resolution circle.png

*The following resolution was written by the Inclusive Pastors leadership team and will be submitted to the Mennonite Church USA Resolutions Committee on November 6, 2020. We hope this will be brought to delegates at the 2021 MC USA convention. For more background on issues addressed by this resolution, please see the Report from the Advisory Group on Mennonite Church USA Membership Guidelines.

You can support this resolution as an individual by signing using the form on the bottom of this page. If you are part of a congregation or other organization that would like to sign on in support, please email InclusivePastors@gmail.com.

Current policies of Mennonite Church USA do violence to LGBTQIA [1] people by failing to affirm their full, God-given identities and by restricting their full participation in the life, ministries and rituals of the broader church. The rejection of LGBTQIA people by MC USA has silenced and denied ministry callings, torn apart families, forced parents to choose between their church and their child, and caused many LGBTQIA people to leave the church. In some cases, rejection by their faith community is a factor in LGBTQIA people self-harming or even dying by suicide [2].

The 2001 Membership Guidelines, especially Section III [3], are the basis for many of these wounds, and also for harm done to the ministry and witness of our denomination and congregations. The Guidelines were not created for the benefit of LGBTQIA people. The Guidelines’ purpose was to facilitate denominational integration, and, in the process, the church willingly offered up LGBTQIA people, their families, their congregations, and pastors as scapegoats for the sake of a false peace and unity.

The legacy of the 2001 Membership Guidelines is in direct contradiction to the vision and calling of MC USA; they have given us conflict and loss, not “healing and hope.” [4]

Excluding LGBTQIA people from the church is a rejection of God’s joyous delight in the diversity of creation and a denial of the Divine image and breath animating all humankind [5]. It is unfaithful to the calling and ministry of Jesus who, as “the visible image of the invisible God” and the one through whom “God reconciled everything to God’s self,” offers radical hospitality to those traditionally despised and rejected by religious institutions and teaches that love is the fulfillment of the law [6]. It is a denial of the work of the Holy Spirit who empowers LGBTQIA Christians to give and receive every gift in the body of Christ.

Excluding LBGTQIA people harms not only LGBTQIA people and allies, but it also harms the full body of Christ.  Such exclusion is a rejection of the witness of individuals, congregations, and conferences who live out God’s life-giving love in and through full affirmation of the lives of LGBTQIA people. It is a failure to realize the denominational vision of “healing and hope” and therefore restricts the life and mission of MC USA. It is a rejection of spiritual gifts that God longs to share through LGBTQIA people with the Mennonite church.

The exclusion of LGBTQIA people from the church also perpetuates the interconnected oppressions of hetero-sexism and racism. “Dualistic tactics” [7] falsely separate the interests of LGBTQIA people, People of Color, and LGBTQIA People of Color, effectively pitting these marginalized groups against one another.

Our calling as disciples of Jesus compels us to “[c]onfront the misuses of power in our… institutions” by “seek[ing] to tell the truth and repent.”[8] 

Therefore, be it resolved that, as members of Mennonite Church USA committed to truth-telling, repentance, and transformation in the Way of Jesus:

We confess that:

  • Our denomination’s policies, structures, practices, and theologies have excluded LGBTQIA persons from fully sanctioned participation in the denomination and have caused great harm to LGBTQIA Mennonites and their families. 

  • We have failed to offer the Good News of God’s “grace, joy and peace” [9] to LGBTQIA Mennonites and their families.

  • Our denomination and congregations are diminished in vitality and faithfulness by the loss of our siblings who have chosen to leave because of exclusionary practices and policies.

  • We have not affirmed the full status and worth of LGBTQIA people as fully beloved by God.

  • We have scapegoated People of Color as the reason for discrimination against LGBTQIA people, and blamed LGBTQIA people for the loss of some People of Color in the church [10].

  • LGBTQIA Mennonite People of Color are virtually erased.

  • We have not taken seriously “every human grouping [being] reconciled and united in the church.”[11] 

  • As a result of the polity implications of the Membership Guidelines Section III, we have driven wedges of mistrust between MC USA pastors and their congregations, and between congregations and conferences.

