What is a query?
Throughout the history of Friends (Quakers), we have utilized queries to dig deeply into our spiritual health as individuals and as a community. We do not use these questions as a checklist to be completed, but as an invitation to serious contemplation. The queries are often found in a yearly meeting’s Faith & Practice (a yearly meeting is the organization of Quaker meetings across a geographical area that meet together annually to fellowship and discern our work together. Faith & Practice is the document that we author to express our beliefs and convictions.). Below is a list of queries from our yearly meeting.
Do you live in vital relationship with God, trusting in Jesus Christ as your saving Lord and obeying the leadings of the Holy Spirit? Is Christ’s presence evident in your life?
Do you cultivate your spiritual growth through prayer and Bible reading and through attendance at meetings for worship and study? Are you finding joy in the Lord?
Does your inward faith turn outward? Do you pray for your friends and associates and for those engaged in spreading the Gospel? Have you examined your beliefs and prepared yourself to share them, with sensitivity and humility, as the Holy Spirit leads?
Do you acknowledge God’s ownership of all that is under your care? Do you give of your time and abilities in service to church and community and gratefully use your possessions as a trust to honor God?
Are meetings for worship and business duly held, and are you regular in attending them? Do you come ready to commune with God and to fellowship with believers, willing to participate in contemplation or in spoken ministry?
As followers of Christ do you love and respect each other? Do patience and consideration govern your interactions; and when differences arise, do you resolve them promptly in a spirit of forgiveness and understanding? Are you careful with the reputation of others?
Do you give generous financial support to the work of Friends? Do you contribute regularly to the ministry of your church and to the wider outreach of the Yearly Meeting? Are you and your meeting aware of those likely to require material aid, and do you give freely to those in need?
Do you uphold the standards of Friends? Are you careful in appointing officers and Sunday school teachers, in calling pastors and special speakers, in sending out missionaries and recording ministers, to see that they are in harmony with the principles of Friends as stated in the Faith and Practice of Northwest Yearly Meeting?
Do you conduct yourself in a manner that supports and preserves the sanctity and permanence of marriage? Do you who are married yield to each other in decisions and build up each other as individuals, always cherishing your common bond?
Do you who have children under your care educate them for upright and useful lives? Do you nurture them toward Christian faith and commitment, giving them the Scriptures for their guide? Are you watching over your young people with loving concern and providing a place for each one in the life of the church?
Are you teaching your children the ways of Friends? Do you encourage them to participate in Friends programs and to attend Friends schools?
Do you and your family use your free time in ways that refresh the spirit and benefit mind and body, that encourage creativity and friendliness? Is your home a pleasant, peaceful place?
Is your life marked by simplicity? Are you free from the burden of unnecessary possessions? Do you avoid waste? Do you refuse to let the prevailing culture and media dictate your needs and values?
Are you careful to live within your income? Do you avoid involving yourself in business beyond your ability to manage or in highly speculative ventures? Are you willing to accept a lower economic standard rather than compromise Christian values?
Are you honest and just in your dealings? Are you true to your promises, prompt in paying your debts, and responsible in handling money or property entrusted to you?
Do you discipline your mind and body to serve as instruments of the Lord? Do you avoid pornography? Do you abstain from harmful, addictive, and unnecessary drugs-including alcoholic beverages, tobacco, marijuana, and cocaine-and from profiting through their use? Do you refrain from gambling and taking part in lotteries?
Do you exercise your civic responsibilities and support acceptable legislation? Do you pray for those in authority? Are you careful to avoid defrauding the public treasury? In or out of court do you affirm instead of taking oaths?
Do you speak out for justice and morality, and against oppression, exploitation, and public wrong? Do you recognize the equality of persons regardless of race, gender, or economic status?
As a Christian steward, do you treat the earth with respect and with a sense of God’s splendor in creation, guarding it against abuse by greed, misapplied technology, or your own carelessness?
Do you observe and teach the Friends testimony against military training and service, making clear that war is incompatible with the spirit and teachings of the Gospel? Do you find appropriate ways to work for peace?