Constitution of the Fellowship of Scientists



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

Alice Fulton (

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 withdraw.


Local chapters

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 together.

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 sponsoring bishop.

The mother chapter

The mother chapter undertakes to do the following:

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 pleasure.

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