Steps in Membership


Quaker Intentional Village–Canaan
Steps in Membership

Becoming a member of the Quaker Intentional Village-Canaan (QIVC) happens through a process of mutual clearness and spiritual discernment.  The prospective member determines that joining is the right thing.  The community also becomes clear that it is right for the community for the new member to join.  A member of QIVC is someone who has been through this process, has signed a membership agreement with QIVC, and has begun payment of the financial obligations associated with membership.

As an aid to bringing about this sense of clearness, we have established some simple steps toward membership:

  1. An interested person should initially contact the Membership, Outreach, and Promotion Committee for information and then come to Friday night potlucks, an Open House, and/or work days, to get to know the current members as well as our process.
  1. The next step is that the community assigns the interested person a buddy.  This is done when the community senses serious ongoing interest from an inquirer.  The buddy is available to answer questions and provide guidance in the membership process, and assist the inquirer in getting further acquainted with the group and life of the community. The buddy introduces the interested person to Quaker process and prepares her/him for agenda items at hand prior to attending QIVC business meetings.
  1. The interested person should also begin to participate as fully as possible in the life of the community by regularly joining in communal meals, participating in community activities, attending business meetings, attending committee meetings, and working on committee business.  This gradual process allows the community to get to know the inquirer as the inquirer is getting to know the community.
  1. After a person has been involved for a substantial period of time and feels ready to move forward and become a prospective member, s/he should inform the Membership, Outreach, and Promotion Committee via a letter of intent. The letter should express her/his desire to become a member of the community and explain the reasons.  Many prospective members also take this opportunity to reflect on their relationship to QIVP’s five intentions.
  1. In this process, the interested person should understand that it may take the community longer to “feel ready to move forward,” since the community process involves the whole group coming to a decision, not just one or two people.  When the community feels the time is right, the MOP Committee will initiate a Clearness Committee for Membership.  MOP will bring to the Business Meeting for approval its recommendation on members/advisors to serve on this committee.
  1. Clearness Committees are composed of three or four Members and Advisors of QIVC, and have the role of examining in-depth the mutual clearness of the community and the applicants for membership.  Our clearness committees are modeled after the clearness process followed by Quakers for becoming a member of the Religious Society of Friends and other big decisions. Clearness Committees may meet once or more than once with the prospective member.
  1. When the Clearness Committee has met with the prospective member sufficiently to reach a recommendation on membership, it then brings the recommendation forward to the QIVC business meeting to be considered for approval.

After a person has been approved for membership, the following steps are taken:

  1. The new member signs the QIVC Membership Agreement.
  2. The member begins payment of her/his share of financial obligations to QIVC. (More financial information is in The Financial Side of Joining QIVC.)  This share depends on the form of membership (renter or homeowner), QIVC’s annual expenses, the number of adult members, and the members’ ability to pay, among other things.

The majority of our memberships are homeowner memberships, which include capital investment and home ownership in the community.  QIVC has worked to be able to offer at least one renter membership as well.  How they differ:

  • Homeowner members either purchase a house in the community or choose a building site and build a new home.  
  • When homeowner membership begins, homeowner members agree to make a required membership loan to QIVC equal to $30 per square foot of the home they are buying or building.  This investment is most often made up front, but can be made via a payment plan acceptable to both the new members and QIVC. (The required membership loan is separate from the purchase or construction cost of the house, because it helps cover the cost of the land and any commonly owned improvements, such as driveways, septic systems, wells, and the Farmhouse.)  
  • Renter members rent a residence from QIVC, which owns the residence and serves as the lessor.
  • When renter membership begins, renter members provide QIVC with a required membership loan equal to one month’s rent, and begin paying a monthly amount to QIVC. Though part of the monthly payment may be used for capital expenses, renter members do not make a capital investment in QIVC and thus renter members do not have any claims of capital ownership.  The amount of the monthly payment will be agreed to by the renter members and the community and may change over time.
  1. If membership ends or a member becomes a non-residential member, the steps to be followed are documented in our Process for Exiting Membership.

Last revised September 15, 2012