Over the past three decades our congregation has engaged in a number of intentional conversations and studies regarding sexuality. These times have been important learning and growing experiences for us, but have also not been without pain and struggle. Emerging from this prayerful discernment has come a commitment to blessing and being blessed by persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. In church lingo, this is often referred to as Welcoming and Affirming, or simply Inclusive.
Because religious organizations have often been the most outspoken against fully embracing LGBTQ persons in churches and society at large, we feel it is important to state outright that we welcome and affirm LGBTQ persons for membership, marriage, and ministry, and believe God's love can be equally manifested in a beautiful variety of persons and relationships. We see in Jesus one who reached out in compassion and identified with those on the margins. We find in the early church a breaking down of the dividing walls that previously separated persons once deemed outsiders. We rejoice that the fruit of the Spirit the Apostle Paul spoke of in Galations 5:22 as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control can be present in the lives of all persons no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity.
We are a member of Supportive Communities Network.
Through congregational discernment processes in 2007 and 2014 we have, together, made these commitments:
+ Columbus Mennonite Church shall welcome into its membership all persons who confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. We will not use sexual orientation or practice as criteria for membership.
+ We affirm our pastors' full participation in pastoral care, rites, and blessings for all individuals and families, including marriage preparation counseling, weddings, and child dedications.
+ Sexual orientation will not be a factor in the hiring of office and pastoral staff.