 

We commit to: 

  • Rescind the Membership Guidelines, Section III [12].

  • Include representatives of the LGBTQIA community in the creation of any resource, document, or policy that specifically affects LGBTQIA people.  

  • Require that the Executive Board consult with LGBTQIA leaders [13] to create an LGBTQIA constituency group with representation on the Constituency Leaders Council and/or other denomination-wide leadership groups.

  • Provide resources for individuals, congregations, and conferences to engage with repentance and reconciliation in their own contexts.  Such resources should explore historic harms, encourage truth-telling, and address areas of intersectionality.

  • Follow the leadership of LGBTQIA Mennonites to provide support and resources for LGBTQIA leaders in the church. This should involve investment of denominational time and money.

  • Implement policies for MC USA’s Executive Board, staff, and church-wide program agencies that prohibit the use of sexual identity, gender orientation, or marital status as criteria to restrict a person’s full participation in the ministries, activities, roles, and committees of our denomination.

  • Expand the definition of marriage in future versions of The Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.

  • Revise A Shared Understanding of Ministerial Leadership to affirm LGBTQIA people in ministry and to explicitly allow Mennonite pastors to officiate without repercussions same-sex weddings.

  1.  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual

  2. For example, see Ron Adams, The Rule of Love, The Mennonite, Nov. 2013; also Roberta Showalter Kreider, The Cost of Truth: Faith Stories of Mennonite and Brethren Leaders and Those Who Might Have Been. 2004 Strategic Press.

  3.  Section III of the “Membership Guidelines” reads, in part, “We believe that God intends marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman for life.;” and,  “We hold the Saskatoon (1986) and Purdue (1987) statements describing homosexual, extramarital and premarital sexual activity as sin to be the teaching position of Mennonite Church USA;” and, “Pastors holding credentials in a conference of Mennonite Church USA may not perform a same-sex covenant ceremony.”

  4. See MC USA Vision: Healing and Hope document

  5. Genesis 1 & 2

  6. Colossians 1.15-20, Romans 13.8-10, NLT

  7. See the Advisory Group report

  8. Renewed Commitments for MC USA, 2018

  9. Mennonite Church USA Vision: Healing and Hope

  10. Quoted from Advisory Group report p. 11

  11. Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, Article 9

  12. This will effectively eliminate section III of the Guidelines. Sections I and II are part of the MC USA bylaws.

  13. Many LGBTQIA Mennonite leaders are affiliated with advocacy groups including Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests, Pink Menno, and Inclusive Mennonite Pastors.

SIGNED

CONGREGATIONS

 Boulder Mennonite Church, Boulder, CO

 First Mennonite Church, Bluffton, OH

 First Mennonite Church, Champaign-Urbana, IL

 Peace Mennonite Church, Lawrence, KS

 Houston Mennonite Church, Houston, TX

 First Mennonite Church of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

 Beloved Community Mennonite Church, Englewood, CO

 Madison Mennonite Church, Madison, WI

 St. Paul Mennonite Fellowship, St. Paul, MN

 Albuquerque Mennonite Church, Albuquerque, NM

 Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, OH

 Joy Mennonite Church, Oklahoma City, OK

 New Creation Fellowship Church, Newton, KS

 Atlanta Mennonite Fellowship, Atlanta, GA

 Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, Tucson, AZ

 Open Table Mennonite Fellowship, Goshen, IN

 Austin Mennonite Church, Austin, TX

 Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, KS

 Mennonite Fellowship of Bloomington, Bloomington, IN

 Mennonite Congregation of Boston, Cambridge, MA

 Assembly Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN

 Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS

 Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, IN

 Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster, Lacnaster, PA

 

OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

 Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests

 Pink Menno

 RAWtools - Colorado Springs, CO

 Central District Conference of MC USA (CDC) Board of Directors

 Central District Conference of MC USA (CDC) Ministerial Committee

To sign, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

INDIVIDUAL SUPPORTERS

(as of November 23, 2020)

