Published: April 9, 2021
Dear Friends of The Western Friend:
Has “The Separation Generation” finished dividing U.S. Quakers?
Yes and no.
Yes in a publishing sense: The third and final book of “The Separation Generation” series is now finished and available.
Shattered by the Light or The Ruins and the Green reveals how parallel conflicts over sexuality, the Bible, and church governance erupt in and tear apart two Quaker associations half a continent apart.
Their stories, of Northwest Yearly Meeting in the Pacific Northwest and Wilmington Yearly Meeting in the southern Midwest, are part of a larger wave of divisions that echo and illumine recent struggles in numerous other churches, and in American culture at large.
The “Separation Generation” series brings together reports and related documents about five such conflicts, all distinct but related, that have disrupted U. S. Quaker groups since the beginning of this century.
The conflicts recounted here were sparked by confrontations over acceptance of LGBT persons and same-sex marriage. But they included differences about the place and interpretation of the Bible, the nature of Christ and salvation, church structure and governance, and more mundane matters of money, property and jobs. Some took years to reach their conclusion.
This book and the series offer both a unique historical record and a singular resource for those concerned with the course of contemporary religious evolution and controversy, which continues and reverberates far beyond the bounds of one small denomination. It considers controversies mirrored in other American denominations, much larger than the Religious Society of Friends: Episcopalians Methodists, Mennonites, Lutherans and Baptists have all faced schisms on similar issues in this century.
The Separation Generation was compiled and published as a resource for Friends and others concerned with these issues, and their present and future import for our meetings, churches, and larger social order.
About the authors:
Stephen Angell is the Leatherock Professor of Quaker Studies at Earlham School of Religion, author of many studies in church and Quaker history.
Chuck Fager is Editor of Quaker Theology, and a longtime journalist with special interest in both current Quaker events and Friends history.
Jade Souza is a graduate student at Earlham School of Religion, and has years of varied experience as an organizer.
And for the record, these three produced this volume, and The Separation Generation series, independent of any institutional connections.
from Chuck Fager, Quaker Theology (4/6/2021)