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Quaker Schism Thoughts [Aug. 26th, 2015|07:14 am]
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This morning i found in my Associate Clerk inbox a letter from the clerk of NCYM-FUM, the North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends that aligns itself with the anti-universalist branch of the Society of Friends (Friend United Meeting). He writes that three meetings have been released from their membership in that Yearly Meeting. Two (Poplar Ridge and Holly Spring) because they were involved in funding the formation of a new yearly meeting and one (New Garden) because it holds membership in another yearly meeting.

Reading a March summary from Chuck Fager (http://quakertheology.org/Preview-QT-26-03-01-2015.pdf), my interpretation of the action of North Carolina Yearly Meeting-FUM is this:

* Poplar Ridge is almost indistinguishable from a Baptist Church;
* Polar Ridge's pastor wanted to reduce the theological diversity of NCYM-FUM by insisting that all Meetings be aligned with NCYM-FUM and no other Quaker bodies.
* New Garden is the meeting most targeted because it is in fellowship with the more liberal branches of Friends "New Garden Friends Meeting is an inclusive, welcoming Christian faith community. Our members and attenders represent a wide range of religious backgrounds and traditions. Grounded in more than 250 years of Quaker heritage, New Garden remains a vital Meeting for those who seek that of God in every person." [Code word inclusive means they welcome LGBTQ members.]
* Poplar Ridge's attempt to dominate the Yearly Meeting business by demanding unity in theological stance has been incredibly divisive.
* The Yearly Meeting executive body, witnessing that Poplar Ridge had finally crossed a line in beginning exploration of starting a new Yearly meeting, had grounds to release Poplar Ridge and its financial partner Holly Spring before the gathering of the whole where the dissent and tumult would be even more charged. Unfortunately, by applying this particular judgement of a line to the disruptive and demanding meetings, they needed to equally apply it to the more universalist meeting that maintained a membership in a second yearly meeting.

So, i read this as a trimming of two extremes from the Yearly Meeting.

Ah, here's Chuck's more up-to-date blog post: http://afriendlyletter.com/breaking-carolina-bombshell-three-nc-meetings-expelled-will-it-stand/

It seems my reading aligns with his.

I'll note that were i to move to North Carolina i *might* sojourn with a North Carolina Yearly Meeting
(Conservative) meeting, but i could not join one. I would not be interested in any meeting that was aligned with NCYM-FUM -- except with the possibility of the expelled New Garden Friends Meeting. I'd be more at home at a Meeting that was part of Piedmont Friends Fellowship and Yearly Meeting. I've happily joined Friends at the Chapel Hill Friends Meeting in the past.


[User Picture]From: amaebi
2015-08-26 08:43 pm (UTC)

Absolutely fascinating.
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[User Picture]From: elainegrey
2015-08-26 09:28 pm (UTC)
There's been a couple other schisms over being welcoming and inclusive. Indiana Yearly Meeting dropped around 15 meetings -- and apparently those were the meetings that were providing most of the funding. ie: the remaining meetings have few members. And a meeting was expelled from Northwest Yearly Meeting in July.

In general all of this is going on in the branch of Quakerism that was influenced by the Methodist and other evangelical movements in the mid 1800s and evolved into communities that strongly trended towards the same direction as Methodist/Baptist churches.

Is there a word that puts Episcopalians and Presbyterians on one side of a protestant line and Methodists and Baptists on the other? (In general, the majority of Quakers in the US followed the Methodist/Baptist trajectory....)

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[User Picture]From: amaebi
2015-08-26 09:58 pm (UTC)
The only term I know is neither political nor ecclesiological-- Episcopalians are definitely liturgical, and Presbyterians more liturgical than Methodists or Baptists....
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[User Picture]From: bobby1933
2015-08-27 05:42 am (UTC)
In Southwestern Idaho, their are relatively few Quakers/ The "liberals" belong to "Meetings" and the majority belong to Friends Churches. I attended a Friends church in Boise about fifty years ago. I could not distinguish it from a conservative Protestant church, or even a fundamentalist church. There was no "aura" of East Coast Quakerism anywhere. I never went back, it was just not my sort of place. My friends who were Friends never went to Friends churches. I think that Quaker worship, now abandoned by "Western" Quakers, is almost unique in Christianity as it features neither liturgy nor preaching.
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