives further confirmation of a renewed state in grace.
The Baptism with the Holy Spirit
The newly converted child of God soon realizes that, although the Christian experience is well begun, he is but a babe in Christ. He senses a soul need that has not yet been met. As he seeks for further light he finds a longing for a greater triumph over the sin in his nature that so constantly besets him. At this point Friends call his attention to the purifying and empowering baptism with the Holy Spirit with which Christ baptizes the earnest believer. Through it the Spirit is poured out upon him and a complete separation takes place in his life, in that sin and holiness are clearly seen as antipodes which cannot coexist if complete victory is to be experienced. John the Baptist, in his presentation of this essential baptism (Matthew 3:11, 12), made clear the fact of the complete destruction of the chaff, on the one hand, and the perfect preservation of the wheat on the other. The chaff represents sin; the wheat, the purified nature of man preserved in holiness. The soul is thus sanctified wholly, or made pure from the defilement of sin within. Thus a complete triumph over sin in the nature is provided for and growth in grace is greatly accelerated.
The Bestowment of Gifts
[Revised in 1982 and 1987] Friends believe that spiritual gifts are bestowed by the Holy Spirit for the propagation of the Gospel, for the perfection of believers, and for the edifying of the church in faith and power. In seeking the baptism with the Holy Spirit, Friends have sought not so much to receive a particular gift as to be controlled by the Giver of the gifts. Even so, it is recognized that the Spirit gives different gifts to different members of the body of Christ (Romans 12). The exercise of these gifts brings Christ’s truth to personal consciousness in varied ways appropriate to need. Accordingly, sharp distinctions between different types of ministry should not be attempted. Persons may have multiple gifts, exercised at different times, both through ordinary abilities sanctified to divine use and through extraordinary sensitivities and actions.
Friends believe that gifts are for God’s glory and that enduement of power must be subordinate to purity. Friends also believe that the baptism with the Holy Spirit brings heart cleansing and conformity to the image of Christ (Acts 15:8). In Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) we are asked to “make every effort to live in peace with all men and be holy: without holiness no one shall see the Lord.” For evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit Friends are exhorted to look to inner transformation. This transformation empowers the believer to live in victory over willful sin and produces a condition of love, shown outwardly by the fruit of the Spirit and Christian graces.
Friends worship is characterized by simplicity and the freedom of the Holy Spirit to minister to the worshipers gathered. Similarly, service and ministry, both channels for Truth, are characterized by obedience to God and single devotion to His will. A local church in gospel order will foster the right use of gifts, whether in worship or as witness in the world.
There is a gift of speaking to the states and needs of individuals, to congregations, and to the orders of society. This prophetic ministry is characterized by its spiritual vision, its penetrating application of biblical truth, the self-evidence of its message, and its timeliness. Such discerning ministry often arises out of open, silent worship, as Christ lays His message upon a ready messenger. Such ministry reaches to the understanding as well as to the emotions, for it bears the mark of divine unction whether spoken by a minister or by another. It should not be confused with praise or testimony, although these have their place in worship. Prophetic speaking or writing may occur also within ordinary channels of human activity, as Friends declare the word of the Lord. Such prophetic words may be intensely personal and private or pertinent to public life. As a movement Friends have aimed at faithfulness to Christ as Truth without fear or compromise. They have aimed at the high gift of prophetic ministry as admonished by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:1.
There is a gift for the ministry of instruction and exposition for teaching the truth. Those who possess this gift are enabled to contribute in different degrees toward establishing the membership and expanding the conception of divine things. This ministry of teaching requires a balanced, trained, and well-stored mind and the consecration of that mind to the service of Him who is the Truth.
There is the gift of exhortation, which is an ability for making an appeal to the hearts of men, stirring them to a sense of God’s love and His purposes for them; it is the power of moving and convincing souls. Those who possess this gift are peculiarly fitted for evangelistic work.
There is also the pastoral gift, which consists especially of ability to do personal work with individuals or with families. This gift enables the possessor to comfort those who mourn, to lead the members into a deeper religious life, to arouse in the young an interest in the things of the Spirit, and to impress others with a sense of the scope and reality of the spiritual life. It is the gift of shepherding and feeding the flock.
