Through the journey of the Christian church, we are aware of historical divisions that have marked the communities of faith. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the church was guided and transformed in the Book of Acts. Many issues have led to vigorous debate and we acknowledge our current discussions regarding issues of human sexuality.
As delegates at Columbus, we are aware of current and ongoing debate over the issue of human sexuality and conference response to congregations in variance. We acknowledge the pain and frustration of this issue for a number of conferences, congregations, families and individuals. We acknowledge the statements by Mennonite Church USA on Human Sexuality which have been previously passed and are currently in place, while we also acknowledge the presence of dissenting voices within the denomination.
We affirm the church’s commitment to ongoing dialogue and discernment, and “agreeing and disagreeing in love.” We confess that we as a church (congregations, conferences, denomination) have rarely found a way to create a healthy, safe environment in which to have this dialogue, one that builds up the Body of Christ, and is respectful and honest about our differences.
We affirm Mennonite Church USA’s Vision Statement of God’s healing and hope flowing through us to the world.
And so we call upon the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA to work with conferences to provide and encourage the use of resources which assist conferences and congregations to engage in this discernment. Our hope is for a broad range of resources that help us live faithfully, extending hospitality to all of God’s people. May the Holy Spirit guide and direct us through this time.
This statement, approved at the Mennonite Church USA Assembly in Columbus, Ohio on 4 July 2009 was prepared by the Assembly’s Resolutions Committee, and combined ideas from two opposing resolutions on homosexuality. The statement calls for congregational discernment on human sexuality. One of the proposed resolutions had called for reaffirming the article in MC USA’s Confession of Faith that defines marriage as between a man and a woman for life. The other had called for an end to disciplining congregations and pastors that disagreed with the denomination’s stance that homosexual practice is a sin.
The deliberations included approval, by a narrow margin, of an amendment moved by Joanna Harader of Lawrence, Kansas, to change “affirm” to “acknowledge” in its reference to previous statements on sexuality. The 850 delegates overwhelmingly approved the resolution.
- Schrag, Paul. “Delegates approve resolution on sexuality.” Mennonite Weekly Review (13 July 2009): 1. http://www.mennoweekly.org/2009/7/13/delegates-approve-resolution-sexuality/?page=1 (accessed 16 July 2009).