[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 Friends Meeting, Page 2
Hopewell Friends Meeting – page 2
Hopewell Friends Meeting Letter – Page 3
Pine Hill Friends Meeting Letter – Page 2
Pine Hill Friends Meeting Letter – Page 3
Plainfield Friends Meeting – Siler City NC – Letter – Page 2
Poplar Ridge Friends Meeting – Trinity NC – Page 2
Poplar Ridge Friends Meeting – Trinity NC – Page 3
Email from Ron Selleck, Professor of Religion,
Laurel University, High Point NC
(Email from Ron Selleck dated July 17, 2014:)
Dear Jack Ciancio,
I have received your Email on behalf of the Executive Committee. I cannot express myself any better than the recent letter recently sent out by Poplar Ridge Friends. We have had a perpetual show of hands for the twenty years I have been part of NCYM, yet through it all a determined tail has managed to wag the dog. The Poplar Ridge letter is exactly right in describing our disorder that those who are least responsible to the Faith and Practice of NCYM and most financially irresponsible create among us at the very core. The time for continued “dialogues” and discussion groups has passed. No administrative tweaking will do the job. Regrettably, the only possible resolution I see is for as amicable a divorce as possible along the lines of Indiana Yearly Meeting. I would spell out the reasons for this conclusion, but I would only be reiterating what the Poplar Ridge letter has already said so well.
Either NCYM is a part of Christ’s Church or it is simply a religious social club. The proof will out. It has been too much the latter for too long. As things stand now, I am troubled that my recording as a minister of the gospel has become meaningless, NCYM’s witness having become so diluted by our modern day Ranterism. I do not want to be welcome where Christ’s supposed friends are ashamed of the cross and choke at the gospel and treat the scriptures as a loose leaf notebook to make their own additions and deletions.
Ronald Selleck, PhD
To the Listening Session:
From Southview Church, Business Mtg, Aug 3.2014
The great hope for North Carolina Yearly Meeting lies in the supergroup of Young Adults and Young Friends currently involved in our denomination. However, if we do not correct a core problem, we will lose most of these great “kids” to other parts of the Kingdom of God that are not so dysfunctional. In fact, we have been made aware of some who have already given up on Quakerism, and/or left faith entirely after witnessing the behavior of adults at NCYM.
Southview has been, and remains, extremely loyal to NCYM and the general doctrine of Friends. We have sacrificed to pay Askings. We believe NCYM offers opportunities to do things that we cannot do as individual meetings, such as Mexico Mission, Intern programming, Campus Ministry, etc. We believe our theology and doctrine to be superior to all other groups because we believe the Quaker way is the closest of all to the New Testament. But, the structure of our Yearly Meeting is severely flawed. One of our members says that in 40+ years of attending NCYM business meetings, he can never remember attending a single business meeting that had unity of Spirit when anything of significance was discussed. The Ministry & Counsel meeting at Forsyth in 2011 was not an aberration; it was a clear example of typical, usual, Quaker procedure.
Someone at that meeting used the word dysfunctional. We ARE dysfunctional. Not as defined in that meeting, but in the sense that we can’t function at all. The only types of business we accomplish is routine, nonessential, and only on limited projects, such as Disaster Service, can the 2 sides of NCYM work together.
We are divided. There are two distinct groups in the Yearly Meeting and we may as well admit it and stop pretending that we have “unity but diversity.” We do NOT have unity- we have two different core beliefs. One group is referred to as “evangelicals”; the other group identified themselves at Forsyth as “universalists.” But that still does not identify the problem sufficiently: the evangelicals say that universalists cannot be Christians according to the evangelical definition of both words. The universalists claim to be Christians by their own definitions of the two words. Indeed, tempers flared at Forsyth over this very conflict of “Christian or not.” The core problem is that evangelicals want their theology determined by a book, while the other side believes theology should be determined by inner self. Neither side will budge from their core. Persons on opposite sides of a chasm can talk all they want about unity, but they cannot hold hands. Bridges cannot be built when neither side trusts the other.
