We are officially launching the Reconciling Minister Project today! While this is not my personal project, we need a place to publish the letter and I am happy to offer space on this blog. Those within MCUSA, please feel free to share widely.
Dear Mennonite Church USA Colleagues,
It is with a mixture of excitement and grief that we announce the official launch of the Reconciling Minister Project.
We are excited because this project will provide a much needed service to Mennonite Church USA: It will help gifted and called LGBTQ Christians seek ministry positions within our denomination; and it will help welcoming and affirming congregations have access to ministerial information from a broader range of qualified pastoral candidates.
We grieve because this is a service we believe our denominational leadership should offer. At this time, however, the denomination maintains its policy of refusing to process Ministerial Leadership Information (MLI) forms from people who are known to be in a committed same-sex relationship. This policy, put in place by executive staff, causes complications and difficulty for all LGBTQ ministerial candidates. And so the Reconciling Minister Project is committed to offering support and guidance for any such candidate seeking to inquire about or navigate the MLI process. We will offer this important service to the church until the denominational policy is amended.
For individuals not able to access pastoral placement support services through the denomination, we will provide an MLI form, background checks, compiling of references, and pastoral support throughout the search process. Our goal is to create a pastoral packet that will be as similar as possible to the information packets available from those who are able to use the full range of denominational resources.
For conference ministers assisting congregations with pastoral search processes, we will provide you with pastoral information for candidates who may be suitable for open positions within your conference.
We hope to work with and through area conferences as much as possible. However, we will also provide pastoral information directly to interested congregations if their conference minister refuses to pass on such information to them.
As we begin this important project, we want to be clear about three things:
- We will only provide information on LGBTQ candidates to churches who request such profiles. This is not an effort to force any candidates onto congregations who do not desire to call them.
- We are providing a service to and within Mennonite Church USA. We are not forming a separate denomination or network.
- We are merely facilitating the search process for congregations and pastoral candidates. We will not serve as a credentialing body.
The Reconciling Minister Project is a joint effort between Inclusive Mennonite Pastors (IMP) and Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests (BMC). Lloyd Miller serves as the volunteer Reconciling Minister, offering his passion for justice and his decades of experience within the Mennonite church. He is supported by pastoral volunteers from IMP and BMC who offer counsel and practical help with this project. This support team currently consists of Sarah Klaassen, Megan Ramer, Joel Miller, and Joanna Harader.
If you have questions about this project, we are happy to answer them. If you would like to get started on your ministerial profile, we’ll set you up. If you are seeking pastoral profiles for congregations in your conference, please be in touch. If you are on a search committee at a church that wants to consider all qualified candidates regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, please let us know.
The best way to reach us is by email: ReconcilingMinister@gmail.com. You can also find more information on our web page.
We covet your prayers as we seek to serve Christ through this important work of the church. And we are so grateful to be church with each one of you.
In Christian Service,
Reconciling Minister Project Team