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


It is recommended that in every monthly meeting a proper number of faithful and judicious men and women belonging to each of the particular or preparative meetings, be appointed to the station of overseers within the same: whose duty it is to exercise a vigilant and tender care over their fellow members; that if any thing repugnant to the harmony and good order of the society appears among them, it may be timely attended to and not neglected. And to prevent the introduction of all unnecessary and premature complaints to meetings of business, it is advised if any member shall have cause of complaint against another, that it be mentioned to the overseers, who are to see that the party complained of has been treated with according to gospel order, previously to the case being reported to the preparative or monthly meeting. And it is desired that in dealing with any, it be done in the spirit of meekness and love, patiently endeavouring to instruct and advise them; which, if ineffectual, the preparative meeting should be informed thereof; that, if needful the case may be laid before the monthly meeting, of which, notice should be given to the party, when it can be conveniently done. It is further recommended to our monthly meetings that a committee be appointed at least once in three years, or as much oftener as the occasion may require, to consider the propriety of changing the overseers and bringing forward in the improvement of their gifts, other Friends on whom a concern for the welfare of the society rests. And we tenderly exhort all our members who may be rightly called into this or any other service of the church, not hastily to excuse themselves therefrom, but solidly to ponder the weighty advice of the apostle, "Feed the flock of God, which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as lords over God's heritage; but being ensamples to the flock: and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory, that fadeth not away." -- 1806.

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