Jesus said a house divided cannot stand (Mk 3:25). Oil and water do not mix. Hugh Spaulding described this Yearly Meeting as a covered wagon with a horse on each end pulling in opposite directions. This Yearly Meeting needs to recognize and admit our core division, and for the mutual benefit of both sides, stop fighting and simply divide. It is ironic that those who have proclaimed the message of peace, do not have peace among ourselves and never will so long as this persists. Let’s go separate ways so there can be peace.
There is an story about a lion and a lamb that lived in the same cage at a zoo. Visitors were always amazed that the lion and lamb could co-exist in the same cage. One day a visitor asked what the secret was for coexistence. The zookeeper answered- ‘I put a new lamb in the cage every night.” We are eating each other up- Let’s get different cages.
We would rather present to the coming generation a smaller, but structurally sound Yearly Meeting, than the odd, dysfunctional, mess that now exists. Believing this, we want to affirm the letter written by Poplar Ridge dated July 8, 2014. NCYM must find a way to either bring unity according to our Faith and Practice, or to separate and create new functioning bodies. To continue talking is fruitless- it has all been talked over many years without meaningful change. Also, simply ignoring the problem fixes nothing.
Unless this division is solved, there is no point in talking about Superintendents, Staff, Vision, Direction, Purpose, etc. Solve the issue now so the work of the Kingdom may go forward.
We have been asked to give solutions. The only solution we can see is for the two sides to agree to go separate ways.
Regrettably, but sincerely, approved by Southview Church
Chris Blamer, Clerk
Mike Wall, Pastor
Letter from Ken Spivey:
August 9, 2014
1547 Cox Brothers Rd.
Asheboro, N.C. 27205
N.C.Y.M. Executive Committee
As per your request concerning input concerning the future of North Carolina Yearly Meeting, after having served six years on the Executive Committee, I that I must remind the current members that their’s is to make recommendations to the Representative Body for that body’s action, not to set policy.
Now, about this idea of the Yearly Meeting being the final authority, Never! Any Bible believing Christian (Christian being one who believes in the diety of Christ) knows that the Holy Bible is the final authority. This is my stand. And, if I understand the Faith and Practice correctly, this is Friends’ belief as well. I quote from the 1981 edition, 1999 printing, page 128:
It has ever been, and still is, the belief of the Society of Friends that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God, that, therefore, there can be no appeal from them to any other (outward) authority whatsoever; …
If we are going to survive as a Yearly Meeting, our Yearly Meeting must be composed of like-minded meetings. Never must we become a hodge-podge of meetings wherein each meeting can believe whatever they want and still belong to North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends.
The apostle Paul is recognized as the greatest missionary ever. What made him so great? Was it his good looks, his persona, exactly what? It was his belief in Christ Jesus as his Savior and Lord and his devotion to this same Christ Jesus. And, Christ cannot be one’s Lord unless He is first and foremost one’s Savior. Again, if North Carolina Yearly Meeting is going to survive, we must stand firmly upon the diety and atonement of Christ, the inspiration and authority of the Holy Bible, what sin is and how to get salvation, as well as the Biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man to one woman.
Because some of our meetings have strayed from these teachings, we have become unequally yoked together with unbelievers. I am in total agreement with items 1 – 4 addressed in the letter from Poplar Ridge Friends Meeting, dated July 8, 2014.
Now we come to our theological issues/differences. In order to be a life changing, vibrant Church, we must be in unity/agreement concerning the basic/ essential truths of the Christian faith, and we should support only those ministries that are Bible based, Christ-centered ministries. We should disassociate ourselves from any ministry/organization that isn’t Bible based and Christ-centered, such as Guilford College, Ramalah Friends School, F.C.N.L., and others. This disassociation should include those meetings who have chosen to join, or support, other organizations/yearly meetings, such as Friends General Conference and Piedmont Friends Fellowship. These meetings should be expelled, (“writen out of meeting”). This includes meetings as New Garden, Winston Salem, Spring, and any others who hold a different view of Christ and the Holy Scriptures that most meetings in North Carolina Yearly Meeting hold. I believe that such double-mindedness makes it impossible for us to continue to attempt to work together. I also believe that anyone adhering to teachings contrary to the Holy Scriptures should not be allowed to hold any position of responsibility within the Yearly Meeting. Those holding such positions should resign immediately.
