4. Care for the Meeting Community

Care for one another

Are love and unity maintained among us? When conflicts exist, are they faced with patience, forbearance, and openness to healing? Are avenues for exploring differences kept open? To what extent does our Meeting ignore differences in order to avoid possible conflicts?

Is the Meeting a safe, loving place? When we become aware of someone’s need, do we offer assistance? Are the meetinghouse and the Meeting property physically accessible to all?

Do all adults and children in our Meeting receive our loving care and encouragement to share in the life of our Meeting, and to live as Friends? Do we truly welcome newcomers and include them in our Meeting community?

When a member’s conduct or manner of living gives cause for concern, how does the Meeting respond?

How does our Meeting keep in touch with all its members?

Am I ready to offer assistance as part of my religious community serving its members? Am I equally willing to accept graciously the help of others?

Do I recognize and face disagreements and other situations that put me in conflict with others? Do I manifest a spirit ready to give or receive forgiveness?

Do I treat adults and children alike with respect and without condescension? Is my manner with visitors and attenders to my Meeting one of welcome?

Care in my home

(This set of personal queries may be helpful for the family to consider within the family setting. Families may also wish to explore other General Queries as part of regular family worship.)

Is my home a place where all members of the family receive affection and understanding, and where visitors are welcome? Do I choose recreation and a manner of living that enriches the body, mind, and spirit; and shows a high regard for family, community, and creation?

Is our family prepared to discuss such sensitive topics as death, faith, money, even sex and drugs, in a manner that allows openness and honesty, and also direction?

How do I help to arrange life at home so that there is an opportunity for all to learn and absorb by example what it means to live a life of Spirit-led commitment?

What are Queries?

Queries are an approach that Friends use to guide self-examination, using them not as an outward set of rules but as a framework within which we assess our convictions and examine, clarify, and consider prayerfully the direction of our lives and the life of our spiritual community.

Rooted in the history of Friends, the Queries reflect the Quaker way of life, reminding Friends of the ideals we seek to attain. While the text of the Queries has changed somewhat over the years, it has been marked by consistency of convictions and concerns within Friends testimonies – simplicity, peace, integrity, stewardship, equality and community – as well as by strength derived from worship, ministry and social conscience.

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice includes twelve Queries. Most meetings consider one Query each month during worship and meetings for business. Each Query consists of two sections: one pertaining to the corporate life of the meeting; the other pertaining to individual reflection. Many meetings read the Query aloud during a meeting for business each month and set aside time for corporate discernment and reflection. Other meetings publish the Query in their newsletters for members and attenders to consider on their own.