By Annette Brill Bergstresser
ELKHART, Ind. (Mennonite Church USA)—A Resolutions Committee has been discerning resolutions to be brought to delegates at the biennial delegate assembly to be held as part of Mennonite Church USA’s July 1–6 convention in Phoenix. Resolutions being considered include one on protecting and nurturing children and youth and one on creation care; information will be sent to congregations May 1.
The committee, appointed by the Executive Committee of Mennonite Church USA’s Executive Board, consists of David Boshart, Wellman, Iowa, and David Sutter, South Bend, Ind., sharing the chair position; Addie Banks, Bronx, N.Y.; Kim Vu Friesen, Minneapolis, Minn.; Charlotte Hardt, Mount Vernon, Wash.; Horace McMillon, Jackson, Miss.; and Keith Weaver, Lancaster, Pa. (Boshart and Sutter are sharing the chair role because each of them could only be available to serve for part of the time needed.)
Boshart/Sutter, Banks and Hardt are Executive Board members serving on the committee; Friesen and McMillon are Leadership Discernment Committee members; and Weaver is a Constituency Leaders Council member.
“We are pleased to have diverse Resolutions Committee members from different geographical locations known for their wisdom, leadership and collaborative style of working and leading to help us process proposed resolutions and get them to delegates prior to the convention for study, prayer and reflection,” says Richard Thomas, moderator of Mennonite Church USA.
The guidelines and process for bringing resolutions to the delegate assembly have been revised for the 2013 assembly, as was reported in an article in November 2012. There is now a specific framework for developing resolutions based on the denomination’s vision and purpose statements and Purposeful Plan. Resolutions are to be submitted at least four months prior to the beginning of the delegate assembly to allow more time for discernment. The Constituency Leaders Council (CLC)—an advisory board comprising representatives from area conferences and constituency groups that meets twice a year—is now involved in the discernment process as well.
The Resolutions Committee is responsible to consider whether a proposed resolution fits within the framework mentioned above and to submit it to the CLC for further discernment. The committee then works with the CLC’s recommendations—usually in interaction with those who initially submitted the resolution—to determine which resolutions to take to the assembly and to distribute related materials to area conferences, congregations and delegates for discernment and prayer prior to the gathering .
Thomas noted that the Resolutions Committee has developed a “discernment grid” for considering resolutions that follows the framework established in the new guidelines. Questions considered are, for example, does the proposed resolution: facilitate discernment, educate, build unity, provide denominational understanding and provide a foundation for membership advocacy?
“This discernment grid is indicative of the excellent work being done by the committee,” he said.
Resolutions may be proposed less than four months prior to the assembly, but require signatures of 10 or more delegates from each of at least three different area conferences and must be approved by the Executive Board. Also, at any time prior to the end of the delegate assembly, the Executive Board and Resolutions Committee may each propose resolutions for action.