Orange County Friends Meeting approved each of the following minutes on the date indicated, and each still represents settled policy:
Same-gender marriages (12 May 1996)
Where two friends seek to put their committed relationship into the form of marriage under the care of the Meeting, the gender of the partners is not an impediment.
Website (10 December 2000)
The website shall serve the following purposes:
- To introduce Quakers in general, and our meeting in particular, to anyone who might come across our website
- To inform the local community, other Friends meetings, and the world at large, about events in the life of our meeting
- To make available information about the Meeting that we ourselves can use
2. Website Coordinator
Each year the Meeting shall appoint a Website Coordinator charged with developing and maintaining the website.
Only the Coordinator may actually place and remove material on the website. The Coordinator is permitted to publish any material he or she thinks serves the Purposes of the website, so long as the material is consistent with the other policies described below. In case of uncertainty about the appropriateness of material proposed for the website, the coordinator will consult with the Committee on Ministry and Oversight.
The website will not reveal contact information about a member or attender of this meeting, or about anyone else, unless that member or attender explicitly requests that such information be published. By contact information, we mean any information that would allow a third party to contact someone by phone, mail address, email, or by any other means.
The website is permitted to publish names and photographs of members and attenders of this meeting, as long as permission to do so is obtained from the individuals involved.
4. Quaker Practices and Beliefs
In cases where it might be mistakenly construed that a statement represents the considered opinion of this meeting, when in fact it does not, an explicit statement that the statement does not necessarily reflect the views of the meeting will be displayed near the statement. However, generally, for statements that are clearly attributed to some other organization, to an historical figure or to an specific individual writer, it can be usually be assumed by context that the statement does not necessarily represent the views of this Meeting.
From time to time, the Meeting may formally agree to publish a statement that does reflect a viewpoint that has been considered and approved by the Meeting. Such statements will be marked as such.
5. Meeting Committees
Any Meeting committee may use the website to publish materials related to its charge, as long as those materials are consistent with the Meeting’s website policies.
The Website Coordinator is not expected to automatically place announcements of Committee activities on the website. Requests for such announcements should be made by the Committees involved, and given to the Coordinator in good time.
6. Individual Members and Attenders
Any individual member or attender of the Meeting may use the website to publish material, as long as that material serves the purposes of the website and is consistent with the Meeting’s Website policies.
7. Outside Organizations
The Coordinator is permitted to publish materials submitted by outside organizations with which the Meeting has a strong and comfortable relationship (e.g., any of the organizations to which we give annual outreach contributions). Such material must, of course, be consistent with the Purposes and policies outlined in this statement.
8. Procedure for Submitting Material to the Website
Any material that a Meeting Committee, a member or attender, or an outside organization wishes to publish on the Meeting website should be submitted to the Coordinator, who will review it for appropriateness.
If there is any question about the appropriateness of proposed material that cannot be resolved by discussions between the submitter and the Coordinator, the material will be referred to the Committee on Ministry and Oversight.
Violence in the World (2 Feb 2002)
As a people of faith, Orange County Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) feels a deep concern to respond to violence between peoples and nations. As we search our minds and hearts for an appropriate response, we return to the roots of our faith.
Friends oppose all war as inconsistent with God’s will. As every person is a child of God, we recognize God’s Light also in our adversaries. Violence and injustice deny this reality and violate the teachings of Jesus and other prophets.Pacific Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice (2001), 57
In 1651 George Fox, our founder, said, “I lived in the virtue of that life and power that took away the occasion of all wars . . . .” For more than 350 years, Friends have sought to do just that.
Our long experience with peacemaking calls us to minister to the victims of all violence, whatever its sources, and teaches us that violence may often merely sow the seeds of future violence, whatever its immediate effect upon those towards whom it is directed. It also teaches us that working to remove the occasion of war is ultimately the surest path to peace. We understand this to be God’s will for our lives and work.
We ask ourselves what it means to live this testimony today – both in the face of present conflicts, but also in a larger sense, for ours is a world of many wars, many injustices, and much suffering. In such a world, we seek to understand how God calls us to answer, and to nourish the Light of God in every person. We therefore dedicate ourselves to a continuing, long-term, active effort in our homes, our cities, our nation, and our world to “take away the occasion of all wars.”
Child Protection (9 Jun 2002)
Orange County Friends Meeting knows that in the wider world children (and others) have been victims of physical, sexual and verbal abuse in places of religion, and we know also that in these places the companion problem of false accusations of such abuse against innocent childcare providers has occurred. While we believe such events are unlikely in our own meeting, we also believe that recognizing that such problems may occur increases our capacity to prevent them. Therefore, this Meeting states the following:
- We will obey the spirit and letter of the law that mandates persons such as teachers and ministers to report instances of suspected child abuse to the appropriate authorities. Any member or attender of this meeting who takes charge of children coming under the Meeting’s care will accept the responsibilities of a mandated reporter.
