Category Archives: Quaker Theology

William Penn & the Fruits of Technological Solitude

Last First Day I needed a brief reading to open Meeting. Feeling reflective, a little book by William Penn, Some Fruits of Solitude came to mind.  

Some Fruits was first published, anonymously, in 1693, and has been in print most of the 320-plus years since. A copy of it has sat on my bookshelf for a few decades. 

Some Fruits came to be written because Penn was obliged to disappear for a couple of years. He had to beat it because of his longtime friendship with King James II. Continue reading William Penn & the Fruits of Technological Solitude

The Handmaid’s Tale 1990: When Frightening Fiction Including Quakers Crashed into a Frightening Quaker Reality (And After)

The Long Read:

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel. The story below is not. It is true, and it happened in 1990, but its reverberations are still being felt, and are maybe stronger and deeper now than when they burst into view. Margaret Atwood’s fictional vision was directly relevant to it — as well as that of another novel which became its mirror image. Read on to understand why.

It begins with a showdown at Silver Bay, involving witches versus demons.

I. Gilead Meets the Goddess


New York Yearly Meeting gathers at Silver Bay, a resort complex on Lake George, north of Albany. Silver Bay is a lovely and peaceful setting, to which many New York Quakers return as pilgrims each summer seeking rest and renewal among Friends.

When the yearly meeting gathered in July of 1990, rest and renewal seemed in short supply. The 1980s had not been easy for New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM).

While many other unprogrammed yearly meetings were growing, New York’s membership declined by about ten per cent; the body struggled to meet its budget; and worst of all, its annual sessions were wracked by chronic wrangling, over doctrine and morals. An effort to rewrite its Faith and Practice, pending since 1977, dragged on abrasively throughout the decade; by 1990, this process had become so acrimonious that the Yearly Meeting put it on hold for a year.

In its travail, New York had become a kind of field laboratory for an ongoing experiment in institutional Quaker ecumenism. Unfortunately, in the latter years of the 1980s, many of the results of this test had not been promising, and never more so than at its 1990 session.

Continue reading The Handmaid’s Tale 1990: When Frightening Fiction Including Quakers Crashed into a Frightening Quaker Reality (And After)

The Shoe Drops (Again) for North Carolina Yearly Meeting-FUM

This past week (so far) a bunch of big shoes have dropped, including:

— a huge war buildup;

— the sharks circling for the kill on health care; while

— even longtime peaceful immigrants living in fear;

— Muslims, even American-born ones, being harassed at the borders;

— clean air & water are gurgling down the tubes;

–  more vote suppression is on the march, and

– I probably forgot several more —

But stop the presses–!!

The really big Quaker news is that the hardline evangelical caucus in North Carolina YM is upset (again) because they aren’t yet guaranteed “sufficient separation” from a handful of liberal meetings they’ve been trying to purge for more than two years. And so they’re pushing for yet another in the unending series of showdowns; it will come this Saturday, March 4, at the NCYM Representative body session.

And who cares about a distraction like fair Quaker process? Continue reading The Shoe Drops (Again) for North Carolina Yearly Meeting-FUM

The Carolina “Autonomites”: What’s In a Name? What IS Their Name??

There were two problems for the “Autonomites” in North Carolina YM-FUM, when they assembled for their first meeting at Quaker Lake Camp on January 28.

One of the few things the Autonomites definitely decided was – they didn’t like their current name, the “Autonomy Group.” So that was dumped. (Goodbye, Autonomites; we hardly knew ye.)

But they couldn’t agree on different name. Which is to say, they were not at all sure of their identity. That’s the first problem. Continue reading The Carolina “Autonomites”: What’s In a Name? What IS Their Name??

Two Blockbusters: Northwest YM to Split Over LGBT Welcome; & A Lawsuit Coming?

Confirming two reports first uploaded here earlier this month, a plan to split Northwest yearly Meeting over the issue of meetings welcoming LGBT persons was announced at the NWYM Mid-Year session in Oregon.

Also, the YM has been confronted with a strong rebuff by a meeting that left it in 2015.

First:  copy of the plan to split NWYM has been made available to this blog. It has been reformatted and is pasted in below. Note that the essentials of it are very similar to the two proposals reported here earlier.

