Termination of Membership

  • Resignation by the individual
    • Members may find that they are no longer in accord with the faith and practice of Friends or no longer wish to be actively involved in their monthly meeting. Such members may be encouraged to seek the assistance of the pastoral care committee or others in the meeting in examining their beliefs and practices and the reasons for disagreement or lack of involvement with Friends. If no resolution results, they may resign from the Religious Society of Friends by submitting a letter of resignation to the clerk of their meeting.
    • When a member submits a letter of resignation, the meeting may still take action. A committee appointed by the pastoral care committee or from the meeting at large may visit the person, inquire in love and forbearance into the cause of the proposed resignation and, if appropriate, endeavor to bring this person back into the fellowship of Friends. A resignation may be accepted without appointing such a committee if the meeting is satisfied that the member’s decision will not be altered by further efforts.
    • When the meeting accedes to a member’s decision to resign, a minute is prepared stating that this Friend is released at their own request. The individual is no longer a member of the Religious Society of Friends. The letter informing the former member that their decision to resign has been accepted will show sensitivity to the person leaving membership.
  • Release by the monthly meeting
    • When a member disregards the obligations of membership, exhibits lack of interest, fails to reply to communications from the pastoral care committee or passes out of the knowledge of the meeting, it is clear that the member no longer values being part of the life of the meeting. In such cases it is normally the task of the pastoral care committee to attempt to restore interest and involvement. The meeting may appoint a special committee to deal with inactive members.
    • If continued efforts prove unavailing, the meeting prepares a minute noting the circumstances and recording removal of the individual from membership. The clerk of the meeting promptly sends notice of this action to the individual.
    • In the case of a Friend whose actions seem out of harmony with the standard of conduct appropriate to the Religious Society of Friends, the meeting, primarily through the pastoral care committee, may seek to renew the commitment of the member to Friends practice. If this effort fails, and if the committee believes that it can accomplish nothing further, it should report this to the monthly meeting, which may appoint a special committee to make further attempts to reach a satisfactory solution.
    • If all these efforts are to no avail, the meeting is expected to take steps toward removal of the Friend from membership. The pastoral care committee or a special committee will prepare in writing a proposed minute of removal recommending such action. When the minute is received by the monthly meeting, the meeting clerk will convey a copy to the person involved, and indicate that further action will be deferred to a future meeting for business. The member who is subject to removal is invited to explain their position to the meeting in person or in writing.
    • After the member has had an opportunity to explain their position, if the monthly meeting still believes that the membership of the Friend in question should be terminated, it then approves the minute of removal and the individual is notified of the action. It is expected that all dealings involving removal from membership will be handled with the utmost patience, forbearance, and consideration, for the sake of both the individual and the meeting.
    • A person whose membership has ended either by resignation or by action of the monthly meeting, and who subsequently desires to join either the same or a different meeting, may do so by following the procedure outlined earlier for application for membership.