The Need to Express Care

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Dear Friends: I hear a lot of discussion about how to increase membership in Friends communities around my state, where we have a few birthright Friends who were instrumental in the foundation of Friends meetings here. They have had a major influence on how things are done here, including the injunction against “chasing” people who attend or join our meetings.

Friends need to recognize the distinction between chasing people and showing care or concern. I am a person who has held several responsible positions in my meeting. However, it has been two years since I have been able to get to meeting for several reasons, including health and transportation issues. In all that time not one person has called to say, “We’ve missed you,” “How are you,” or anything else. I have run in to a couple of Friends out in the community and told them of my issues, and nothing happens; there is no follow-up.

This same lack of follow-up is demonstrated towards visitors. The attitude is, “If they want to be here, they will come back.” We have many other congregations in our town that follow-up with visitors. I don’t believe we’ll ever increase the membership of Friends if we continue to appear to be totally indifferent to seekers.

– A Friend in the West