This has been another great year as we worked together writing, reading, rewriting, and coming up with a final draft for several sections of the Faith & Practice. We have met ten times during the year. Because we needed to cancel both the Second Month and Third Month meetings, we added in an extra meeting in June so that we could finish writing in time to get the new draft to the printer and delivered to Frostburg State University in time for Annual Session.
Who would have thought at the beginning of our year in Ninth Month that we would have a momentous occasion: two of our members become engaged! Wonderful things happen when you worship, share, write, and be open to the spirit together. We truly listen to what each is saying. We begin each meeting with a half-hour of worship, which helps us all.
Progress of the Revision of our Faith and Practice
As stated in our current Faith & Practice (1988), “This manual of Faith and Practice of Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends is composed of statements of faith and of advice on organization and practice considered relevant for this present time. It is issued in the expectation, however, that another generation of seekers on the road toward Truth will make changes.”
In 2002, the Yearly Meeting approved the revival of the Faith & Practice Revision Committee to reconsider the structure and content of our current document. Since that time, the Committee has published its work in progress periodically in the hope that each Meeting and each Friend will help with that reconsideration. That hope has met with a gratifying response. At the time of this publication, we have received comments from 14 Meetings and several individuals, as well as some worship groups. We are encouraged by the response of Friends: some Meetings have reviewed our drafts in committee, while others have established “Friendly Eights” to reflect on the “Queries, Advices and Voices” before going to their Monthly Meetings for approval. Whatever the approach, the thoughtful consideration of this material is received with much thanks. We particularly appreciate responses from Meetings because they are seasoned through discussion with others and give us a better sense of the range of reactions among Friends.
Although we have attended to many of your responses, we have not yet integrated all comments received by the date of this publication. We consider all suggestions carefully. For those who find their suggestions have not been followed, it may be because others had a different view and our consideration of all the comments received led us elsewhere. For example, many Friends found the open-ended format of the new queries helpful in exploring issues, while others missed the “yes” or “no” queries. Because many meetings are in the midst of reviewing Voices, Advices, and Queries, we have kept this section the same as last year’s version to avoid the complexity and potential confusion of reviewing comments on different drafts.
We anticipate completing our work on the following schedule:
- By the time of Annual Meeting in 2011, we expect to have a complete draft of Faith and Practice. The 2011 edition will incorporate our deliberations on all comments received by February 1, 2011.
- We will integrate all comments received on the 2011 draft by February 1, 2012. The edition of 2012 will be, in essence, the version we submit for review at our Annual Meeting in 2013.
- We will seek approval for the new Faith and Practice in 2013.
Members of your Faith and Practice Revision Committee are available to meet with individual Meetings to discuss the history of this effort, to present our progress, and to encourage further discussion.
Please consider establishing a process to review this draft within your meeting. Send your suggestions, revisions, comments, and corrections to:
Faith and Practice Revision Committee 305 Friends Way Harper’s Ferry West Virginia 25425 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com