The church does not make or appoint ministers; it only recognizes gifts where they exist and properly provides for their exercise and development as a sacred bestowal of the Head of the Church.
In addition to those for the ministry of the Word, other gifts are set forth in the Scriptures. Friends should prayerfully await and receive the divine leading and should be open to the movings of the Spirit. The gift of tongues (languages) is not considered the evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. This view is supported in 1 Corinthians 12:30, where the question “Do you all speak in tongues?” is answered with an implied “no.”
According to the belief of Friends, Scripture teaches that any gift of the Holy Spirit is to be exercised in a setting and manner edifying to the Church (1 Corinthians 14:26-33). Any practice in worship or other Christian gathering is to be a spiritual help to the body of Christ and to the individuals involved.
The Lord’s Return
The grand consummation of the divine purpose in regard to His people is seen in the prophetic utterances found in the Scriptures concerning the return of the Lord. He will come as King of kings and Lord of lords to reign over all His universe and thus bring to an end the operations of Satan and his minions. The saints are comforted, as they view the devastations caused by sin in the world, in the assurance that the Lord will come in power and great glory for the punishment of evil doers and the eternal deliverance of His people from the evils of the world. The Lord declares in Revelation 22:20, “Surely I come quickly;” and the Church, the bride, the Lamb’s wife, responds, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Friends should ever keep this great truth in mind, and thus not be misled by the arguments and reasoning of unbelievers.
The Holy Bible
We believe that the Holy Scriptures were given by the inspiration of God; that there can be no appeal from them to any other authority whatsoever; that they are fully sufficient to make one wise unto salvation through faith that is in Jesus Christ; that the Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures must ever be its true interpreter as He works through the disciplined and dedicated minds of those within His Church; that any professed guidance that is contrary to these Scriptures must be counted as a delusion.
We believe in one God, revealed through the Holy Bible in the person of Jesus Christ; that He is both the creator and preserver of all things visible and invisible; that He alone is worthy of worship—honor, glory, dominion, praise, and thanksgiving—both now and forevermore; and that in the unity of the Godhead there exist three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, inseparable in divinity, power, glory, and eternity.
We believe Jesus Christ to be the only-begotten Son of God; that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary; that He is the express image of the invisible God; and that He combines within Himself both the nature of God and the nature of man in one perfect indivisible personality—the God-man.
We believe that He was crucified as an atonement for the sins of the whole world, making provision whereby man could find the forgiveness of sins, the power for a new life, and be brought back into a perfect relationship with the Father.
We believe that He arose from the dead, ascended to the right hand of God, making intercession for us, and that He will come to earth again to receive His Church unto Himself and to judge the world in righteousness.
We believe the Holy Spirit to be the third person of the Godhead, proceeding from both Father and Son, but equal with them in authority, power, and glory; that He convicts the world of sin, imparts life to the penitent believer, sanctifies the child of God, and enables one by His indwelling presence to love God supremely.
We believe that God created man in His own image; that he enjoyed unbroken fellowship with his maker; and that his whole life centered in the person of God. We believe that man fell from this original state by an act of transgression; that in this fall man suffered the immediate loss of his perfect relationship to God, making self the center of his life; and that in this act he suffered immediate spiritual death. In this disposition to sin all men are born. We own no principle inherent naturally in man by which he may be saved, except by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ as a provision for all mankind.
We believe that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the direct and immediate agency of the Holy Spirit, man may be recovered from his fallen state through divine enlightenment, forgiveness of sin, regeneration and sanctification of his affections, and the final glorification of his body; that in this life man may love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength; that he may live in victory over sin and enjoy unbroken fellowship with his Father; and that once more his whole life may center in and revolve around his Creator and Father.
We believe that the experience of sanctification is the work of God’s grace by which the affections of men are purified and exalted to a supreme love to God; and the believer is empowered to witness to the living Christ. This is accomplished by the baptism with the Holy Spirit in the life of a dedicated and believing child of God; that this is both an act in which the heart is cleansed from an imperfect relationship and state and a process in which the life is continuously disciplined into paths of holiness.
