Minute: Westbury Meeting on FUM Personnel Policy
Westbury Monthly Meeting Minute to NYYM
in Response to FUM Hiring Policy
Approved seventh month, 12, 2008
As we gather in worship to consider the FUM hiring policy, we hold New York Yearly Meeting Friends in the Light. In a spirit of love and fellowship, we affirm that we all seek the truth with regard to loving, responsible relationships under God. Therefore, we urge New York Yearly Meeting to labor with FUM to consider our present testimony on sexual love and fidelity to which New York Yearly Meeting was led after years of difficult work in revising our Faith and Practice:
“The Biblical witness to a covenant with God is also our witness to the precious presence of the living Spirit in us and among us. God is present in our relationships with one other, animating our interactions with extended families, meeting members, friends, and neighbors. All of these relationships are part of God's covenant with us, written in our hearts.
“To be faithful to the Spirit in our life together is never more difficult or more rewarding than in family relationships — spousal, parental, filial —, which depend on God's help as well as mutual trust and love. When we call our family ties ‘covenant relationships,’ we acknowledge the involvement of God and our meetings in maintaining and upholding these precious commitments.
“Marriage is solemnized in God's presence and nurtured with divine assistance in reverence and love. Couples covenant with God, their meetings, and each other to clarify and strengthen their commitments. When two people make their vows to each other in the presence of God and their friends, they take each other as lifelong partners, promising with divine assistance to be faithful to each other.
“Early Friends believed that marriage depended on the prayerful inward life of the couple's deep, abiding commitment to each other and to God, not on the outward forms of ecclesiastic blessing or legal contract. Our witness today must uphold the same high standards for ourselves in our covenant relationships: standards of love, fidelity, and discipline that bear witness to the presence of the Spirit among us rather than to the self-interest and immediate gratification of desires prized in our culture. Sexual relationships, especially, are too tender and powerful to be left to unspoken understandings.
“Love reaches further than words, and we experience the Spirit long before any words. The family is a precious spiritual community, and we rejoice and are nourished in homes full of friendliness, refreshment, and peace, where God becomes real to those who live there and to all who visit. We joyfully acknowledge the sustaining, enriching presence of loving unions among us, and we want the meeting's strength to undergird these covenants.
“Some of us live alone and find love and community among our friends. Some of us are single parents, caring for our children. Some members' families follow traditional patterns; others do not. Just as there is that of God in every person, there is that of God in every relationship that calls upon God. We seek to treat responsible, loving relationships tenderly and respectfully. We seek to hold each other in the light of our ideal that Spirit-filled covenant relationships are the one sure basis for love and sexuality.”
[Emphasis added by Westbury Meeting.]