Another Day, Another Split Attempt– The New Target: North Carolina YM

I suppose it was just too good to last.

In August, after two years of turmoil, North Carolina Yearly Meeting (FUM, or NCYM) considered and rejected a plan to split the yearly meeting.

Instead, it decided to reorganize, offering two sub-associations for meetings to align with, within a revised and shrunken Yearly Meeting. NCYM would become a kind of umbrella holding company, mainly concerned with managing endowment funds and real estate. The sketch below is an approximation.

This decision was challenged at the November Representative session: the pastor of New Hope Friends called for reviving the split plan. But there was no interest in, or discussion of that idea. (A week later, New Hope chose to leave NCYM.)

That same day, plans for revising and managing the reorganized finances & YM structure were approved, without contention.

So far, so good. The fetid stench of heresy-hunting and attempted purges which had fouled the air in NCYM’s sessions for two long  years seemed to have dissipated.

But . . . .

Now one YM official has decided to revive the scheme, overturn the YM decision, and enact the split anyway.

Really? On whose authority? And with whose approval?

His own, evidently. 

The official is Hugh Spaulding, who was named Clerk of a committee to rearrange NCYM’s Quarterly Meetings to fit the reorganized YM.

This committee’s work hasn’t exactly been heavy lifting. After five months of consideration, it has moved precisely four of forty-plus meetings from one quarter to another.

But along this not-so-arduous way, Spaulding has convinced himself that NCYM was wrong in August, that it must split after all, and has announced his decision in a letter dated January 5, but not distributed widely until two weeks later.

The full text of the letter is below. The key paragraph is here:

Effectively [Spaulding writes], members of meetings will become members of one group or the other. Members will not be in common membership under an entity named North Carolina Yearly Meeting. While not in unity, the preponderance of those on the Quarter Alignment Committee fully recognize that, without adequate separation into two groups, what has been North Carolina Yearly Meeting will continue to splinter, with little thought or support for the current missions and ministries of North Carolina Yearly Meeting as we move forward.

Now let’s parse this declaration out a bit: “Members will not be in common membership under an entity named [NCYM].”

They won’t? But that’s the opposite of what the YM decided and reaffirmed.

And–what does this drastic reversal have to do with moving a few meetings from one quarter to another? (Hint: the correct answer is “Nothing.”)

That is, such matters were not the purview of either Spaulding or the committee. (Plain speech: it was none of their doggone business.)

Nevertheless, Spaulding baldly continues, “While not in unity, the preponderance of those on the Quarter Alignment Committee fully recognize that, without adequate separation into two groups –“

Hold it right there. The committee, Spaulding concedes, is “not in unity” with his diktat.

What?

Well, unity schmunity, who cares? — he’s declaring it a done deal anyway.

I know of a church that makes decisions that way. Its head is called the Pope. Quakers don’t have popes. Or at least we didn’t.

Furthermore, Spaulding asserts, “without adequate separation” NCYM “will continue to splinter,” et cetera.

That is to say, he hints that some unnamed meetings will possibly leave unless the YM’s reorganization is turned back into a split.

How does he know that? Spaulding refers to “feedback at Representative Body, correspondence from a few meetings and verbal clarification with others . . . .”

But wait: the feedback at November’s Representative session was just the opposite of what he says; and letters from “a few [unnamed] meetings” and a scattering of “verbal clarification” from [unnamed] others are second and third-hand reports, which didn’t even convince Spaulding’s committee.

Yet after two years of turning back such bullying and blackmail, now we’re supposed to let Spaulding roll over the committee, and then the yearly meeting action too?

No. Not a chance.

In short, the Spaulding letter is a load of baloney, a blatant try at an end-run around a clear & reaffirmed YM decision. It’s an attempted putsch by one who has no warrant & no credibility.

Hugh Spaulding does not seem to understand that the yearly meeting has spoken on this. Twice. And his committee didn’t.

So it’s time for him to accept the decision, finish the committee work in proper order, and pipe down.

NCYM still does not have a pope.
– – – – – – – –

The Committee Letter:

To: NCYM Friends
From: Hugh Spaulding, Quarter Alignment Committee Chair and NCYM Ministry and Counsel Clerk Subject: Quarter Alignment Committee Update and Requested Actions
Date: January 5, 2017

Dear Friends,

The Quarter Alignment Committee, consisting of a representative from each quarterly meeting and chaired by Hugh Spaulding, Clerk of NCYM Ministry and Counsel, has continued its work following our Representative Body meeting in November. Based on feedback at Representative Body, correspondence from a few meetings and verbal clarification with others, enclosed is our latest proposed alignment of meetings into quarters/regions and those quarters/regions into two groups. Again, we invite your feedback if your meeting would like to be included in a quarter other than the one designated on the enclosed document.

