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 separation ever caused more people to hear the Gospel? Ever enlarged the Church? Ever shown to the world more of the gentleness and meekness of Christ? Has a separation ever caused the world to exclaim, Behold, how these Christians love one another?’ Has it ever caused those who held wrong views to turn and hold right ones?

Autobiography of Allen Jay (p. 94)

Indiana Yearly Meeting’s two-year long “reconfiguration” process, chronicled fully in this journal (see QT #18-22), came to a conclusion of sorts at the annual sessions in July 2013. Eighteen meetings were released, 14 of which had formed a new yearly meeting with the name of the “New Association of Friends.” Four others became independent. One meeting was laid down, and 45 continued under the “Indiana Yearly Meeting” designation.

One of the independent meetings subsequently joined the New Association of Friends after the end of yearly meeting sessions, so there are currently 15 monthly meetings in the New Association.

Both the members of the New Association of Friends, as the group set off by Indiana Yearly Meeting is called, and of the “reconfigured” Indiana Yearly Meeting, seemed at least relieved by the conclusion of an unpleasant, but to the minds of many, necessary, process. (The New Association’s purpose statement defines it as “a voluntary association of monthly meetings, churches and individuals that supports worship, ministry and service through the cultivation of Christian faith in the Quaker tradition,” and some Friends in that group would avoid the “yearly meeting” terminology altogether.)

They showed more positive emotions, too. During the sessions of 2013, it seemed to this observer that the members of the new, smaller, Indiana Yearly Meeting were euphoric over what had been accomplished in the past two years. And, as reported here previously, at the New Association of Friends, then-clerk Catherine Griffith “characterized the mood [at their initial meeting] as approaching exuberance.” New Association Friends exhibited some diversity, “but no rancor that this observer could detect.” (QT #22, p. 16) Thus Friends in both offshoots of the old Indiana Yearly Meeting have exhibited great happiness in their newly configured associations.

The fact that the “reconfiguration” process had been finally concluded was highly satisfying to most Friends remaining in Indiana Yearly Meeting. As reported in these pages in January, 2013, IYM Superintendent Doug Shoemaker also stated that, “Many of us regard the successful reconfiguration of IYM to be a miracle.” (QT #22, p. 28) While the word “miracle” may not have been used at the yearly meeting sessions in July, an attitude of euphoria there was evidence that Shoemaker spoke for many IYM Friends in his satisfaction at the completed reconfiguration process.

After yearly meeting sessions, IYM’s Ministry and Oversight Committee surveyed the remaining meetings in Indiana Yearly Meeting about the reconfiguration process, and 32 (73%) of 44 churches responded. Of these 32 meetings, 28 (88%) reported that they decided to align with IYM-B easily and without controversy. Only 3 (9%) of the meetings “spent a lot of time with this [reconfiguration process] because there were opposing views.” The “defining” issues that “best represents the talk you heard amongst your meeting members and attenders” on reconfiguration were Biblical Authority, (20, or 63%) and Homosexuality (12, or 38%). Only 4 (13%) mentioned as a defining issue “the amount of authority IYM should have over local meetings.” (Some meetings chose more than one defining issue.) According to the survey, IYM meetings are not wracked with doubt about the reconfiguration process. One meeting’s response was, “IYM made the right decision and is moving ahead with God in control.” Another: “Just move forwardཀ”

Nevertheless, nobody got all of what they had wanted, and there had been surprises along the way. One surprise for the Reconfiguration Task Force and the IYM leadership had been that so many monthly meetings had opted to leave IYM and to join the New Association. At the April 2012 Representative Council Meeting, Clerk Greg Hinshaw stated that all ten Reconfiguration Task Force members had, independently of each other, jotted down on a slip of paper how many of IYM’s 64 meetings they believed would join a new yearly meeting. Their guesses had ranged from five to eight meetings in what was then called IYM-A. So the fact that 14, and eventually 15, meetings have joined the New Association was a surprise. At yearly meeting in 2013, Doug Shoemaker admitted that he was surprised by the number of meetings that chose to leave. It is worthwhile asking how this unanticipated result came about, and why so many meetings joined the New Association.

Meetings Choose New Affiliations

Monthly meetings had until May 30 to inform Indiana Yearly Meeting whether they intended to stay in the Yearly Meeting, or leave. Furthermore, if a Monthly Meeting decided to leave, they would have to decide whether to join the New Association of Friends, or to become independent. Meetings that were unable to make a decision would not be able to continue in Indiana Yearly Meeting.

The basis for continued membership in Indiana Yearly Meeting was a willingness to affirm a strong exercise of yearly meeting authority. On the basis of “mutual submission,” a monthly meeting would need to agree to change their minutes or otherwise submit to the will of the broader yearly meeting, if asked to do so by the yearly meeting, acting on its own behalf or through committees such as Ministry & Oversight. The Friends remaining in Indiana Yearly Meeting thus saw the yearly meeting as properly exercising its authority in asking West Richmond Meeting to amend its 2008 “welcoming and affirming” minute for gays and lesbians. West Richmond Meeting, of course, had not felt led to amend its minute, so an impasse had arisen, one that the “reconfiguration” process was eventually designed to solve.

The meetings that ended up leaving Indiana Yearly Meeting were highly diverse in theology. Nor did they fit one ideological mold. There are many liberals among them, but also many conservatives and evangelicals.

What united the meetings that left IYM was a strong sense that congregations ought to have considerable autonomy, and, in particular, the role of yearly meeting leadership was not to make demands upon monthly meetings because of the leadership’s interpretation of core documents such as the Faith and Practice and the Bible. Margaret Fraser, Clerk of the New Association, observes, “Overwhelmingly, the decisions of meetings to leave IYM have been [driven by] the discomfort with, or objection to, IYM’s assumption of authority over monthly meetings, especially in the matter of doctrine.”

In more general terms, the new Indiana Yearly Meeting’s Friends see Biblical authority and homosexuality at the root of the separation, according to the survey referenced above, while New Association Friends, whose organization incorporates meetings that span a liberal-conservative spectrum, saw the chief issue in the separation to be how the yearly meeting leadership exercised its authority.

This is not the first time that the various parties to a Quaker separation have assessed the key issues at dispute very differently. In fact, something similar took place in the Hicksite-Orthodox separation of 1827-28. Orthodox Friends believed the root of that separation lay in doctrine and good church order, while Hicksite Friends had been much more concerned about how Quaker leaders had used, or misused, their power. (Hamm 2013, p. 66)

In fact, New Association Friends are more orthodox in their Christianity than many IYM Friends would give them credit for. Fraser describes the new grouping in the following way, “While some people are uncomfortable with labels, I would say we are a bunch of Orthodox, FUM-supporting, Jesus-loving Christians who want to follow God’s will.”

