- You have the right to take part in worship. All people are welcome to worship with us, regardless of age, sex, race, education, physical or mental ability, economic or social position, religious belief, political affiliation, or any other condition. During our time of open worship, all people are free to speak, as they are led by the Spirit of Christ. People who speak in worship in ways that our elders judge to be unhelpful to others may be asked to find other times to share their thoughts.
- You have the right to be safe in our church. We will not tolerate sexual, physical, verbal, racial, psychological, or spiritual harassment by any one in the church. The church or its committees will take prompt steps to deal with violations and will notify all parties of its actions.
- You have the right to take part in decisions made by the church. All members of the church may participate in decisions of the monthly business meeting. Decisions affecting the whole church will be made using Quaker process, which seeks for unity under the Spirit of Christ, not majority rule. Decisions that have been made by the business meeting will not be undone by individuals, or re-decided in private conversations later.
- You have the right to know how money you have given is being used. You may ask for a receipt for any gifts you make, unless you give anonymously through the Sunday collection. You will receive a statement twice a year for your giving. You may designate your gifts, and expect them to be used for the designated purpose, unless that purpose is contrary to a decision of the business meeting, in which case you will be so informed, and you may ask to have your gift returned. Gifts in memory of an individual will be placed in the Memorial Fund and used as directed by the donor or by the business meeting. Large gifts or bequests will be handled in accordance with our bequest policy. Gifts to the church will not be converted for the personal use of staff or private individuals. The church’s tax-exempt status will not be used by staff or private individuals for their own personal benefit.
- You have the right not to be asked for money improperly. The Stewardship and Finance Committee will coordinate special fundraising efforts so that too many requests for funds outside the regular budget are not made at once. The church will not use fundraising methods such as raffles, games of chance, or lotteries that appeal to the spirit of greed. Children may do school fundraising projects in the church at the discretion of their parents.
- You have the right to see all public documents of the church. You may ask to receive copies of all business meeting minutes and all budgets and financial statements. Committees will keep minutes of decisions made at their regular meetings, which will be open for inspection unless there is some special reason for confidentiality. You may ask to have any documents, or any terms or decisions included in them, explained to you. Members and attenders of the church will be sent the newsletter.
- You have the right to privacy. Pastoral conversations, confessions, or counseling sessions will be kept confidential by the church’s staff. When committees deal with matters that need to be kept confidential, they will be particularly careful in wording their minutes so as not to injure the people involved; and the chairperson will remind committee members of their need to be careful of the feelings and reputations of everyone. Any records concerning counseling, scholarships, loans, or your own financial giving will be accessible only to people who need to know.
- You have the right to the services of the church. You may ask for help from the church staff and from its committees as you need them. If staff or committees are unable to help you, they will inform you and refer you if possible to other sources of help. If you are a member or regular attender of the church, you do not have to pay extra for such services as pastoral calls, hospital calls, funerals, pastoral counseling, weddings, etc. You may freely borrow and return books from the library or other materials from the church under our established loan policies. The church will make every effort to see that its facilities are physically accessible to everyone.
- You have the right to worship with integrity. The pastor and the Worship Committee will make every effort to see that worship provides spiritual nourishment and refreshment for everyone. The Scriptures will be quoted accurately and handled carefully. Sermon illustrations will not be fictional unless they are clearly identified as such. Speakers will not scold individuals or make unfounded accusations from the pulpit. Hymns and other music will be chosen to reflect a broad range of spiritual sensibilities. Language used in worship will be chosen to express the spiritual experience of both men and women. Worship will attempt to address the needs of all ages. You are free to leave worship at any time.
- You have the right to the support and discipline of the church. You may ask for prayer, personal support, or advice and counsel from your fellow members and attenders. You may ask for a support committee to help you with special needs, or to help you in making important decisions on such important matters as marriage, job change, family issues, and education. If others in the church are concerned about your actions or about ideas that you have expressed, you have the right to ask for the assistance of the appropriate committee of the meeting. If the business meeting takes actions regarding your membership that you disagree with, you have the right to appeal our decision to the annual meeting of our denomination.
Bill of Rights of West Richmond (Ind.) Meeting
October 1, 2005