Ministry and Worship Committee

Purpose: This committee seeks to ensure that each meeting for worship begins with quiet  and reverent assembling; that it proceeds on the basis of a silent and attentive search for  divine guidance; that it is served by spoken ministry inspired as way opens and addressed  to the conditions of those present; and that it is closed at an appropriate time.  

Common Purpose and Differing Functions of Ministry & Worship and Care &  Counsel  

These two committees have a common purpose—to help build and maintain a community  which unites all in the Meeting in a shared spiritual life, and which inspires all to walk in  the Light. Ministry and Worship is concerned primarily with what happens when the  Meeting gathers for worship or business. Ministry and Worship also has under its care the  spiritual needs of members and attenders. The Committee’s responsibilities include  inquiring into requests for membership and for marriage under the care of the Meeting as  well as into other requests regarding spiritual needs which may ultimately require a  decision by the Meeting for Business. Care and Counsel is concerned primarily with the  well-being of the Meeting’s individual members and their connection with the  community. Care and Counsel’s responsibilities include inquiring into requests when  those requests fall outside of Ministry and Worship’s area of responsibility.  

It may at times be unclear whether a particular need for assistance falls within the  responsibilities of the Ministry and Worship Committee or within the responsibilities of  the Care and Counsel Committee. At such times, the committee member(s) who become  aware of the need should, in consultation with other committee members and involved  persons, consider how the concern can be best addressed. These committees should be  mindful that uncertainty about which committee should respond to a concern or a need  should not, inadvertently, lead to neglect of that concern or need. 

All in Meeting are called to care for one another and for the Meeting. The two  committees described here foster and focus that caring in a spirit of commitment and  love. Their common purpose is central to the life of the Meeting. These committees will maintain close contact, holding joint meetings as the need arises at least once a year, to  consider the spiritual health of the Meeting.  

Membership: Membership of the Ministry and Worship Committee is composed of  members of the Meeting, nominated and approved by the Monthly Meeting. The  committee is usually twelve members serving three-year terms. 

Meetings: Held at least once a month. All meetings are open, except at the discretion of  the committee.  

Duties also include:  

1. Develops and encourages the spiritual growth of the Meeting and its members by  bringing such matters as may seem appropriate to the Meeting’s attention through  meetings for business, meetings for threshing, forums, or discussions. 

Handbook of the Atlanta Friends Meeting – 48 – Revised December, 2015 

2. Counsels and supports those who are led to speak out of the silence in meetings for  worship. (Inexperienced speakers may need to be encouraged and advised. Those  who are inclined to speak unacceptably, at length, too often, or too soon after another  speaker may need prompt and loving counseling.)  

3. Helps members arrange meetings for marriage. 

4. Arranges special meetings for worship with those who cannot attend regularly  scheduled meetings because they are ill or imprisoned.  

5. Helps prospective members and new members to understand Friends’ principles and  practices by being available after meeting for worship to answer questions. Identifies  needs and creates programs for Adult religious education.  

6. Provides a clearness committee for all personal requests requiring action of the  Meeting, including membership, transfer of membership, marriage and ministry. At  least two current members of Ministry and Worship will serve on each of these  clearness committees. These committees may also include previous members of  Ministry and Worship. Only members of the meeting are eligible to serve on these  clearness committees. 

7. Assists in the clearness process for establishing new meetings for worship.  8. Reads and invites response to a query at the beginning of each meeting for business.  

9. Coordinates with the Clerk, the close of meeting for worship and arrangements for  announcements.  

10. Assists with arrangements in time of death, working with Care and Counsel to form a  memorial committee (see Memorial Committees).