To be sure, some New Association Meetings have taken a stance on issues of gay and lesbian rights: West Elkton meeting has been a flashpoint in Indiana Yearly Meeting for more than three decades, since its pastor then, Ken Story, was a character witness in the divorce trial of a meeting member who had come out as a lesbian (Fager, 6/1982); West Richmond’s 2008 welcoming and affirming minute has already been referred to; Richmond First Friends, shortly before the 2013 sessions of Indiana Yearly Meeting, came to unity to hire as its pastor Derek Parker, a Friends minister who has previously served Friends meetings in Muncie (Friends Memorial) and Irvington, and who is openly gay; one of Spiceland meeting’s reasons to oppose reconfiguration was that, even though it was not openly affirming of LGBT persons, “we have multiple families who have children [or] relatives that are gay and lesbian, and it is our feeling that we would welcome them to worship with us and be a part of the monthly meeting.” (QT #21, p. 15)

Such developments in a few Midwest monthly meetings have been reinforced by stunningly swift changes in American culture, as from 2010 to 2013, national institutions, such as the U.S. Congress (in overturning “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies in the U.S. military), President Barack Obama, and the U.S. Supreme Court (in two key cases upholding marriage rights of same sex couples, handed down exactly one month before IYM’s pivotal July sessions of 2013), have acted decisively on behalf of gay rights.

But many New Association meetings, like most IYM meetings, are located in rural Indiana, where this sort of cultural change still seems fairly remote to many. In fact, it was a foundational, if implicit, part of the establishment of the New Association of Friends that the meetings who joined could all have diverse positions (or no position) on whether they would be affirming of gay and lesbian persons. Many of the New Association meetings have no official position, nor have taken any concrete action in the past, on the issue. Fraser finds it “quite conceivable that many meetings that left Indiana YM and joined the New Association have never even had a conversation about their position on same-sex relationships.”

New Association ranks are swelled in May 2013

As the May 30 deadline approached for choosing between IYM and the New Association, the ranks of the New Association were swelled by some unexpected additions.

One late decider in Indiana was Pennville Monthly Meeting. IYM Superintendent Doug Shoemaker visited Pennville in the Spring, in order to advocate for Pennville staying in IYM, and he gave unsolicited advice about Pennville’s own church affairs, including encouragement that it pursue a church growth strategy. The retort from a Pennville Friend was, “So who appointed you as pope?” Not long after, Pennville Friends decided to join the New Association.

Another late decider was Spiceland Monthly Meeting, one that does not fit into a liberal mold, and which is the third largest meeting in the old Indiana Yearly Meeting. Its affiliation was desired by both the Friends in both the new Indiana Yearly Meeting and by the New Association of Friends. (QT #21, pp. 32-33) At the beginning of 2013, Spiceland Friends were inclined to choose the option of going independent. On May 5, however, only a few weeks before the deadline for informing the yearly meeting of its choice, Spiceland Monthly Meeting opted to join the New Association. This decision was widely noticed by Friends on all sides in Indiana.

A mixup in communication between Spiceland and the Yearly Meeting office was a major precipitating factor in Spiceland’s decision. According to Cathy Harris, Assistant Pastor at Spiceland, the meeting had been accustomed to reporting only its 146 active members for purposes of the IYM assessment. On one occasion, Spiceland’s secretary by mistake sent in the sum of both active and inactive members, 203. When Spiceland attempted to correct this mistake, the Yearly Meeting office would not allow them to do so.

The yearly meeting’s refusal to correct the secretary’s mistake left them appearing to be in arrears of more than $8000. In 2013, IYM made an attempt to collect this back due amount, sending a bill, without even a cover letter.

Harris stated that Spiceland had earlier intended to choose independent status during the reconfiguration process, “waiting four or five years” until the dust settled, in order to see what the new yearly meeting configuration looked like, before making a decision about where to affiliate. But, after receiving this bill and in consultation with Earlham archivist Tom Hamm and others, there was a suggestion that the New Association of Friends might be the answer to their problems.

Spiceland Meeting members considered this possibility. They liked the fact that the new yearly meeting would not seek conformity of all monthly meetings, but would give them considerable autonomy, a key consideration for all meetings that eventually joined the New Association. Of the 64 monthly meetings in Indiana Yearly Meeting, only a minority would have designated yearly meeting leadership as their key consideration in making a decision where to affiliate. But of those who did, the overwhelming majority of these meetings chose to leave Indiana Yearly Meeting, and most of these affiliated with the New Association.

Spiceland Meeting members also appreciated the fact, that even after the back dues were paid, the yearly meeting, under the reconfiguration agreement, would have to donate to the New Association some $24,600 as Spiceland’s share of the yearly meeting endowment, even after back dues had been deducted. (One quirk of the reconfiguration agreement was that they would not be entitled to these funds unless they decided to leave as part of the new yearly meeting.) They saw the New Association as a worthy recipient of this amount.

Ultimately, they became convinced that it is better to be part of a yearly meeting than to attempt to stand alone. So, in May 2013, they decided to join the New Association of Friends.

Incidentally, this desire for connection was a driving force for other meetings to join the New Association also. Fraser believes this is true of several of the smaller meetings. She comments, “With something of an emphasis on church growth in Indiana YM, they were already feeling a little isolated. Some are in areas where rural depopulation, or the collapse of the local manufacturing base, meant that they couldn’t match up to the yearly meeting’s model of ‘success.’ In that culture, it seemed that faithfulness wasn’t enough. I think they sensed the potential of care in the New Association, and friendship.”

During a conversation after IYM’s Representative Council in November, 2013, Greg Hinshaw commented that, while he was satisfied with the results of the reconfiguration process, he was concerned that two or three of the meetings that left did so mostly because of personality conflicts. I asked whether Spiceland was one of the meetings that he meant to include in this comment. He responded that some individuals in meetings like Spiceland continue to support IYM ministries, and he saw this as evidence of internal dissent within those meetings. Hinshaw questioned whether the decisions of those meetings to join the New Association were too hasty, and such discernment did not take adequate account of dissenting opinions in the sense-of-the-meeting process. He did emphasize, however, that he was satisfied with the outcome of the reconfiguration process.

