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.”
Reps agree to continue in fellowship regardless of affiliation
[This article was updated on March 28 to reflect additions to the minutes.]
All three clerks tendered their resignations at the start of business Saturday, suggesting that the ongoing restructure of Northwest Yearly Meeting likely means the end of a united Portland area. But just over 40 representatives from 11 monthly meetings agreed that they should continue to gather “regardless of formal affiliation.”
Keri Kimberly, an elder at West Hills, clarified that the area meetings could continue to meet “even if various monthly meetings end up in different places.”
“Portland area is one of the areas that’s most affected by this [restructure],” Tonya Comfort (Clackamas Park) said, noting that the area includes some churches that will likely stay with the yearly meeting, some that will join a new yearly meeting and others that may decide to become independent. “It would be important that there be a time together where we maintain those contacts. I don’t want to lose contact with those people I love and care about.”
Bernie Bosnjak (Hillsboro), Forrest Cammack (Tigard), Tonya Comfort and Brian Morse (Clackamas Park) agreed to serve on a planning committee. The next gathering of the Portland Area will be during annual session this July. A fall gathering will be hosted by Clackamas Park Friends on Saturday, October 14.
During the five-hour meeting, Julie Peyton (West Hills) reported on the importance of visitation for the sake of building and maintaining relationships. Eric Muhr (Newberg) offered a talk on reconciliation with the first two chapters of Philippians as his text. Elijah Walker (West Hills) facilitated an open worship experience in which participants prayerfully produced drawings, collages and a number of other art pieces.
In the 3-o’clock session, Bosnjak prepared the group for final business by encouraging people to consider what feelings they have experienced – individually, in local churches or as part of the area gathering – and what those feelings might suggest as to what should be shared with the larger yearly meeting: “Some people say, ‘I have feelings and I want to tell somebody and I’m not sure who to tell.’ Other people might say, ‘I have feelings and I want to tell somebody and I’m not sure who will listen.’ Do you have something to say to Northwest Yearly Meeting?”
Before the end of business and a shared potluck meal, the meeting approved the following minute: “We are sensitive to the pain many have experienced as a result of the announced restructure of our yearly meeting. We note, from our conversations, a desire to be mutually vulnerable in our work toward reconciliation. We are more together than we are apart, and many stated their desire that we find a way to nourish relationships and stay together. We intend to continue meeting in fellowship together as a Portland area gathering regardless of formal affiliation.”
Click here for the complete minutes from Saturday’s quarterly meeting.