Executive Committee responds to area conferences discerning departure from denomination

ELKHART, Indiana (Mennonite Church USA)—The Executive Committee (EC) of the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA sent letters Aug. 4 to North Central Conference (NCC) of the Mennonite Church and Lancaster Mennonite Conference (LMC), expressing a commitment to pray for and stay in relationship with each of them even as the area conferences make decisions about leaving the denomination.

NCC delegates passed a motion at their July 17–19 annual assembly to begin a yearlong process of withdrawing from Mennonite Church USA. The following week, LMC leaders announced a proposal that “LMC withdraw as an area conference of Mennonite Church USA,” which will be discussed in area meetings over the next weeks before a final decision is made this fall.

The EC discussed the conferences’ decisions while meeting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, following the Mennonite World Conference Assembly.

“As a leadership body within Mennonite Church USA, our Executive Committee longs for you to stay with us, for you to remain part of our church,” wrote EC members Patty Shelly, David Boshart, Phil Rich, Joy Sutter and Isaac Villegas in letters addressed to each conference. “You are part of us, and we can’t imagine our church without you, without our shared mission and ministry, without our communion in the same denominational fellowship.”

The letters expressed gratitude for the ways in which God has worked through the ministries and presence of NCC and LMC, respectively; for each conference’s desire to follow Jesus faithfully and for their support of the church’s mission across the world. The EC also noted how the Holy Spirit heals divisions between people in the church.

“‘The church welcomes all people who join themselves to Christ to become part of the family of God,’ we’ve declared in our Confession of faith,” the EC members wrote. “We are the family of God together. Mennonite Church USA is committed to remaining part of the same family as you, and we will welcome you again and again, even as you separate yourselves from us.”

The letters drew on the Confession of faith in a Mennonite perspective in appealing for members of the church to stay together even when differences arise: “We believe that you are essential to our Mennonite body, as we are being built together into a dwelling place for God, a spiritual home for the good news of Jesus Christ in a world that longs for God’s love.”

The letters are available online in English and Spanish:

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—Mennonite Church USA staff

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6 thoughts on “Executive Committee responds to area conferences discerning departure from denomination

  1. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Executive Committee could send a letter like this to LGBTQ people in the church and to Pink Menno. The Executive Committee practices “radical exclusion” not “radical inclusion.” They get angry at Pink Menno’s Theatre of the Oppressed” but all the while they practice a “Theatre of the Entitled.” Just imagine if followers of Jesus cared more about loving people than saving institutions.

  2. What is being lost in this discussion is the realty that homosexuality is sexual bondage of which people can be set free through Christ. The loving action is to tell people the truth and to point to the freedom and new identity that Jesus longs to give them.

    1. Amen!!! We are no longer slaves to the flesh but it is by the Grace of God that we have been set free. Choices are made by the principles that you set your heart on. Seek God and spiritual desires are what you will seek but living for the flesh will mean that only freshly desires will be found. (Romans 8). All this is for the love we have for our fellow man in finding the right way towards the love of a caring Heavenly Father.

  3. To the pink mennos and to the LGBTQ community, we love you because we are commanded to love our neighbors as God loves the church. But, all scripture is ordained and inspired by God. (2 Timothy 3:16). You like to quote some scriptures and throw out others because it doesn’t agree with with “your” lifestyle. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is by the power of God that salvation is given to those who believe. (Romans 1:16) Therefore, if God has inspired ALL scripture then to change them or ignore them is to stand against the Word of God. The scripture also says the LGBTQ lifestyle is morally reprehensible (1 Corinthians 6:9) and as a believer I am to judge fellow believers with a discerning heart. (Matthew 7:1-6). I will pray that the Mennonite USA church realizes this before it is too late.

  4. I believe what Jesus, whom I worship, said about homosexuality. And I believe that the extraordinary grace of Jesus will save the nonbelievers who can’t, in their limited understanding of Scripture and contemporary neuroscience, accept.

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