Friends affiliated with the New Association state that, while the meetings that decided to join the New Association did so with care, and in right order, it is also true that a very few older people who were not able to participate in meetings (because of illness or infirmity) did want to retain their connection to Indiana YM. For instance, an elderly member of Spiceland, a woman who is a shut-in, has retained her membership at Spiceland, but also continues to mail assessment payments directly to the IYM office in Muncie. There have also been two instances, in which Friends have transferred their membership out of a meeting that has joined the New Association to a neighboring meeting that has remained with IYM. Overall, as New Association Friends assess the situation, they notice that a very small number of people have taken personal actions that differ from their monthly meetings’ actions, and they find it miraculous that no meetings have split over the reconfiguration process.

Members of both the New Association and the new Indiana Yearly Meeting are often to be found somewhere on an emotion spectrum running from relief to satisfaction to happiness to, yes, even euphoria. But underlying such emotions is also a profound sadness, grief, and sometimes anger, at what has been lost. Among many Indiana Friends, there is a reluctance to look back at these negative emotions. Cathy Harris herself, in July, reflecting on those in the New Association that would like to have a meeting to grieve lost associations with Indiana Yearly Meeting, stated, “Spiceland has no interest in this. It wants only to look forward at this point, in a positive direction.” It is definitely true that all Indiana Yearly Meeting Friends need to be held tenderly in God’s Light.

Indiana Yearly Meeting Sessions, 2013

Friends gathered at the Indiana Yearly Meeting summer camp on the shores of the picturesque Dewart Lake in northern Indiana from Thursday, July 25 to Sunday, July 28, 2013, in what the yearly meeting epistle described as “unseasonably mild” Indiana summer weather. In fact, it was downright chilly at times Sleeping bags and blankets (for wrapping oneself in) were highly advisable for Friends who attended the traditional Sunday morning “boat in” service, where people navigate their boats across the lake and listen to live Christian music performed from a sound stage near the dock. Of course, one could listen from lakeside benches, too.

Acting upon the reconfiguration proposals, which had been approved by Representative Council in November 2012, was the main agenda item for Friday morning. The morning’s worship began with a message by yearly meeting superintendent Doug Shoemaker on Acts 15:36-41, the parting of Paul and Barnabas. Shoemaker recounted all of the fruitful ways that the two apostles had worked fruitfully together: “They had people angry at them together. They saw miracles together.” Shoemaker briefly reviewed the cryptic reasons given for the parting (Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them, whereas Paul was upset at Mark’s past failings), and exclaimed, “What a poignant moment in the life of the early church. The Bible doesn’t condemn or condone what happened. It just said that it happened.”

Shoemaker pointed out that, apparently, bridges were not burned; even though there is no further mention of Barnabas in the New Testament, Shoemaker found it noteworthy that Paul is said to have asked Mark to come to him later, because Paul needed Mark. (2 Tim. 4:11) “If we need to separate, we must try to do it a kind, or Christ-like, way, so that relationships are not strained.” He asked, “Is it possible to have a happy reconfiguration?” His answer to his own question: “Yes, but it is hard.” And he prayed that no bridges were being burned that day.

This gentle and tender spirit, yet one that unflinchingly confronted stark and unyielding realities determined by recent, and not-so-recent, history, was much in evidence on all sides that weekend. Michael and Stephanie Crumley-Effinger of West Richmond Meeting attended most of the yearly meeting sessions. The Crumley-Effingers, who had been attending Indiana Yearly Meeting sessions for more than three decades, introduced themselves as members of an IYM monthly meeting at the beginning of the yearly meeting sessions, and then, oddly but necessarily, re-introduced themselves as visitors from the New Association of Friends after the reconfiguration details had been completed. At the end of all of the business sessions, Stephanie complimented the yearly meeting for the fine spirit with which it had conducted its business.

If separations are something that Quakers for some reason must continue to do, we may have learned lessons from history as to how to go about it. Earlier in this essay I mentioned a similarity between the Indiana reconfiguration and the Hicksite-Orthodox schism, but the contrasts between the two are more numerous and striking. Hicksite and Orthodox Friends often harbored great bitterness, even to the point of refusing to recognize the other body as Quaker. They engaged in terrible disputes over meeting property, disputes that often ended in lawsuits. In Indiana, care has been taken on all sides of the separation to avoid such outcomes and to make it possible for fellowship and comity to continue between all parties.

With representatives present from six meetings being set off into the New Association of Friends, and 26 meetings that would remain in Indiana Yearly Meeting, all of the business relating to reconfiguration was completed during the Friday morning business session – and there was a lot of it. Friends at this Yearly Meeting session approved the recommendation to release meetings that formed the New Association of Friends, as well as the release of four independent meetings.

Part of the small print in the settlement was that if the New Association of Friends ever was laid down, then any of its remaining endowment funds should be transferred back to IYM. Noting that there was no equivalent provision in the case that IYM was laid down, Richard Meredith, a member of First Friends Richmond and a former IYM trustee, inquired, in a very sharp tone of voice, what would happen to IYM’s endowment funds if the New Association survived, but IYM did not. It appeared to this observer that Meredith’s question could have been taken as rhetorical, but in fact the etiquette of the moment did not allow that, and there were several responses to his question. Ray Ontko, another member of Richmond First Friends, for example, stated that there were state laws addressing the issue Meredith raised, and these could enable his contingency to be addressed appropriately, should the occasion ever arise. (cf. IYM minutes, 2013, pp. 14-15)

They approved the recommendation to transfer four restricted funds, as well as a portion of unrestricted funds, from the IYM endowment to the New Association. They approved the preparation of quit claim deeds to property held by these meetings. They also transferred the unused meetinghouse in Fountain City (in Wayne County, close to Richmond) to the New Association. They approved the final legal details on their renunciation of trustee-appointing status for Earlham College, a process that had begun in 2010. On October 1, after lawyers had reviewed all the details, the transfer of endowment funds and the Fountain City meetinghouse were made to the New Association.

