In all the ministries of our Meeting and its participants, we seek to teach and live in consistent agreement with the historic Friends testimonies of honesty and integrity, simplicity, equality of persons, and peace and nonviolence.

 Query -- What opportunities have you had this year to "let your life speak" in a visible, active witness of authentic discipleship in the areas of simplicity, equality of persons, truthful integrity, nonviolence, and other Sermon on the Mount values?

 

                                                            Minute to Indiana Yearly Meeting
                                              from Winchester Friends Meeting Concerning
                                           the Use of Symbolized Baptism and Communion


June 6, 2004
January 8, 2006


Indiana Yearly Meeting
(Representative Council, Committee on Ministry & Oversight, superintendent)
4715 N. Wheeling
Muncie, IN  47304

Dear Friends,

On this Sixth Day of June 2004, Winchester Friends Monthly Meeting for Business minutes its support for Indiana Yearly Meeting and its constituent Monthly Meetings to maintain the historic Friends testimony of not utilizing or offering symbolized baptism or communion.  While we do not wish harm or impediment upon the work of any of our sister Monthly Meetings in IYM, we oppose any alteration of the Indiana Yearly Meeting Faith & Practice to accommodate those practices in IYM churches.

It is our conviction that true sacramentality depends entirely on the inward genuineness of the believer's faith and experience of Christ's saving work, not upon any outward symbol of ritual purity.  Jesus Himself is true sacrament, the Divine made available to every sincere seeker by His Spirit without need for symbolic or human mediation.  We believe it continues to be important for Friends to proclaim this unique expression of the Gospel to the Church and world at large.

We unite with the words of George Fox University professor Paul Anderson, who writes:

If Jesus Christ is all-sufficient, then to add anything to Christ is to diminish His sufficiency....
To symbolize inward faith by any measure other than Christ like love diminishes one's faith. 
It puts the emphasis on creaturely activity rather than on the work of the Creator.... True
baptism and true  communion are absolutely essential for believers.  They simply are not
conveyed by, nor must they be confused with, outward [symbols] of inward faith.... For our
lives to become fully sacramental, three priorities remain:  First, acknowledge Jesus Christ
as God's saving revealing self-communication to you personally, and do so often.... Second,
create sacramental space in your devotional life to daily feed upon the "bread" Jesus offers
through prayer and scripture reading.  There is no substitute for being immersed in the Holy
Spirit of Christ.  That, and only that, is true baptism.  Third, regard the gathered meeting for
worship....as the sacramental place to encounter the living presence of God radically.... This
is the "real Presence," and there is no substitute for communing with Christ in corporate
fellowship.... While many Christians still employ ritual sacraments, the Quaker testimony on
the sacraments is needed desperately by the church and the world.  These are not just sectarian distinctives. They are central insights into the meaning of the Gospel revealed by Jesus Christ
Himself.  If we abide in Christ believingly, nothing else is needed.  If we do not, nothing else
will suffice. 
                             (On the Character of Sacramentality, unpublished, Paul Anderson, 2003)


Minute approved on May 24, 2004, by Winchester Friends Ministry & Oversight, and on June 6, 2004, by Winchester Monthly Meeting; minute reaffirmed by Winchester Friends Ministry & Oversight on November 28, 2005, and by Winchester Monthly Meeting on January 8, 2006

              Rob Pearson, M&O Clerk           Bob McHolland, Monthly Meeting Clerk

 

 
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