“But you’re being unkind and unloving.” Not so. Was Christ being unloving when He called the Jewish leaders to account? Was Christ being unloving when He cleansed the Temple? Absolutely not! What was doing was trying to get these people to see the error of their ways. And that is what I hope to accomplish here, to help these misguided people see the error of their ways. Because that is what the love of Christ is about, to bring these people to repentance and belief in Him as Savior and Lord.
What is really unkind and unloving is for these people to blaspheme the name of Christ Jesus after what He did for them at Calvary and through that empty tomb. Hear! Hear!
The sad fact is, we are a “House divided,” and a house divided cannot stand. I believe that the only way North Carolina Yearly Meeting can ever move forward is for the above mentioned meetings, and others like them, to leave the Yearly Meeting.
What can be done to insure Christ-centered, Bible based doctrine within North Carolina Yearly Meeting? What are some solutions? For one, I believe we need an addendum to the Faith and Practice. We need a provision for the Yearly Meeting to be able to better enforce theological issues. If a meeting should stray from Christ-centered, Bible based Doctrine, the Yearly Meeting should be able to discipline them, and, if need be, remove them from membership.
The same is true for the recording of ministers. The N.C.Y.M. Recording Committee, along with the Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel should have the authority to reject anyone if they do not adhere to sound Biblical doctrine as laid out in Faith and Practice.
Most Friends believe the biblical concept of marriage. That marriage was instituted by God for the purpose of procreation, and that it is to be between one man and one woman. If procreation is the purpose of marriage, will somebody please tell me which partner in a homosexual marriage will have a baby. You know, God is pretty smart after all, isn’t He? The Holy Scriptures are very adamant that these so-called homosexual marriages are in direct violation of God’s will and plan for mankind.
What are some needs of North Carolina Yearly Meeting? To begin with, we need to be a unified body of believers who preach and teach the same things, like the diety of Christ Jesus, the infalability and authority of the Holy Bible. Our chief goal should, no, must be, to win the lost to Christ, then disciple them in the faith that they too can go out and win others.
As quickly as possible, with much prayer and supplication, we need hire a Christ-centered, Bible believing superintendent with some level of authority for guidance, even discipline in regards to ignoring sound Biblical doctrine.
The same pertains to a Director of Youth and Intern Ministries. This individual must be a Christ-centered, Bible believing individual who can, and will, lead and teach our youth in the ways of Christ Jesus.
We must continue to support and expand Friends Campus Ministries as a means of reaching and discipling college students for Christ Jesus.
Thank you for your attention to these matters.
In the Love of Christ Jesus,
Copy to: Hugh Spaulding
Yorks – Holly Springs Meeting
North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends
Executive Committee/Stewardship Committee/Finance Committee
We have chosen to respond to your email of July 17, 2014 in the form of this letter instead of the NCYM Organizational Assessment Survey. This survey bothered us greatly as it did not disclose who this survey came from. If it came from the executive committee, we fear you have greatly overstepped your authority and failed to address the real problems of our Yearly Meeting. We would like to address these questions.
(1) The Bible is the only authority on scriptural matters. Our Yearly Meeting has become “Unequally Yolked” with individuals and groups who do not share our same belief. Slowly over the years, liberal thinking groups have infiltrated our Yearly Meeting and now hold some positions on committees. Some meetings hold duel memberships in other organizations. Our Faith and Practice prohibits duel memberships. The vast majority of our Yearly Meeting is in total disagreement with these organizations on basic theological issues. Those who do not believe in the Holy Trinity, those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as our only salvation as the son of God, those who do not believe the Bible as Gods Word, and those who do not believe in our Declaration of Faith set out in our Faith and Practice should be asked to leave the Yearly Meeting immediately and resign all positions held. A great division has been created in our Yearly Meeting that has caused much strife among us making it impossible to continue. We pray in much distress over this matter but we are convicted that in separation, we can grow once again as a Yearly Meeting.