Consequently, as part of the reconfiguration agreement, $105,338.08 of IYM’s unrestricted endowment was transferred to the New Association of Friends. In addition $321,167.58 of four restricted funds were also transferred to the New Association, for a total of $425,505.66. Two other restricted funds, roughly $70,000 in all, were transferred to two monthly meetings within the New Association. IYM’s endowment funds, prior to the transfer, totaled $4,148.390.60. Thus, the monthly meetings that left IYM as part of the New Association represented 26% of the members of the pre-reconfiguration IYM, but the New Association received only 12% of the IYM endowment. Of course, most of the funds in the endowment were restricted funds, and this reality made it very difficult to divide up this valuable resource equitably. Joshua Brown observed that the fact that “IYM retained control of the lion’s share of the endowment and the unrestricted reserves” had caused “a good deal of hard feeling in the New Association when the settlement was first proposed” in the fall of 2012.

Both groupings assume or maintain control over pre-reconfiguration IYM property not currently in use by a monthly meeting, property that may require substantial maintenance and that will probably be difficult to sell on the open market. For the New Association, the Fountain City Meetinghouse may fall into this category, although some New Association Friends are excited by the possibility that this historic property may become a visitor’s center for the Levi Coffin House. IYM maintains possession of the Fort Wayne meeting property, which has been on the real estate market for years without selling, and also the Muncie strip mall in which the yearly meeting offices are located. This strip mall is a serious cash drain, and it may or may not be saleable on today’s market. Substantial expenditures for maintenance and repair of the strip mall were approved as recently as the November, 2013, IYM Rep Council Meeting.

IYM Friends, in yearly meeting sessions, also approved the request of the Friends Fellowship Community (FFC), a Quaker retirement community in Richmond, allowing it to appoint its own board members and eliminating a requirement that the majority had to be IYM members. This issue had first been raised in the April 2013 Representative Council meetings. At first IYM Friends had seemed reluctant to approve this request, but they noted that “a vast majority of all FFC residents come from Wayne and surrounding counties; 22.5% of the residents are Quaker, and nearly 90% of Quaker residents are from meetings that are leaving IYM [or were not affiliated with it during the reconfiguration process].” (IYM minutes, 2013, p. 19) Given that the facility served mostly New Association Friends and their neighbors, it seemed wise to Friends remaining in IYM to grant the FFC request for its independence from IYM.

After this action-packed business session, most Friends from New Association meetings departed, as there seemed to be nothing to hold them for the remainder of yearly meeting sessions.

However, during the next day, Saturday, another group of New Association Friends made the long trek to northern Indiana for the joint luncheon of the United Society of Friends Women (USFW) and Quaker Men. As we reported previously, USFW and Quaker Men in Indiana have made the decision not to divide. They continue to hold meetings and conferences together, and to hold unbroken fellowship. (QT #21, p.9)

IYM members had the option of eating their lunch with USFW and Quaker Men, or in a different setting unencumbered with this program, and many chose not to attend the USFW/Quaker Men lunch. The attendance for the USFW/Quaker Men banquet was 66, a fairly usual number for recent years. (Minutes, 2013, p. 41) And, of course, not all who attended the banquet were members remaining in IYM; at the table where I sat, there were four members of the New Association, one member of the Elgon East (Kenya) yearly meeting (Francis Makete), and myself, a member of Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting; in other words, no IYM members at all happened to sit at that table.

The invited speaker was Colin Saxton, General Secretary of Friends United Meeting, who preached on Luke 5, followed by a very practical discussion of how to help Kenyan Friends raise capital for their own Friends’ projects, such as the Friends Theological College in Kaimosi. The New Association Friends who came to Dewart Lake for this banquet immediately left in order to drive the two or three hours to their homes. In previous years, they might well have remained for the rest of the yearly meeting sessions.

The business sessions on Saturday were devoted entirely to the business of the remaining meetings in IYM. There were, of course, numerous committee reports. There were also enthusiastic endorsements of their leaders, especially Doug Shoemaker, who was lauded for outstanding leadership during a very difficult period in IYM’s history.

A significant item for consideration was how to plug a rather considerable budget hole of perhaps $75,000 per annum, which results mainly from the lost assessments of the meetings who left to establish the New Association of Friends or to go independent. The obvious courses of action would have been either to raise the assessments of the remaining meetings, or to cut the budget, or some combination of the two. None of these courses of action appealed to the Friends who remained, so they cast about for alternatives. It was deemed appropriate and possible to draw down the endowment during the transitional years of 2013 and 2014, but it was hoped that IYM could adopt a more conservative budget plan by 2015. Pastor Charles Johnson of Spencerville electrified the yearly meeting session with his “faith pledge” to contribute $1000 over and above his monthly meeting’s assessment to the yearly meeting, and his challenge for others to do likewise; by the end of sessions, some $18,000 in such faith pledges had been recorded.

The math would still seem to dictate that, despite such faith pledges, either budget cuts or raises in assessments would be necessary sometime in the future, but Friends seemed satisfied by the progress that they made on finances during the sessions. And indeed, contributions, many over and above the assessments due to IYM, flowed into the yearly meeting offices after sessions. At the moment, IYM has a very positive cash flow, and there appears to be no immediate financial crisis.

Much thought was given to Indiana Yearly Meeting’s identity after the separation. Doug Shoemaker proclaimed that Indiana Yearly Meeting is now “fully Christian and fully Quaker.” (Minutes, 2013, p. 24) It may well be the answer for a world that is “desperate for God,” and a “world that is ripe” for spiritual transformation. He proclaimed that never has there “been a day in his lifetime where our culture has been any more ripe for the message that, ‘there is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition.’” (Minutes, 2013, p. 25) The outgoing epistle stated that all 45 meetings still in IYM “have taken positive steps to remain in a yearly meeting that affirms its Faith & Practice and adopted statements, including the truth found in Scripture, in George Fox’s Letter to the Governor of Barbados, and in the Declaration of Faith issued by the Richmond Conference of 1887.” These latter documents, of course, have been faithfully included in the books of Faith & Practice of most Orthodox yearly meetings, although there have long been Orthodox Friends, from Rufus Jones onwards, who have disputed their doctrinal status. At least for the moment, any such misgivings about the doctrinal authority of these documents seem to have been banished from Indiana Yearly Meeting.

In 2011, Joshua Brown questioned whether a smaller IYM could fill all of its committee positions, given the large amount of service rendered to IYM by members of West Richmond, as well as other meetings that would possibly choose to affiliate with a new yearly meeting. (QT #19, p. 13) Such fears have been largely unrealized, as the Nominating Committee presented a mostly full slate of nominees for the consideration, and eventual approval, of the 2013 yearly meeting in session.

There were some notable exceptions, however. The Peace & Christian Social Concerns Committee is greatly understaffed. Only four or five appointments to the committee were made, out of 13 available slots, and moreover the Committee has no clerk. In appointments to related Friends organizations, only one slot of five for the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) was filled. And IYM found no one to nominate as a delegate for any of the five slots for the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL).

