Chapter 9 » 9.18

Local meetings and ecumenical relationships

Membership by a meeting of a particular ecumenical body may be impossible, for example because the wording of its Basis is unacceptably exclusive, or because the mutual recognition of ministers which is involved does not extend to the Quaker understanding of ministry, or because joint membership for all participating churches’ members is required. (Such automatic joint membership is unacceptable both because of the practical problems encountered upon transfer into an area meeting without the same ecumenical experience, and because, in departing from the principle of the individual application for membership, it is not in accordance with our discipline as set out in chapter 11.) In cases of doubt, reference should be made (as under 9.17) to the Recording Clerk, through whom advice may be obtained. If membership of a particular body proves impossible the meeting will have to consider how its relationships with other churches can be carried forward in different ways. Many practical forms of joint activity, from Christian Aid Week to work on housing and other social issues, are well established and present few if any problems for Friends. Some will wish to go thus far and no farther.

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