(2) In the Matter of Asking’s. Some meetings have stopped paying their asking’s in protest of issues.
We believe that any Meeting not paying asking’s should not benefit through insurance for pastors as other Meetings who faithfully pay. It is impossible to meet our financial obligations each year in the Yearly Meeting budget and even pay staff members. All members should pay the same.
(3) Missions. We are glad to support Christ centered mission projects at home and in other countries, however we need to be more focused on leading souls to Jesus Christ. This is our great commission to go into the world. Organizations such as FCNL, AFSC, Guilford College, Ramallah Friends School and others do little to speak to this great need. A lot of financial support has gone to these organizations over the years with little regard to the real mission work in the world.
It is with much prayer and deep spiritual conviction that we address these issues and concerns that have divided our Yearly Meeting for years. We feel that the full ministry of Quakers has greatly suffered from this division. We insist that these concerns be addressed at our upcoming Yearly Meeting Sessions and swift action be taken to finally be a Yearly Meeting of unity.
Elvin and Linda York,
Members of Holly Spring Friends, Southern Quarter
Fancy Gap Friends Fellowship
High Point Friends Meeting
Spring Friends Meeting
Fancy Gap Friends, Fancy Gap, Virginia
Fancy Gap: Additional Comments,
By Clerk Ken Bradstock:
The letters sent out regarding division in North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends (FUM) seem to beg a response. Fancy Gap Friends Meeting has decided that it should express its concerns as well.
We believe that the doctrines stated by (list meetings) are acceptable and established through many years of work and conviction for many Christians. We also believe that the meetings who made clear their adherence to those doctrines are sincere and strongly believe what they stated. We as a Friends Meeting respect their right to state those beliefs and practice them to the best of their ability.
Fancy Gap Friends Meeting also understands that the meetings that wrote the letters were expressing a form of Christianity known as “Fundamentalism” that is often used pejoratively to express the 5 fundamentals of Christian belief as formulated by theologians at Princeton University and the Niagara Bible Conference around turn of the 20th century. We know that it was, and continues to be a response to Modernism and higher criticism of the Bible. We want it understood that we are not using the term “Fundamentalism” pejoratively but as a way to describe the system of belief expressed by the above-mentioned meetings.
With that said, we wish to express our concerns that have arisen out of that system of theology for us.
Fancy Gap Friends Meeting does not believe that a list of 5 fundamental doctrines describes anybody as a Christian. We cannot find those doctrines stated by Jesus as tests for true believers. The only statement we can find is Jesus simple statement that his followers can be identified by their fruits (Matthew 7:20). That statement alone is risky for us to use because Fundamentalists will point out that some of our standards are evil thus proving ourselves to be out of line with scripture. However, when we begin looking for the definition of good fruit, we find that Paul stated clearly in Galatians that the fruits of the Spirit are “love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and meekness. Herein, as we believe they, are not only theological standards but behavioral standards as well. It is not so much theology we dispute but behavior.
Over the last decade, we have seen members and meetings of NCYM (FUM) display cruelty and meanness in their behavior toward Friends with whom they disagree. We can document those behaviors including a Surry Quarterly meeting wherein our pastor and his wife were harangued for 2 hours with judgments of their character, faithfulness to Christ, and eternal destination to hell. The other incidents will not be described here because we are attempting to keep the tone of this letter positive and healthy. That incident is only meant to be representative of the numerous that we have experienced and have heard about. This kind of behavior feels like a direct violation of the only standard we know of that describes true followers of Jesus Christ.
