MC USA leaders respond to same-sex ceremoniesBy Mennonite World Review staff
In a June 13 letter, the Mennonite Church USA Executive Committee responded to same-sex covenant ceremonies performed by MC USA pastors in Illinois and Kansas.
The letter says the Executive Board “owns the understanding of our confession of faith that sexual union is to happen between one man and one woman committed to each other for life in holy marriage. The board has no plans to suggest that the church should change its current understanding and commitments.”
A PDF of the entire letter is available here.
The committee wrote that decisions about situations such as those in Illinois and Kansas must take place at the congregational and conference levels.
“The national church does not have the authority to control the discussion or decisions at these levels,” the letter says. It acknowledges that “our polity creates some differences in the practice of church discipline from conference to conference.”
A Western District Conference pastor, Joanna Harader of Lawrence, Kan., performed a same-sex covenant ceremony in 2010. A Central District Conference pastor, Megan Ramer of Chicago, has performed three civil unions in the past year.
In each case, an area conference leadership group decided not to impose discipline. Western District delegates will weigh a resolution to suspend Harader’s credentials at their annual meeting July 6-8 in Oklahoma City.
“We understand the frustration of persons who wish that the national conference would make decisions that our polity has given to area conferences of Mennonite Church USA to resolve,” the letter states. “We also understand the need for time and space to allow orderly consideration and processing of the questions that are being raised.”
The executive committee is made of up of moderator Dick Thomas, moderator-elect Elizabeth Soto, board members Addie Banks, David Boshart and Patricia Shelly, and MC USA executive director Ervin Stutzman.
Letter recipients include the MC USA Constituency Leaders Council and Governance Council. The CLC is made up of leaders from conferences, churchwide agencies and constituency groups. The GC is made up of the executive director, director of churchwide operations, agency directors, agency board chairs, the moderator and moderator-elect.
Comment on the article MC USA leaders respond to same-sex ceremonies
Please keep comments civil. MWR editors reserve the right to remove any comment. When posting a comment, you agree to the MWR Comments Policy. Name and comment will be posted; commenters are strongly encouraged to give their full name. Email address is for follow-up only and will not be made public.