On January 9, we uploaded a plan called “The Way Forward,” which urged the expulsion of affirming meetings, but with a waiver of Northwest’s claim to their church buildings and property. 

And on January 23, we posted a copy of a more detailed plan to divide the YM. NWYM officials told us that this draft plan was not official and had no standing. However, the plan presented this weekend is very similar, confirming our sources who said it was very much in the mix.

The split plan, we are told, could only be stopped if the YM representatives could agree to overturn it. Such an outcome seems unlikely, as there are representatives on both sides of the issue.

The “official” split plan calls for the homophobic meetings to retain the name & resources of Northwest YM; the others would be consigned to a new, as yet unnamed YM. (Or they could leave the whole body and go independent.)

The Administrative Council, which issued the split plan, noted that:

“. . .the Administrative Council has decided to guide the yearly meeting through a restructuring process . . . without a restructuring the yearly meeting would find itself involved in a discipline process similar to that of West Hills Friends Church. There are now other churches who have recorded minutes that have brought them into noncompliance regarding the human sexuality statement in Faith and Practice.”

The “discipline process” referred to is an impasse like that which began after the NWYM Elders agreed to expel West Hills Friends in the summer of 2015 — but then, after eight meetings & 200-plus individuals appealed the decision, NWYM officials could not reach agreement to carry out the expulsion. Until now.  Evidently those on the AC who supported West Hills finally gave in to the pressure of those who agreed with the “Way Forward” letter that, 

“We believe that further delay in taking this necessary action, will result in the disintegration of NWYM.” 

So after eighteen months, the impasse is now over. The AC added that 

West Hills Friends will be part of the restructuring process in the same manner as all other churches.

It is very difficult for this restructuring process not to be perceived as a matter of winners and losers. We recognize the process we have decided upon is not perfect. We know that this will be shattering to individuals and some churches.

One wonders what it will mean for the large number of younger Friends among the 200-plus signers of the individual appeal letter to the AC on behalf of west Hills.

Here is the full text of the AC’s statement about the split plan 

Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends January 27, 2017
The Administrative Council decision is based on the following understandings:

–-Many churches within NWYM have worked to discern Christ’s leading with varying
degrees of difference.
–Churches desire to move forward in their ministries as they are being called.
–The division in our yearly meeting is not going to be simply repaired. 
–Individuals and churches have committed themselves to discernment and to faithfully following Christ. In spite of that, division remains.
–We want to pursue a solution that includes dignity for all people. We want to avoid judgment, harsh language, and bitterness.
–We have discerned that the yearly meeting is not able to function with the current degree of division and difference.
–We recognize that with any decision, there will be something to like and something to dislike. There will be people who will not be satisfied.

Administrative Council Decision:

With all of these things in mind, the Administrative Council has decided to guide the yearly meeting through a restructuring process. The Administrative Council recognizes that without a restructure the yearly meeting would find itself involved in a discipline process similar to that of West Hills Friends Church. There are now other churches who have recorded minutes that have brought them into noncompliance regarding the human sexuality statement in Faith and Practice.

West Hills Friends will be part of the restructuring process in the same manner as all other churches.

It is very difficult for this restructuring process not to be perceived as a matter of winners and losers. We recognize the process we have decided upon is not perfect. We know that this will be shattering to individuals and some churches. The Clerk, Superintendent, and Administrative Council have approached this decision in light of what they have prayerfully discerned as best for Northwest Yearly Meeting at this time.

Newly formed YM

This Yearly Meeting would embrace a revised F&P.

This group would be composed of meetings that have decided to practice and/or have recorded a welcoming stance.

Northwest YM

This YM would be composed of meetings who align with current Northwest YM F&P.

This may include churches who have internal disagreement but have agreed to align their practices with current NWYM F&P.

A transition team, formed of Elders, AC members, Trustees and other at-large members will facilitate the creation of a newly formed yearly meeting. Churches who hold an affirming statement may be a part of the newly formed yearly meeting or may choose to be independent. It is the intent of the administrative council that churches separating from NWYM during this restructuring process, may retain ownership of their church property, along with any indebtedness. All other issues of property, assets and related organization connection questions raised because of the restructuring process will be addressed by that transition team. The transition team will be approved by the AC and report to them.

