Tag Archives: Convention

Love in Action at Mennonite Church USA Convention 2017

This year thousands of Mennonites from across the United States gathered in Orlando, Florida for the biennial Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) Convention. The purpose of convention is to empower the church to achieve its vision, purpose and mission. Over the four days, members of congregations from across the country attend daily worship, workshops/seminars, participate in servant projects and delegates from MCUSA Congregations and Conferences attend business sessions. This year there was also the Future Church Summit, “a generative, open space for denomination-wide conversation — to dream together, reset priorities and engage one another in answering the question: How will we follow Jesus as Anabaptists in the 21st century?”

The week began on Tuesday evening, July 4; several offered greetings, including Mennonite Church Canada’s Executive Minister, Will Metrzger. Recognizing July 4 as the United States’ Independence Day he stated, “while some are celebrating with bombs bursting in air, we are celebrating the explosion of God’s grace.”

The theme for this year’s convention was Love is a Verb. Worship speakers focused on this theme, and workshops spoke of how we can live out the love of God, covering topics of church safety, patriarchy, racism, Israel Palestine,  “Keeping the Church Weird” and hearing God’s call, among others.

Sometimes love as a verb means recognizing and acknowledging when we have not loved. Ted & Company, in their new show Discovery: A Comic Lament, shared the Doctrine of Discovery and how even we as Mennonites have played a role in justifying the taking of land from the indigenous people here in the United States. It was a sobering reminder as we began the week.

Maria Hosler Byler and Joe Hackman, Salford congregation, celebrate their nomination.

Wednesday brought the Dove’s Nest awards celebration, recognizing churches “that did something courageous to keep children safe.” Salford Mennonite Church was one of the three nominee finalists. They were nominated for their service that happened at the end of March, which focused on the journey of abuse and healing as reflected by the Ezekiel 37 passage about the valley of dry bones. This service included voices of lament, hope and direct statements from survivors of childhood sexual abuse. More resources and information on how this service was put together can be found at http://franconiaconference.org/church-safety/. Wednesday also brought a time of connecting for those from across Franconia Conference, as we gathered together for food, fellowship, and music by The Walking Roots.

Thursday contained two big events: voting on the Seeking Peace in Israel Palestine Resolution and the kick off of the Future Church Summit.  Two years ago at the Kansas City Convention, a resolution regarding Israel Palestine was tabled. Since then a three-person writing team and a ten-person reference team worked to draft a new resolution, the Seeking Peace in Israel Palestine Resolution. Prior to the vote on the resolution, delegates heard from the writing team, discussed in their table groups, and then heard comments, concerns and questions. There were overwhelming comments of support for the resolution which ultimately passed with 97% in favor.

The Future Church Summit was a new addition this year to Convention. It was a time of dreaming and visioning, and discerning how God is leading us to follow Jesus. Delegates were joined by others from throughout MCUSA including high school students who had been chosen to be part of the Summit. The first day was spent getting to know one another by answering questions such as “When did you feel most connected to the Mennonite Church? What nourishes your spirit by being Anabaptist?” There was also a time of grounding participants in the history of Anabaptism and Mennonites, drawing learnings from our past.

Convention continues Friday and Saturday morning. You can find out more about each of the days’ highlights on the Franconia Conference Facebook page or through the MCUSA daily recap newsletter here: http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/news/.

David Boshart nominated for MCUSA moderator-elect

by Mennonite Church USA staff

David Boshart
David Boshart

David Boshart of Wellman, Iowa, has been nominated to be moderator-elect of Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA).

Delegates will vote on the nomination at the 2015 MCUSA convention, held June 30-July 5 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Boshart is currently the executive conference minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference. He has also served on the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board for seven years.

