ELKHART, Ind. (Mennonite Church USA)—The Executive Board (EB) of Mennonite Church USA has appointed a task force to frame the questions for a discussion at the March 20–22 Constituency Leaders Council (CLC) meeting in Newton, Kan., in response to the decision of Mountain States Mennonite Conference (MSMC) to license a pastor in a committed same-gender relationship.
The EB decided to create the task force during its Feb. 13–15 meeting in Harrisonburg, Va. The task force’s role is outlined in a statement released by the EB in response to MSMC’s action to license Theda Good on Feb. 2, 2014. While the statement had support across the EB, it did not pass unanimously. The full text of the statement is available online.
According to Moderator-Elect Patricia Shelly, chair of the task force, the group has a limited mandate, that of “framing and facilitating the CLC discussion so that the CLC can give counsel and a recommendation to the Executive Board.” After receiving the CLC’s counsel, the task force will compile the feedback and bring it before the EB for processing at its June 26–28 meeting in Chicago.
“This is not a task force that will explore the broader implications of this important issue of the church, nor ‘speak of its own accord,’” Shelly added.
The task force consists of members of the EB and CLC:
- Patricia Shelly (chair), EB moderator-elect, Newton, Kan. (Bethel College Mennonite Church)
- David Boshart, EB member, Wellman, Iowa; executive conference minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference (West Union Mennonite Church)
- David Maldonado, CLC member, Fort Myers, Fla.; moderator, Iglesia Menonita Hispana; pastor, Iglesia Menonita Arca de Salvación, Fort Myers, Fla.
- Donna Mast, CLC member, Scottdale, Pa.; executive conference minister for Allegheny Mennonite Conference (Scottdale Mennonite Church)
- Gene Miller, CLC member, Wellsville, N.Y.; executive conference minister for New York Mennonite Conference; pastor of Yorks Corners Mennonite Church, Wellsville, N.Y.
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.
Feedback may be sent to the task force at email@example.com. The task force has committed to reading each e-mail or message that is sent, but will not plan to respond directly to each one.
—Mennonite Church USA staff
See also related EB articles and actions.