This process will be a lengthy one, and the AC is committed to completing the transition withdignity and honor for all NWYM churches. Our goal is to complete this transition process on or before June 30, 2018.

Second: In other breaking news — three days before the 2017 Midyear session opened, NWYM officials were sent a letter from Anthem Church in Hayden Lake, Idaho, formerly the Hayden Lake Friends Church. As reported here in November 2015, Hayden/Anthem abruptly quit Northwest YM. In their letter announcing the decision, they acknowledged not being that interested in Quaker ways and convictions.

Since then, yearly meeting officials have been quietly negotiating terms for Anthem’s departure. As they said in a statement to Anthem,

 . . . there must be YM involvement when a church intends to leave the YM for any reason. This is because such an act has wide reverberations across the YM . . . .”

After some haggling, this came down to what could be called an “exit fee”, which has been described as needed to

 set a precedent for any other churches who might be planning to withdraw from the Yearly Meeting, and to provide funding for the NWYM to plant new churches.

The “exit fee” was calculated based on an appraisal of Anthem’s properties as being worth about $2,150.000, and set at $150,000.

But in the January 24, 2017 letter, Anthem’s leadership rejected the exit fee idea, and declined any payment whatever, and basically dared NWYM to sue them if they wanted any compensation for their departure:

It is our considered opinion,” [Anthem wrote] “that the NWYM has no Biblical, legal, moral or historic claim to any of the real property now owned by Anthem Church, Inc. Over the past 20 years, [Hayden Lake Friends Church] and Anthem Church have contributed in excess of $1,000,000 to the NWYM and we have neither asked for nor received any financial support. Needless to say, we perceive no financial debt to the Yearly Meeting.  

This letter (full text pasted in below) was more than a declaration of independence. It’s more like a slap in the face and the throwing down of a gauntlet. Perhaps even more daunting, it would set a very different kind of precedent for NWYM, that of outright defiance of the YM’s claim to member churches property.

To be sure, with 800+ members and doubtless a hefty bank account, Anthem has an advantage smaller churches may lack: the ability to hire lawyers and undertake a court fight. Yet their example can’t but send shivers down the backs of those in charge of the yearly meeting. (One wonders if Anthem’s defiance was not in their minds when they settled on the “restructuring plan” and its willingness to let expelled meetings keep their properties. One big lawsuit would be bad enough. More than one?)

I’m in no position to sort out the legal issues here; maybe NWYM could win in court. But it’s not hard to see features of litigation that would that would make them think hard before filing suit.

Besides expense, there is the fact that in the process of discovery, all sorts of internal documents have to be produced, and are put in public court records. There — like emails leaked in the recently-concluded U.S. national election–they could produce all sorts of mischief.

(I’m not insinuating illegality on anyone’s part in NWYM; but one just never knows what such discovery would turn up, and make available to the prying eyes of other interested persons, the press, and even lowlifes like  East Coast bloggers. Embarrassment and humiliation are nearly guaranteed, and could be the least of it. For a group in which the authorities cherish their ability to conduct all the business they consider important with a level of secrecy rivaling that of the CIA, this would be traumatic indeed, and even subversive.)

So what will happen — will Northwest YM sue Anthem? Will they walk away? And what will their choices mean to other churches in this impending time of “restructuring.” 

Interesting. Very interesting.

Here is the text of the Anthem Letter, with its attachments:

Mr. Roger Watson
Director of Finance & Development
Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends 200 N. Meridian Street
Newberg, OR 97132

Dear Mr. Watson and all leadership of the Northwest Yearly Meeting:
ANTHEM CHURCH
January 24, 2017

This letter is in response to your letter to Chris Lauri dated December 9, 2016. Before getting to the substance of our reply, it is helpful to recount how we got to this point.

You may recall that the body of Anthem Friends Church made a unanimous decision to withdraw from the NWYM in October of 2015. That decision, with supporting documents, was transmitted to the NWYM through a letter dated October 20, 2015, and signed by Terry Riske, our presiding clerk (copy enclosed).

