Constitution of the Fellowship of Scientists
The Fellowship of Scientists is a group of scientists who endeavor to
support each other as they seek a greater understanding of and a deeper
commitment to the vocation of scientist as one form of Christian
service. This endeavor and search take the form of a shared practice,
described in the four undertakings of the
form of practice.
Members in the Fellowship therefore implicitly are joined by
convictions that underlie that shared practice; the Fellowship makes,
and will make, no other, explicit statement of doctrine or theology
to which all members need subscribe, nor will it make doctrinal
statements as a body. This abstention from statements of doctrine in
no way excludes (rather it supports and encourages) theological
reflections and discussions by individual members and chapters.
Membership in the Fellowship is open to all individuals who hold a
bachelor's or higher degree in one of the mathematical, physical or
biological disciplines (or who are actively engaged in research in one of
these disciplines) and who are baptized Christians.
Associate membership is open to interested individuals who are not eligible
for full membership and to individuals eligible for full membership who
wish to try the form of practice before making a full commitment.
Individuals interested in becoming members or associate members should
write to the Fellowship of Scientists, Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 East
College Street, Iowa City, Iowa, 52240, or contact
Members at large
Members who are not affiliated with a chapter are members at large. If no
chapter within a practical distance is available with which to make an
annual retreat, members at large may wish to arrange a personal retreat
with the advice and assistance of their pastor or priest. Members at large
are encouraged to consider organizing a local chapter when feasible. Advice
on how to do so is available from the mother chapter.
Members of chapters
Three members or more may petition to be recognized as a local chapter. The
organization and action of local chapters is at their discretion, except as
specified below. Any member at large who requests to become a member of a
local chapter will be accepted by that chapter.
Reception as a member
After the application to become a member is approved, a member may make
arrangements to be received formally, either through their chapter or by
arrangement with their pastor, priest or bishop. A suggested form is
appended at the end of the handbook. Other forms may be used as long as
they include readings from both the Old and New Testaments, an expression
of commitment to the four undertakings of the Fellowship, and a blessing.
Any member, either at large or of a chapter, may arrange for a celebration
of the Eucharist at a national or regional meeting in the name of the
Fellowship; no approval from a chapter is needed for such identification.
Withdrawing from membership
The undertakings of the Fellowship are indefinite term promises to which
members remain committed while in the Fellowship. If a member determines
that circumstances no longer allow a serious commitment to these
undertakings and wishes to withdraw, the member should return the handbook
to the mother chapter and notify the local chapter of the intention to
Local chapters undertake to organize an annual retreat, either acting alone
or in co-operation with one or more other local chapters. To become
recognized as a local chapter, three or more members petition to be
recognized as a local chapter. Their request should include the following:
a plan of organization for the chapter, an affirmation of sponsorship by a
local parish, congregation, chaplaincy or other worshiping community, a
statement of intention to hold annual retreats, and a list of the members
making the request. It is not necessary for all the members of a local
chapter to be members of the sponsoring church, but it is highly desirable
for all members of a local chapter to be able to receive communion
It is appropriate but not necessary for the retreat to be held close to
Pentecost. It is desirable but not required that the annual retreat be open
to non-members as well. A local chapter may organize other activities at
their discretion; such activities should be clearly identified as sponsored
by the chapter, not the Fellowship as a whole.
Local chapters also undertake to report once a year to the mother chapter.
This report will include a brief review of the past year's retreat and a
current membership list for the chapter. It may include any other matters
of concern to the chapter.
Matters of discipline or other sources of conflict that cannot be resolved
by the local chapter may be referred to the mother chapter or the
The mother chapter
The mother chapter undertakes to do the following:
- Keep a list of members, review applications for membership, and
distribute handbooks to members when admitted.
- Maintain the handbook and selected readings for revision, and produce
copies as needed.
- Circulate an annual letter providing information on scheduled retreats
and any other matters of concern to the membership.
- Review the annual reports of chapters to maintain membership lists and
to bring concerns to the Bishop as needed.
- Conduct an annual retreat.
- If circumstances warrant, maintain a listing of members willing to
offer their expertise as scientists in an advisory role to the church.
Selection of the mother chapter
A chapter may serve as the mother chapter for up to five years. After
serving for four and a half years (or earlier if a chapter cannot continue
to serve as mother chapter), the mother chapter will invite all chapters
interested in serving as the next mother chapter to present a statement to
that effect. The statement should include a brief summary of the candidate
chapter's recent activities and any evidence supporting their suitability
as a mother chapter. The statement should be no more than three pages long.
The current mother chapter will review the statements and forward no more
than four to the bishop, who will select the next mother chapter. A chapter
may serve as mother chapter for any number of terms, at the bishop's
The mother chapter serves at the discretion of the Bishop of the Episcopal
Diocese of Iowa. The first mother chapter is the chapter at Trinity
Episcopal Church, 320 East College Street, Iowa City, Iowa.
No other actions except those specified here will be undertaken in the name
of the Fellowship as a whole unless a poll of the membership shows
two-thirds of all members responding in favor of the action. Changes to the
constitution also require two-thirds of all members responding to vote in
favor of the changes.
The Fellowship of Scientists
Form of Practice