Greg Hinshaw expressed great satisfaction in the progress that was made in nominations, but he also acknowledged these areas of concern. In regard to the Peace and Christian Social Concerns Committee, he noted that most of the former members of that Committee are now a part of the New Association. That Committee did not make any report to the last two Representative Councils (April and November), nor did it make any in-person report to the yearly meeting in session. But Hinshaw is optimistic about the future of this committee, noting that there are four new members on the committee who are trying to figure out what their work should be. Furthermore, Hinshaw stated, “Until the reconfiguration, there was a question of whether the Committee’s work was properly aligned with the priorities of the monthly meetings,” and he is convinced the new members will satisfactorily address this problem.

In relation to FWCC, Hinshaw is satisfied that John Norris of Amboy Monthly Meeting (the one current IYM rep) will satisfactorily represent the yearly meeting and keep this work going. As far as FCNL goes, IYM again was represented by Friends now a part of the New Association and it is still trying to get this work back together again. Hinshaw acknowledged frustrations with FCNL. For pacifist Republicans like himself, he sees it as a challenge for FCNL to properly maintain its traditional stance of non-partisanship. He cited one IYM Friend, who remains a part of IYM, who served a term as an FCNL rep; this Friend regarded his service with FCNL as though he were doing missionary work.

There was much thought and careful consideration given to the topic of church growth. On Friday afternoon, two leaders in Indiana Yearly Meeting, Paul Hamrick and Gary Wright, gave workshops on the topic. I attended the workshop given by Gary Wright, who grew up in IYM. In 1973, he was recognized as an evangelist. At present, he has a variety of different roles. He is an Evangelist for Evangelical Friends Church (Eastern Region). He is also the founder and president of World Renewal International, that has planted more than 200 churches, not all of them Quaker, in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. He is also the site manager for the Barclay College extension program in Greenfield, Indiana. Anyone who attended 2013 Indiana Yearly Meeting sessions was very familiar with Wright, because he was also the worship leader for the sessions.

Wright’s workshop was very practical. He focused on the attributes of a “turn-around pastor,” a leader who takes a small church and helps it to grow, often to many times its former size. Wright noted that there are such pastors in Indiana Yearly Meeting, and a turn-around pastor for IYM’s Farmland Meeting was indeed present at the workshop. He also noted that church growth can well take place in small towns and rural areas such as those where most IYM churches are currently found.

I noted that most of the tips that Wright shared were generic ones that would work for most Protestant churches, and was curious that there did not seem to be any references to Quaker distinctives in his workshop. Later, I shared a meal with Gary and his wife Carol, Ministerial Excellence Initiative Advocate for IYM, and I asked them about the place of Quaker distinctives in their church growth work. What does it mean for Quaker meetings that are “fully Christian and fully Quaker” to be involved in church growth, and what do Quaker meetings specifically have to contribute to the church growth movement?

Both Gary and Carol thought that Quaker distinctives were very important in their church growth work. Gary valued the quality of prayer in the sense-of-the-meeting process embodied in Quaker business practices, and he fervently wished that such prayer was more widely utilized in business processes, both by Quakers and other Christians. Carol brought up the importance of the Quaker testimony of equality, and Gary agreed with her. We really need to push the church to allow more roles for women, he said. I raised the question of the outward ordinances (or sacraments), the Lord’s Supper and baptism. Gary reminded me that the Evangelical Friends Church, Eastern Region, for which he is currently an evangelist, allows the use of such ordinances on a voluntary basis. But he always worked to keep in mind that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the important baptism, and he hoped that we have progressed to the point that we are not judgmental of other Christians who take communion or undergo water baptism.

I raised the same questions with other IYM members, and all agreed that Quaker distinctives were important to the life of the church, and to the work of church growth.

Ron Selleck’s Messages

Ron Selleck was the keynote speaker for Indiana Yearly Meeting sessions in July, 2013. Selleck is a professor of Theology and Church History at Laurel University and the Carolina Graduate School of Divinity. He is a graduate of Earlham School of Religion and the University of Chicago Divinity School (Ph.D, 1985), and he served as the pastoral minister at West Richmond Friends for six years – but “only for six years,” he noted in one of his messages, because he had run afoul of exactly the kind of issues that IYM had been wrestling with the past few years.

Selleck was a key mover in the “realignment” campaign among some evangelically inclined Friends, a campaign that gained considerable notice in 1990 to 1991. It was the cousin of “reconfiguration,” only on a grander scale, aiming to divide all Friends United Meeting yearly meetings into liberals and evangelicals. Selleck was the keynote speaker for a Realignment conference in Des Moines, Iowa in September, 1991, a conference intended to unite EFI and FUM pastoral meetings behind the plan. That campaign did not get very far in the 1990s – in fact, it failed almost completely – but Selleck was impressed with what IYM Friends had been able to accomplish in more recent years. “I’m mighty impressed with what’s happened,” he said (Selleck 2013; Fager 10/1991, p.2)

Selleck is affable and erudite, with an impressive grasp on the history of Christian spirituality and a gift for distilling it for others. More than one young IYM pastor came up to him afterwards, asking about seventeenth-century John Donne and other spiritual giants to whom he referred in his talk. He also has a dry sense of humor. About the popular poem “footprints in the sand,” he sparked chuckles when he announced, “I don’t like it.” His deconstruction of the poem was thought-provoking as well as humorous. “When I leave footprints in the sand, my footprints are always small, and Jesus’ are much larger. My footprints are always wandering off, and then there are drag marks when I am being dragged back to where I should have been all along. Those drag marks are the actions of grace.”

In his calm and quiet voice, Selleck has the ability – and desire – to skewer all kinds of Quakers and Christians. In his Saturday message, for his largest audience, he delivered a skillful critique of those Christians who claim sinless perfection, making the following cogent points: “It is one thing to have this condition [of sinless perfection], and another to want the reputation of having it. If you have this condition, why don’t you show me, rather than tell me? If you think you have sinless perfection, hold on, because it matters how you finish.” It is much safer and wiser to be realistic that we are all sinners. “God reveals our failings to us gradually, . . [and] repentance is never done.”

