Editor’s Introduction by Chuck Fager

To be candid, I’m not accustomed to being consulted by Evangelical Friends. I’m not one, and over the past forty years, I’ve often found myself on opposite sides from many vocal or leading Evangelicals. Nevertheless, I’ve learned things from Evangelicals, and on good days, I’m content to let them follow their leadings, while I struggle […]

Editor’s Preface to “Engaging Homelessness behind the ‘Orange Curtain'” by Chuck Fager

A bulletin from southern California: The biggest Quaker church in the world wants to shut down one of the smallest. The small church sued in late 2018 to stop the shutdown.But a hearing in Orange County Superior Court on January 31 could have locked their doors and; made the small church members and its pastors homeless. The issue: the small church was helping homeless people.

Engaging Homelessness Behind the “Orange Curtain” By Joseph Pfeiffer

Homelessness in Orange County, California, is only recently coming to light. Its rapid increase in the most affluent county in the U.S. is increasingly difficult to ignore, having swelled to over 7,000 in recent years, and with few resources allocated to cope with it (Replogle 2019a; 2019b). Attempts by county and local officials to make the problem simply disappear have resulted in public controversy and federal court censure (Replogle 2018).

The Ku Klux Klan by Daisy Douglas Barr

Daisy Douglas Barr (1875-1938) was a popular preacher in Indiana Yearly Meeting. She served as pastor for at least six different Friends meetings/churches there. She was also a key figure in the statewide women’s counterpart Klan group, and a Vice-Chairmam [sic] of the state Republican party. She read this original poem at the national meeting of Grand Dragons of the Ku Klux Klan, among whom she was the only woman, in Asheville, North Carolina, 1923.

Moment of Truth: Wilmington Yearly Meeting Divides over a Familiar Set of Issues

By Stephen W. Angell Wilmington Yearly Meeting (WYM), assembled at the Friends Meeting in Maryville, Tennessee, on the last weekend of July, released five meetings (four monthly meetings and one preparatory meeting) that requested to sever connections with the yearly meeting. Wilmington Yearly Meeting includes Friends Churches in the states of Tennessee and Ohio, and […]

The Separation Generation

By Chuck Fager; with material edited and adapted from previous issues of Quaker Theology. I – Background It’s not easy – in fact, impossible – to pick a starting date for what I call the “Separation Generation” in American Quakerism. My personal preference is July 1977, when the first major interbranch conference in decades, gathered in […]

SIX: An Exchange About Numbers; AFSC and Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting & Association (SAYMA), 2011-2012

From SAYMA’s minutes, 2011: [SAYMA =] Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting & Association June 9-12, 2011[Below: SAYMA’s logo & Map of Meetings] Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, North Carolina41st Annual Meeting 41-32: AFSC and Quakers Free Polazzo serves as one of our representative to the AFSC Corporation. Free has asked AFSC for a report of the number […]

ELEVEN: Can the AFSC Get Its Quaker Groove Back?

By Chuck Fager Adapted from Quaker Theology, Issue #18, 2010-2011 I: The Background of a Concern What we’ve dubbed “The Great Quaker Turnover” has been rolling through Quakerism over the past year. Practically all the “alphabet soup” Friends groups have been changing their top executives: FUM, QUNO, FCNL, FGC, FWCC, Friends Journal. Several top posts […]

Is There Life after Death in Quaker North Carolina?

Chuck Fager Demolishing a 320-Year-Old Meeting     At 10:58 Eastern time,  Seventh Day (Saturday), Eighth Month (August) 5, 2017, at Quaker Lake Camp near Liberty, NC, Clerk Michael Fulp asked, “Do you approve?”     The assembled Friends, about 120 of them, responded with a surprisingly subdued, “Approve.” And with that, they pressed the button that […]

An Increasingly Familiar Story: Northwest Yearly Meeting Expulsions & Sequelae

Chuck Fager We’ve also been following the growing tensions in Northwest Yearly Meeting, out west (see Issue #24:, Issue #27  ; and Issue #28 ).     In January 2017, these tensions came to a head when the YM leadership announced a purge of several meetings that had adopted LGBT-affirming positions or minutes.  The leadership framed this as a […]

Wilmington YM: Another Yearly Meeting Schism?

