The Faith and Practice Revision committee consists of at least six persons and not more than ten, nominated by the Nominating Committee and appointed by the Yearly Meeting. These persons are appointed when the Interim or Yearly Meeting minute the need for revision. Because the Committee needs to know one another well enough to work together throughout the rewriting, the members of the Committee shall continue on the Committee until the committee’s work is done, or they resign. When no revisions are before the Committee and the Committee has completed all its responsibilities, the Yearly Meeting releases these persons from their appointment to this Committee.
The Committee receives proposed changes and develops new text where needed. They circulate proposed revisions to all the Monthly meetings and worship groups in Baltimore Yearly Meeting.
The above is what the Faith & Practice Revision Committee has been trying to have the Manual of Procedure Committee change. This corresponds to what we actually do. The current description in the Manual of Procedure was written a few years after the 1988 version was done and small changes were expected from time to time. Although some people say we are rewriting, not revising, the dictionary does not differentiate between the two words. In order to revise, one needs to rewrite and in order to rewrite one needs to revise.
The Faith and Practice Revision Committee consists of at least three persons nominated by the Nominating Committee and appointed by the Yearly Meeting. These persons are appointed only when proposed revisions have been presented in writing to the Yearly Meeting. The same provisions regarding rotation of members and term limits apply as for other standing committees. When no revisions are before the Committee and the Committee has completed all its responsibilities, the Yearly Meeting releases these persons from their appointment to this Committee.
The Committee receives proposed changes and circulates proposed revisions to all the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings in Baltimore Yearly Meeting with sufficient time that Monthly Meetings may prepare comments for a Quarterly Meeting session before Yearly Meeting. The Committee may help prepare proposed changes to ensure clarity and consistency with other sections of Faith and Practice. Printing and distribution of Faith and Practice or of its revised sections should be coordinated with the Publications Committee.
1) Looking at your committee description in the BYM Manual of Procedure: What is the most meaningful,enduring or vital part of your committee’s charge? Where is the energy, the Spirit, in it?
The description of the Faith & Practice Revision Committee in the 2009 Manual is quite incorrect. The second sentence is incorrect: “These persons are appointed only when proposed revisions have been presented in writing to the Yearly Meeting.” Appointments have not been based on this criterion, but have been made to consider extensive revision to the document.
The third sentence is also incorrect: “The same provisions regarding rotation of members and term limits apply as for other standing committees.” The terms on Faith & Practice Revision are much more lengthy than is normal.
And regarding the fourth sentence, while individuals have resigned, no one has been released: there are a multitude of revisions that have been before the Committee for several years.
The importance of circulating proposed revisions cannot be understated. The Publications Committee no longer exists. Faith & Practice Revision has taken on the responsibilities of publication.
2) How does the Committee seek to accomplish this vital work? What vision does this move us toward?
The Committee meets in worshipful gatherings almost once a month for the last several years. Its task is to consider whether the current 1988 version of the Faith and Practice adequately reflects our current understanding of our faith and our practices.
3) What can we do best at this level, rather than at our monthly meetings or through national or international organizations?
This is a concern of the whole Yearly Meeting, and the participation of Monthly Meetings in the process is vital to a well documented and well understood Faith and Practice. National and International organizations are largely irrelevant. However we have enjoyed researching the Faith and Practices of other Yearly Meetings as amusing resources.
4) How does the work of your Committee enrich, influence, or change Baltimore Yearly Meeting as a whole? Where do you see that work taking us as a Yearly Meeting?
The revised Faith and Practice of Baltimore Yearly Meeting should enliven Friends’ interest and understanding of the depth and quality of our religion. We hope that our work will be relevant and appropriate to inform newcomers as well as practicing Friends for a great many years to come.
The Committee unites strongly with the statement below.
“Revision of Faith and Practice is a concern of the whole Yearly Meeting, and the participation of Monthly Meetings in the process is vital to a well-documented and well understood Faith and Practice. The Committee receives proposed changes and develops new text where needed. It curculates proposed revsions to all the Monthly Meetings and worship groups in Baltimore Yearly Meeting and carefully considers further revisions and suggestions.”