While everyone could feel the brunt of his critique, and his targets were mostly implicit, not explicit, liberal Christians and Quakers – one was often led to think of the New Association Friends – were addressed with comments that had an especially sharp edge. In his first lecture, Selleck announced, “There is such a thing as an evil peace.” He affirmed that it is important that Indiana Yearly Meeting avoid this. In Paul’s Corinthian correspondence, the Corinthians wanted to talk about such spiritual matters as prophecy and speaking in tongues. However, the important thing was that they avoid sexual immorality, because that involves putting things together that God has put asunder.

Not content with critiquing unnamed persons evidencing sexual immorality, Selleck went on to tackle so-called “Universalists,” stating that “an evil peace can also involve pretending that Jesus can be Lord at the same time that one serves other spirits.” He believes that the bumper sticker that states that we should “coexist” is an apt example of this unfortunate tendency. What if the apostle Paul had gone into Ephesus and said that the followers of Christ and the followers of Artemis should sit down and have a discussion group? What Paul actually said (according to Selleck) is that the God of Jesus Christ is the only God, the only Spirit that exists. Gods have to exist first before they can co-exist.

Selleck plunged on to combat Wiccans as well. He spoke of a time when Friends General Conference invited Starhawk, a Wiccan, to be one of its main speakers. [A correction: While FGC Friends discussed inviting Starhawk to be a speaker at their annual gathering, in the end Starhawk was not actually invited.] Selleck admitted that he didn’t know much about Wicca, and he’s not an authority on it, [why is he bringing it up in a keynote address, then?] but what he does know is that they practice witchcraft and serve Satan. There is no middle ground. To be indifferent to those basic spiritual realities constitutes an evil peace. One should never join together God and Satan, because that is an evil peace. Predictably, Selleck proceeded to conclude that there may be many good Quakers in hell.

It is hard to know where to begin or to end with a critique of this kind of theological discourse. Selleck is right that he doesn’t know much about Wicca (the most authoritative scholars in this area will tell you that Wicca is about reverence for spirits of nature, not about worshipping , serving, or even believing in Satan), (Pearson 2005, 2730-1) but he also doesn’t seem to know much about other world religions either, except to make an exclusivist claim that, to worship the God of Jesus Christ, is the same as knowing that all who find other ways to worship will lead humanity dreadfully astray and end up hopelessly lost themselves. The way to salvation may be narrow (Jesus himself said “the gate is narrow and the road is hard which leads to life” in Matt. 7:14), but without a spirit of charity, humility, and grace, we may not have a right estimate of our own spiritual condition, not to mention even the slightest beginning of an understanding of others’ spiritual conditions. For all of his erudition and dry wit, Selleck might well keep these latter qualities more in mind, when speaking of his fellow Friends.

During the lightly attended Sunday morning worship service (most Friends who lived away from the environs of Dewart Lake had gone home), Selleck made his critique of Friends in the New Association more explicit. He joked that IYM could perhaps address its budget issues by renting its clerk and superintendent to North Carolina Yearly Meeting, presumably because the same kind of change needed to be accomplished in his home state. “But [Greg and Doug] probably wouldn’t appreciate going through the same thing again.” Much of his message consisted of flying bits of exegesis of far-flung Scriptures. Strangely, his interpretation of the story of the Prodigal Son focused solely on the very opening of the story, the son walking away from his home. What was striking to Selleck was that the father let him go, not advising him to take his cell phone and to call if he was hungry. Otherwise he would never have the experience of envying the food of the pigs, so that he could come to himself.

In relation to John 6:53-70, Selleck noted that Jesus did not blame himself when the crowds walked away. (Jesus stated, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life.” Many of his disciples responded, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” After Jesus responded, among other things, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe,” many of his disciples, but not the Twelve, left him.) Sometimes you have to be ready to take “no” for an answer, Selleck averred.

In conclusion, Selleck found comfort in the dirge-like prayer that concludes the prayer of Habakkuk: “Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” (Hab. 3:17-18) In other words, one will praise God, even if the results of what God has done are bleak indeed.

If what IYM leaders wanted from their lecturer was a sober message about human nature and God’s activity in the world, interspersed with occasional allusions to culture war, Selleck delivered the goods.

Emerging Identities

Both the new Indiana Yearly Meeting and the New Association of Friends will be remaining part of Friends United Meeting. Some yearly meetings that join Friends United Meeting are asked to go through a period of probationary membership, but, at the spring meeting of the FUM board held in Jamaica, the New Association of Friends was accepted as a full member. Both representatives of Indiana Yearly Meeting who were present spoke warmly on behalf of full membership for the New Association, noting that the Friends in the latter group had always been strong supporters of FUM and its missions.

Thus, another difference between this separation and previous Quaker separations is that this one, at least for now, is not begetting new branches on the Quaker tree. FUM is a big enough tent to hold both the New Association and the newly configured Indiana Yearly Meeting. There had been vague fears and apprehensions that the New Association might depart for Friends General Conference, or that the new IYM might depart for the Evangelical Friends Church International, but so far each of these offshoots have kept their ties to FUM strong. Indiana Yearly Meeting is hosting the FUM triennial in the summer of 2014, and the New Association has representation on the committee.

For both yearly meetings, visiting a wide range of meetings has emerged as a desirable goal. In previous years, in pre-reconfiguration Indiana Yearly Meeting, the Representative Council was regularly held at the Friends Memorial Church in Muncie, near the yearly meeting offices. Neither IYM offshoot is choosing to hold its Representative Councils in a single location, but is rather shifting their meetings to different parts of the yearly meeting. In 2013, IYM has held its Rep Councils in Fairmount and South Marion, and the spring, 2014, Rep Council will be at Westfield. In 2013, the New Association has held its full meetings at Richmond First Friends, Englewood, West Richmond, Raysville, New Castle, Friends Memorial, and Greenfield; its next one, in January, 2014, will be at Spiceland.

Both the IYM Rep Councils and the full meetings of the New Association contain both a general worship segment, as well as meeting for worship for business. The New Association, however, almost always includes a meal, so that fellowship can be part of it; IYM’s Rep Councils are sometimes missing this element, but consequently save some time. The Rep Council at South Marion Meeting, attended by 36 persons, began promptly at 9 AM, and concluded its business and adjourned well before noon.