Effectively, members of meetings will become members of one group or the other. Members will not be in common membership under an entity named North Carolina Yearly Meeting. While not in unity, the preponderance of those on the Quarter Alignment Committee fully recognize that, without adequate separation into two groups, what has been North Carolina Yearly Meeting will continue to splinter, with little thought or support for the current missions and ministries of North Carolina Yearly Meeting as we move forward.

With the future ministries and missions of what has been North Carolina Yearly Meeting in mind, the Procedural Plan for Reorganization into Two Groups, as approved at annual sessions in August 2016, calls for the proposed, restructured quarterly meetings within each group (currently referred to as “Authority” and “Autonomy”) to appoint members to serve on two committees within each group, a Faith and Practice Development/Revision Committee and a Nominating Committee. Quarterly Meeting Clerks should submit these appointees to Hugh Spaulding by February 1, 2017. Quarterly Meeting Clerks can accomplish this through “called” Quarterly Meetings or by appointment by the Quarterly Meeting Clerk. Hugh will then name conveners for each committee to initiate their committee work.

With the future ministries and missions of what has been North Carolina Yearly Meeting in mind, the Procedural Plan for Reorganization into Two Groups, as approved at annual sessions in August 2016, calls for the proposed, restructured quarterly meetings within each group (currently referred to as “Authority” and “Autonomy”) to appoint members to serve on two committees within each group, a Faith and Practice Development/Revision Committee and a Nominating Committee. Quarterly Meeting Clerks should submit these appointees to Hugh Spaulding by February 1, 2017. Quarterly Meeting Clerks can accomplish this through “called” Quarterly Meetings or by appointment by the Quarterly Meeting Clerk. Hugh will then name conveners for each committee to initiate their committee work.

The two Faith and Practice Development/Revision Committees, comprised of representatives from the member quarters/regions and acting on behalf of their respective groups, will need to begin immediately to address the development/revision of their respective Faith and Practice to reflect each group’s beliefs and behaviors. Obviously, depending on the degree of departure from the 2012 Edition of the NCYM Faith and Practice, this could be a very time consuming process. Ideally, this work would be concluded by 2017 Annual Sessions.

The Nominating Committee for each group, comprised of representatives from the member quarters/regions and acting on behalf of their respective groups, should begin immediately to recommend members of the respective groups to populate key committees and boards for that group. Existing key committees and boards may be found in Faith and Practice, but certainly include Committee on Clerks, Ministry and Counsel, Missions, Church Extension, Stewardship-Finance, Trustees, etc. These committees will need to be in place, familiar with the transition process, and ready to assume the responsibility of their roles for their group, formerly performed by their counterparts on behalf of what has been the entire Yearly Meeting — effective with the conclusion of the 2017 Annual Sessions.

These restructured quarterly meetings/regions should also begin to meet together in their respective groups to discuss and consider the ministries and missions their group would like to undertake. A somewhat complete list of these ministries and missions can be gleaned from the line items in the approved 2017 Budget.

Obviously, much work lies before us as we seek to be good stewards of all the present and future missions and ministries with which we are entrusted. I encourage each quarterly meeting/region to begin this process with your first meeting of 2017. As noted above, appointing members to serve on two committees within each group, a Faith and Practice Development/Revision Committee and a Nominating Committee, is critical to being prepared for the envisioned reorganization into two separate groups at the conclusion of 2017 Annual Sessions. Please contact Hugh Spaulding with the names of your appointees and any questions you might have — Telephone: 336.498.2350; Email: hughspaulding@nullhotmail.com.

4 thoughts on “Another Day, Another Split Attempt– The New Target: North Carolina YM”

  1. Should I be laughing hysterically, Chuck, or vomiting after reading this? I’m choosing the former as I’m not willing to give Hugh and his followers the satisfaction of my very good breakfast.

    Perhaps he has been energized by Mr. T’s efforts to become king, and has decided to take on the role of Prince of Quakers in NC.

    Damn. It just keeps keeping on.

  2. Solution for All Monthly Meetings:
    No more quarterly or yearly meetings. . Each Quaker Meeting
    can join FGC or FUM for public listing if desired. Each Meeting may have its own F&P . George Fox would have liked simplicity.He said”There is that of God in Everyone” Jesus said “Love One Another”

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