We believe that all those persons who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior are born again into His Kingdom by the Holy Spirit, and that these constitute the Church universal of Jesus Christ. This Church we believe to be spiritual in nature, universal in scope, holy in character, and redemptive in her life and purpose. We believe that wherever two or three are gathered together in the name of Christ, He is truly present in the person of the Holy Spirit and that such an assembly is a local church, the visible expression of His body, and the Church universal. We believe that every believer must relate himself to the local and visible body of Christ being fitly framed together with others into a holy temple in the Lord and builded together for a habitation of His Spirit.
We believe that in the church, the believer is committed to both the worship and the work of God, that this work involves not only personal righteousness as the fruit of a new life, but the ministry of evangelism and teaching; that in this commission of Christ every believer is involved in the stewardship of the Kingdom, and that it is fulfilled only by faithful service in and through the fellowship of His Church; and that this work is continuous until Christ comes again calling the Church unto Himself. We believe that all Christians are called upon to witness by word and by deed within a sinful world, not returning evil for evil, but in Christlikeness demonstrating love, forgiveness, and the way of peace.
We believe that in the fellowship of His body, the Holy Spirit gives to every member a gift to be exercised for the mutual advantage of every member in the body, and for the influence of the church upon those outside; that the ministry is such a gift given to certain ones whom God calls and ordains for a special service of leadership in His Church; that this service may be that of pastoring, teaching, evangelizing, or administration.
We believe in the doctrine of Christian liberty, and that this liberty is to be granted in all areas that are not essential to one’s final salvation. While we recognize that among God’s children there are differences of faith and practice, due to our imperfection, we must look forward to the time when we shall all come into a greater unity of the faith. Until then we believe that in essentials there must be unity, that in nonessentials there must be liberty, but in all things there must be charity.
We believe that both Christian baptism and communion are spiritual realities beyond the mere physical and outward ordinances; that baptism is an inward receiving of the Holy Spirit in which He becomes Lord over all—guiding, cleansing, empowering, and in general representing God to us in immediate experience; that communion is the daily receiving and realization of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; that this communion is dependent not only upon the condition of the believer walking daily in the light of Christ, but in the historic act of Christ on Calvary as His body was broken and blood shed once and for all for us; that Christ thus becomes a daily personal spiritual reality known immediately in Christian experience; and that through Him and His baptism God and divine realities are known experientially and immediately.
Resurrection and Judgment
We believe in the second coming of Christ that at His coming the dead shall be resurrected, some to everlasting glory and others to everlasting shame; that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive recompense for the things done in the flesh; that the judgment of the blessed shall be unto heaven, and the judgment of the lost unto hell; that the punishment of the wicked and the blessedness of the righteous shall be everlasting; that this judgment is in the hands of our compassionate Redeemer, who doeth all things after the counsel of His wisdom, love, and holiness.
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
- We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
- We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful men regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
- We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
- We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in Christ.
Ghana* ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17
Uganda ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1,500
East Africa YM, Kaimosi 1 ………………………………………………………………………………………… 30,000
East Africa (South), Vihiga ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 58,000
Elgon Religious Society of Friends 2 …………………………………………………………………………… 15,000
Tanzania 3 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 500
Pemba YM* ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. . . 140
Southern Africa* ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 148
Madagascar 4 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… NA
ASIA …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4,518
China, People’s Republic 5 …………………………………………………………………………………………….. NA
Taiwan ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3,000
India 6 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 580
Bundelkhand* ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 321
General Conference* ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 34
Mid India* ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 225
Japan ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 258
Philippines ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 100
AUSTRALIA ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. …. 1,084
NEAR EAST ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. ……… 60
NEW ZEALAND ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……. 681
CENTRAL and SOUTH AMERICA …………………………………………………………………………………………… .. 54,997
Bolivia 7 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 36,500
Iglesia Nacional de Los Amigos (INELA) (Bolivia YM) …………………..15,000
Iglesia Amigos Santidad and “splinter” ……………………………………………10,000
Iglesia Central de Los Amigos …………………………………………………………3,500
Others 8 ………………………………………………………………………………………… 8,000