The only judgment we feel is our place to make is whether this chronic behavior represents a sick institution with harmful behavior. We believe that North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends (FUM) is dysfunctional and very much in need of help. We know this by the behavior we observe not through the abstractions of theology. We see cruelty, meanness, manipulation, hostility and codependency. We are not just pointing a finger at those who attack us theologically but those who permit this behavior as well. As most readers know, the family of an alcoholic can be as responsible for the continuation of the disease as the victim himself. We believe that even those in NCYM with whom we align theologically have failed to confront the institution’s illness and are complicit as well. We apologize if this seems harsh but we believe we must speak truth to power and Fancy Gap is certainly small in numbers. In the current state of NCYM, being a numerical and theological minority is a disadvantage. One of the behaviors we observe is the trend toward a democratic model in business which bows to majority rule.
Our decision to withhold askings is not what we see in other meetings. We are not attempting to punish yearly meeting. Our askings are too small to even consider that motive. We did, however wish to bring these problems to light. In the dysfunction of NCYM, we believed that one way to do that is to call attention to the behavioral problems. Also, we do not believe that it is healthy to focus primarily on money or membership as NCYM’s indicator of strength. We strongly believe that the indicators are: love, joy peace, longsuffering, gentleness and meekness. Paul points out that there is no law against those things and we agree with his assessment. NCYM still holds some level of those fruits but they seem to be growing weak and falling off of the tree as they atrophy under the pressure to become Fundamentalist and democratic in theology and business procedure.
We believe that it is time for NCYM to let go of futile and endless debates about theology and Quaker procedure and look at behavior. We also believe that our theological and procedurally kindred meetings join us in addressing the dysfunction in YM directly and with strength.
Fancy Gap Friends Meeting, Fancy Gap VA
Posted on January 27th, 2015
Here at Fancy Gap, our meeting has a new name. We are no longer Fancy Gap Friends Fellowship, but are now officially Fancy Gap Monthly Meeting of the Religious [Society] of Friends. And we also have a new affiliation. After many years in North Carolina Yearly Meeting FUM and Friends United Meeting, last summer we left both and are now a part of Piedmont Friends Fellowship and Yearly Meeting, and a member meeting of Friends General Conference.
This was not an easy decision and it was made with a great deal of pain and regret. But their were two issues that we were simply unable to accept as being in keeping with Quakerism as we understand it. One has to do with our belief in the total equality of all people before God which has led us to be a welcoming and affirming fellowship. Because of that stance , this was not a hypothetical issue. Members of our meeting who we love and cherish were hurt time and time again by the cruel things said to them and about them. We finally reached the point of saying, enough is enough and determined not to subject these Friends to any more of the kind of treatment they had received in the past.
The other is our understanding that from the very beginning Quakers rejected any attempt to have a creed or any series of doctrinal propositions imposed upon them. There are many Friends in our former Yearly Meeting who were quite vocal in their demand that all meetings be subject to the Richmond Declaration and the Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice.
It was very clear to us that whether or not Friends agreed with these documents, no meeting or individual should be forced to accept or adhere to them in order to be a part of a Yearly Meeting. It became increasingly clear to us that this was the direction in which the Yearly Meeting was moving, and since we appeared to be the ones out of step with that, it was time for us to leave.
We have found the last six months to be a time of refreshing and of joy. Our meeting and its ministries to the community are continuing to flourish, largely because our time and energies are now focused on making God?s presence visible to those around us and doing very positive things in the world rather than allowing the negativity of some Quakers to prevent us from doing the work at hand
High Point Friends September 29, 2014 Fellow Friends of North Carolina Yearly Meeting,
800 Quaker Lane
High Point, NC 27262
Phone: 336-884-1 359
Representatives from High Point Friends Meeting came away from the 317th Annual Session of North Carolina Yearly Meeting saddened and alarmed. The subtitle for these sessions was: “Claiming the Future God Has for Us.” We are Orthodox Friends, who love Scripture and claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but we cannot unite with the kind of future being claimed by some members of our Yearly Meeting.
