COMMITTEE ON MINISTRY AND COUNSEL
The spiritual welfare of Meeting members and general welfare of the Meeting as a whole are primary responsibilities of the Committee on Ministry and Counsel (M&C). These responsibilities include three main areas: care of the meeting for worship; a concern for the state of the Meeting as a community; and pastoral care of individuals who are a part of the Meeting.
A central concern of the committee is the quality of the meeting for worship. The committee considers and responds to such questions as: How can the Meeting help attenders understand Quaker worship? How can the spirit of worship be deepened? Are there those who should be encouraged to speak more often, or those who would do well to consider their messages more carefully? The preparation and revision of advices, queries, and statements on the ministry and the meeting for worship are in the hands of the committee, as is the selection of persons to close meeting for worship and to read aloud the monthly query. Readings for Reflection, which the committee provides for the monthly newsletter, often address aspects of meeting for worship or other topics explored in the queries.
The committee encourages a sense of community within the Meeting by organizing small groups for worship sharing, fellowship, or study. The committee may attempt to find ways of easing or resolving conflicts or difficulties arising in the Meeting. Ministry and Counsel names clearness committees for marriages, reports to the Meeting on such marriages, and shares responsibility with the Meeting Clerk for the oversight of weddings and the proper keeping of marriage records. It recognizes births and adoptions (sometimes with a ceremony) and presents a pledge of support to the new parents. Finally, the committee has responsibility for contacting family after the death of a member or attender and offering sympathy and assistance, especially with arranging a memorial meeting. The committee, in consultation with the family, should designate someone to write a memorial minute for members and others who have been significantly involved in the Meeting community.
The committee is also concerned with the pastoral care of Meeting members and attenders, trying to be aware of those in particular need. Duties may include visiting, encouragement, counseling, and assistance or referral for those who are ill, in financial straits, or otherwise in difficult circumstances. Some of this pastoral work may be referred to the Care and Visitation Committee. Counseling may be handled through clearness committees, committees of care, or an individual named by the Committee. Friends may ask the committee for assistance in clarifying a situation, working on solutions to problems, or testing a leading or concern.
The committee nominates Friends to serve on Nominating Committee, and nominates a Meeting representative to the LEYM Ministry and Nurture Committee.
Committee Membership Term: Three-year overlapping. Persons on the committee have to be members of the Society of Friends.
Convener: Mark Hoover