Friday Focus – November 10, 2017

Click HERE to read the entire November 10, 2017 issue.

From . . . Sherry Macy
Hal Magee, from Bible Foundation, answered my request to pick up three boxes of Bibles. I made this call sooner than usual because Ken Howe had just dropped off two boxes as part of his and Ann’s preparation for their move to Friendsview. “Can they use a German Bible?” Ken asked? Bible Foundation accepts “all non-gooey Bibles,” answered Jerry Kingery, who has led this ministry for many years. They gladly take damaged and partial Bibles in any language. Hal told me Bibles are sometimes given out in parts rather than let someone leave empty handed. (Hal also mentioned that he and his wife were married at NFC 60 years ago!)
Somehow I missed the postcard this year, reminding me to broadcast Bible Foundation’s October Bible Drive. Here it is November, but they won’t mind if we encourage Bible donation any month of the year. Some of you cleared your shelves without my encouragement and donated anyway, enough to fill that third box. Thank you! Now let’s give Hal an excuse to come back soon. Our Bible collection box (in the passage between sanctuary and library) awaits!

Morning Worship July 2 2017

Welcome – Ron Stansell
“O Worship the King” (Tomlin)
“Firm Foundation”
Scripture – Psalm 136: 1-9, 26 – Doug Bartlett
Worship in Giving
Message  (three presenters)
Lamentations 3: 19-24 – Gail Hutchinson
“Beauty for Ashes”
Ephesians 4: 29-32 – Clyde Thomas
“Wonderful Words of Life”
Acts 2: 17–18  – Ron Stansell
“Like the Murmur of the Dove’s Song” (Come, Holy Spirit, Come)
Benediction/Blessing

Your NFC – May 26, 2017

Click HERE to read the entire May 26, 2017 issue.

Tabouli, Baba Ghanoush, Hummus and More…

by Irene Dunlop

The smell of frying eggplant fills the air as Hajar efficiently dips chicken legs in tomato sauce. Brandon Buerkle and I busy ourselves chopping piles of parsley, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Hala, age 5, entertains herself with toys on the floor.

In April 8 I joyfully offered my hands in service as Hajar Alodah worked to prepare a traditional Syrian meal for 35 lucky attendees. Last year we at NFC and North Valley joined together in the Welcome Home project, gathering the household items necessary to furnish a home for the Alodah family. Last August, they arrived in the U.S. from Syria via a refugee camp in Jordan. Ben and Emily Wynsma hosted the Alodahs in their home until the Alodahs’ housing in Salem became available. At Christmas, my children—Abram and Meika—and I colored and folded envelopes into airplanes, for the giving tree to raise funds to pay off the Alodah family’s travel debt. God provided through you, and their $ 7,000 debt was paid in full. God also afforded a wonderful connection for the Alodah family in the congregants of Evergreen Presbyterian, who took on the role of cultural mentors and navigators.

The ensuing months have been full of transition, learning, connection, and struggle. Hajar attends English classes; the kids are settling into school, and Ibrahim is looking for year-round, full-time work. Monetary support for the Alodah family through the U.S. resettlement agency and Catholic charities ended after six months. Ibrahim, a baker by trade, is currently working as a seasonal employee at a nursery up to 50 hours a week to provide for his family’s needs.

Hajar also uses her culinary skills to help provide for the family. Just after noon that Saturday we met her in the social hall kitchen to help prepare a delicious traditional meal for community members at Newberg Friends arriving at 5:30 p.m. to partake of delicious Syrian fare.

The first task was boiling chicken legs—with star anise, garlic, onion and chicken bullion, and Kebsa spice mix. After peeling and chopping the eggplant, we used Google translate to discover we needed more oil for frying. Hajar deep fried the eggplant for baba ghanoush. This technique was new to me, as my mom always roasted the eggplant for baba ghanoush. I  joyously discovered deep-fried eggplant makes a baba ghanoush better than any I have ever tasted (probably not nearly as healthy, but quite delicious). Once the chicken boiled, we removed it from the pot, then added rice to boil in the chicken water. Next we dipped the chicken legs in tomato sauce (mixed with a little Kebsa spice mix) and put them on trays under the broiler. All the while, we communicated with smiles, hand gestures, and the occasional translated sentence. Food is a universal language of friendship.