On February 11, 2016, you and Gordon Crisman called Anthem and spoke with Terry Riske and Pastor Jackson Hite to begin negotiations for Anthem to buy-back its Hayden Idaho property from NWYM. You proposed that the purchase price would be negotiated after an appraisal of that property. You also asked Anthem to provide a “binding” written statement declaring that Anthem would continue to allow churches in the NWYM to use the Twin Lakes camp property. During that phone call you identified a Resolution adopted by the Hayden Lake Friends Church directors on May 8, 1975, and minutes of a special meeting of the HLFC Board held on February 22, 1977, as the basis for the Yearly Meeting’s claim to the Anthem real property.

On February 20, 2016, the elders/directors of Anthem Friends Church met to consider and discuss the statements and demands conveyed during the February 11th phone call. At that meeting the Anthem elders/directors unanimously agreed to take the following actions:

1. To change the name of Hayden Lake Evangelical Friends Church, Inc. to “Anthem Church, Inc.” and to file Amended Articles with the Idaho Secretary of State;
2. To rescind and revoke the May 8, 1975 Resolution of the board of directors of Hayden Lake Friends Church, Inc.;
3. To rescind and revoke the February 22, 1977 Resolution of the board of directors of Hayden Lake Friends Church, Inc.;
4. To restate and amend the Bylaws of Anthem Church, Inc.; and
5. To record new deeds in the name of Anthem Church, Inc. for all real property previously titled to HLFC, and to purchase title insurance for all such property.

All of these actions have been completed.

In June of 2016, we met with the NWYM leadership in Newberg to discuss our withdrawal and release from the Yearly Meeting. During that meeting it was confirmed that Anthem Church had fully complied with the written exit process provided by Becky Ankeny (copy enclosed) and that Anthem is not under any form of discipline. Nevertheless, Anthem was asked to pay an “exit fee” equal to ten percent (10%) of the value of all Anthem properties. In addition, the Yearly Meeting requested that the Twin Lakes camp property be surrendered to the NWYM. The rationale for these demands was to set a precedent for any other churches who might be planning to withdraw from the Yearly Meeting, and to provide funding for the NWYM to plant new churches. In response to these demands the Anthem elders/directors proposed an alternative solution whereby Anthem would agree in principle to a 10% exit fee, but that fee would be waived on condition that Anthem would commit to spend an equivalent sum for church planting activities in the inland Northwest over a five (5) year period. A formal written proposal containing these terms and conditions was signed by Pastors Chris Lauri and Jackson Hite and transmitted to the NWYM on July 6, 2016 (copy enclosed).

In October of 2016, Chris Lauri was asked by Retha McCutchen to arrange a meeting in Hayden between the Anthem elders/directors and representatives of the NWYM. The purpose for this meeting was to discuss Anthem’s proposal and the conditions for Anthem’s withdrawal from the NWYM. The elders/directors of Anthem did not feel it was appropriate to meet and discuss these topics without first receiving a formal, written response to our July 6, 2016 offer. On November 3, 2016, Anthem sent the enclosed letter asking for a substantive written response to our July 6th proposal. We understand your December 9, 2016 letter (copy enclosed) to be that formal response.

In your letter you report that the Administrative Council will allow Anthem to retain the Twin Lakes camp property on certain terms and conditions set forth therein. With respect to the Anthem property in Hayden you report that the subcommittee and Administrative Council did not find our proposal to invest 10% of our value over 5 years for church planting activities to be acceptable. Instead, the NWYM now proposes that Anthem “return/pay” to the Yearly Meeting a sum equal to 7% of the total value of Anthem Church property as determined by an independent appraisal. Based on current assessed values, that sum would be approximately $150,000. In consideration of this payment the NWYM will “relinquish its legal right to retain the entirety of the property and improvements and cooperate on providing any necessary documentation that the Anthem church property is fully yours.”

On January 12, 2017, the elders/directors of Anthem Church, and several other former elders and leaders of HLFC met to discuss and consider the position of the Yearly Meeting as stated in your December 9th letter. The current and former leadership of Anthem unanimously agreed to reject your proposal. In addition, we unanimously agreed to withdraw our previous offer as expressed in our July 6, 2016 correspondence, and that offer is hereby withdrawn and terminated.

