Quaker Studies

Ready for Membership? Voices from the 2014 Australian Quaker Survey

Quaker Studies (2018), 23, (1), 83–107.

Abstract

The 2014 national survey of Australian Quakers included two questions about application for Membership, with responses from 250 Members and 89 Attenders. This article summarises these views into 54 topics and 14 key themes, considers them in relation to various sociological perspectives and compares the results to those from previous surveys in Britain and the USA. The most common reasons for Membership application were feelings of belonging and wanting to commit, to make a public declaration, and a desire to take on responsibilities and contribute. The reasons Attenders did not apply included the belief that it was unnecessary, an inability to attend Meetings regularly, concerns about some Quaker processes – including the Member/Attender distinction – and an unwillingness to commit more time and support. Further education about the expectations for Membership and more personal invitations may assist in reducing the current decline in the ratio of Members to Attenders in Meetings in Australia and Britain.

Ready for Membership? Voices from the 2014 Australian Quaker Survey

Abstract

The 2014 national survey of Australian Quakers included two questions about application for Membership, with responses from 250 Members and 89 Attenders. This article summarises these views into 54 topics and 14 key themes, considers them in relation to various sociological perspectives and compares the results to those from previous surveys in Britain and the USA. The most common reasons for Membership application were feelings of belonging and wanting to commit, to make a public declaration, and a desire to take on responsibilities and contribute. The reasons Attenders did not apply included the belief that it was unnecessary, an inability to attend Meetings regularly, concerns about some Quaker processes – including the Member/Attender distinction – and an unwillingness to commit more time and support. Further education about the expectations for Membership and more personal invitations may assist in reducing the current decline in the ratio of Members to Attenders in Meetings in Australia and Britain.

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Williams, Peter

Thomson, Lorraine