Chapter 16 » 16.37
Civil law requirements
Action by area and local meetings
The use of meetings for clearness in preparation for marriage
Early Friends instituted ‘meetings for clearness’ (12.22–12.25) to ensure that those about to be joined in marriage were ‘clear’ of any impediment to their marriage. In recent decades, Quakers have used meetings for clearness as a pastoral part of the preparation for marriage according to the usage of Friends. This is strongly recommended. A meeting for clearness can provide an opportunity for the couple and selected members of the meeting community to explore their intentions and hopes, the nature of the commitment that is being contemplated, and ways the meeting can support the marriage after its solemnisation. Consideration of a non-member’s acceptance of the Quaker understanding of marriage could also be explored here (see 16.27). The small group of Friends and the couple will get to know one another at a deeper level. Prayerful consideration in a relaxed atmosphere is time well spent, which may be of benefit to the couple in later years.