Delegates unanimously approve two new resolutions, listen to diverse viewpoints

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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI (Mennonite Church USA) — Delegates approved two new resolutions proposed on site during their final delegate session on Saturday afternoon, July 4: A statement of support for Israeli and Palestinian partners in peacemaking, proposed by the Mennonite Palestine-Israel Network (MennoPIN), and a Resolution of Expressions of Lament and Hope from the African-American Mennonite Association (AAMA).

Delegates unanimously affirmed the statement of support for Israeli and Palestinian peacemaking partners, which laid out two-year goals for Mennonite Church USA and its member congregations. On Wednesday, July 1, delegates had voted to table the Resolution on Israel-Palestine until their 2017 assembly.

The resolution from AAMA, also passed unanimously, laments the recent shooting of nine African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, and calls on Mennonite Church USA to recognize the violence perpetrated against people of color throughout the United States.

The AAMA resolution states, “Mennonite Church USA and all its parts will continue to build awareness and direct resources and energy to continued anti-racism education among our constituencies and to stand in solidarity with the African-American community as destroyed properties are rebuilt and ministry occurs to broken bodies and souls.”

Delegates also heard statements of lament from a number of parents, friends and other family members of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) individuals. In addition, Joel Miller of Columbus, Ohio, asked everyone in the room with a friend or family member who is LGBTQ and who had been hurt by the delegate actions of this week to stand. Each speaker quoted a passage from the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective and lamented the exclusion of LGBTQ individuals from the church. Moderator Elizabeth Soto Albrecht ended the time for these statements at the agreed-upon five-minute mark .

Madeline Maldonado, pastor of Iglesia Menonita Arca de Salvación in Fort Myers, Florida, also presented a statement from Iglesia Menonita Hispana indicating that they have begun a process of discernment regarding their continued connection to Mennonite Church USA. The group will hold a meeting this fall and asked for prayer.

The next meeting of the Delegate Assembly will take place in Orlando, Florida, in 2017.

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—Mennonite Church USA staff