By Stephen W. Angell The Fairview Minute This eloquent minute (around which most of the discussion in annual sessions in Wilmington Yearly Meeting was based) was approved on January 15, 2017, in a small rural Friends’ church in New Vienna, Ohio. It was in response to a longstanding disagreement in that yearly meeting over a […]

Back From The Brink: North Carolina Yearly Meeting Says No To A Split

Chuck Fager I North Carolina Yearly Meeting-FUM (NCYM) has ended the two-year effort to purge its “liberal meetings.” This seems to be the most definite outcome of its showdown annual session on August 13 and 14, 2016. It was a very close thing. The leadership wanted a purge disguised as a split, and the steamroller […]

Three Reflections on Same Sex Marriage

Philip Gulley Why I Support Same Gender Marriage Several years ago, I was attending a Quaker conference north of Chicago and began talking with a man from Ohio, who spoke in the plain language of our Quaker ancestors. Lots of thee’s and thou’s. It seemed pretentious, as if he were subtly reminding the rest of […]

North Carolina & Northwest Yearly Meeting Updates: Ambushed, Sandbagged, and Kicked Down The Road

Chuck Fager I Have you seen moments like this in detective films, or in stories? When Sherlock, or whoever the sleuth is, hunches forward and shouts: “Good God, Watson! How could I be such a FOOL??” (Usually, it means things are about to get very interesting.) I had that kind of a moment Saturdayྭmorning, November 7, 2015. […]

Quakers and “Transformation”

An Editorial Commentary You ask me, it’s a sure sign of a needed change coming: Just as I was finishing up this piece, I found a notice that The Center for Spiritual & Social Transformation, part of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California just changed its name (on September 1, 2015) to the […]

George Fox University and West Hills Friends:

Controversy and Conflict in NorthwestYearly Meeting By Stephen W. Angell [Editor’s Note: In Issue #24, we reported on a two-sided struggle that had appeared in Northwest Yearly Meeting (NWYM). On one side, there emerged a visible support group for LGBT students, staff and alumni at the Newberg. Oregon campus of NWYM’s academic offspring, George Fox […]

Part II: Northwest Yearly Meeting Elders “Release” (i.e., Expel) West Hills Friends Meeting

Background On July 24, 2015, only hours after the annual NWYM sessions had adjourned, NWYM elders communicated to West Hills Friends Meeting (WHF) that they had been expelled, or, in the el­ders’ term, “released,” from the yearly meeting. This action has a long pre-history that we have covered in QT #24. WHF is a 1989 […]

Thunder In Carolina, Part Two: North Carolina Yearly Meeting – FUM And “Unity” vs. Uniformity

Chuck Fager I We begin by looking back to August 30, 2014, at the annual session of NCYM-FUM. The Executive Committee has just made its report. Almost immediately intense controversy breaks out. Pastors and others from four meetings, in particular, rose to loudly insist that business, as usual, be set aside. The yearly meeting, they […]

Thunder In Carolina: North Carolina Yearly Meeting – FUM

Chuck Fager North Carolina Quaker Showdown As this issue went to press, North Carolina Yearly Meeting-FUM (NCYM) was on the brink of a showdown over its future, with a high probability of undergoing a major schism. What’s at stake in the struggle? Many things, but what stands out are four Ms: Mission, morality, marriage, and […]

Letters From Meeting Demanding Disciplinary Action Against Meetings With Which They Differ – And Responses

[Note: The letters are reproduced here, and are also online at our website. Links are listed after the letters. The quality of reproduction is as good as we could make it from the available copies.] Bethesda Friends Meeting, Dunn, North Carolina Deep Creek Friends Meeting, Yadkinville NC Deep Creek Friends Meeting – Page 2 Forbush […]

