Northwest YM Leaders Kick The LGBT Expulsion Can Down the Road

Northwest YM Leaders Kick The LGBT Expulsion Can Down the Road

Northwest Leaders Kick the LGBT Expulsion Can Down The Road

BREAKING: Two sources in Northwest Yearly Meeting confirmed late Friday Jan. 21, 2016 that the YM Administrative Council {AC} is deadlocked on the appeals calling for reinstatement of West Hills Friends [WHF}, expelled last summer for being an LGBT inclusive church.

In light of the impasse, they will put off a final date for the expulsion to become effective until after the next yearly meeting sessions, set for July 24-29, 2016.

Here is the message that has been sent out; it does not seem to have been made widely public yet:

 “Regretfully, we are not able to come to unity to overturn or affirm the elders’ decision to release West Hills. Therefore, we’ve postponed the effective date of West Hills’ release at least until yearly meeting sessions.

At that time, the Board of Elders will report to the Yearly Meeting its summary of the state of the church, allowing time for prayerful consideration of issues raised by the report and by any attached judgments or interpretations offered by the Board of Elders.”

One source added that–

This message does not say what next steps will be once the Board of Elders have reported to Yearly Meeting in July. Till then, WHF is still a part of NWYM. We have more questions than answers at this point but we will keep you posted!

APPEAL-Square -- Northwest Leaders Kick the LGBT Expulsion Can Down The Road

The AC also said: ·

“We affirm the elders’ determination that West Hills is a strong, healthy, growing community of Christian Friends. ·

We also find, with the elders, that as a yearly meeting, we are not in unity over our statement on human sexuality in the Faith and Practice.
We remain united in our commitment to understanding the Scriptures and letting them convict and guide us.
We remain united in our belief that God speaks to and leads God’s people.
We remain united in our desire to minister the gospel in love to all people.
We continue to find our identity in Jesus Christ, who has called us to be one people together.”

It’s been six months since the expulsion decision was announced in July. Appeals were due by mid-August.

The basis for the action is because the YM Elders determined that West Hills welcoming stance constituted an infraction of Discipline that was of a “shattering” character. However, “shattering” has not been defined.

As we reported in mid-August, eight meetings had filed formal appeals asking that the expulsion be rescinded. In addition, an informal letter supporting the appeals gathered 230 individual signatures.

The texts of all eight supporting letters, as well as texts of several letters supporting the expulsion were linked and analyzed in this  post of mid-November.

There had since been rumors that the Administrative Council was not able to agree on a decision about the appeals; that much is confirmed in the A.C. statement.

It may be there will be further deliberation/discussion  at Northwest’s traditional “Midyear Boards” sessions, underway now and Saturday morning at the Newberg Friends Church.

We have information that vigorous debate has been ongoing on NWYM listservs, with statements supporting the expulsion predominating there. 

However, the supporters of rescinding the expulsion include many younger adult members. This brings to mind the comments by Stephen Angell, Professor of Quaker Studies at Earlham School of Religion, who wrote an extensively-researched article about Northwest and its issues in last fall’s issue of the journal Quaker Theology. In an interview about the article here in November 2015, he said:

What I point out in the article is that “shattering” cuts both ways. In NWYM, Young adult Friends are not going to tolerate a yearly meeting, or monthly meetings, that does not allow for the possibility of welcoming and affirming LGBT Friends. And these young adults are the future of NWYM. The yearly meeting needs to stop worrying about “shattering,” because whatever stand is taken on these issues (and avoidance of taking a stand is also seen as a stand), some Friends are going to leave. It needs to figure out how to live with its present and future diversity in regard to LGBT issues.

(Within a day of this interview being posted, Anthem Friends in Hayden Lake, Idaho, announced its departure from Northwest YM. It was the YM’s largest church.)

So. With this announcement, Northwest’s leaders kick the LGBT expulsion can down the road. Sessions next summer should be memorable.

We’re seeking more information, and will pass it along as it becomes available. We note again that Northwest officials have been notably inaccessible to outside questions.

2 thoughts on “Northwest YM Leaders Kick The LGBT Expulsion Can Down the Road”

  1. Over the history of Friends, people have been expelled for various things, like marrying out of the faith. Blacks had to sit in the back or were not welcome. We have lost many members in this way. God loves all people and all creatures. Why we cannot is a mystery to me. What is the harm in including LGBT people. Are they hurting you? is it skin off your nose if they love and want to marry?

  2. God wants us to have an open door for all peoples group and sub groups. He also love all no matter what their sin, problem or condition. If they who have orientations issues were to come to my church that I serve as pastor. A RMYM component I would welcome them in hopes of helping them see the wrong in the choice they have made. I will not, repeat will not change my sermons to make them feel comfortable, but that they would receive conviction from God of it.

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