Nadine Reimer Penner, Member Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church
Laura Larson, Lombard Mennonite Church, Lombard, Illinois
Jamie Pitts, Hively Ave. Mennonite Church / CDC Board / AMBS faculty
Lloyd L. Miller, retired pastor, member pof Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, IN
Chelsea Tatum, Lombard Mennonite Church, Lombard, IL
Lora Nafziger, pastor Assembly Mennonite Church
Jen Dudenhefer, Boulder Mennonite Church, Boulder, CO
Megan Klaassen, Southern Hills Mennonite Church, Topeka, KS
Ron Shoemaker Southside Fellowship Elkhart, IN
Pat Springer Shoemaker, Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, IN
Rev. Vicki L Penner, Southern Hills Mennonite Church, Topeka, KS
David Moser Pastor of Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, IN
Rebekah Short, Goshen IN
Carol Mann, MD; member Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, IN
Regina Hodges, Southside Fellowship, Elkhart,IN
Elizabeth Schmidt, Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, Kansas
Daniel Armounfelder, South Bend, IN, Southside Fellowship
Suzanne Ehst, member of Southside Fellowship in Elkhart, Indiana
Steve and Becky Miller Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, IN
Jerry Peters, South Side Menn. Fellowship, Elkhart, IN
Valerie Klaassen, Grace Hill Mennonite Church, Whitewater, Ks.
Brad Kohlman, Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, KS
Marge Harms Grace Hill Mennonite Church Whitewater Ks
Joshua Landis, Zion Mennonite Church, Souderton, PA
Linda Moyo, Bethel College Diversity Council
Trisha Watkins, Zion Mennonite Church, Souderton PA
James P Miller I, Covenant Mennonite, Sarasota, FL
Dawn Yoder Harms, Bethel College Mennonite Church
Audrey Patterson, Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster, PA
Adrienne Laws Landis, Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, IN
Stefanie Matsinger Dockery, Zion Mennonite Church, Souderton PA
Merlyn Schrock, Southside Fellowship. Elkhart, IN
David Lind, Southside Fellowship
Anne Marie Hardy Spelman, First Mennonite Church, Bluffton, OH
Leslie Homer-Cattell, Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster, Lancaster, PA
Ingrid Friesen Moser, Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, IN
Victoria Woods-Yee, First Mennonite, Bluffton, Ohio
Anne Edwards Bailey, Peace Mennonite Church, Lawrence, KS
Megan Joy Miller, Madison Mennonite Church / Southside Fellowship, Madison, WI / Elkhart, IN
Jen DePaolo, Albuquerque Mennonite Church
Elsa Goossen, Albuquerque Mennonite Church, Albuquerque, NM
Donna Detweiler
Raymond M Martin
Megan Kohlman, Hesston, KS, member of Bethel College Mennonite Church
Rev. Rachel Ringenberg Miller, Pastor, Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
Mary Alexander, Austin Mennonite Church, Austin, TX
Lily Mast (Longmont, CO), Boulder Mennonite Church
Ida Short, Open Table Mennonite Fellowship, Goshen, IN
Lenora Hirschler, Assembly Mennonite, Goshen
Bonnie Miller- Raleigh Mennonite Church
Susan Gascho-Cooke, Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster, PA
Beverly Lapp, member at Assembly Mennonite Church in Goshen, IN and VP/Academic Dean at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, IN.
Kristen Satchwell, Mennonite Church of Normal, Normal, IL
Janna L. Hunter-Bowman, Kern Road Mennonite Church, Assistant Professor of Peace Studies and Christian Social Ethics, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Rachel Miller Jacobs, Faith Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN, AMBS faculty member
Joanne Niswander, First Mennonite Church, Bluffton, OH
Jeff Gundy, First Mennonite Church, Bluffton, Ohio
Beth Boehr, First Mennonite Church, Bluffton Ohio
Philip Martens, First Mennonite Church Champaign-Urbana, IL
Ryan Miller, Southside Fellowship, Goshen, IN
Cathy Stoner Kern Road Mennonite Church, South Bend, Indiana