Links to NCYM-FUM letters online

Protesting Letters Poplar Ridge Letter: https://afriendlyletter.com/files/Poplar-Ridge-Friends-NCYMFUM.pdf Pine Hill: https://afriendlyletter.com/files/Pine-Hill-Friends-NCYM-08-3024.pdf Deep Creek: https://afriendlyletter.com/files/Deep-Creek-Friends.pdf Hopewell: https://afriendlyletter.com/fles/Hopewell-Friends-NCYM-082014.pdf Forbush: https://afriendlyletter.com/fles/Forbush-Friends-082014.pdf Plainfeld: https://afriendlyletter.com/fles/Plainfeld-Letter-ALL.pdf Bethesda: https://afriendlyletter.com/fles/Bethesda-Letter.pdf Responses Fancy Gap Withdrawal Letter: https://afriendlyletter.com/files/Fancy-Gap-Quit-Letter.pdf Spring Meeting “Stay Put” Letter: https://afriendlyletter.com/fles/Spring-Letter-Stay.pdf

“A Convergent Model of Renewal: Remixing the Quaker Tradition in a Participatory Culture”*

Reviewed by Chuck Fager There’s more than little déjà vu about A Convergent Model of Renewal. Quakerism, Wess Daniels argues, will be renewed by the coming together of Friends from the fringes of the various branches, particularly younger members and seekers. Or as he puts it: “It could be said that convergent Friends signal the emergence of a […]

Separation Accomplished: New Beginnings for a New Association of Friends and a “Reconfigured” Indiana Yearly Meeting

By Stephen W. Angell The disagreement became so sharp that they parted company; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and set out, the believers commending him to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. – Acts 15:39-41 (NRSV). Has a […]

A Letter re: Kenya Quakers & Homosexuality

by David Zarembka Dear Quaker Theology, I read with interest the various comments on the homosexuality issue in Kenya in the last issue of Quaker Theology [Issue #23]. I have some additional comments that might help clarify the situation. I was at the FWCC [Friends World Committee for Consultation] World Conference in Nakuru [in 2012] […]

Northwest Yearly Meeting and “Shattering” Conflict: Chapter One

Chuck Fager with Jade Souza With the schism in Indiana Yearly Meeting over one meeting’s open welcome to LGBT persons now complete, one could have thought this journal would have a break from coverage of such events. But it was not to be. In July 2013, another American Friends church, this time in an evangelical […]

Excerpts from “The Dance Between Hope and Fear,” by John Calvi

An Introduction and Review For some years now, a small chorus of people has nagged John Calvi to write a book. Finally, over the past year, he has heeded these calls. As will be explained further in the following excerpts, Calvi is a Quaker healer. And though he might quail at the term, I would […]

“Quakers & Homosexuality Press Statement,” from Friends Church Kenya

Friends Church Kenya-vs-Homosexuals-Text-and-Responses-Quaker-Theology-Number-23In This Section: “Quakers & Homosexuality Press Statement,” from Friends Church Kenya Background & Context: Homosexuality, Law, Religion & Violence In Africa Today, by The Editors Responses to the FCK Statement:Pablo StanfieldCindy PerryRich LiversidgeDoug BennettMary HeathmanGeoffrey Kaiser Epistle to the 2012 World Conference of Friends, held in Kenya, from Friends for Lesbian, Gay, […]

The Battle for Battle Creek: Sectarian Competition in the Yankee West

Brian C. Wilson Battle Creek, Michigan, is famous as the 19th-century headquarters of Seventh-Day Adventism and its prophet, Ellen White, as well as for the Adventist-­inspired Battle Creek Sanitarium, superintended for years by the dynamic John Harvey Kellogg. Battle Creek also became nationally known for hosting a variety of alternative religions other than Seventh-Day Adventism. […]

