Pastoral Care In Unprogrammed Meetings
"How do Quaker clergy care for Members?"
All Meetings in our branch of Quakerism have no paid or formally recognized clergy, so the work of pastoral care of members and their families is done by members of our Meeting.
"If there are no ordained clery, who manages pastoral care?"
Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting is part of the larger body of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM). Our practice with regard to pastoral care of members and other matters is described in the PYM book of Faith and Practice. Regarding pastoral care of members, Faith and Practice identifies a Committee of Overseers, and describes their work:
"A Committee of Overseers is appointed to assume leadership in maintaining a caring community, helping all members to find their right roles as nurturers of others. Its tasks may be shared with other committees."
Pastoral care and counseling are the special responsibility of the members of this committee. They should take a personal interest in the spiritual and physical welfare of each member of the Meeting. Membership on this committee calls for dedication, tact, and discretion. It should be entered into prayerfully, with an alert willingness to be of service. Overseers should meet together regularly and carry on their work in a spirit of consecration and love.
Our Meeting uses the name “Membership Care” for this committee. Our Membership Care Committee (MCC) is appointed by the Monthly Meeting to assume leadership in maintaining a loving and caring community. Our meeting describes the charge to members of this committee as follows:
The Meeting encourages those on the Membership Care Committee to:
- Check in with members to see how they are doing spiritually, emotionally and physically.
- Facilitate and nurture Quaker spirituality and community
- Inform other members if there are needs with which the Meeting could be helpful
- Be in communication if something has gone amiss in a member’s relationship with the Meeting
- Serve as a communication channel between members and the Meeting’s official structures for clearness and support