Recording of Gifts in Ministry
Friends have the practice of officially recognizing a gift in the ministry when a member has consistently spoken to the edification and spiritual help of the meeting. Not every member who has spoken acceptably in meeting has been given official recognition. Some meetings of New England Yearly Meeting have chosen to give up this practice, but all meetings seek to encourage such gifts when they appear. Meetings wishing to record gifts in the ministry should use the following procedures.
When a member gives evidence of such a gift, Ministry and Counsel may consider whether official recognition should be given. It should be borne in mind that such recognition in ministry not only is an expression of approval of one who is locally helpful but also is an affirmation of the Friend's ability to interpret the Society of Friends to the wider community.
When Ministry and Counsel is satisfied that a member has a sustained gift in the ministry, this may be reported to the monthly meeting. If the monthly meeting approves, Ministry and Counsel should prepare a minute for consideration of the quarterly meeting Ministry and Counsel, which will appoint a committee to appraise the general fitness of the individual under consideration and to report at a subsequent session of the quarterly meeting Ministry and Counsel. If the committee reports favorably, the matter should be brought before the quarterly meeting by an extract from the minutes of the quarterly meeting Ministry and Counsel.
When the quarterly meeting has acted favorably upon the matter, the recording is thereby completed, and the clerk should furnish a copy of the minute to the monthly meeting of which the individual is a member. The latter should enter this minute in full on its book of record. The action should also be reported to the Yearly Meeting Committee on Ministry and Counsel.
When a proposal to record a member as a minister is not approved, the body taking this action should so inform the Ministry and Counsel in which the recommendation originated.
In case a member who has been recorded as a minister appears to have lost the gift or usefulness in the ministry, a proposal to rescind the action recording him or her as a minister may originate in Ministry and Counsel of either the monthly meeting or the quarterly meeting of which the person is a member. In every case final action should rest with the quarterly meeting. The individual concerned and the monthly meeting to which he or she belongs should be notified before final action is taken.
The status of a recorded minister is transferable with a certificate of membership from one monthly meeting to another and from one yearly meeting to another.