Acting on behalf of members of Mennonite Church USA in meetings of the Delegate Assembly, delegates determine major policy issues, evaluate the work of the Executive Board and discern the voice of the Spirit in the midst of the Assembly.
What does the Delegate Assembly do?
- Provide opportunity to assemble for worship, fellowship, prophecy, acquaintance, and understanding, and to deepen Christian commitment.
- Discuss and decide major issues of policy for the church denomination, and discern the voice and the Spirit in the midst of the Delegate Assembly.
- Provide opportunity to speak to the establishment of general policies and the development of programs to carry out those policies.
- Receive reports from the Executive Board, its committees, program boards, and councils. Reports shall be presented in writing and shall include financial accounting.
- Review current programs and act on program priorities as presented by the Executive Board.
- Elect the following:
- Moderator, if the position is vacant, and a Moderator Elect.
- Four members of the Leadership Discernment Committee as nominated by the Constituency Leaders Council.
- Other members of program agency boards and committees as needed under the organizational structure of the same.
- Executive Board members to fill new terms and vacancies.
Delegates are chosen as follows:
- Each congregation of the Mennonite Church USA is eligible to send one (1) delegate for each one hundred (100) congregational members, or fraction thereof.
- Each area conference of the Mennonite Church USA is eligible to send one (1) delegate for each one thousand (1,000) area conference members, or fraction thereof.
- Each racial/ethnic group which has been officially recognized by the Executive Board, may send three (3) delegates plus one (1) delegate for each one thousand (1,000) members of such recognized racial/ethnic group.
- Each member of the Executive Board is automatically a delegate.
- Each appointing body may appoint one (1) alternate delegate for each five (5) delegates, or fraction thereof. Alternates shall be listed in order of preference, and shall be recognized by the Delegate Assembly in the place of official delegates unable to attend. Alternates shall receive the same mailings and materials as official delegates.
- Subject to the limitations contained herein, each appointing body shall itself determine the criteria and term of its delegate(s), by what method its delegates are selected and whether and how it wishes to achieve continuity through its delegates. Each area conference delegate to the Delegate Assembly shall be a member of a congregation in that area conference. All delegates shall be members of congregations which are members (through area conferences or directly) of Mennonite Church USA.
- Member area conferences shall be responsible to notify the denominational offices of the identity of area conference delegates and delegates for area conference member congregations.
- The Moderator shall preside at all sessions of the Delegate Assembly and shall give leadership to the interests and spiritual welfare of the Delegate Assembly and serve as its official representative. The term of office shall be two (2) years.
- A Moderator Elect shall be elected every two (2) years and after serving a two year term shall succeed to the office of Moderator for a two-year term. At the request of the Moderator, or in case of the absence or disability of the Moderator, the Moderator Elect shall exercise all rights and duties of the Moderator.
- The term of office of the Moderator and Moderator Elect begin with the close of the biennial meeting of the Delegate Assembly.
- The Delegate Assembly shall meet every two (2) years in regular session.
- The time and place of meetings shall be determined by the Executive Board, with consideration given to any invitation of an area conference, congregation, or a group of congregations.
- Special sessions of the Delegate Assembly may be called by the Moderator or Moderator Elect with the consent of the Executive Board.
- In the case of a special meeting, written notice of the special meeting (which will include the time, date, and place), and the purpose for the meeting, along with the proposed action to be taken, shall be submitted to area conferences and to member congregations at least ninety (90) days in advance of the date of the meeting. Area conferences shall keep the Executive Board notified of congregational members and any changes thereof.
- Normally floor privileges are granted first to all delegates, Delegate Assembly committee members, and members of the program boards and committees. Floor privileges will be extended to others during a discussion at the Moderator’s discretion.
- Each Assembly delegate shall be eligible to cast one vote. There is no provision for proxy voting.
- A majority of votes cast shall determine any matter, except when the Assembly agrees otherwise or when otherwise provided in these Bylaws.
- A quorum for conducting official business of the Assembly shall be those delegates to the Assembly who appear for any duly called meeting.
- Leadership Discernment Committee.
- Duties. It shall be the responsibility of the Leadership Discernment Committee to prepare slates of nominees for the boards of churchwide program agencies, the Executive Board, and the standing committees.
- Membership. The committee shall consist of eight members, subject to the criteria identified in (4) below, four of whom are appointed by the Executive Board and four of whom are nominated by the Constituency Leaders Council and elected/affirmed by the Delegate Assembly. Members may serve one four-year term, with possible reappointment or re-election for one additional four-year term. Individuals appointed to complete unexpired terms are eligible for one additional term. The Executive Board shall appoint the Chair of the committee from among the eight members. The Executive Board shall arrange for staff services for the committee.
- Procedure. The committee shall be responsible for the following in carrying out its duties:
- To exercise judgment in choosing nominees whose spiritual qualifications, experience, and competence fit them for the position for which they are being named.
- To assure that the slates provide broad representation of the life and composition of the Mennonite Church USA.
- To make available a description of each nominee’s experience, background, training, and present involvement so that the Assembly is adequately informed and acquainted with all nominees.
- To secure from each nominee a commitment to take the assignment seriously, if elected.
- To emphasize the finding of new leaders, with careful attention to broadening participation in church leadership.
- To develop appropriate lists of potential nominees by soliciting from each area conference and associate group a full slate of suggestions. Suggestions shall also be sought and welcomed from the churchwide program agencies, committees, and constituency.
- In developing nominees for elected and appointed positions, the committee shall operate on the following assumptions to the extent reasonably attainable and appropriate in their judgment:
- 50/50 women to men ratio;
- 40/60 former General Conference to Mennonite Church background through 2011;
- 20/80 people of color to Anglo/European.