We acknowledge long-lasting differences that have led to divisions within our Yearly Meeting. We respect deeply held convictions expressed by Friends in letters and addresses to the Yearly Meeting body. We appreciate the civil approach of Friends as they communicated these concerns. However, we are disturbed by the judgmental and domineering approach taken by some Friends. While Friends call for theological unity, we fear the strategic aims are to marginalize some members of the Yearly Meeting and form a kind of “unity” through divisions or expulsions. It is our concern that this forceful and divisive approach will threaten vital ministries of our Yearly Meeting, splinter some local meetings, and alienate some members from their meetings.
As we read the letters and listened to our representatives’ reports we are led to share these concerns and ask these questions:
Concerning the Person and Work of Jesus Christ: We join Friends in the desire for a unified witness of the person and work of Jesus Christ. We caution Friends to guard against: hardening of one’s heart, making statements in anger, conveying of harmful rumors, and demanding Yearly Meeting reforms based on perceptions and unverified truths. Friends, what do we gain if we attain a unified Christology but lose Christ-like love, gentleness and forbearance? We are confused by non-specific assertions that the Yearly Meeting or its members are denying Jesus Christ. Yearly Meeting sponsored programs, camping activities, mission endeavors, and publicity are clearly Jesus Christ- centered. No proposals have come to the Yearly Meeting body to change or challenge historic faith statements about Christ.
From the floor of the Yearly Meeting body, our representatives heard notions that some Friends focus on Christ’s work of atonement and evangelism while other Friends focus on Christ’s work for justice and peace. Are these aspects of Christ’s ministry incompatible? Are not both needed for a unified witness of the person and work of Jesus Christ?
Concerning Faith & Practice: A question the “new committee” is asked to address is “should our Faith and Practice be the ultimate authority in our beliefs and practice and be affirmed by all member meetings?” As we see it, the role of Faith and Practice in a non-creedal society is unique. It is our best effort (“though we see through the glass darkly”) to give a sense of who we are and what we believe. It advises Friends on how to function as Christ’s community. However, it is not authoritative or final. While it informs our corporate identity and public witness, Friends have often declared that no statements or doctrines can substitute for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To require Friends to “affirm” a Faith and Practice as the criteria for membership, in our estimation, makes it creed and the “letter of the law.” What happens to Friends who cannot “affirm” or do not follow certain aspects of the document (i.e. statements on alcohol consumption, tobacco use, joining secret societies, gambling, baptism, or peace)? Will they and their meetings be barred from membership and leadership in the yearly meeting?
We urge Friends to reflect on the advice given to early Friends, found in the opening paragraphs of our Faith and Practice: Dearly beloved friends, these things we do not lay on you as rule or form to walk by, but that all with the measure of light which is pure and holy may be guided, and so in the light walking and abiding these may be fulfilled in the spirit, not from letter; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (Faith & Practice: North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends, page 10) We believe this advice is the proper application of Faith and Practice.
Indeed, it is good for Friends or Meetings to examine themselves in the “measure of light” and determine if they are abiding in the “spirit” of Faith and Practice. If Friends or Meetings persistently live outside the “spirit” of Faith and Practice or become obstructionists to those who strive to do so, it is incumbent upon concerned members of the Yearly Meeting to caringly exercise “gospel order” (Matthew 18:15-17). We are advised to make an attempt to reconcile Friends to the community before other extreme actions are taken. “Gospel order” is the Biblical inspiration for the Quaker tradition of eldering.The current Faith and Practice urges Friends to follow the “gospel order’‘ when dealing with conflicts between members and meetings (Faith & Practice: North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends, page 84). Should this not also apply when dealing with conflicts among Yearly Meeting entities? Have we in North Carolina Yearly Meeting practiced gospel order? How have we sought to reconcile the community?