Indiana Yearly Meeting Update & Documents

In This Section: Update: The “Reconfiguration” of Indiana Yearly Meeting Enters an Intense Organizational Phase, By Stephen W. Angell Documents: Camping Out at the Borderland: Reflections on Life in a Liminal Time (Ruth 1: 1-14) By Stephanie Crumley-Effinger From the Indiana Yearly Meeting Communicator, January 30, 2013 Remarks for Representative Council, 9-29-2012 by Thomas Hamm […]

The Proposed Split of Indiana Yearly Meeting: What Its Monthly Meetings Say

By Stephen W. Angell Editor’s Introduction September 11th. Is there a more ominous date on the contemporary American calendar? Now, 9-11 has become a landmark date for Indiana Yearly Meeting (IYM), in a manner eerily reminiscent of its traumatic meaning for society at large. On September 11, 2012, IYM Meetings were notified that the long […]

Lopping Off a Limb?

Indiana Yearly Meeting’s Troubled Relationship With West Richmond Monthly Meeting By Stephen W. Angell “There is a common misperception that West Richmond is a limb that is being lopped off. That is not the spirit of the recommendation of the Indiana Yearly Meeting task force. We’re  trying to help out the meetings that don’t fit.” […]

Two Current Conflicts in Midwestern Friends Meetings

Stephen W. Angell Part I: Freight Train Bearing Down? West Richmond Friends Meeting and Indiana Yearly Meeting West Richmond Friends Meeting in Richmond, Indiana, might seem to be an odd ground zero for the newest intra-Quaker conflict, but that is where the Meeting has found itself in the past two years, after approving a “welcoming […]

Can The AFSC Get Its Quaker Groove Back?

Chuck Fager I: The Background of a Concern What we’ve dubbed “The Great Quaker Turnover” has been rolling through Quakerism over the past year. Practically all the “alphabet soup” Friends groups have been changing their top executives: FUM, QUNO, FCNL, FGC, FWCC, Friends Journal. Several top posts in Britain Yearly Meeting have turned over as […]

Opening the Scriptures, Then and Now

By Stephen W. Angell From East Africa to the Midwestern United States, the first decade of the twenty-first century has proven to be a momentous time for the Religious Society of Friends. In Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting, to which I belong, Friends have been discussing whether our minute on environmental sustainability should include the concept […]

“Putting the Bible into Perspective: Hicksites and the Theological Treatment of the Bible in Progressive Reform”

Jody Cross-Hansen This article is part of one chapter of my doctoral dissertation–a work-in-progress in which I am examining the Nancy Hewitt hypothesis that perhaps the Hicksite schism was a positive event because it led to liberal reform among women. The jury is still very much out on this hypothesis. At least in the area […]

A Conservative Yearly Meeting is Born

Lloyd Lee WilsonAdapted from Remarks at Representative Body, North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), 10/30/2004 Several years ago, Wil Cooper gave a plenary address to our yearly meeting sessions. After his prepared remarks, a member of the audience (not a Friend) rose to ask a question. Friends, this man observed, in his experience talked about themselves […]

The Core Quaker Theology: Is There Such a Thing?

Chuck FagerAdapted from a presentation atAmawalk Meeting, New York, 8th Mo 14, 2004 When I hear or read of questions about such things as “normative Quakerism,” or “authentic Quakerism” or “traditional Quakerism,” it usually means one of two things: either a person or group feels very much confused and at sea, and is honestly looking […]

“If Grace Be True: Why God Will Save Every Person*” and “A Treatise on Atonement*” Reviewed

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Dissident Quaker Meetings in Indiana Almost two hundred years ago, Hosea Ballou foretold what would befall two Quaker pastors in Indiana, Philip Gulley and his good friend James Mulholland, in 2002: To profess universal salvation,” Ballou wrote, “will subject some to excommunication from regular churches; others to the pain of being […]

“Mim and the Klan: A Hoosier Quaker Farm Family’s Story,”* a Review

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Shameful History of Quaker Involvement with the Klan Besides producing an interesting story for young readers, Cynthia Stanley Russell has also done something very important for adults in this debut novel: she has written as a Quaker about the reality of Quaker involvement in the Ku Klux Klan. This is the […]