A recent statement approved by the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA affirms, among other things, “an expectation that all EB members and national staff will adhere to the ‘standards, values and beliefs’ articulated in the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective,Mennonite Church USA’s Membership Guidelines and the two resolutions [‘Forbearance in the Midst of Differences’ and ‘Status of the Membership Guidelines’].”
In the wake of this statement becoming public, whistle-blowers flooded the Executive Director’s office with photos of EB members and national staff in a variety of compromising situations:
- Pledging allegiance to the flag (Articles 5 and 23)
- Attending infant baptisms (Article 11)
- Sharing communion with unbaptized people (Article 12)
- Walking around with dirty feet (Article 13)
- Dancing at same-sex weddings (Article 19 and the unwritten “no dancing” clause)
- Driving SUVs and eating at McDonalds (Article 21)
Leaked emails and secretly taped phone conversations have revealed a lack of “grace, love, and forbearance” on the part of some board members and staff (Forbearance Resolution).
In addition, some people in denominational leadership were revealed to have connections with congregations that refused to consider women for pastoral positions in their church (Article 15), and/ or congregations that do not send adequate delegates to national assemblies (Membership Guidelines).
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday evening, there were two people left on the Executive Board and only four remaining national staff. (You are not reading this story on The Mennonite web page because none of the magazine, social media, or technology staff were fully adhering to the expected standards. You know how those creative types are.)
We are pretty sure that the few remaining board members and staff have, at some point, disobeyed their parents, in clear violation of Article 19. We are awaiting reports from disgruntled siblings.
The recent Executive Board statement also includes “a commitment not to take punitive action against congregations or area conferences who are at variance.” In response to this commitment, those who have been waiting to see if MCUSA will discipline LGBTQ-inclusive conferences and congregations are now planning to leave the denomination.
So it is actually advantageous that MCUSA has significantly reduced its staff, considering the dismal budget predictions.
Reports of the recent meetings note that denominational leadership (what is left of it) is working on “church revitalization efforts” which include promoting a book, talking about revitalization, and learning from vibrant churches—like the ones whose pastors are not qualified to serve on the Executive Board.