Oregon Coast conference center faces ownership question in light of YM restructure
Twin Rocks Friends Camp distributed a draft to supporters Saturday regarding possible changes to bylaws in light of the Northwest Yearly Meeting restructure. The document includes two options for ownership, clarification of who can attend camp, how staff will be selected, and it addresses the possibility that a new yearly meeting might run its own camps at Twin Rocks.
“Twin Rocks seeks to continue its highly effective ministry, and hopes to conduct its future work in a matter that is – in as many ways as possible – consistent with its successful past. We desire that the watching world may see Twin Rocks’ ministry as one that cares deeply about one another and all those who desire to come to Twin Rocks.”
Twin Rocks is owned by churches in NWYM that are part of the Salem, Newberg, Portland and Southwest Washington areas. One ownership option approved by the board of directors in May would make no change, meaning that churches in these four areas that leave the yearly meeting – Camas, Newberg Emerging Friends, West Hills and possibly others – would not retain ownership.
The second ownership option would make the camp independent: “In an effort to avoid being ‘owned’ by either branch of the split among Friends, Twin Rocks will become an independent entity, not tied to any Yearly Meeting. This independent camp will maintain a Friends heritage, but board members will not be required to be members of a Friends church. Instead, board members will need to be Christian, and able to adhere to the expectations of camp volunteers.”
Camp volunteers are expected to “(1) sign a Christian Statement of Faith (which has to date been the same as George Fox University’s), and (2) avoid advocating beliefs in opposition to the following statement: “Related to human sexuality, Twin Rocks aspires to be a camp welcoming of all people…. We affirm the goodness of marriage, singleness, celibacy, and sexual intimacy exclusively within a marriage covenant between a man and a woman. Because God has called us to seek peace and unity, we call on all those who would serve at Twin Rocks to offer grace, love and forbearance to each other as we discuss issues of sexuality, always seeking to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The document supposes that there would be no change as to which campers or churches are welcome to use the property or attend camps, and “Twin Rocks plans to continue to offer its impactful slate of summer camps.” In addition, churches that leave NWYM would continue to qualify for the Friends group rate, “which is 15 percent below regular rates.”
California, Indiana groups show new way for meetings to partner
Churches removed from Northwest Yearly Meeting and those considering leaving started discussions in February about what a new thing might look like. Two associations – one in California and another in the Midwest – give meetings examples for a way to be together.
The Western Association of the Religious Society of Friends (WARSF) is an organization of independent Friends meetings. Each church has its own 501(c)3 tax status and does its own recording.
WARSF, a collection of three California meetings, is similar to the New Association of Friends, based in Indiana, as both groups are part of Friends United Meeting and have full status in Friends World Committee for Consultation and the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
WARSF has minuted inviting churches leaving NWYM to join them. It’s also been suggested by one member of WARSF that they might be interested in joining something created by monthly meetings in the Pacific Northwest.
Points of interest from the bylaws:
- “Individual Friends who are members, regular attenders, or supporters of monthly meetings that do not participate in the New Association” may themselves be members of the New Association if they “desire to participate on a personal basis.”
- “Monthly meetings and individuals that desire to maintain affiliation with another body of Friends are allowed to do so.”
- “Release from membership shall be without penalty or retribution.”
- Decisions are made “according to the Quaker process of prayerfully seeking unity under the leading of God.”
- A process for removal of the presiding clerk is defined in section 9.6.
- “No property belonging to the New Association of Friends shall be deeded, assigned, or in any manner transferred or disposed of without the passage of a resolution by the meeting for business.”