Dick Lehman, Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, IN
Jim Leonard, Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus OH
Joan Tice, Boulder Mennonite Church, Colorado
Mark J. Suderman, First Mennonite Church, Bluffton, OH
Elaine Suderman, First Mennonite Church, Bluffton, OH
Rachel Waltner Goossen, Southern Hills Mennonite Church, Topeka, KS
Duane Goossen, Southern Hills Mennonite Church, Topeka, KS
Daniel Klaassen, Southern Hills Mennonite Church, Topeka, Ks
Melissa S. Miller, Lombard Mennonite Church
Bill Rich, Southern Hills Mennonite Church, Topeka, Kansas
Kathleen Rich, Topeka, KS
Connie White, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS
Gerry Lichti, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS
Treva Lichti, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS
Jeff White, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS
Katie Cunningham, retired pastor
Rita Dietrich, First Mennonite Church, Bluffton, Ohio
Sarah Weber, Southern Hills Mennonite Church, Topeka, Kansas
Debby Scott, Albuquerque Mennonite Church / West Philadelphia Mennonite Congregation, Albuquerque NM
Timothy Voth, Topeka KS.
Carolyn Rich Voth, Topeka KS.
Natalie Moreland, Southern Hills Mennonite Church, Topeka, KS
Carlen C. Sellers, Lombard Mennonite Church, Lombard, iL
Lois Dyck - Southside Fellowship Elkhart, IN.
Arlen Epp, Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, IN
Hilary Rhodes, Lombard Mennonite Church, Lombard, IL
Michael Voth Siebert, FMC Denver
Aimee Voth Siebert, FMC Denver
Julia Gautsche, Assembly Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN
Larry Gautsche, Assembly Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN
Regina Shands Stoltzfus, Assembly Mennonite Church, Goshen College Peace Justice and Conflict Studies Dept.
Wilma J Harder, Assembly Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN
Diana Hershberger, Southern Hills Mennonite Church, Topeka, KS
Chaplain Lee Pfahler, Waterford Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN
Marc Segre, Raleigh Mennonite Church, Raleigh NC
Rebecca Waybill, Columbus Menno Church, Columbus, OH
Annie Trance, Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus OH
Karen Mareco, Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, OH
Lois F. Alderfer, Perkasie Mennonite Church, Perkasie, PA
Ryan Hoke, Columbus Mennonite Church
Melissa Florer-Bixler, Raleigh Mennonite Church (Raleigh NC)
Paul E Reimer, Lombard Mennonite Church
Cynthia Lapp, Mt Rainier, MD
Rachel Reimer-Kouame, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS
Daniel Ibarra, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS
Mark Rupp, Columbus Mennonite Church
Linda Gebert, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, Kansas
Eugene Stutzman, Covenant Mennonite Fellowship, Sarasota, FL
Mike Ryan-Simkins, Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, OH
Joyce Willcox Hunsberger, Perkasie Mennonite Church, Perkasie, PA
Josh Rhoades, Wichita, KS
Peter Miller, Open Table Mennonite Fellowship
Jennifer Chappell Deckert
Melanie Zuercher, Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, Kan.
Joel Call, Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, OH
Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck, Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster, Lancaster PA
Laura Stoesz, Madison Mennonite Church, Wisconsin, USA
Darleen Zimmerman, Plymouth Meeting, PA (near Philadelphia)
M. Chris McCarthy, Columbus Mennonite Church,Columbus, OH
Matthew R Lehman Wiens, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church
Ruth Lehman Wiens, Lorraine ave Mennonite church, Wichita ks
Barbara Gingrich, Lorraine Ave Mennonite Church, Wichita KS
Ed Meyers Perkasie Mennonite Church Perkasie, PA
Lowell Gerber, Blossom Hill Mennonite Church, Lancasteer, PA
Tim McCarthy, Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus Ohio
Jacqueline Hoke, Columbus Mennonite Church
