Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > The Old Discipline > Certificates


It is recommended to the quarterly and monthly meetings to take care, that all certificates or minutes which may be given to any travelling Friend be recorded, and upon the return of such Friend, seasonably delivered back to the meeting; and that all certificates of removal brought by any Friend intending to reside amongst us, shall be lodged in the monthly meeting, where the same is accepted; and also that every meeting do keep a copy or record of all certificates which they give out.

All certificates of removal prepared for women Friends, after being considered in their monthly meeting, are to be sent to the men's, and if there approved, signed by the clerks of both. If they are directed to any place beyond the limits of this yearly meeting, they are to be signed by the clerks, and at least four other Friends of each sex. And if the certificate is for a man only, it is to be signed by the clerk of the men's meeting, and at least four other men Friends.

Friends are advised to be very cautious in changing their places of residence: it having been observed that the dissolving of old, and the forming of new connections, have in many instances been attended with effects prejudicial to a growth in the truth and the service thereof, both in the heads and younger branches of families; we therefore recommend to all, that on these occasions a strict attention be paid to the pointings of Divine Wisdom; and that before any determine to change their places of abode, they consult with their experienced fellow members.

It is the judgment of this meeting that when a certificate of removal from one monthly meeting to another is received, the person or persons recommended shall be deemed members of the meeting they remove to. But if any such persons shall fall into circumstances requiring pecuniary relief within one year after the receipt of such certificate, he, she, or they shall be considered as belonging to the monthly meeting from which they came. Yet the meeting removed to, ought to assist them, giving speedy notice thereof to the other. Where upon that meeting should immediately take care of them, and repay the charge which has been or may be incurred on that account. And if the meeting from which such persons removed (on consulting with that within which they are) shall desire them to return, he or she ought to comply, as soon as they are of ability so to do: and the Friends where they reside, should yield them such advice and assistance as the case may require.

And if any such persons on being so required shall refuse to comply, the said monthly meeting may deal with them as opposed to the order of the society, and if they cannot be prevailed with to submit, issue a testimony of denial against them.

The above rule enjoining the return of members to the meetings they have removed from, is, however, not designed to extend to the wife of a person, who is not in membership with us, or to such of their minor children as are members; but if such should need relief, within one year as aforesaid, they should be assisted, in the manner recommended, by the meeting they removed from; if any Friends be reduced in his or her circumstances by fire or other sudden unavoidable losses, though it may be within one year after their removal as aforesaid, they should be kindly assisted and relieved by the meeting where such persons reside, and considered members thereof.

All Friends removing out of the limits of their monthly meetings, whether for continuance, or for any considerable length of time, are advised to apply to their respective meetings for certificates directed to those within which they propose to sojourn or settle. But if any shall remove without so applying, the monthly meetings of which they are members, after the usual enquiry made, and no obstruction appearing, should send certificates for them to the monthly meetings within which they are removed, and that without improper delay; but if their conduct requires their being dealt with, and the distance such as to be inconvenient for the meeting they have removed from, the monthly meeting within which they are, should be requested to treat with him or her thereon, and report the effect of its care. On which, if it proves satisfactory, a certificate of recommendation or removal may be ordered; but if otherwise, and a testimony of disunion is issued, the meeting within which he or she resides, should be furnished with a copy thereof, to be delivered to the party, with information of their right of appeal.

It is to be understood that where apprentices, or persons under age, are under a necessity of going from one place to another, their parents or guardians, masters or mistresses, should apply for certificates for them, recommending them to the care and oversight of the monthly meetings whereto they remove.

If any person appearing as a Friend, come within the compass of a monthly meeting, not being recommended by certificate, and be of disorderly conduct, the overseers, or other concerned Friends, should enquire whether or not he or she is a member of our society; and, if they prove so to be, admonish them, or, if the occasion require it, report the case to the preparative, and from thence to the monthly meeting; which should thereupon inform the monthly meeting of which he or she is a member, of the circumstance, and take the direction of said meeting, for dealing further with them, according to our rules in cases of that nature.

It is recommended that monthly meetings, as way may open, appoint two or more Friends to visit such, who come recommended by certificate to settle amongst them.

Monthly meetings are advised to take due care that certificates of removal be seasonably forwarded by suitable conveyances to the monthly meetings to which they are directed -- they being the exclusive property of such meetings.

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