Recently a colleague of mine was dismissed from his position on the bi-national Mennonite worship committee because he is “actively” gay. That is to say that he married the man he loves and they live together in a supportive, committed relationship. Somehow, in the eyes of my denomination’s leadership, this makes him unfit to serve the church.
I am dismayed. I am deeply sad. I am angry.
There are no tables to turn over right now–except my kitchen table, but then I would have to clean up the mess. So instead I’ve written e-mails to the denominational leadership. I would encourage other concerned Mennonites to also write to Ervin Stutzman, Terry Shue, and any other people you might know serving in leadership positions for Mennonite Church USA. I urge you to speak the truth in love.
Here is what I sent:
I am writing to express my sorrow over the decision made by Mennonite Church USA leadership to remove Randall Spaulding from the bi-national worship committee. Based on the resolution passed in Columbus, I hoped for an open dialog within the denomination regarding inclusion of all people. I do not understand how removing gay people from the conversation will foster healthy dialog on the question of how we should include gay people in the church. This action by the denominational leadership sends a message of intolerance, not a message of Christ-like love and a willingness to listen.
I was drawn to the Mennonite church primarily because Mennonites seemed to me to be following Jesus faithfully–particularly in terms of witness and action for peace and justice in the world. The decision to remove Randall was both unjust and violent, and thus I am deeply disappointed in my broader church family. I desperately want for all of Mennonite Church USA to be church together so that we can be a powerful witness for Christ in the world. It breaks my heart that one of my brothers in Christ has been told that he is no longer welcome to be church with us–and it makes me question my welcome within the denomination as one who loves and welcomes gay people.
I will hold you in prayer as you and others lead the denomination through this time of significant disagreement. May all voices be heard, may our dialog remain loving, and may we, as a body, remain rooted in the way of Christ.
Peace of Christ to you,