One difference between the two yearly meetings is their varied approaches toward the question of dual membership. The New Association allows dual membership for both monthly meetings and individuals. So far, one monthly meeting, Englewood, holds dual membership in both the New Association and Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting. Several individuals have applied for, and some already accepted into dual membership. Some of these individuals are from Indiana, but others are from more far-flung locations. For example, one individual with dual affiliation lives in Pennsylvania, whereas another whose application has been received lives in Iowa. The philosophy of membership has also been a subject for discussion at New Association meetings. One member meeting, the Friends of the Light in Traverse City, Michigan, has the philosophy that anyone who considers themselves a member of the monthly meeting, already is a member. Joe Kelly, from that meeting, proposed that this understanding of membership be adopted by the New Association. There was considerable discussion of this concept at the August meeting of the New Association, without a sense of the meeting being reached.

On the other hand, IYM has been moving in the direction of making dual membership for monthly meetings more difficult or impossible. (They have not even considered it for individuals.) This change was explored at its November Rep Council, as a recommendation from the Faith and Practice Committee, which proposed the following language: “Neither monthly meetings nor quarterly meetings shall affiliate with any other Yearly Meeting or similar organization for consideration of membership without the approval of Indiana Yearly Meeting either in regular annual session or through its Representative Council.” A substantial discussion followed, with some representatives wondering whether the Faith and Practice should simply prohibit dual membership altogether. Greg Hinshaw explained that the “culture of Indiana Yearly Meeting doesn’t lend itself very well to dual affiliation.”

Both Hinshaw and Doug Shoemaker discussed the recent history with Fort Wayne and Englewood Meetings, both of which were affiliated, or attempted to affiliate, with both IYM and Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting (the latter part of the more liberal Friends General Conference). In both of these cases, Shoemaker stated, IYM found itself with “meetings that didn’t identify with [IYM’s] Faith and Practice, and that identified more with the culture of another yearly meeting than IYM.” The outcome was that Representatives approved sending this proposed change in IYM’s Faith and Practice to the monthly meetings, with supplementary materials explaining the history behind this proposed change, and providing the opportunity for monthly meetings to suggest an outright prohibition of dual membership, if they so wished.

One issue that the New Association has started immediately working on is the recording process for Friends’ pastors and other ministers, a process which did not function very well for their meetings under the pre-reconfiguration Indiana Yearly Meeting. Joshua Brown of West Richmond Meeting heads the working group which is formulating a new recording process. In its October meeting, the New Association approved the acceptance of the working group’s interim proposals, “while meetings study the subject in more depth.”

Both groupings will most likely face issues as to where the next generation of Friends’ pastors will come from. In the New Association, there are about 50 recorded ministers and pastors in the New Association, the majority of whom are older than 60 years of age. Only one is under 40. Michael Sherman of Raysville Meeting is currently the only candidate in the Recording process. The working group observed, “We are facing a serious shortage in future leadership, and our current situation is less healthy than it looks. Ten years from now, we could be very short of leaders.” The working group was proceeding under policies previously approved by the New Association: “both women and men will be considered for recording; divorced people will be considered for recording; sexual orientation is not considered to be a bar for recording.” For the New Association, a diversity of gifts will be recorded. Recording is not seen as just for pastors. Local meetings are to be encouraged “to take the initiative in recording the gifts of their members.” A goal of the working group is to “make the recording process friendlier and more supportive.” At the time of publication, the author does not possess corresponding statistics for IYM, but they seem likely to face similar problems.

Joshua Brown sees the differing levels of staffing and spending by the two groupings to be a significant difference between them. He comments, “The New Association is positioned to be much more nimble, with no debts, no paid staff, no brick-and-mortar office to maintain, and a budget which can start from zero and build around the things which Friends really want to do. From a financial and program standpoint, IYM has nowhere to go but down, while the New Association has nowhere to go but up.”

Growth or Decline?

The epigraphs which began this article provide somewhat different perspectives on the relation of division in Christian churches and among their leaders, as it relates to the issue of growing or strengthening the churches. It is not altogether clear that Acts 15:36-41 applies to Indiana Yearly Meeting’s situation, although Shoemaker, by preaching on it during yearly meeting sessions, implied that it does. But, if it is applicable, it suggests that the invigoration and clarity of leadership that results from a parting of ways could lead to a “strengthening” of the churches, as was the case for the ministry of Paul and Silas in Syria and Cilicia, after Paul had parted from Barnabas. This is indeed Shoemaker’s position. He demurred when I asked him whether both groupings coming out of Indiana Yearly Meeting would experience church growth after reconfiguration, but he does believe, more generally, that the results of reconfiguration will be “life giving” for all parties to the process.

The second epigraph comes from more recent history; in fact, it comes from the pen of the revered Allen Jay, a leading minister for Indiana Yearly Meeting, who died in 1910. His autobiography was published that same year. His question as to whether yearly meeting separations could “ever enlarge the church” is a rhetorical one, which Jay would have answered in the negative. At the time that Jay penned those questions, he was sitting in the historical society of Nantucket Island, where Quakers had died out, a result that Jay attributed large part to the several separations among Nantucket Island Quakers which thoroughly enervated the Society of Friends there. During his adult years in the ministry, Indiana Yearly Meeting avoided separations while many of the yearly meetings in North America were undergoing additional separations, even though theological differences between Modernist and Holiness Christians were about as great as any that IYM would be experiencing a century after his death. And during his lifetime, Indiana Yearly Meeting grew substantially, in no small part because of Jay’s many ministerial contributions, which included both skillful evangelism and fundraising.

Indiana Yearly Meeting achieved its peak membership of 20,000 in 1912, two years after Jay died. In 2012, prior to the finalizing of reconfiguration, IYM had 3,017 members, about 15% of the 1912 totals. By July, 2013, this membership had been reduced to 1,969; in other words, about one-third of IYM’s membership was lost through reconfiguration. (We should note that 1,969 represents the number of “active” members; if inactive members are added in, this figure rises to 2,300. The corresponding figures for 2012 among the same 44 meetings were 2,020 active and 2,399 total members; in other words, among just the meetings electing to stay with IYM, there was a decline of three to four percent in the membership in the past year.) The contrast between the 1912 figure of 20,000 and a post-configuration total that is 90 per cent smaller as 2013 closes is indeed striking.

The 15 meetings that comprised the New Association of Friends by August, 2013, (including the Friends of the Light) have 842 members in total. The three meetings, formerly part of IYM but independent as of August, have 147 members in aggregate.

What are the prospects for growth of these varying products of the reconfiguration process?

