When the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends announced Jan. 28 that it will split in two over differences in how to address homosexuality, the denomination's administrative council expressed its intention that any congregations leaving the NWYM may retain ownership of their church property, assuming any indebtedness.
In the Feb. 16 edition of the denominational newsletter, "NWYM Connection," the council announced it has named the transition team that will address other issues of property, assets and related organizational questions related to the restructuring.
The team will be comprised of elders Ken Beebe, John Price and Ken Redford, trustees Gordon Crisman and David Green, administrative council members Debbie Harrison and George Crosiar, at-large appointees Mark Ankeny, Silas Olson, David Petyon and Lorraine Watson, and interim superintendent Retha McCutchen.
The NWYM also announced in the newsletter that it has suspended its search for a new superintendent amid the church schism. McCutchen has agreed and was approved to continue serving in an interim basis through to the conclusion of the restructuring process, which has been set for June 30, 2018.
Each church in the denomination has been asked to discern whether it will remain with the NWYM and affirm its stance on homosexuality as laid out in the "Faith and Practice" governing document, join a new yearly meeting with a revised "Faith and Practice" document or become independent.
Exactly how that decision will be made will be unique to each congregation and Newberg Friends Church, for one, appears to be moving quickly to initiate that process.
In the Feb. 10 edition of Newberg Friends Church's weekly newsletter, the elders announced that they are considering hosting two informational meetings at which questions and comments can be submitted. One would be for those who desire to remain in the NWYM and another for those who want to consider leaving, either to be independent or join the new yearly meeting.
The announcement also noted that people have asked church leaders if there is a way to give to Newberg Friends Church without giving to the NWYM, so a new operations fund has been created that will not pass along 15 percent to the denomination.
Those interested in increasing support to the NWYM were directed to contact the denomination office directly.