It is our considered opinion that the NWYM has no Biblical, legal, moral or historic claim to any of the real property now owned by Anthem Church, Inc. Over the past 20 years, HLFC and Anthem Church have contributed in excess of $1,000,000 to the NWYM and we have neither asked for nor received any financial support. Needless to say, we perceive no financial debt to the Yearly Meeting. The Twin Lakes camp property and the main Anthem Church campus in Hayden were acquired before the 1975 and 1977 resolutions upon which the Yearly Meeting apparently relies in making its claims. Anthem Church, Inc. has clear, unencumbered and insured title to all of these properties.

In addition, we have carefully reviewed your Faith and Practice document and we find nothing therein that supports your claim of a “legal right to retain” any of the Anthem property.

Finally, we have reviewed relevant judicial decisions on this subject and we are confident that any claim by NWYM against our assets will be rejected. In any event, Anthem Church and its insurer will defend against any such claim. In the meantime, Anthem Church will do with its property and assets as we deem best and in accordance with the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. No consideration will be given to any other distraction.
We consider our withdrawal from the NWYM to be effective and completed in all respects. We will continue to follow the calling and do the work that the Lord has given us since the merger of HLFC and Anthem in 2012, and we are very excited to see what God has in store for our body. We continue to wish the best for the NWYM and you remain in our prayers as you deal with many difficult Biblical and theological issues.

In the absence of any new or additional information that supports your claims, we will retain ownership and control over all real property assets to honor the memory, sacrifice, faithfulness and desires of the past and current members of HLFC and Anthem Church. If you have any additional information for our consideration, please forward it to:

Scott L. Poorman Attorney at Law PO Box 2871
Hayden, ID 83835 In His love,

Anthem Church Elders

CC: all member churches of NWYM

Withdrawal Letter:

ANTHEM FRIENDS CHURCH
October 20, 2015

To the Northwest Yearly Meeting Elders and Superintendent,

Greetings from your brothers and sisters in Christ at Anthem Friends Monthly Meeting.

As the body of believers that call Anthem Friends Church our home (Anthem Friends Monthly Meeting), we wish to notify you that we request to be released from our affiliation with the Northwest Yearly Meeting. This discussion was initiated at our May business meeting, with the final decision made at our business meeting October 16th, 2015. This decision was made in full consensus, none needing to step aside. Sign in sheets are attached from those present.

While we hold no ill will toward the NWYM, we have determined that our beliefs and convictions do not align with those of the NWYM’s regarding the authority of Scripture and the methods and process used as we move toward regeneration, repentance and holiness in our walk with Jesus.

At this time, we do not have plans to join another yearly meeting, denomination or network. We also understand the current issues that NWYM is struggling with and the weight that those issues carry. Accordingly, we respectfully request a quick and timely release from affiliation with NWYM to allow us to prayerfully pursue the Lord’s direction for the future of Anthem Friends Church and to allow for the least disruptive transition for NWYM.

In Christ,
Terry Riske, Presiding Clerk

Attachment: Memo from NWYM to Anthem:
This is a statement of a procedure that we intend to use in the event of a local church wishing to withdraw from the Yearly Meeting. It is consistent with relevant sections of Faith and Practice, and with other actions taken by the Yearly Meeting in previous similar situations.

NWYM Faith and Practice states: “As an affiliate of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church, each local church acknowledges that the Yearly Meeting has complete authority in all matters affecting the Yearly Meeting and its affiliated churches.”

Therefore, there must be YM involvement when a church intends to leave the YM for any reason. This is because such an act has wide reverberations across the YM and because there are legal requirements to be clarified and met.

The process of leaving will be initiated when a congregational business meeting provides the YM with a formal minute that the congregational business meeting approved stating the decision to leave.

The first group to respond will be the Elders. Their authority derives from F&P 7.01.06: “Whenever necessary, investigate problems in a local church or ministry point, endeavoring to help the church maintain its active relationship with the Yearly Meeting and with the community. If the Board judges that this cannot be achieved, it may take action it deems necessary including, but not limited to, discontinuing the church, effecting a union with another Friends Church, or changing its status to a ministry point.”

Because when a church decides to leave the YM, the entire YM will experience the loss, which may indeed meet the criterion of “shattering,” the NWYM elders are authorized to intervene in accordance the F & P guidelines about “Under the Care of Elders”: “While the decision to come under the care of the Elders is usually initiated by the local church, there are times when the BoE may choose to propose such an arrangement first. Exceptional cases where the church is in severe decline, is experiencing unresolved conflict, or is out of compliance with Faith and Practice in a way that is shattering to the local church or Yearly Meeting community, may prompt the BoE to intervene and place the local church under their care.…In situations in which a ministry point or local church continues to deteriorate, remains ineffective or out of unity with NWYM Faith and Practice, the BoE, acting for the Yearly Meeting, may discontinue the church or the association of the church with Northwest Yearly Meeting, or it may effect a union with another Friends church.”

