by Middletown Monthly Meeting, February 2001
Until its most recent revision in 1997, the Yearly Meeting’s queries included the question, “To what extent is the vocal ministry exercised under the leading of the Divine Spirit?” Similar versions of this question are included in the disciplines of most unprogrammed Yearly Meetings in this country.
We urge Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to restore this important question to the queries to assist our meetings in reflecting on the ways in which God is shaping our meetings for worship and the speaking that takes place in them. We suggest that the question be included in the current first query on Meeting for Worship.
We would also be happy to substitute a slightly different wording from Pacific Yearly Meeting which reads: “Is the vocal ministry exercised under the leading of the Holy Spirit without pre-arrangement and in the simplicity and sincerity of truth?”
Middletown Meeting is located in Lima, Pennsylvaniam west of Philadelphia and is part of Concord QM and Philadelphia YM.
The Yearly Meeting never took up this proposal. As of 2022 the relevant query of Philadelphia YM reads: “How does our meeting encourage vocal ministry that spiritually nurtures the worshiping community?” When a member of the Faith & Practice revision committee was asked why this query was changed, she said “I’m not sure, but I suspect it is because Friends felt the earlier query might cause Friends’ to judge each others’ ministry.”