Ministry & Counsel

Beatrice Saxon Snell relates a story from her own experience, which reminds us that we are all potentially the instruments of God:
   I had a salutary lesson in sober thinking when I was first asked to become an elder. The invitation appalled me; I felt I was not old enough, had not been in the Society long enough; I suspected strongly that my monthly meeting had asked me on the inadequate grounds of vocal ministry; I read up the appropriate passages in Church government and felt still more appalled. Nevertheless I had been in the Society just long enough to know that the group often has a wisdom which can seldom be justified on logical grounds but which is, nevertheless, superior to the wisdom of the individual. I therefore went to consult a much respected elder of my acquaintance. She and her house were late Victorian; she sat on her ugly sofa with the poker up her spine, her feet set neatly together and her hands folded in her lap; and she let me talk myself out. When I had quite finished she inclined herself slightly towards me and said: ‘My dear, we have to take what we can get.’ I have since been convinced that this is a text which ought to be framed and hung up over the bed of every elder in the Society: it ought to be hung over the bed of every Friend who is tempted to refer to the elders as ‘they’.
1982

passage 12.08 in Faith & Practice of Britain Yearly Meeting

General Responsibility

The Ministry and Counsel Committee of the Concord Monthly Meeting oversees and nurtures the spiritual life of the Meeting so as to foster spiritual growth of each Member and Attender.

Membership

Humility of spirit and confidence that the power of God will work in each person are essential to service on the Committee. The Committee shall have at least six appointed members. Appointments are intended to be for staggered three-year terms. A majority of the members shall be Members of the Meeting. The Clerk(s) of Meeting and the Meeting Recorder shall be ex officio members of the Committee.

Organization

The Committee is responsible to Meeting for Business. The Committee shall annually appoint a Committee Presiding Clerk from among its members. The Committee Presiding Clerk shall be a Member of the Meeting. The Committee Presiding Clerk should be an active participant in the life of the Meeting. The Committee shall annually prepare an expense budget request for submission to Meeting for Business. The Committee shall be responsible for the Meeting’s relationship to Ministry and Counsel activities at Dover Quarterly and New England Yearly Meetings. The Committee submits the names of one or two nominees to Meeting for Business for appointment to New England Yearly Meeting’s Ministry and Counsel Committee.

Specific Responsibilities

Promote Preparation for Meeting for Worship –

The Committee should encourage personal prayer, meditation, and devotional reading to promote growth in the spiritual life and prepare each worshiper for corporate worship.

Enhance Meeting for Worship –

The Committee should be especially attentive to the quality of Meeting for Worship. The Committee should encourage those whose vocal ministry gives evidence of true spiritual insight and offer guidance to those whose messages seem inappropriate to Meeting for Worship. The Committee should also be constantly aware that the opportunity for silent communication with God during Meeting for Worship is basic to the spiritual life of Meeting.

Provide Pastoral Care –

The Committee should come to know all Members and Attenders, to share their joys and sorrows and find ways to encourage and help them. When needed the Committee may convene a clearness or other special committee to help a Friend(s) who is (are) seeking guidance or desire support from the Meeting.

Encourage and Administer Membership –

The Committee should assist young and new seekers to become acquainted with the organization of Meeting. The Committee should labor with inactive Members for restoration of their interest. The Committee should help seekers understand Friends’ principles and testimonies and encourage them to apply for membership when appropriate. The Committee considers all applications, transfers, affirmations, or terminations of membership before presenting these to Meeting for Business for action. After accepting an applicant into membership, the Clerk of Ministry and Counsel will send a Letter of Welcome to the new member.

Propose a State of Society Report –

At the end of each calendar year, the Committee may set a process to prepare and report on the state of the Monthly Meeting for the calendar year just passing. After approval, the Committee may forward the State of Society report to the Meeting for Business during the second month of the new year.

The report should be a searching self-examination by the meeting and its members of their spiritual strengths and weaknesses and of the efforts made to foster growth in the spiritual life. Reports may cover the full range of interest and concerns but should emphasize those indicative of the spiritual health of the meeting. Meetings may wish to consider one or more of the following:

  • quality of worship and spiritual ministry;
  • efforts to foster spiritual growth;
  • stands taken on Friends’ principles;
  • personal and family relations;
  • relations with community and other religious groups;
  • participation in general activities of Friends;
  • significant activities, outreach, or concerns of the local Meeting;
  • youth of the Meeting;
  • Meeting community.

Recognize Gifts in the Ministry –

The Committee should identify, support, and promote those Members who have a sustained gift of ministry. The Committee may recommend to Meeting for Business the recording of such gifts.

Care of Marriage and Other Committed Relationships –

The Committee should support and promote satisfaction in marriage and other committed relationships. The Committee should be available for a clearness process for such relationships.

Compose Memorials –

In commemoration of the life of a deceased Member, the Committee may, if appropriate, compose a written memorial and submit such for consideration by the Meeting for Business. The Committee should be available to help conduct memorial services for deceased Members.

Conduct Programs –

In cooperation with other Meeting committees, the Committee should provide and promote programs to the Meeting community in support of Committee responsibilities. Such programs may be presented after a fourth First Day (in the month) Meeting for Worship, in coordination with the Peace, Social, and Earthcare Concerns Committee.

Accept Other Responsibilities –

The Committee may accept responsibility for other activities as requested by the Meeting for Business. The Committee may look to New England Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice for guidance in carrying out Committee responsibilities.

Yearly Timeline by Month

i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. viii. ix. x. xi. xii.
All NH Friends Gathering Forward ‘State of Society’ report to Meeting for Business Forward ‘State of Society’ report to Dover Quarter & NEYM   Forward memorial minutes, if any, to NEYM     NEYM Sessions       Begin ‘State of Society’ report

 

Monthly Timeline by Week

1st First Day 2nd First Day 3rd First Day 4th First Day (5th First Day)
12:30-1:30 pm - Friendly Parenting Conversations 11:30 am-12:30 pm – Potluck lunch
12:30-~2:00 pm – Meeting for Business
9:00-10:00 am – Ministry & Counsel Committee Meeting 12:30 pm – possible Meeting for Learning 1:00 pm – Dover Quarter Meeting

Approved by the Committee on Fourth Day, 10th of Month XII 2003.

Ministry&CounselCommitteeDescription.pdf

Queries for Ministry & Counsel

Ministry & Counsel should read these queries at regular intervals and from time to time may find it valuable to answer them in writing.