As I’ve been writing lately, some Friends of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) feel this is a time we could revise our advices and queries, and the Ministry and Counsel Committee has encouraged us to do so.
I’ve made a number of attempts to try to do so myself and, more importantly, to encourage others to do so as well. Several people have made some very helpful comments on the unofficial Facebook group page related to Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). It feels to me that sometimes the discussion gets a little sidetracked from the actual usefulness of a specific query, but I am glad the discussions are occurring.
Stepping back a little from talking about a specific query, I’m wondering what Friends think about the best process to move this along. We’ve had a discipline revision committee do a lot of work to come up with our new Faith and Practice. The advices and queries are included in that, which is the responsibility of the Ministry and Counsel Committee. That committee has asked the monthly meetings to include any suggestions they have for revising the advices and queries in their report of their query discussions.
Realizing most of our monthly meetings are both busy and don’t have large numbers of active members, it seems continued exploration of this in the unofficial Facebook group could offer one of perhaps several ways of making progress on this. I’m wondering what you think about a couple of scenarios.
One might be to come up with a template to help monthly meetings as they have their discussion about this. That could involve including and expanding on the useful discussion that has occurred in the unofficial Facebook group. Statements from other yearly meetings and Quakers about the purposes of queries could also be included. And perhaps suggestions for different ways to come at this, such as Marshall Massey’s suggestion to think about our own past significant experiences, and how a query could be written that expresses that. Rather than trying to start with a question, start with the experience itself.
Another scenario would be to continue the discussions we have started on the Facebook group. Then as people are led, they could take some form of some of those queries that speak to them back to their monthly meeting for consideration there.
I would assume there would also be the possibility of forming a committee similar to the discipline revision committee to work specifically on the advices and queries, although I have the impression many of us feel it is useful for each monthly meeting to be having these discussions as an expanded part of the regularly occurring query considerations.