- Persons in our meeting who are engaged in the care of children will read some materials on the nature of child abuse, how to recognize it, and what the responsibilities of a mandated reporter are. These materials will be provided and periodically revised by the Religious Education committee.
- We will avoid as much as we can situations in which the possibility of child abuse might arise. In particular, only persons well-known to us will assume care of our children, and as much as is practical in a small meeting, we will have at least two adults present during any program involving our children.
- Children under our care will never be exposed to sexually related material that is beyond their capacity to understand.
- All persons involved with the care of children will be aware of our policies, and will agree to follow them.
The committee on Religious Education is charged with seeing that this policy is carried out. It will report to the Meeting for Business annually on what it has done, and at which time this policy will be reviewed, and, if necessary, changed to address changing circumstances, laws and events.
The Death Penalty (10 Nov 2002)
We members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have accepted a call to “answer that of God in everyone.” Accordingly we oppose the imposition of the death penalty under any circumstance, and for any reason.
We recognize that some individuals will commit unspeakable acts, will cause horrible pain and irreconcilable loss. Furthermore some will do these things voluntarily, sanely, and deliberately, and will be fairly convicted in a court of law with full benefit of counsel, and we will have no reasonable doubt about their guilt. Repelled, frightened and even angered by such acts, we nevertheless oppose the death sentence. (We do not, however, oppose removal of such individuals from open society, for the remainder of their lives if deemed necessary.)
We further admit that we Quakers are, generally, middle class persons of European descent. Most of us live in “nice” neighborhoods, surrounded by people just like us, and we face a risk of homicide that is far lower than that danger faced by those who live in the inner city, or by persons of color, or by other minority groups. The chance that one of us would be convicted, or even accused, of committing a homicide is essentially zero. Thus we have to agree, that whatever this nation’s policy is on the imposition of the death penalty, and whatever effect that policy has on what happens to its residents, such policy has little direct effect on our own sheltered lives. Nevertheless, we must persist in our opposition to the death penalty. We speak out in obedience to a religious leading that we cannot ignore.
We pay close attention to the vigorous debate on the “pros and cons” of the death penalty. For the most part, this debate is not centered on religious matters, but rather instrumental ones: that is, whether the death penalty is a general deterrent against murder, whether it brings “closure” to the victims, whether the innocent are sometimes executed, whether the penalty is unfairly imposed against persons of color, the poor, whether it is too expensive, and so on. Our opposition to the death penalty, based on religious beliefs, does not depend on the resolution of these matters. To debate them, we think, would imply that we could be convinced otherwise of our opposition to the death penalty, something that is not wholly the truth.
Nevertheless, we believe that sober and careful analysis will prove that the death penalty does not deter murderers, that the innocent are sometimes executed, that the majority of our nation would favor life sentences over the death, and that a system that does not impose the death penalty would be cheaper, more effective, less divisive, and more in accord with the general moral and religious beliefs of this nation, and of the world. We support a careful and honest search for the truth in all these matters. To this end, we join cause with those calling for a moratorium of the death penalty.
Lightmail List (8 Mar 2015)
Purpose of the list
The purpose of the OCFM LightMail List is to disseminate information and facilitate thoughtful discussion among those in the Meeting community (members and attenders).
Management of the list
The Meeting shall appoint a coordinator and assistant coordinator for one-year terms, renewable annually. The coordinators will act under the care of the Ministry and Oversight Committee.
Ministry and Oversight Committee shall periodically evaluate the operation of the LightMail List, not only in terms of any technical issues but also in terms of its effectiveness in serving its stated purpose
The LightMail List is open to anyone who wishes to be part of the Meeting community and participate in our activities and discussions. Those wishing to join the list for the first time need to contact the coordinator or assistant coordinator. Specific instructions for joining the LightMail List are printed in the Meeting directory.
In the event that a participant misuses the list (see “content” and “netiquette” below) and fails to respond to requests to correct the problematic behavior, the person may be removed from the list. This decision would be made by the coordinators, in consultation with M&O and the Clerk.
The list is open for any topic of interest to Friends. Participants are welcome to raise topics for discussion and to announce events or information of general interest, as well as sharing information directly related to this Meeting. However, Friends should be aware, as with any electronic communication, that material posted to the list can be forwarded or saved. For this reason, members should not share anything that they wish to keep confidential within the community.
When posting to the list, Friends should be sensitive to the diversity of experiences and positions within the Meeting community and phrase their messages respectfully. Profanity, “flaming,” insulting or demeaning language, etc. will not be tolerated. Refrain from saying anything in an electronic message that you would not say face to face.
Friends should respect the time and bandwidth of other subscribers by keeping messages concise and to the point. When sharing information from websites or other emails, avoid copying and pasting lengthy (more than a single screen) texts. Rather, summarize the information briefly and/or direct list members to a URL that provides the information you wish to share.
While confidentiality is never guaranteed in electronic communication, Friends should exercise discretion in disseminating any personal information that is shared by other list members. Nothing should be copied or forwarded without the permission of the person who posted it.