This is an excerpt of a blog written by ESR Student Michael Jay. For his complete blog post, visit http://michaeldavidjay.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/indiana-yearly-meeting-report-and-reconfiguration-thoughts/.
I enjoyed Indiana Yearly Meeting
much more than I thought I would. I found the experience to be
prayerful. I found that worship was indeed gathered, and people spoke
respectfully during sessions in spite of their differences. At some
points, (such as the separation of two meetings who will transfer
membership to Evangelical Friends Church Eastern Region)
the Yearly Meeting showed compassion, and generously forgave at least
some of what the accountants named as debts to the Yearly Meeting. This
was in spite of what is certain to be a period of austerity. By my
measure — the Yearly Meeting sessions were very good, people prayed
together and sought God’s will in a difficult time. In spite of this —
it is a difficult time, and I will share my own thoughts (which, are
only my own impressions and thoughts.)
I will soon be an employee of one Monthly Meetings within Indiana
Yearly Meeting. As I will be an employee — I have a personal interest
in what happens. The best outcome for me would be the decision not to
split, which I blindly hoped for until Yearly Meeting sessions. After
attending, I realized that the sense of the meeting is that the split
cannot be avoided — so, it must be done in a way which causes the least
That being said, I moved from being against the split, to simply
hoping that it will do the least possible damage. This year, no one was
recorded. No one was appointed to any boards or committees.
The business of equipping ministry was shut down so we could deal with
the equivalent of someone saying: “remove him from the room, or we will
leave.” There was a sense that it was better to stop doing ministry
than risk that the “wrong person” might be involved in the work. While I
think this behavior is deeply sinful — I would choose a split before
choosing a complete stop to our share of God’s work. As this stop has
happened — I accept the split as the price to restart the work of the
What was laid out was that there are certain meetings which cannot
exist in the same organizational structure as certain other meetings.
These feelings are not reciprocal. There is a third class of meetings
that would prefer to maintain fellowship with both groups of meetings.
(The smallest group is those that “must be removed from fellowship”.)
Whether the group that wishes to somehow restore them to fellowship, or
the group that wants to see the yearly meeting split is larger is
difficult to guess. Either way — the reasons to fellowship with the
more ‘pure’ group are more compelling for the majority of meetings.
The sense of the meeting was, that they would allow the meetings to
self identify. They specifically said that the Yearly Meeting would not
force a choice on any meeting (including those that must choose option A
in order for the split to happen in the way the Yearly Meeting
considers best.) This choice is literally trusting meetings which are
believed to be outside God’s will to rightfully discern God’s will for
the future of the Yearly Meeting — even though this is against what
these meetings consider to be in their best interest. I consider this
‘easy’ option of the larger body setting off the smaller body (which is
out of unity) through self identification to be overly optimistic. Many
of the meetings they wish to leave actually wish to stay.
This becomes even more difficult, because the answer to the question:
“May we choose both?” was answered with “No!” This means that the
desire for continued affiliation with these ‘liberal’ meetings is seen
as evidence of insufficient purity. (These meetings have the option of
remaining in the Yearly Meeting, but not being allowed to serve on
boards.) Bluntly, the easy route is that every meeting that does not
wish a split is invited to leave quietly. It would require Divine
intervention for this to happen — so, baring certain meetings
pragmatically bowing out, against what they currently believe is the
correct action, the current plans will not be accepted at the Monthly
Meeting level, which is where the decision must be made.
Michael's complete post can be viewed here: http://michaeldavidjay.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/indiana-yearly-meeting-report-and-reconfiguration-thoughts/.