Inclusive Mennonite Pastors, Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interest members, and friends
Thank you for giving of yourself and your time to be part of this special delegate assembly. We are excited to bring the Resolution for Repentance and Transformation to the delegate body, and we are hopeful that this gathering will be a time when the Spirit will move within our midst and guide us toward the healing and wellbeing of the church.
Here are a few notes to help you connect with others during our time together:
- Be sure to write your pronouns on your name tag!
- Pastors should find an IMP leadership team member (Joanna, Michael, Randy, Xaris) to get your name tag ribbon.
- We have reserved the Roanoke Room for Saturday and Sunday. Stop by any time!
Join us for scheduled gatherings in the Roanoke Room:
- Saturday at 3:30pm to pray and to process the outcome of the delegate vote about whether or not to process the R&T resolution.
- If the vote to vote on the R&T Resolution passes: We will have a delegate strategy session at 7:00pm on Saturday
- Sunday at 5:30pm to . . . pray and do whatever else we need to do at that point.
|I thank my God for every remembrance of you, always in every one of my prayers for all of you, praying with joy for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. ~Philippians 1:3-6 (NRSVue)|
SOME POINTS FOR THE FIRST VOTE (VOTE TO VOTE)
- Keep the table conversation focused on whether or not to vote – not on the resolution itself.
- Our conversation seems to be moving to talk about the resolution, but the purpose of this table talk is about whether or not to even vote.
- It sounds like we really need this conversation, so a “Yes” vote would give us that opportunity.
2. Wonder about why people don’t want to discuss the resolution (i.e., not voting to vote).
- Mennonites have a good reputation on training others in conflict resolution and mediation. Can we model it ourselves?
- Let’s trust the Spirit to guide us in a difficult conversation..
3. Remind table members of the long history of LGBTQIA+ Mennonites deserving to be at the Table.
- This conversation is not going away.
- It’s really helpful to have these conversations around the table as a people of faith. It’s never helpful to persons who are oppressed and discriminated against to postpone or ignore conversation simply because it makes us uncomfortable.
- How does not having the conversation (i.e. voting “No” on the first vote) serve you?
- How does not having the conversation serve LGBTQIA+ Mennonites who are left out and excluded from full participation in the work of the denomination?
SOME POINTS FOR THE SECOND VOTE (VOTE ON THE R&T RESOLUTION)
1. Get to the heart of the resolution.
- Do you believe the testimony of queer (LGBTQIA+) people who say they have been harmed? If you do, what should our response be as a people of faith? Do we have the courage to name it and take responsibility for it?
- The ask of the R&T is not new, but bears witness to the long and faithful struggle of queer Mennos for decades, and reflects the 2019 Advisory Group consensus document.
2. Encourage what the resolution DOES:
- This resolution may connect us to other issues, such as the ordination of women. There are MC USA congregations that still refuse to hire or ordain women into full leadership. And those congregations are welcomed fully at the MC USA table!
- This resolution does direct resources from the denomination for the support of LGBTQIA+ Mennonites. (a constituency group, for one). Why? For the purpose of justice toward queer people.
- This resolution acts like other official resolutions the denomination affirms, such as toward Creation Care, Faithful Witness Amid Endless War, Support for Apology to Native Americans, etc. It is an official statement/stance of the denomination but not forced upon individual congregations or members.
- This resolution encourages MC USA toward corporate confession, which is an Anabaptist practice that reminds us we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and calls us toward responsible ways of being and behaving.
3. Point to what the resolution DOES NOT require:
- This resolution is not punitive. It does not punish pastors, members or congregations who refuse full participation of queer people in their churches.
- This resolution does not call for a rewrite of the Confession of Faith.
- This resolution will not change MC USA polity. Conferences and congregations will still determine who to call, affirm and ordain.
- This resolution does not require pastors to officiate same sex weddings or force congregations to accept and baptize queer people.
|GENERAL ADVICE FOR ALL CONVERSATIONS:|
Don’t get in the weeds, trying to argue theology or a scriptural basis for queer inclusion. It’s almost never a compelling way to help others see your perspective.
For these conversations, keep the message tight to the awareness of the issue: LGBTQIA+ Mennonites are part of the divine image of God. This decision is about real bodies, real people who love their church and who are being told they are not welcome into full participation.
Inclusive Pastors Care Team
The people listed below are available to offer support and care throughout our time in Kansas City. Please feel free to reach out–by text or in person–to anyone on the list. If the person you contact is not available at that time, they can schedule a later time to talk or direct you to another team member. There will also be care team members available in the Roanoke Room on Saturday and Sunday when the delegates are not in session.
- Joanna Harader (she/her): 407-201-0503 (coordinator)
- Xaris A. Martínez: (ella/she/her) 818-326-8951
- Melissa Atchison (she/her): 785-313-6038
- Deb Bergen (she/her): 316-227-0176
- Cynthia Lapp (she/her): 202-330-3764
- Joel Miller (he/him): 614-940-7839
- Randy Spaulding (he/him): 941-228-6825
- Jane Roeschley (she/her): 815-848-5978 (Note that Jane will be off-site, but available by phone.)
- Annabeth (AB) Roeschley (they/she): 567-204-1928 (Note that Annabeth will be off-site, but available by phone.)
Mennonite Church USA leadership is also providing a care team and will have a prayer room available. You are all welcome to spend time in the prayer room and reach out to any of the MC USA pastoral care team members:
- Sue Park-Hur: firstname.lastname@example.org: 213-255-8883 (coordinator)
- Leonard Dow: Leonard.email@example.com
- Todd Lehman firstname.lastname@example.org
- Grace Tijerina email@example.com