Meeting for Clearness

In Quakerism, the way of doing worship – the silence, the waiting for discernment, the openness to one another – is transposed to other contexts. For example, the decision making meetings held for the practical running of Quaker Meetings are held after the same fashion.

Smaller Meetings of Friends, called to reflect on a particular issue, are sometimes called. These “Meetings for Clearness” can be on any topic – conflict within the Meeting, supporting a Friend with a difficult problem or personal issue. They are also increasingly being used before Quaker weddings to discuss with the intending couple whatever issues or questions that they may have. It’s a way for the Meeting to support the couple in what can be a time of questioning.

I was initially reluctant to have anything as formal as a Meeting for Clearness. I am clear that I want to marry L, and I am clear that I want to marry in the Quaker tradition; and L has made it clear likewise. However, I was impressed when I had my membership interview by the spiritual depth and of the opportunity for learning that is offered by a informal gathering of a couple of Friends.

In the end, the Elders at our Meeting convinced us to have a Meeting for Clearness with a couple who got married a few years ago at the Meeting, two elders (of whom one couldn’t make it in the end), the registering officer and another from the Meeting who is one of the few people I know best  – I’ve only been here for a few months so don’t really know anyone well.

And, in the end, I’m really glad that it was as it was. No doubt L and I need to digest and talk about what happened this evening (for it was tonight), but I really felt the sincerity of the support and the spiritual depth of the occassion.

We’re going to have another session in January to talk about any outstanding issues or questions that arise in the meantime.

No doubt L will have her say so I’ll leave her space to do so.


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