So tomorrow I head home after spending a week in Bath with 2000 Quakers at Yearly Meeting Gathering (YMG), it has been a spirit lead week with things that delight and challenge me. I have found the issues that surround membership difficult to deal with at the same time as inspirational. At times in my life I have felt the support of the meeting I belong to even though I have not been in the position of being able to attend meeting, and as a result of this week I hope that I might be able to return to meeting in my area.
One of the issues that has always surrounded membership for me is the position we put our young friends and transient friends through not enabling them to go into membership because it expects us to be in one location, with the difficulties faced by those who do not have a geographical area they would call there own I hope our Meeting for Sufferings and hopefully other satellite groups will be able to solve this issue.
As someone who once fitted into this group I find it hard to believe that we are happy to trust our children with these people but are unable to offer them membership until they have settled down to one location should they want to. I was asked today how I might solve this issue, and so far my thoughts have fallen upon two possible solutions, allowing membership of Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) thus not tying a Friend to a specific area, or in fact having a organisation within BYM that people can apply to membership too. I know this is a complicated issue and is not likely to be solved quickly but I do hope we can start to support those amongst us who wish to be in membership a bit better.
I am not of the opinion that membership is not important though, as I feel personally it is a commitment we make to live and explore the ‘Quaker’ path and when I was an attender I valued learning more before committing my life and path to the life I now have chosen to lead, with god at my side.