The NWYM elders will follow the process outlined in F & P for such an intervention. They will initiate an interview process with congregants about the desire and decision to leave. They will meet with the congregation to review findings and correct misinformation.

The information will come to the NWYM elders for their discernment. If Elders discern differently from the local congregation, they may encourage the church to reconsider, to temporarily come under the care of NWYM Elders for counsel and support.

If the Elders discern that the local congregation has followed appropriate process in arriving at their decision, and that their leaving will not shatter the YM, a committee made up of representatives of the AC, Trustees, and Elders will meet with the congregation’s leadership
This group will work with the local congregational leaders to make A plan for the church property
A plan for leaving the NWYM 501(c)3 and finding another 501(c)3 Removing membership (and recording) or transferring to another denomination

The NWYM must be involved as well in any decision to form a new yearly meeting from churches presently a part of NWYM. As F & P states:

Areas whose members wish to be set off and established as a new yearly meeting should inform the Yearly Meeting of that desire and of the concurrence of the constituent churches in the proposal. The Yearly Meeting then considers the proposal and makes a decision. If action is favorable and a new yearly meeting is to be established, the Yearly Meeting appoints a committee, not to exceed ten in number, to attend the opening of the new yearly meeting and to present the authorizing minute and inaugurate sessions in accordance with Friends form of government.

ANTHEM CHURCH
Exit Proposal to NWYM

In October of 2015, the body at Anthem Friends Church made the difficult , yet unanimous decision to withdraw from the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends. Despite our withdrawal from the Yearly Meeting, we at Anthem remain grateful for the past and continued investment of the Yearly Meeting into the Kingdom of God in North Idaho.

We also acknowledge that our withdrawal has resulted in the loss ofresources to the Yearly Meeting that hinders its mission and future church-planting activities in North Idaho and adjoining regions such as Eastern Washington. Like the Yearly Meeting, we at Anthem sincerely desire to continue to support the work of the Holy Spirit by planting new churches in Kootenai County, North Idaho and adjoining regions.

In response to our withdrawal the Yearly Meeting has requested an exit fee equal to ten percent (10%) of the value of all Anthem Church properties. Based on current assessed values, the exit fee would be $296,000. In addition, the Yearly Meeting has requested that the Twin Lakes camp property be surrendered to the Yearly Meeting. It is our position that the NWYM has no legal or equitable claim to any of the assets of Anthem Church.
Nevertheless , in the interest of our shared goal to see the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed in North Idaho and beyond , Anthem Church has agreed to voluntarily pay an exit fee to the NWYM equal to ten percent (10%) of the assessed value of all Anthem Church properties ($296,000). In return, the Yearly Meeting has agreed to waive and forgive the exit fee in full if Anthem Church uses the exit fee amount for church planting activities in North Idaho and beyond over the next five (5) years. Church planting activities include, without limitation: purchasing and/or leasing real property, supporting new pastors in full or part­ time ministry, supporting Christian education through schools, camps and other programs, supporting local missionaries in Kootenai County, North Idaho and beyond.
The Yearly Meeting also acknowledges and agrees that Anthem is fully released from the NWYM with all of its assets free and clear of any claim or demand by the Yearly Meeting, and with the Yearly Meeting’s blessing to continue the work that God has called Anthem to perform in Kootenai County and wherever the Holy Spirit leads.

We, the pastors and elders of Anthem Church, solemnly commit to pray for God’s blessing on our brothers and sisters in Christ at the Yearly Meeting.

Signed by Chris Lauri, Lead Pastor, and Jackson Hits, executive Pastor 

Date 7-6-2016

NWYM Representative Date

NWYM Representative Date

251 W. MILES AVE // THISISOURANTHEM.COM // 208.772.7544

 

November 3, 2016 Anthem Letter to NWYM

Dear Leadership of the Northwest Yearly Meeting,
ANTHEM CHURCH
Meeting Request Response

The Elders of Anthem Church met yesterday to discuss your request for a face-to-face meeting in Hayden. While we appreciate your desire to engage in direct communication, we believe that such a meeting would be premature at this time.