At 4 p.m. my husband, Aaron; Tamara Brand; and Erinn Hampton arrived to set and decorate the tables with flowers and candles. Hala, Meika, and Abram played joyously as we filled the buffet table with delicious food: hummus, pita, tabouli, baba ghanoush, leban (homemade yogurt), chicken, and rice. As the whole group gathered and ate together, I was reminded that we all have gifts to offer and receive within community. It was an evening to enjoy the culinary delights Hajar created, and in so doing we glimpsed the beauty of Syrian culture, helped provide for the Alodahs’ financial needs, and basked in each other’s loving, joyful presence.

Click HERE to read the entire May 26, 2017 issue.

NWYM Statements on Human Sexuality

Here is the entire Faith and Practice. Below are the relevant sections from pages 11 and 80.

[From p. 11] Christian Witness to Human Sexuality

We hold that only marriage is conducive to godly fulfillment in sexual relationships for the purposes of reproduction and enrichment of life. We consider sexual intimacy outside marriage as sinful because it distorts God’s purposes for human sexuality. We denounce, as contrary to the moral laws of God, acts of homosexuality, sexual abuse, and any other form of sexual perversion (see “Human Sexuality,” p. 80). The church, however, as a community of forgiven persons, remains loving and sensitive to those we consider in error. Because God’s grace can deliver from sins of any kind, we are called to forgive those who have repented and to free them for participation in the church.

[From p. 80] Human Sexuality

[Added in 1982] Friends believe that the divine intent of marriage is to fulfill the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of humankind and that only within the bonds of marriage divinely ordained can there be a beautiful sexual relationship for the purposes of reproduction and life enrichment. Adultery and fornication are sinful because they distort the purposes of God for the right ordering of human sexuality.

Friends believe that the practice of sexual perversion in any form is sinful and contrary to the God-ordained purposes in sexual relationships. These perversions include sexual violence, homosexual acts, transvestism, incest, and sex acts with animals. The sin nature is capable of vile affections when humankind rejects the moral laws of God.

Scriptures relating to these distorted and perverse forms of sexuality include Genesis 19:1-13; Deuteronomy 22:5; Leviticus 18:20, 22, 23; Romans 1:24-28; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 2 and 6:9-20. Neither in the Scriptures nor in church history have these practices been regarded as consistent with righteous living.

Friends do not accept as members those involved in these perverse practices; neither do they permit them to hold positions of responsibility or leadership in the church. However, Friends believe that the grace of God is adequate to cleanse and deliver from all sin (1 John 19; 2 Corinthians 5:17), and they desire to be tender and sensitive to all people, ready to express kindness, love, and forgiveness. See also Jude 7, 8; Colossians 3:5-7; and Revelation 2:18, 27. When the erring one has been repentant, the past should not be remembered. As Christ called and blessed those whom He forgave, so must His followers. Friends must not hinder the forgiven person from holding membership or having responsibility in the church.

Friends churches should exercise concern for their members on matters of sexuality and should discipline offenders in love and truth (see “Rules of Discipline” p. 46). []

Resources for Study of Human Sexuality

In November of 2015, the Newberg Friends Church Elders, Pastors, and clerk invited our church to begin studying human sexuality.

A list of books, articles and videos from various viewpoints was created. Four copies of each of the books on the list are available to be borrowed in the church library.

