COMMITTEE TO REVISE FAITH AND PRACTICE (2000)
The Yearly Meeting referred the task of rewriting the section on the membership of children to an appropriate committee, to be determined by the clerk, in 1977. That fall, the Representative Meeting appointed members for a one-year term to a committee to revise the Book of Discipline.
The committee found additional areas where material needed to be changed or added: sexist language, prison reform, troubled marriages, separation and divorce, death and dying, and human sexuality. The committee also considered how to make sure that references to Christ remained in a faith that the committee recognized ranged from Christian to an unspecified universalist. Friends, individually and in suggestions from monthly meetings, called on the committee to consider most sections of the book. The second part of the book, Practice and Procedure, received final approval in July 1987; the first part, Faith, in July 1995. The most recent edition was approved in July 1998.
Purposes & Objectives
To revise the Yearly Meeting’s Book of Discipline according to the direction of the Yearly Meeting. This direction comes in minutes of the Yearly Meeting in session, from the written suggestions of individual Friends, and from minutes of monthly meetings.
Functions & Activities
- The committee’s work takes place under the care of the Coordinating Committee for Ministry and Counsel, to whom the committee reports. Ministry and Counsel may offer any guidance and counsel for the committee’s work and any help in gaining Friends’ understanding of committee proposals for the revision.
- The committee meets as needed to consider updating and rewriting ideas, paragraphs, and sections of Faith and Practice. Between committee meetings, members write suggestions for new sections or for changes in sections already published.
- The committee presents draft proposals directly to the summer sessions of Yearly Meeting. (Friends must consider and approve these proposals at two consecutive yearly meetings before they may be published.) (Faith and Practice, page 140.)
- The committee is on call to speak about suggested revisions and to listen to Friends’ thoughts and concerns.
Organization & Method of Appointment
For the first twelve years, the Yearly Meeting appointed committee members to one-year terms. The Yearly Meeting considered the committee to be ad hoc and therefore not subject to the limits of successive appointments. Since 1988, the Yearly Meeting has appointed members for three-year staggered terms, with about one-third of the members having their terms end each year. The Yearly Meeting’s limit of two successive terms now applies to appointees. The Yearly Meeting’s Nominating Committee recommends appointments. The committee selects its own clerk and recording clerk for one-year terms and names a representative to the Coordinating Committee for Ministry and Counsel for a one-year term as well. The committee currently has six members.
Meeting Times & Places
Prior to the 1995 publication of Faith and Practice, the committee often met once a month for a day-long meeting, sometimes with an overnight at a weekend, usually in New York City but occasionally out of the city. The committee in session sets future meeting times. The committee may meet during the Yearly Meeting sessions and has held open meetings from time to time.
The expenses of the committee are met by an appropriation in the Operating Budget. Sales of Faith and Practice cover the costs of printing.