You will recall that we traveled to Newberg in June of this year and met with several representatives from the Yearly Meeting. Following that gathering, Anthem presented a detailed written proposal for your consideration. To date we have not received a substantive response to our proposal. Our proposal was offered in good faith as a comprehensive resolution of all issues related to Anthem Church assets and our withdrawal from NWYM. We would appreciate the courtesy of a detailed written response to that proposal, and we will consider your response to be made by persons with the authority to legally bind the NWYM if the terms are accepted.

Upon receipt of your substantive written response, we will give careful consideration to your proposed terms and we will reply in a timely manner. We sincerely hope you receive this request in the spirit of mutual respect and love with which it is made. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to your reply.

Best regards,

Anthem Church Elders

Letter from Northwest YM Leadership to Anthem

December 9, 2016

Anthem Church Chris Lauri, Pastor
251 W. Miies Avenue
Hayden Lake, ID 83835-9622 Dear Chris,
I am happy to be able to get back to you and Anthem Church on the matters we have been discussing, as to the future of Twin Lakes Camp and the Anthem church property itself.

The Administrative Council of Northwest Yearly Meeting appointed a subcommittee to consider the Anthem proposal submitted in June of this year. This group was made up of members of the Trustees, Administrative Council and yearly meeting Elders, all of which had been present at the June meeting. This group made recommendations to the Administrative Council which then issued a decision.

In regard to Twin Lakes Camp, the Administrative Council proposes that the camp be retained by Anthem Church. This recognizes the significant financial investment which Hayden Lake Friends and now Anthem has made in the camp. This proposal is made on the following conditions:

–The parties will sign and record a memorandum of agreement that Anthem Church owns Twin Lakes Camp. If the camp is sold within a l 0-year period, Anthem Church will return 25% of the proceeds to Northwest Yearly Meeting (which will be used for benefit of the In land Area Friends churches).
–Anthem will allow use of the camp by In land Area Friends churches at a reduced rate. It is suggested that the 20% discount offered by Twin Rocks Friends Camp be used as a model.
–That Inland Area Friends churches will continue to have a presence on the camp board of directors to work in partnership with Anthem Church.
–That a way be found by Anthem Church to permanently honor those churches and individuals which gave of time, expertise and financial support to establish the camp.

In regard to the Anthem church property itself, the subcommittee and Administrative Council were not satisfied with the proposal made by Anthem . While we applaud your desire to plant churches, it was felt strongly that this did not honor the desire of the Hayden Lake Friends Church and its members to remain a Friends Church, and the proposal was not adequate or acceptable. With that in mind, Northwest Yearly Meeting proposes that Anthem Church return/pay the Yearly Meeting for the Anthem church property an amount equal to 7% of the value of the church property and improvements based on an independent appraisal by a qualified third party that is mutually acceptable to the parties. The cost of would be divided equally between the Church and Northwest Yearly Meeting .

We believe this to be a generous offer by Northwest Yearly Meeting based on its Faith and Practice and would allow Anthem to continue with its vision . In consideration for the 7% payment, Northwest

Yearly Meeting will relinquish its legal right to retain the entirety of the property and improvements and cooperate on providing any necessary documentation that the Anthem church property is fully yours.

While we grieve the loss of the Anthem Church from Northwest Yearly Meeting it is our desire that your separation might be a peaceable one. In that spirit, we hope that you will agree to meet with Retha McCutchen, General Superintendent, Debbie Harrison , Assistant Clerk and Roger Watson, Director of Finance and Development to discuss any disagreements in a face to face meeting.

Please let us know when you can as to whether the above offer is acceptable. If so, please sign and return a copy of this letter. This offer is made on behalf of the Northwest Yearly Meeting and, if accepted, we will prepare and send you the legal documentation necessary to accomplish the transactions.

Sincerely yours,

Roger Watson,
Director of Finance & Development ,
For and on behalf of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church, by its authority

The foregoing offer is accepted and approved . ANTHEM CHURCH , INC.
By
Name (printed):

North Carolina YM Welcomes the “Autonomites”

Friends, welcome to Carolina Quaker Vocabulary 201.
Today’s new words are: “Autonomy” and “Autonomites.”
First we’ll go over the words themselves, then we’ll have some exercises.