The main justification for the wrenching changes caused by this separation is that, freed from the continual internal conflict with other Friends that was experienced on all sides prior to the reconfiguration process, each of the new bodies emerging from the separation will be able to grow and thrive. Along these lines, Hinshaw told me that he has written up an analysis that shows, while up to one-third of the reconfigured Indiana Yearly Meeting churches have experienced rapid growth in recent decades, none of the meetings now in the New Association have experienced such growth. All of the New Association meetings, as well as roughly two-thirds of the meetings in the new IYM, have experienced substantial declines.

While I have not yet seen Hinshaw’s analysis, he and I have the same raw numerical data in front of us, and I do not have any large objections to what I understand to be his analysis, as mine is similar. From 2004 to 2011, membership in IYM churches declined by 14% and attendance by 7.8%. There are differences, though, between the churches in the new IYM and those in the New Association. From 2004 to 2011, in the new IYM churches, membership declined by 11.2 on the average, whereas in the New Association churches, membership declined by 14.9%. More striking are the differences in church attendance. From 2004 to 2011, in the new IYM churches, attendance increased on average by 1.3%. In the New Association churches, attendance decreased by 32.8% in the same period. The more theologically conservative churches that make up the reconfigured IYM are doing a much better job of filling their pews on Sunday morning, than are the more moderate churches that make up the New Association.

Of the top twenty churches in the pre-reconfiguration IYM that had more attenders on Sunday mornings in 2011 (on average) than they have members, all stayed with IYM except one the evangelically inclined church in Penn, Michigan, that went independent and may end up as part of Evangelical Friends Church – Eastern Region. By contrast, of the fourteen churches that have the lowest ratios in 2011 of average Sunday attendance as compared to total membership, half (seven) are now part of the New Association. This is important, because if Indiana churches of any IYM offshoot expect to garner new members, the best place to find them are among those who are already attending and have not yet joined. Thus the reconfigured IYM has a much larger pool of potential converts than does the New Association.

Both the reconfigured IYM and the New Association are reaching out to independent Friends meetings in the area to invite them to join. We have already seen that the Friends of the Light left IYM as an Independent, but has since decided to affiliate with the New Association. A small independent Friends meeting near Kokomo, Hemlock, with an average attendance of 20 to 25 persons every Sunday morning, has asked to join the reconfigured IYM, and the wheels are in motion for it to do so.

While each yearly meeting reaches out to independent meetings, their outreach in this regard is not overlapping, because IYM and the New Association are reaching out to meetings of different theological stripes. Irvington sent observers to the October meeting of the New Association, and the New City meeting in Detroit sent a message of greeting. IYM continues to be in conversation with many of the independent meetings who left Western Yearly Meeting in the past few years, over such concerns as WYM’s refusal to rescind the recording of author and theologian Phil Gulley. (QT #18) Tom Hamm comments, “A big question is whether IYM will try systematically to reach out to monthly meetings that have left Western YM over the Gulley issue. It has positioned itself to do so.”

I don’t know what the Apostle Paul would make of the separation in IYM. I am confident that Allen Jay would be quite sad about it. Ever the optimist, however, Jay would probably be hoping that each of these two yearly meetings, as well as the independent meetings, would find a life-giving path toward church growth and vitality. May it be so.


We have shown a variety of perspectives on the separation that has just occurred in Indiana Yearly Meeting. Some Indiana Friends tend to see it, on the whole, as a needless, unfortunate, and hurtful rupture in a (mostly) close fellowship that was mostly brotherly and sisterly, a fruitful collaboration of Friends of diverse theologies to work together to support causes like Quaker missions that enjoyed wide support among Indiana Friends.

Others tend to see it, on the whole, as a necessary separation, one occasioned by two very different spiritual cultures that had taken root in IYM over the course of many decades, not just the past few years. According to this viewpoint, Indiana Friends could not remain together without some Friends’ consciences being violated, because Friends held diametrically opposed views (and actively advocated for these views) on matters of core religious belief. Better that there be a separation, so that each Friend be able to witness to his or her own religious testimony with greater clarity.

Others can see both sides. Some Friends, who fall in this middle category, supported the separation, often with great reluctance, because they did not want to cause more pain for those who felt that their consciences were being violated. Of course, ultimately there would be no course of action for Indiana Friends that was painless. While most IYM Friends undoubtedly believe that the reconfiguration process that was undertaken was the least painful course of action possible, the reality is that there will be Friends, likely throughout the pre-reconfiguration IYM, who will be endeavoring to heal from this painful series of events for some time to come.

Where does this go from here? Most, perhaps all, of the predominantly pastoral yearly meetings in North America suffer from the same, or similar, conflicts, as did IYM. One thing is certain: those pastoral Friends have followed events in Indiana with great interest. Undoubtedly, they have drawn their own lessons from them. Doug Shoemaker and Greg Hinshaw are well known in Friends’ circles now. Shoemaker and Hinshaw were invited to be the worship leaders at Iowa Yearly Meeting in 2013, whose sessions convened less than a week after the conclusion of Indiana’s. For his worship session, Hinshaw’s assigned topic was “Unity.” (If some QT readers find that ironic, rest assured that Hinshaw did, too.)

There are other leaders throughout pastoral Quakerism that will say quietly that they will work very hard to make sure that their yearly meetings do not follow Indiana’s example. These Quaker leaders believe that their yearly meetings derive strength from the ministry gifts and wisdom of diverse Friends, and are highly dedicated toward preserving unity in the yearly meeting, and not driving out those who happen to have different opinions on controversial social issues. During the coming years, we will have plenty of opportunities to see how this conversation develops among American Friends. As always, Quaker Theology will work hard to provide its readers with thorough coverage of important conversations ongoing among all varieties of Friends.


Angell, Stephen W. 2011-2013. [Various articles on controversies in Indiana Yearly Meeting.] Quaker Theology. Issues #18-22.

Fager, Chuck. 6th month, 1982. “The Lightning Rod of Quaker Conflicts.” A Friendly Letter.

Fager, Chuck. 10th month, 1991. “Dodging the Realignment’ Bullet: The Iowa Conference Misfires.” A Friendly Letter.

Hamm, Thomas D. 2013. “Hicksite, Orthodox, and Evangelical Quakerism, 1805-1887.” In Stephen W. Angell and Pink Dandelion, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies. Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press.

Indiana Yearly Meeting. 2013. Minutes.

Jay, Allen. 2010. Autobiography of Allen Jay. Edited by Joshua Brown. Richmond, IN: Friends United Press.

Pearson, Joanne. 2005. “Wicca.” In the Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA.

Selleck, Ron. 2013. Indiana Yearly Meeting messages.

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