The Carolina Quaker Split: Two Targets Say, “No Thanks!”

The Carolina Quaker Split: Two Targets Say, “No Thanks!”

Last Month NCYM-FUM’s Representative session agreed to begin discussions on a possible plan to split the YM.

But now two of the Meetings among those slated to be moved out of NCYM into the as yet uncreated new YM have firmly turned “Thumbs Down” on the whole idea.

None-of-the-above-signsJamestown Meeting, near Greensboro, sent a letter to NCYM making plain its firm opposition to the entire scheme. The key section:

“Jamestown Friends Meeting does not and never has supported the concept of dividing or splitting the Yearly Meeting. There are many reasons for this position, but suffice it to say it will only render two groups (or more) worse off than now, will divide meetings and families, and will create hostility and dissention.”

Jamestown also firmly rebuked the way the push for schism has been conducted:

“It appears that the Quaker process has been abandoned or failed at many levels of the Yearly Meeting. The process of sense of the meeting does not involve voting or head counting. It respects the role of the minority and recognizes that working together is difficult but that is what God call us to do. It requires respect for one another, openness to listen, time to reflect and study, and attempts to find reconciliation, forgiveness and love. . . . We, as a meeting, urge our leaders to take as much time as may be needed to hear all views, to treat each other with respect, to make efforts to heal and unify rather than abuse and divide.” (Full text if the letter is below.)

Jamestown joins a smaller rural Meeting, Spring, in its rejection. Spring’s minute on the split plan is much briefer, but equally pointed. Here it is in full:

“After careful consideration, Spring Monthly Meeting is agreed that we are unable to support or take part in any plan to divide North Carolina Yearly Meeting. Such a plan is contrary to the commitments and values we stated in our Ninth Month 2014 letter to Friends, and which we still affirm. That letter is available online at: http://bit.ly/1QdRsmt. “

A pertinent snippet from Spring’s 2014 Letter: “We [at Spring] believe that unity is best achieved by embracing of our diversity and not through the cleavage of our association from others over doctrinal matters.”

The impact of these firm refusals is not yet clear. Neither Meeting is out to start an anti-split crusade. But the whole packaging of the division was that it was to be a voluntary dissolution, like a consensual, no-fault divorce, with all in agreement.

This presentation soon showed cracks. For one thing, behind the smiling veneer was an ultimatum from some strongly evangelical meetings, such as those in Yadkin Quarter, which demanded enforcement of “theological unity” (i.e., agreement with their creedal views), and declared that

“Many Monthly Meetings have already left the Yearly Meeting and many more are ready to leave if unity in our theological beliefs is not accomplished soon. . . . ‘We expect that Meetings come to unity with Jesus Christ of the Scriptures and the Faith statements in Faith and Practice (Faith and Thought chapter, 2012 edition p.27). If not we recommend that those Meetings be sanctioned and or disciplined, with possible disownment, by the November 2016 Representative Body session.'”
[Yadkin Quarter’s full Letter is here: http://wp.me/p5FGIu-1vM ]

Yadkin Quarter listed several meetings, including Spring, as lacking such “unity.” It would seem that Jamestown will likely now join the target list. And with their refusal to join in the kabuki theater of the voluntary divide, Yadkin and the YM officers will be confronted with how to deal with such recalcitrance.

These minutes will be formally reported at the NCYM Annual Session, in mid-August. That’s also when the body will further consider the “voluntary no-fault divorce” proposal. That framework looks increasingly problematic. Other meetings targeted for lack of adherence to Yadkin’s views are yet to be heard from.

The refusing meetings decline to accept the Yadkin framing of the issue: they do not believe they are “out of unity” with the YM Faith & Practice. If anything, it is Yadkin Quarter and the others who are”out of unity” with the F&P’s numerous statements that it is not a creedal document. And if the dissenting meetings are expelled, it will be by a purge, pure and simple.

That could very well still happen. A peaceable divorce is one thing. But there is more than one way to split a cat.

Split Proposal text in full: http://wp.me/p5FGIu-1vw

Jamestown Letter:

June 28, 2016

Clerk of NCYM – FUM
Executive Committee
Superintendent of NCYM
4811 Hilltop Rd
Greensboro NC 27407

Jamestown Friends Meeting, at its regularly scheduled meeting for worship with attention to business, had a lengthy discussion concerning the Executive Committee and Representative Body and the proposal to split or divide the Yearly Meeting. Jamestown Friends Meeting does not and never has supported the concept of dividing or splitting the Yearly Meeting. There are many reasons for this position, but suffice it to say it will only render two groups (or more) worse off than now, will divide meetings and families, and will create hostility and dissention.

It appears that the Quaker process has been abandoned or failed at many levels of the Yearly Meeting. The process of sense of the meeting does not involve voting or head counting. It respects the role of the minority and recognizes that working together is difficult but that is what God call us to do. It requires respect for one another, openness to listen, time to reflect and study, and attempts to find reconciliation, forgiveness and love. It is not based upon pre- set conditions or prepared oratory. It includes quiet listening, searching and openness. It is a slow process at times and is designed to be that way, if necessary.

We, as a meeting, urge our leaders to take as much time as may be needed to hear all views, to treat each other with respect, to make efforts to heal and unify rather than abuse and divide. We seek to find how to help others see our vision of God’s work and how we can better understand the vision of others—then hearts and minds may work together to find unity in the Spirit.

On behalf of Jamestown Friends Meeting and with the approval of the monthly meeting,

(signed) Mark Farlow, Frank Massey, Clarence Mattocks

(Editor’s note: Mark Farlow is presiding clerk of monthly meeting, Frank Massey is pastor of the meeting, and Clarence Mattocks is clerk of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee.)

Lipstick-pig

2 thoughts on “The Carolina Quaker Split: Two Targets Say, “No Thanks!””

  1. Leave it to reliable Jamestown to quietly and firmly step forward at just the right time. Perfect. Jamestown Meeting has been a staunch supporter of YM for years working back stage doing the grunt work with no recognition. Friends would be wise to hear them.

  2. What does the proposed split say about “that of God in Everyone” or “Love One Another”? May be helpful to put aside for 2-3 years, and have Peace and Reconciliation Retreats.
    Holding you in the Light.

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