Haley Behnfeldt, from Columbus Mennonite Church, in Columbus OH
Karl Swartz, Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita KS
The Pastoral Team of Seattle Mennonite Church
(Megan Ramer, Amy Epp, Melanie Neufeld, Jonathan Neufeld)
Jackie Parker, Raleigh Mennonite Church
Julie Hart, Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, Ohio
Lauren Clark, Asexual, Milwaukee Mennonite Church
Linda Moyo, Bethel College Diversity Council Leader, North Newton, Kansas
Anne Birky, Assembly Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN
Stephen Voran, Boulder Mennonite Church
Steve Nyce, Perkasie Mennonite Church
Sally Weaver Glick, congregational doula, Open Table Mennonite Fellowship, Goshen, IN
Stacy Vlasits, Austin Mennonite Church, Austin, TX
Erin Yoder, Open Table Mennonite Fellowship, Goshen, IN
Joshua Hunsbro, Austin Mennonite Church, Austin, TX
Carole Suderman, Deacon, Boulder Mennonite Church
June Mears Driedger, Florence Church of the Brethren Mennonite, Michigan
Megan Miller, Washington Mennonite Church, Washington, IA
Weldon Schloneger, Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, KS
Caley Ortman, First Mennonite Church, Reedley, CA
Brian Bolton, Pastor, Shalom Mennonite Congregation, Member CDC Ministerial Committee
Martha Graber, Washington Mennonite Church, Washington, IA
Myron Graber Washington Mennonite Church, Washington, Iowa
Robin Walton, Columbus Mennonite Chuch, Columbus, OH, Member CDC Ministerial Committee.
Charles Shenk, Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, Ohio
Becky Kurtz, member, Atlanta Mennonite Fellowship
Gwen Reiser, Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, OH
Carrie Nelson, Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, Tucson, AZ
Phil T Yoder, MDiv Student, Member of Colombus Mennonite Church, OH
Lydia Ramer Hunter, Perkasie Mennonite Church
Scott Coulter, Pastor, Assembly Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN
Bruce Glick, Assembly Mennonite Church, Goshen IN
Edie Nebel, Washington Iowa
Kristin Bramich Perkasie Mennonite Church
Frank Bramich Perkasie Mennonite Church Perasie, Pa
Laurie Hesed, Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
Barb Swartley, Assembly Mennonite
Mary Lou Cummings Perkasie Mennonite Church, Perkasie, PA,
Robert Cummings, Perkasie Mennonite Church, Perkasie, PA
Elizabeth (Libby) Smith, Perkasie Mennonite Church, Perkasie, PA
Barbara Shisler Perkasie Mennonite Church, Perkasie, Pa.
Steve Friesen, Austin Mennonite Church, Austin TX
Susan See
Bob Moyer Perkasie Perkasie Pennsylvania
Trina Stutzman Perkasie Mennonite Church, Perkasie, PA
Gretchen Geyer - Columbus Mennonite Church - Columbus, OH
Lavonne Stutzman Oberly Sarasota, FL
Mary Yoder Holsopple, Assembly Mennonite Church
Elroy Holsopple, Assembly Mennonite Church
Laurel Hertzler, Perkasie Mennonite Church
Katrina Cortes, Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus Ohio
Emily Bledsoe, Raleigh Mennonite Church
Rosene Rohrer, Raleigh Mennonite Church, Raleigh, NC
David Rohrer, Raleigh Mennonite Church, Raleigh, NC
Rev. Dr. James Rissler, Atlanta Mennonite Fellowship
Beth Bontrager, member Faith Mennonite Church Goshen, Indiana
Elizabeth Reimer, Lombard Mennonite Church, Lombard, IL
Sandra Stutzman, Covenant Mennonite Church
Jayne Reynolds, Columbus Mennonite Church, Columbus, OH
Ed Wise, Landisville Mennonite, Landisville PA
Evan Beck, Belmont Mennonite Church, Elkhart, IN
Todd Fields, Raleigh Mennonite Church
Suzanne C. Lawrence Perkasie Mennonite Church, Perkasie,PA
Charles Bontrager
Joanna M. Jones, Raleigh Mennonite Church (Raleigh, NC)
Jessica Landes, Wilmington, NC
Stan Smucker, Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, Kansas
Joyce M Dingman, Madison Mennonite Church, Madison WI
Elizabeth Gokey
Eric Mallory
Justin Shenk, Madison Mennonite Church, Madison, WI
Lisa Schulz, Madison Mennonite
Erica Boehr, Madison Mennonite Church, Madison, WI