This past decade has been a divisive time within Mennonite Church USA, the denomination of which we are a part. MC USA was a new thing in 2002, formed as a merger of two historically distinct Mennonite groups. Differences among congregations and conferences emerged, largely focused on affirmation (or not) of LGBTQ persons. But these disagreements revealed fundamental differences in understandings of the sacred, interpretation of scripture, and whether authority for spiritual discernment lies primarily in the congregation or at the national level.
We are now quite a bit smaller (less than 70,000 baptized members) than we were when we merged in 2002 (about 120,000 members). With the loss of many conservative congregations, and under new executive leadership, the denomination is now in the process of articulating a new identity and set of priorities. This is being called the “Journey Forward” process.
A key document for this is a one page distillation called “Renewed Commitments for MC USA.” I appreciate this document’s focus on God’s love, confession of our shortcomings, and three areas of commitment – Following Jesus, witness to God’s peace, and experiencing transformation.
A second document is a longer Pathways Study Guide, which includes worship resources. Our worship calendar is full through Easter, but the study portion could make for good small group discussion.
Denominational leaders are welcoming feedback on any and all parts of this, and on online 16 question survey can be filled out HERE. The questions about the longer study guide can be skipped if necessary.
Even if you have or feel no relational connection to our denomination, we all benefit from being a part of a healthy church body with a common vision for ministry. Your voice is welcome in moving us in that direction.