Resources for Individual Study

The NFC Elders have assembled a beginning list of resources on issues around human sexuality, inviting interested members of the congregation to begin informing themselves.  This is in the spirit of the statement by the Yearly Meeting Board of Elders that has encouraged Friends to do the hard work of study and reflection on issues of human sexuality. These resources should not be seen as “required reading” but as a direction to help prepare for more specific directed study in the new year.  The Elders intend no endorsement of any of these resources but rather are hoping to represent a spectrum of thought on the conversation for those that have the time and motivation. Several of these books will be available in the NFC library.  

A task force will be formed soon to plan a structure for study groups with a more specific curriculum. Friends are invited to join the NFC Elders for a time of corporate prayer 6:30-7:00 p.m. in the church sanctuary on the second Monday of each month, beginning December 14, 2015.

How Does the Bible Lead Us to Truth?

How to Read the Bible for All its Worth. Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, Zondervan 4th ed. 2014.

This book is a basic introduction to help with interpreting the Bible. It is a classic used for decades in colleges and seminaries but very readable for anyone interested.

 

Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis. William J. Webb, Intervarsity Press 2001.  

This book is designed to give a framework to help the reader consider why you apply Scripture the way you do, no matter what position you take. Webb offers his perspective on developing interpretation principles that help address what issues are cultural and what are timeless.

 

The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It. Peter Enns, Harper One, 2015.  

Trained as an Evangelical scholar, the author earned his Ph.D from Harvard University. This book is his personal journey of wrestling with the more rigid lens of viewing the Bible he experienced growing up, and coming to what he calls “a more honest way to love and appreciate God’s word.” Written with humor and not a highly technical book.

 

Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today. N.T. Wright, Harper One, 2013.

Many people agree with the authority of the Bible, but the sticking point is what that means. N.T. Wright “shows how both evangelicals and liberals are guilty of misreading Scripture” and uses the Bible’s teaching on Sabbath and monogamy as case studies for developing a solid interpretation practice. An Anglican, Wright roots the authority of the Bible in the authority of God, similar to the Quaker perspective.

 

Historical and Current Quaker views on the Bible: Readings from Barclay’s Apology, the Richmond Declaration of Faith, and Faith and Practice.

This selection of readings helps give an idea of the different ways Quakers have viewed the Bible. Part of a chapter from Barclay’s Apology is reprinted with permission from Barclay Press here in Newberg.

 

Stories of People with Same Sex Attraction and a Commitment to Evangelical Christianity

Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. Wesley Hill, Zondervan 2010.

In this book, Hill writes of his own journey to be faithful to Jesus with his own same sex attraction, which has led him to live a life of celibacy.

 

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate. Justin Lee, Jericho Books 2013.

In this book, Lee writes of his own journey as an Evangelical Christian attracted to men, which has led him to conclude that the Bible can be understood to support same sex marriage.

 

How Do Different People Interpret What the Bible Says about Human Sexuality?

David Platt is a pastor in the Southern Baptist denomination, and author of several books including “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream”. He preached in 2013 on Romans 1:18-32, outlining why he believes the Bible teaches that sexuality should only be expressed in a marriage between a man and a woman.

 

Debra Hirsch is a church leader and trained counselor, and co-founder of Forge Mission Training Network. She’s also an author, most recently of “Redeeming Sex: Naked Conversations About Sexuality and Spirituality.” This video isn’t focused narrowly on same sex issues, but takes a broader view of human sexuality. She was speaking to pastors in Southern California.  She, too, offers a more traditional interpretation.

 

Matthew Vines grew up in an Evangelical Presbyterian church, and attended Harvard University for two years. He dropped out to study full time what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. This video was filmed in 2012, was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, and led to him writing the book “God and The Gay Christian”.  In the video, he details “his controversial belief that “the Bible never directly addresses and certainly does not condemn, loving, committed same-sex relationships”.

 

Article: Homosexuality and The Bible. Walter Wink. Fellowship of Reconciliation website.
This piece begins and ends with a call to tolerance and against allowing sexual issues to tear churches and denominations apart.   He then looks at Old and New Testament scriptures on sexual issues. After the review of the scriptures, he questions why we don’t follow some admonitions found in the Bible and we do follow others.   

