When Should I become a Member?
When William Penn was convinced of the principles of Friends, and became a frequent attendant at their meetings, he did not immediately relinquish his gay apparel; it is even said that he wore a sword, as was then customary among men of rank and fashion. Being one day in company with George Fox, he asked his advice concerning it, saying that he might, perhaps, appear singular among Friends, but his sword had once been the means of saving his life without injuring his antagonist, and moreover, that Christ has said, “He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” George Fox answered, “I advise thee to wear it as long as thou canst.” Not long after this they met again, when William had no sword, and George said to him, “William, where is thy sword?” “Oh!” said he, “I have taken thy advice; I wore it as long as I could.” Friends Journal, Dec 1, 2003 by Paul Buckley
Quakers are people who belong to a historically Protestant Christian set of denominations known as the Religious Society of Friends1. Quakers are united by a belief in each human’s ability to experience the light within or see "that of God in every one"12. Quakers practice pacifism, spiritual equality for men and women, and simplicity in their lives123. Quakers also have a rich history of social activism and service in areas such as abolition, women’s rights, peace, and education24.
Becoming a member of the Quaker community means joining a global network of Friends who share these values and beliefs. It also means committing to a spiritual journey that involves regular worship, reflection, and discernment with other Quakers. Membership is not a requirement for attending Quaker meetings or participating in Quaker activities, but it is a way of deepening one’s relationship with God and with other Friends.
Quakers welcome anyone who feels drawn to their way of worship and witness. There is no fixed creed or doctrine that one has to accept to become a Quaker. However, there are some questions that Quakers ask potential members to consider, such as:
Do you feel at home in the life and worship of this meeting?
Are you in sympathy with the aims and purposes of the Society of Friends?
Do you intend to take an active part in its work?
Are you ready to uphold its testimonies?
If you feel that you can answer these questions affirmatively, or at least are willing to explore them further, then you may be ready to apply for membership. The process of becoming a member varies from meeting to meeting, but it usually involves writing a letter of application, meeting with a committee of Friends, and receiving approval from the monthly meeting (the local Quaker group)3.
Becoming a Quaker is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process of growth and transformation. As a member, you will have the opportunity to learn from other Quakers, share your gifts and talents, and contribute to the work of peace and justice in the world. You will also have the support and guidance of a loving community that will help you face the challenges and joys of life.
I hope this explanation helps you understand why Quakers should become members. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.
[Full disclosure, this section, complete with references, was primarially composed by the Bing Chatbot]