NEWTON, Kan.—The Constituency Leaders Council of Mennonite Church USA will gather at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., from Thursday, March 20, through Saturday, March 22.
A task force commissioned by the Executive Board and chaired by Moderator-Elect Patricia Shelly has chosen questions for the CLC to process together regarding the decision by Mountain States Mennonite Conference (MSMC) to license a pastor in a committed same-gender relationship in February. During the CLC meeting, MSMC leaders will share about the discernment process through which their conference reached the decision.
The questions identified by the task force for discussion are:
- Having heard from Mountain States Mennonite Conference (MSMC) and the report of the task force, what feedback does the CLC want to communicate to the leadership of the MSMC?
- What is God saying to us and to Mennonite Church USA, as we listen and reflect? (Time will be given for silent reflection and prayer.)
- Are there better ways than our current organization (and written agreements) to cultivate relationships between congregations, area conferences and the denomination?
- How will we tend our common life as Mennonite Church USA, especially in light of differing beliefs and practices?
- What direction can the CLC offer the Executive Board as they tend to the relationships among congregations, area conferences and the denomination at this time in our history?
- What direction can the CLC offer the Executive Board as they respond to MSMC’s recent credentialing process?
The task force will compile the CLC’s feedback and bring it to the Executive Board for discussion at its June 26–28 meeting in Chicago.
The CLC will also hear a report from Mennonite Church USA Executive Director Ervin Stutzman regarding ongoing work across the church; a status update on church planting initiatives across the church; and a ministry update and report from Western District Conference. The group will spend time in worship and in silent discernment, listening and watching for the movement of the Holy Spirit.
The CLC, which meets twice per year, is the primary forum for conversation among area conferences within Mennonite Church USA. Each area conference is invited to send up to three representatives to the gatherings, one of which must be a conference minister. In addition, constituency groups—which include the African-American Mennonite Association; the African, Belizean and Caribbean Mennonite Missions Association; Iglesia Menonita Hispana; Mennonite Men; Mennonite Women USA and Native Mennonite Ministries—are each invited to send two representatives. Asian Mennonite Ministries and the Indonesian Mennonite Association each send one representative.
As the CLC gathers, Mennonite Church USA leaders invite prayers for wisdom and guidance in their conversations.