Chapter 9 » 9.16

Local meetings and ecumenical relationships

Each meeting will decide in its local context the degree of commitment which is appropriate. Friends who are ecumenically active may need reminding of the need not to rush ahead at a pace beyond that at which their meeting as a whole is comfortable. Those who have earlier experiences of belonging to other churches will need to recognise that such churches may change over time in their beliefs and practices. Like Britain Yearly Meeting other churches include within their member ship people of very diverse beliefs.

At interchurch meetings Friends are valued for our willingness to uphold Quaker testimonies and leadings as much as for our tradition of listening and openness. But many aspects of Friends’ faith and practice are not widely appreciated; misunderstandings may occur when other churches’ lack of familiarity with our discipline and structure of church government, and Friends’ imperfect knowledge of theirs, produce mismatched expectations or faulty assumptions.

In defining the relationship between churches, the problem of appropriate wording will sooner or later occur. The wording under which London Yearly Meeting became a member of the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland (now Churches Together in Britain & Ireland) and the three national bodies (9.09) may be helpful in this regard, but other much simpler forms may be preferable. In negotiating acceptable terms of membership, Friends should hold to our testimony that credal statements can fetter the free action of the Spirit.

See also 27.2127.26 Creeds

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