 

Article: How Christians Can Flourish in a Same-Sex-Marriage World Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner. Christianity Today. November 2, 2015

The authors respond to the Supreme Court decision that the Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage by looking at the cultural changes that have been occurring in the US.   They encourage Christians to participate in cultural and social discussions rather than withdrawing or engaging in dogmatic proclamation.  Instead, they discuss ways that Christians can and should continue to be involved in culture and social issues, while continuing to live within their beliefs.

 

The Bible’s YES to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart. Mark Achtemeier, Westminster John Knox Press 2014.

The author long held a traditional, conservative view of these issues. This book gives his account of how he changed his mind, and addresses his interpretation of biblical passages that leads him to affirm same-sex marriage.

 

The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. Robert Gagnon, Abingdon Press, 2001.

The most thorough exposition of the traditional Christian view of homosexual practice. An able scholar who interacts with a wide range of scholarship up to its time of publication, now about 15 years ago.

Your NFC – November 13, 2015

Click HERE to read the entire November 13, 2015 issue.

by Howard Macy

by Howard Macy

My friends may have hoped to protect me from mischief and boredom when I retired from teaching at George Fox University, where I was rarely bored. So they invited me to edit the journal Quaker Religious Thought (QRT). I suppose they also knew that my students sometimes resented my keen eye for Miss Spellings and other misteaks. But probably they remembered that I had been involved with the journal and with the Quaker Theological Discussion Group (QTDG) for more than forty years and that I had helped with editing before.

As editor, I gather and organize the papers that contributors have presented at the annual meetings of the discussion group. When papers or authors go into hiding, this gathering work can get tedious, but it’s always rewarding to read and edit the interesting essays that contributors offer. The stated purpose of the QTDG is “to explore the meaning and implications of our Quaker faith and religious experience through discussion and publication.” First published in 1959 and now twice a year, QRT explores topics in theology, pressing contemporary issues, questions of Quaker practice, reviews of significant new books, and much more. Readers can find a complete list of issues and topics at the QTDG website.

Because we want to deepen our understanding and refine our thinking, the papers and conversations at the QTDG include all sorts of Quaker thinkers and even folks who view Friends from the outside. It’s delightful to do this in person, of course, but the journal invites those who can’t attend the conversation. This enriches both local Friends and our wider Friends community. Newberg folks will know Arthur Roberts and Paul Anderson, both of whom have edited and contributed to QRT, and others here who have written for the journal. (NFCer Michael Comfort, with Allegra, has been doing a fabulous job with the graphic design. And Phil Smith is super at handling subscriptions and distribution.) But the journal also makes it possible to enjoy pieces by leading thinkers T. Canby Jones, Wilmer Cooper, Dean Freiday, Hugh Barbour, Carole Dale Spencer, David Johns, and many others.

Now people around the world can access this treasure of Quaker thinking. George Fox University has graciously included the whole QRT archive in its “digital commons.” (See http://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/qrt/. Newer issues will be added on a timely, but delayed, schedule.) So readers in Europe, Russia, Africa, Asia, South America, even remote corners of North America, can now search over the internet for QRT articles by topic and author, and they can read online or download the pdf-formatted articles to use as they need. Even before we announced this new feature, we had hundreds of “hits” from around the world.

So I’m not bored. Instead, I’m glad to help share this good conversation with Friends across North America and around the world. And I think I still have some time left for mischief.

Click HERE to read the entire November 13, 2015 issue.

Your NFC – November 6, 2015

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by Steve Fawver, pastor spiritual health and care

by Steve Fawver, pastor
spiritual health and care

I have exciting news to tell you all! No, we are not expecting…. But we are anticipating a celebration of life in a different way. The elders at NFC have approved a four-month sabbatical from April 18 to August 18 of 2016. Below is the letter I wrote almost a year ago as we began this process to consider a sabbatical.

