Board hears conference leaders' concerns
Mountain States action, EMU policy review are issuesBy Tim Huber Mennonite World Review
Leaders of several Mennonite Church USA conferences have expressed concern to the denomination’s Executive Board about issues related to homosexuality.
Franconia Mennonite Conference posted a letter from leaders of five of the conferences on its website Feb. 27.
The letter, dated Feb. 12, was intended as counsel for the board at its February meeting in light of two recent actions:
- Eastern Mennonite University’s review of its employment policy that prohibits hiring people in same-sex relationships; and
- Mountain States Mennonite Conference’s licensing of a pastor in a committed same-sex relationship.
The letter describes the two events “as catastrophic for our constituencies.”
The letter is signed by Franconia executive conference minister Ertell Whigham, Virginia Mennonite Conference executive conference minister Clyde Kratz, Lancaster Mennonite Conference moderator Keith Weaver, New York Conference executive conference minister Gene Miller and Franklin Mennonite Conference conference minister Allen Lehman.
Franconia posted the letter as a matter of full disclosure to its delegates.
“A number of pastors in each of our conferences have begun questioning their continued affiliation with Mennonite Church USA in light of these latest developments,” the letter says. “It is our perception that our conferences will begin losing congregations very soon as these conversations continue to drag on without resolution.”
The letter cites 1986 and 1987 statements by MC USA’s predecessor denominations describing homosexual, extramarital and premarital sexual activity as sin and asks whether Mountain States Conference violated a covenant to be transparent on ministerial leadership issues.
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