Here are the standard definitions for “autonomy,” from the basic online dictionary:

au·ton·o·my — noun – definitions:

The right or condition of self-government, especially in a
a self-governing country or region.
Freedom from external control or influence; independence.
Synonyms: self-government, self-rule, home rule, self-determination, independence, sovereignty, freedom.

And an “autonomite” is one who conducts their religious life, in their community, on an autonomous basis, associating freely with others,  following leadings of the Spirit rather than directives of human authorities.

Now for the exercises, getting familiar with the words and their meaning:

A North Carolina YM Committee clerk has given the name “Autonomy” to a new grouping of local meetings, as part of a NCYM reorganization plan. Does this name mean anything?

We will soon find out. On Saturday, January 28, at Quaker lake Camp, beginning at 10 AM there will be a gathering of Friends interested in the Autonomy grouping. Welcome the Carolina Autonomites.

Attendance at the session does not require committing to the grouping, though the convenor, Mark Farlow, hopes some meetings which have been uncertain may wish to do that.

No doubt many questions will come up. One near the top of my list is, How truly “autonomous” will these “Autonomites” be? Continue reading North Carolina YM Welcomes the “Autonomites”

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

BREAKING: Split Over LGBT Said Imminent for Northwest Yearly Meeting

NOTE UPDATE BELOW: From sources in the Northwest, we have been sent the text of a draft plan to split Northwest Yearly Meeting (NWYM), over the issue of affirmation of LGBT persons.

This issue of affirming meetings has been intensely debated across NWYM since the summer of 2015, when the yearly meeting elders announced a decision to expel West Hills Friends in Portland from NWYM because of its openly affirming stance. But after several meetings & many young Friends appealed, the power players in the yearly meeting were unable to agree to carry out that decision until now.

The document below is a draft plan for the split. It reportedly was considered, tweaked, and agreed to at secret meetings in the past several days. It is expected to be announced to NWYM generally soon, perhaps this coming weekend (Jan. 28-29). Continue reading BREAKING: Split Over LGBT Said Imminent for Northwest Yearly Meeting

Ultimatum in Northwest Yearly Meeting?? (Yawn.)

What a difference an earthquake makes.

Yes, on November 8th many foundations were shaken. Received  knowledge was proved ignorance: conventional wisdom unmasked as folly.

Now a great many of us are warily counting down the days til we  have answers to a set of unavoidable, unnerving questions:

— Which of the several wars called for by the new rulers will we be thrust into first? And then?

— How many millions of people will be seized off our streets and cast into what outer darkness?

— What can we expect from a “Justice” Department run by a relentless foe of every recent advance in civil rights, women’s and gender equality, voting protections and criminal justice reform?

— How much of the remaining health and social safety net for seniors, the poor, sick, and disabled, is to be shredded right before our eyes?  Continue reading Ultimatum in Northwest Yearly Meeting?? (Yawn.)

Is North Carolina Yearly Meeting Giving Peace A Chance?

After two years of turmoil, meeting departures, and apocalyptic rhetoric, North Carolina Yearly Meeting held a representative session in Goldsboro on November 5, 2016 which was remarkably drama free.

This was despite the fact that the session made several major decisions. And among the biggest was a decision they did not make.

spring-meeting-open-door-best-sm
is NCYM opening the door to a time of peaceful coexistence?

We’ve spoken here before of the Blockbuster Video effect, the fact that both technological and demographic changes are making the NCYM structure obsolete; not unlike “Blockbuster Video,” which was toppled by failure to adapt to  changes in its industry.

On Saturday, NCYM took two major steps in a similar process: first, it decided to end its pastor’s pension program; and second, they gave its showpiece, Quaker Lake Camp, a green light to become de facto independent.

There’s no question that closing down the pension program marks the end of an era. NCYM figures are that 173 people are vested in it, or already receiving checks. The payments were supposed to last for life; now they will end after June 2017. Each beneficiary will get a final settlement check, adjusted actuarially.

Continue reading Is North Carolina Yearly Meeting Giving Peace A Chance?