Steves Letter to the elders-2

I am excited to say that we did receive a grant from the Lilly Endowment that will cover some staffing expenses during my absence as well as some funds for our family to travel during this time away. These four months will include:

– A Monastic Life Retreat at the Trappist
Abbey in Lafayette. I will don my robes, move to the Abbey, and live with the brothers for a month. This will give me a chance to settle into a different rhythm of life for the first month of the sabbatical.

– Time to be with family, rest, and explore some of God’s creation here in the Northwest.

– A chance to explore our family roots in Scotland, Ireland, and Switzerland as well as our Quaker roots in England. We plan to not only see the sights but consider our “Wallace” roots around the area of Stirling, stay at Swarthmoor Hall (once home to George Fox and Margaret Fell/Fox), and travel through London and Paris en route to Switzerland. versam__switzerlandMy great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Johannes Marolani, (born 1717) was a pastor in a little church in Versam that is still being used to this day. His body was buried in the floor of the church, and we look forward to visiting and exploring that area and other beautiful areas in this country. I have always wanted to go to Switzerland, so this is a dream come true!

This is such a gift to our family and we are very grateful for the chance to take some extended time off and away. The plan is to increase other staff hours a bit and also bring a part-time intern to join the team during my absence. I look forward to being back “post-sabbatical” with new eyes and an open heart full of what God will teach while I am gone.

Click HERE to read the entire November 6, 2015 issue.

Your NFC – August 21, 2015

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by Joseph Hampton

by Joseph Hampton

My sister wrote for Your NFC last week, so if you have the time you can go back and read her essay, then come back and read mine and decide for yourself who the better writer is.

I don’t want to influence you or anything, but I am an English major and Kelsey studied history and peace building. So, you know… who’s the better writer?

If you don’t know who I am you probably know one or both of my parents.

If you don’t know my parents you probably know one of my grandparents.

If you don’t know my grandparents you probably know one or more of my aunts and uncles.

If you don’t know any of my aunts and uncles you’ve probably met one of my extended family, be it a Hampton, Ankeny, McCracken, Haworth, or other married-in families like Smiths, Minthornes, Burgs, etc.

If you don’t know any of those people it’s probably your first day at Newberg Friends, to which I say welcome.

Welcome to the family.

And it is a family, to me at least.

This is the church where I grew up and the church I still consider my home even though I haven’t been there in the last few months and even when I was going I wasn’t fully engaged in the church
activities.

Now some members of the church may be concerned that my lack of attendance these past months represents a decline in my spirituality, but have no fear. I paid all of my dues for missing Spiritual Life credits at Fox a few weeks ago. So I’m square.

While that last line is true (though cynical and sarcastic) the real reason I haven’t been to NFC is because I work on Sunday mornings, have been working on Sunday mornings and will continue to work on Sunday mornings for the foreseeable future.

Because I haven’t been in attendance, I’ve felt strangely disassociated from the church as we go through the trying times of shattering, discernment, and ongoing reunification. Even while I was among the people most heavily affected, I felt detached, like a tourist watching a conflict she doesn’t understand.

But maybe that’s how it’s always been. Looking back, my connection to NFC and to the wider Quaker world has always been familial, not personal. Over the years I’ve been relatively inactive as an individual in church and yearly meeting activities, always leashed by anxiety.

At the same time I’ve always taken great pride in the imperial reach of my family within the Quaker world. My opening “if you don’t know then you probably know” bit may be a tad hyperbolic for the sake of comedy, but honestly, you would be hard pressed to find someone who attends Newberg Friends who doesn’t know a single person in my extended family.

You can tell you have a big, well-connected family when the word “cousin” can mean anything from your father’s nephew to your mother’s first-cousin’s grandchild.

I’m a part of this community because I was born into it. I didn’t earn it, I didn’t work for it, and I have turned down multiple opportunities to serve in leadership; like a few months ago when I was asked to join the NFC nominating committee.

