What Are Queries For Anyway?
I think the queries were originally provided by the yearly meetings for their monthly and quarterly meetings to report back to them. The closest thing to that in Pacific YM today is the State of the Meeting report, which each monthly meeting completes annually and sends to the quarterly and yearly meeting Ministry and Oversight committees. But I don't know of any meeting in PYM which uses the queries to structure their report, even though I have suggested it before. Just wait 'til I'm clerk...
But really, the queries in our current PYM book of Faith and Practice weren't written with that in mind. They are read out loud, one section a month, on the first Sunday of the month in our meeting for worship, and at the beginning of our monthly meeting for business. Sometimes individuals respond to them in worship, but mostly we just consider them in silence. If you asked most PYM folks, this is what they would say the F&P Queries are for. (which is not much, IMHO)
The Advices and Queries in PYM F&P are the closest we come to a statement of our faith and practice, and they always go together in the book. The A&Q were written by a committee that labored for a long time to come to unity on the right language and the right topics and the right number of sets of A&Q. That committee is called the Discipline Committee, and they wrote the whole F&P, the last version took 10 years or so from the time they started until they finished in 2001.
When we have opportunities for worship sharing, at PYM gatherings or quarterly meetings for example, there is usually a new set of queries developed for the occasion - on the theme of the gathering, or something like that. They are usually developed shortly before the meeting by one or two people from the M&O committee. One SF Friend says that it doesn't matter what the queries are in worship sharing, it always comes down to "How is the Spirit moving in your life?"
In my monthly meeting, we have had a couple of series of worship sharing opportunities, after meeting for worship, or in the evening, to respond specifically to the queries in our F&P. Sometimes, these have been rich opportunities for spiritual formation and sometimes they have ended up being just a gathering for the most lonely or conflict-desiring people in the meeting. But that's true for any series of events in our meeting.
In your experience, how are queries used? Are they useful?
Labels: meeting work
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