Concerning Biblical Authority – Again, we are Friends who love the Bible. It is the written Word of God which contains the story of salvation, the gospels of Christ, which offers devotional hope and prophetic guidance. Robert Barclay writes that the Scriptures are “a full and ample account of all the chief principles of the doctrine of Christ” (Barclay’s Apolog y, page 46). We also contend that the Word of God is dynamic. The Spirit of God who inspired the words of Scripture also dwell within us. It is the word written upon our hearts, active in our conscience, and living through the one, Christ Jesus (‘’The Word made flesh”) who speaks to our condition today. This is why we speak of “a listening spirituality” ( Christian Faith of Friends, page 3).
We join Friends who hold the Scriptures in high regard, yet we are uncertain by what Friends mean by “Biblical authority.” The Bible is subject to human translation, interpretation, and application. For centuries, “Biblical authority” has been used by political leaders to justify wars, slavery, genocide, colonization, and other ungodly enterprise. Most pertinent to our concern for North Carolina Yearly Meeting is the way people use the language of “Biblical authority” to pass judgment and condemnation on others, deny individuals of God-given dignity and grace, silence the voices of women, and implement a spiritual legalism of fear versus love. We also observe that some Christians who insist on “Biblical authority” practice it in selective ways. Many uphold parts of Scripture that support their positions, while ignoring other parts. What do Friends mean by “Biblical authority?” How will Friends determine what is authoritative? Who will make this determination?
Concerning Participation with Others – We are confused by strong objections Friends have about members of North Carolina Yearly Meeting participating with others. The “new committee” is asked to consider the general question, “Why do meetings feel compelled to participate with organizations outside of NCYM?” Quakers are not isolationists. Our ministries are enriched when we participate with other Quaker, ecumenical,service, and mission organizations for numerous reasons. It may be wise for our Yearly Meeting leadership to learn why our members are participating with the organizations that are now in question. It would be helpful to determine any threats these affiliations have upon the Yearly Meeting and discover if these affiliations prevent our members from fulfilling their responsibilities to our Yearly Meeting.
Concerning the Timeline – We are disturbed by the insistence that “unity” must be achieved now or by March 15, 2015. We remind Friends that the “unity” we seek is not agreement with each other, but it is “unity” with the Spirit of God. This is a prayerful process of discernment and reflection, which requires time and diligence. The “new committee” must have enough time to do this “worshipful work” well. We fear that the insistence and impatience of Friends may hinder us from bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit as we work through the concerns. It seems to us that a Yearly Meeting which has just held its 317th annual session can grant the “new committee” and each other time to discern God’s leadings in God’s timing.
We remind Friends that North Carolina Yearly Meeting and its work belong to God; we are simply His stewards. God is the one who joined this body together, although imperfect and diverse, to reflect His glory and achieve His purposes. The opportunity is now before us to reflect God’s power of love and spirit of reconciliation by how we tend to the differences and conflicts among us.
Therefore, we encourage Friends to: resist the spirit of aggression, ask forgiveness of those we may have verbally harmed or judged, and humbly yield ourselves to God and to one another. We ask meetings to stop making ultimatums of withholding support and threatening to leave our Yearly Meeting. We urge Friends to seek out opportunities to deeply listen and learn from one another, thus strengthening bonds of love and trust among us. We invite Friends to a season of prayer for our Yearly Meeting, each Meeting, our leaders, and those being called to serve on the “new committee.” May we live in the virtue and power of Christ Jesus, who is our peace:
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, bywhich he put to death their hostility. “ Ephesians 2:14 -16
In the Peace of Jesus,
Greg Sheets, Presiding Clerk
Kelly R. Kellum, Pastoral Minister
Approved by High Point Monthly Meeting of Friends on September 28, 2014
Letter from Spring Friends Meeting,
Snow Camp NC,
Spring Friends Meeting – Letter of Response, Page 2
Spring Friends Meeting – Letter of Response, Page 3
Spring Friends Meeting, Snow Camp NC –
response to Questionnaire, November 2014
Spring Friends Meeting – Page 2