I consider Twin Rocks to be part of my extended community and extended home but I only attended “camp” (as a “camper”) once in middle school and I hated it. But my mom had family and friends at the camp and she had worked at the camp when she was younger and my grandpa was the camp director for a period and my great-uncle was a donor and supporter, and so on.

My sister Jessy has been gone for two years and upon her return has already spoken to a Sunday school class about her time abroad.

I’m not saying that I don’t deserve to go to the church of my family. I think I have a place by my own right, and I also don’t believe one must necessarily earn their spot in a spiritual community. I just find it interesting that so much of my connection to NFC is through relatives and not through my own labors.

This realization does, however, provide me the opportunity to change this streak, maybe not at Newberg Friends, and definitely not now with school starting and work being demanding, but eventually. When I have the time and the place to work toward community and not take for granted the community I’ve appropriated from my parents and grandparents.

Click HERE to read the entire August 21, 2015 issue.

Your NFC – July 24, 2015

Click HERE to read the entire July 24, 2015 issue.

by Kathy Schlittenhart

Unknown copyThe Shalom Sunday school class has a long and colorful history. The story begins way back in the early 1950s with about ten in attendance. Hubert and Vivian Thornburg, much-loved members of the NFC community, were the original leaders of the class. I interviewed Vivian, now 93 and living at Friendsview, for information about the class’s history. As many of you know, Hubert went to be with the Lord a couple of years ago.

As they began the class, Hubert and Vivian saw that often the people who came needed prayer, so they decided to do something different: they put an empty chair at the front of the room so that if anyone had a prayer request to share, they could come and sit in the chair. They called it the “Prayer Chair.” That chair became a very important part of the class, and over the years they saw many wonderful answers to prayer.

Vivian recalled one Sunday when a man came forward and sat in the chair and requested prayer for a friend of his in California, a young woman who was near death. He was distressed for her because she was young and very gifted. The class prayed earnestly for her and she was healed. Three weeks later she came up to Newberg to visit the class who had prayed for her to thank them for their prayers. That was a day of celebration for the class and greatly increased their faith in the power of prayer. Vivian said that was just one of many memorable answers to prayer that they saw in the class.

As Hubert taught, the class grew until at one point there were eighty in the class and they had trouble finding a room to meet. So the church asked that they split the class in two. Vivian said that was a difficult experience because all of them had grown very close, not only on Sunday, but fairly often they met for holiday events, parties, and other events. They had fun together. The mission of the class was “caring for others,” a mission they lived out as part of NFC’s growing community.

Over the years the class size changed, sometimes larger, sometimes smaller. Then in 1978 Hubert and Vivian were called as pastors to a Friends church in Salem, so they were gone for about ten years. When they returned, they again taught the class until about the year 2000 when they retired and later moved to Friendsview.

At that time the Shalom class changed and morphed into what it is today. The members elected not to have a teacher but to have a round-table discussion class with each person sharing. It’s actually a Quaker-style Bible study class now. We choose a book of the Bible and focus on one chapter each Sunday. We bring our reference books and commentaries so that we can research questions as we discuss the chapter.

We have lively discussions interspersed with thoughtful silence at times. No theological issue is off limits, but we tread with sensitivity and grace through controversial issues; we don’t argue. Biblical history, the character of God, doctrine, the meaning of words, and references to other Scriptural passages are interwoven throughout our discussion. People have come and gone, and currently our class is somewhat small, but I love being part of the Shalom class; we all look forward each week to focusing specifically on a chapter of the Bible with its vibrant message for today. Our goal is for the Holy Spirit to be our teacher. We are nearing the end of Isaiah at this time and have decided that our next book to study will be 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Anyone is welcome to come and join us. We meet in Room 238 at about 9 a.m. or a little after. If you would like more information about the class, you may contact Mark Martin, Kati Voth, Susan or Kuen Lee, or me. This is one of the many places at NFC where ministry indeed happens.

Click HERE to read the entire July 24, 2015 issue.