Colombia …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7
Costa Rica ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 60
Cuba ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 300
El Salvador …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 350
Guatemala 9 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10,000
Honduras …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1,500
Jamaica ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 400
Mexico …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 380
Peru ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5,500
EUROPE …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. .. 20,973
Belgium and Luxemburg ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 40
Denmark ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 38
France* ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 121
Germany (Democratic Republic) ………………………………………………………………………………………. 50
Ireland ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1,684
London ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18,076
The Netherlands ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 150
Pyrmont (German Federal Republic) ……………………………………………………………………………….. 430
Sweden and Finland ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 129
Norway ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 130
Switzerland …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 95
Others in Europe …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 30
NORTH AMERICA …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 111,039
BOTH FUM and FGC AFFILIATIONS 10 …………………………………………………………………… 14,413
New England ………………………………………………………………………………….3,922
New York ………………………………………………………………………………………5,124
FRIENDS UNITED MEETING …………………………………………………………………………………. 45,863
North Carolina ………………………………………………………………………………12,932
FRIENDS GENERAL CONFERENCE ………………………………………………………………………. 17,251
Central Alaska …………………………………………………………………………………..120
Lake Erie ……………………………………………………………………………………….1,005
Ohio Valley ………………………………………………………………………………………870
South Central …………………………………………………………………………………….358
Southern Appalachian ………………………………………………………………………..430
EVANGELICAL FRIENDS INTERNATIONAL/NORTH AMERICA ………………………….. 25,685
Eastern Region ……………………………………………………………………………….8,712
Rocky Mountain ……………………………………………………………………………..1,461
CONSERVATIVE ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1,676
North Carolina …………………………………………………………………………………..300
UNAFFILIATED ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6,151
Central (Indiana) ……………………………………………………………………………….437
Missouri Valley …………………………………………………………………………………..45
North Pacific …………………………………………………………………………………….533
World International Membership …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 54
GRAND TOTAL ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 301,711
* Indicates the figure has not been updated since the 1982 publication of Finding Friends Around the World by FWCC. NA—Not Available.
- Membership statistics for East Africa are extremely elusive and hard to pinpoint. In most groups of East African Friends a two-year membership preparation course is required. Therefore, the actual number of members could only be a fraction (some say one-half) of those who would consider themselves “Quakers” and regular, committed attenders. Also, some groups do not count children below 15 years of age (ERSF), and some count only men. Therefore, when the meaning of “membership” is not uniform, it is difficult to be sure that numbers are representative and meaningful. There are also groups of Friends in such places as Nigeria and Turkana for which there are no available statistics. The following figures were quoted by the late Eldon Helm after his visit, representing FUM, in 1984. (Statistics are unknown for Nairobi and “Northern” Yearly Meetings. Actually, these two yearly meetings are still in the process of being established, which is reflected by the fact that at the time of this writing Friends from Malava and Witale are seeking a name other than “Northern.”) Other reports have estimated 75,000 members, with twice the number of committed attenders (Zablon Malenge, of Nairobi, Kenya), and 45,000 by the FWCC—which Val Ferguson feels is a fairly representative figure for adult members who have completed the two-year membership course and are regular, financial contributers. Helm’s figures were chosen because his on-site report seemed most representative of membership as it is understood in other parts of Quakerism.
- ERSF only considers its “converted” members as those who are 15 years of age or older. Since there are about 15,000 young Friends (15 years or younger) who are contributing (financially) attenders, Eldon Helm added them to the 15,000 adult members for a rough total of 30,000. However, we have retained the 15,000 figure, as it reflects “actual” members.
- This work is overseen by FUM, while Pemba YM (also in Tanzania) represents work begun by London YM in 1897.
- In 1968, Friends from the Malagasy Republic joined with two other Protestant groups to become the united “Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar.”
- There is reason to believe that there are still many Friends in Mainland China. In 1982, Arthur O. Roberts led a George Fox College study tour to China, and they met with several Quaker contacts there. Statistics, however, are very uncertain.
- The 1982 FWCC report suggests that these statistics are quite low.
- These figures are approximate calculations, based on number of Friends churches within each of these groups.
- There are three or four groups in Bolivia that have splintered off from Friends. They still go by the name of Friends and are therefore included in these statistics.
- The figures for Guatemala and Honduras were received from Andres Carranza, COAL Offices in Mexico City.
- Because this figure represents those yearly meetings with dual affiliation with FUM and FGC, it should be added to the sum of each to arrive at the total (i.e., for FUM the total is 60,276, and for FGC it is 31,664.)