Friends who are interested in exploring at-large membership should become familiar with the sections of Faith & Practice that explain traditional membership:
Individuals who wish to apply for at-large membership in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting are encouraged to submit a letter of application to the Clerk of the Ministry & Care Committee.
The letter should include the following:
- A statement of the applicant’s understanding of the Religious Society of Friends, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, and an understanding of how at-large membership meets their spiritual needs.
- A plan for worshipping in the manner of Friends over the next year.
- Worship may include monthly meetings, quarterly meetings, yearly meetings, Pendle Hill, or another body with regular or irregular worship.
- A plan for religious education over the next year.
- Religious education may include workshops, retreats, or religious education classes from any one of the many organizations that offers these opportunities, including but not limited to, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Pendle Hill, Friends General Conference, a quarterly meeting event, or a monthly meeting.
- A commitment to remain in communication with PYM, including updated contact information and requests for support or assistance as needed.
- An annual update to the appropriate committee with an evaluation of what’s working, what’s not working, what needs to change, either personally or in the at-large membership process.
Friends have the option of asking a group to write a letter of support for their application. That group could be a committee, a quarter, a worship group, Young Adult Friends, or another Quaker organization the applicant is in community with.
When the letter is received, the Clerk of the Ministry & Care Committee will appoint a clearness committee to meet with the individual and explore their spiritual journey. If the committee and the applicant are clear that the individual is open and prepared for at-large membership, then the clerk will write a letter of welcome.
Individuals who complete the clearness process are welcomed into membership. At-large members are eligible to serve on PYM councils and committees, as PYM officers, as representatives to external organizations, or to receive grants. Membership is one way to be a Quaker, but not the only way.