Breaking: Shattered! Big Idaho Friends Church Quits Northwest YM
Anthem Friends Church, in Hayden Lake, Idaho, has just notified pastors in Northwest Yearly Meeting that it’s leaving the yearly meeting. The church has 13 staff and 800-plus members.
Here’s the email that was just passed on to us. Anthem staff confirmed the email’s authenticity.
On behalf of the elders at Anthem Friends Church (formerly Hayden Lake Friends Church) we wanted to notify each of you of our intention to withdraw from the NWYM. We know this will come as a shock to many, however, maybe some of you knew this was coming. This was a very difficult decision for us to make that involved months of conversation and prayer. We came to full consensus at an Anthem Friends family meeting a few weeks ago and immediately notified the NWYM elders. We know that many will jump to conclusions with regards to why we have made this decision. Many will probably assume this has to do with the homosexuality issue. We want to clarify for everybody that this is not a homosexuality issue for us, this is an authority of scripture/interpretation of scripture/orthodoxy issue for us. We have come to find over the years that Anthem Friends (formerly Hayden Lake Friends Church) see things very differently than the NWYM. Instead of being a group that sticks around and continues to be frustrated or have the leadership of the YM frustrated with us, we honestly believe the Lord has used all that has shaken down over the last few years to show us that we don’t fit. In some regards we do wish that the group that has challenged the NWYM’s F&P over the past 5 years would have made this decision years ago. Instead of them trying to change F&P and challenge the convictions of many in the YM, we believe there would have been more integrity in them acknowledging that they saw things differently and would have chosen to leave on their own. This is the crossroads we have come to.
Many of you know that Anthem Friends Church (formerly Hayden Lake Friends Church) has never been extremely devoted to Quaker practices and principles. Over the past 50 years of our Church’s existence we have followed Quaker practices very loosely. We do not feel inclined to give our lives to Quakerism…we want to be about Jesus. We do not mean this negatively but we just don’t feel a conviction to uphold Quaker principles as much as we do to uphold the Word of God and to make much of Jesus.
We also wanted to share with those on this group that the many things that have been written about our Church or in reference to our Church in blog posts and on social media pages have been so disheartening to watch. We truly wish that many of you would have talked directly to us before making such outrageous assumptions.
We love so many of you in the NWYM and have counted it an honor to serve alongside of you. Many of you were so welcoming to my wife and I as we entered into ministry through the NWYM with zero relationships in this denomination to begin with. I am so thankful to so many of you that went above and beyond to love on us, make time for us and create a space at the table for us.
God Bless you all. We will continue to lift the NWYM up in prayer as you move forward through this difficult season.
From Anthem’s “Statement of Faith”:
We believe the Scriptures cannot be changed or compromised by cultural, political or personal interpretations that may become popular.