Pathway to Membership at Third Haven Friends Meeting:
We welcome you to Third Haven Friends Meeting, where the belief that there is that of God/Spirit in everyone is central to our faith. Our worship together is primarily silent. Vocal ministry occurs when the worshiper is moved to give voice to an insight that rises from communication with Spirit. We look forward to sharing with you the blessings of community and a faith tradition that believes in the Light within.
Thank you for your interest in membership at Third Haven. As an attender, you have become familiar with our meeting for worship, the Faith and Practice of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and our Quaker Testimonies: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship (of resources and the environment). We encourage attenders to request membership in our Quaker faith community when you are ready to commit to the benefits and responsibilities of membership.
Membership offers a deeper engagement with our Quaker faith and practice and in the work and life of the Third Haven Friends Meeting. By serving on Meeting committees and participating in Meeting work, you will become more familiar with individual Friends. Becoming a member may strengthen your sense of belonging, of finding a home in our spiritual community, where the power of quiet worship together can be transformative.
As a member, you will be encouraged to attend meeting for worship regularly, to serve on Meeting committees, to help with the voluntary work of the Meeting, and to support the Meeting financially. You may also choose to represent the Meeting in outreach to the local community or to the wider fellowship of Friends.
When considering membership, these queries may be of help:
- Do I embrace the Quaker belief in the Light within?
- Do I feel that the Meeting can help me to affirm and enrich my own spiritual experience?
- Do I understand the Quaker Testimonies?
- Do I wish to share responsibility for the care of the Meeting with my energy, time and financial resources?
The steps in the membership application procedure are as follows:
- The attender sends a written request to become a member to the Clerk of the Meeting, stating why they are moved to join Third Haven Friends Meeting and the Religious Society of Friends.
- The Clerk reads the applicant's letter to the Meeting and refers the application to the Pastoral Care Committee. Pastoral Care appoints a Clearness Committee to meet with the applicant.
- This committee meets with the applicant as soon as practical. During the meeting, the committee members and the applicant explore together, in a probing and honest manner, matters of Quaker Faith and Practice, members' responsibilities to the Meeting and the Meeting's commitment to its members. The Clearness Committee and the applicant discuss what brought the applicant to Third Haven and the decision to apply for membership. The applicant is encouraged to share their questions and expectations of the Meeting and membership.
- The Clearness Committee reports to the Pastoral Care Committee about its meeting with the applicant with its recommendation on membership. Pastoral Care makes its decision on membership for the applicant. When the Pastoral Care Committee recommends membership for the applicant, its clerk proposes the applicant for membership at the next meeting for business. When the Meeting approves the membership of the applicant, this action is recorded in the minutes of the meeting for business and in Meeting membership records, maintained by the Recorder.
- The meeting for business then appoints a welcoming committee. The welcoming committee meets and welcomes the new member, customarily in the home of a member.
ChildrenParents or a parent joining the Meeting as a member can request membership for minor (under 21) children. Children of members do not need a clearness process.
Transfer of Membership
Friends who are already members of another Meeting may request that their membership be transferred to Third Haven Friends Meeting. Customarily, the Friend seeking the membership transfer asks the Clerk of their current Meeting to write a letter to the Clerk of Third Haven, recommending and requesting that Third Haven accept the transfer of membership. Pastoral Care considers the request for transfer. After the request is considered, it can be approved at the next meeting for business. A welcoming committee is formed to welcome transferred members.