Prior to being appointed as executive conference minister in 2010, Boshart served as a pastor of local congregations for more than 25 years. He has a doctorate in leadership studies with an emphasis in missional theology from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and is the author of the books Becoming Missional: Denominations and New Church Development in Complex Social Contexts and Sex and Faith, a Bible study guide on male sexuality from the Closer than a Brother series published by Faith and Life Press. Boshart also serves as an adjunct professor at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, and Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

In his current role, Boshart provides leadership for the overall mission, vision and direction of Central Plains Mennonite Conference. He works with local congregations to help them focus their vision for ministry in their local contexts, and also to help develop partnerships among congregations to expand their capacity for witness and mission.

Boshart was nominated by the Leadership Discernment Committee of Mennonite Church USA, and his nomination was affirmed by the MCUSA executive board.

If delegates approve the nomination at the 2015 assembly, Boshart will serve two years as moderator-elect and two years as moderator and chair of the executive board. He would succeed the current moderator-elect, Patricia Shelly of North Newton, Kansas. The present moderator is Elizabeth Soto Albrecht of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Boshart is married to Shana Peachey Boshart, who serves as Central Plains’ conference minister for Christian formation, and they have three sons. They are part of West Union Mennonite Church, Parnell, Iowa.

 

Franconia Conference contributes, leads, speaks at Pittsburgh 2011

by Emily Ralph, eralph@franconiaconference.org, and Steve Kriss, skriss@franconiaconference.org

Pittsburgh skylineMembers of Franconia Conference descended on Pittsburgh last week for Mennonite Church USA’s Convention, “Bridges to the Cross.”  In addition to participating as delegates and youth groups, Franconia Conference members contributed to important conversations about the life of our church.  A few highlights:

Yvonne Platts, a leader from Nueva Vida Norristown New Life, spoke up at a delegate session on holistic witness. “Usually in Mennonite circles we hear of peace as keeping kids out of the military,” she said. “What I don’t hear is how we keep our kids on the streets from killing one another, from fighting one another.”

The first gathering of the North American Indonesian Mennonite Leaders group from all over the United States met at Franconia Conference member congregation Greensburg (Pa) Worship Center about 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh to fellowship and dream for the future.  When he introduced Franconia Conference (which helped to sponsor the event), LEADership Minister Steve Kriss challenged the California Indonesian churches, “We look forward to the networking and vining of Indonesian Anabaptist congregations that will link from both coasts across the country.   Like the transcontinental railroad, we’re bulding inward from both sides and to our brothers and sisters in California, we hope that we will meet somewhere in the middle.” Conversations included discussion of the possible new congregations in Denver and Birmingham, AL.

Aldo Siahaan at Greensburg Worship Center
Pastor Aldo Siahaan addresses North American Indonesian Mennonite Leaders during Convention. Photo by Emily Ralph.

Jim Ostlund, youth pastor at Blooming Glen, taught a workshop on technology and communication, encouraging teens that the greatest technology ever created is our human body.  “We can use new media to connect,” he said, “but it will not replace face to face in real time.”   The Blooming Glen youth group was the largest at convention this year.

Michael King, member at Salford Mennonite Church and dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, presented on the need for Biblical literacy: “We tend to operate within a Bible that fits our lens. On God’s level, the Bible is big enough for us all.”

Franconia Conference Youth Minister Marlene Frankenfield delighted youth sponsors with goodies and giveaways as part of a workshop she co-led with Merv Stoltzfus on creative ways of using resources to enhance youth ministry.

Michael Bishop, part of the pastoral team at Blooming Glen, helped lead hymns and international music during adult worship and hymn sing.  He led alongside a worship team from the largest Mennonite Church USA congregation– Calvary Community Church of Hampton, Va.

Beny Krisbianto, pastor at Nations Worship Center in Philadelphia, led a workshop on being a relevant church.  “The mission of evangelism is about persuading people to stop, look, and listen,” he said.   Maria Byler and Aldo Siahaan of Philadelphia Praise Center helped to lead a workshop on building healthy intercultural relationships and communication along with Virgo Handoyo, pastor of Jemaat Kristen Indonesia Anugerah (Sierra Madre, CA), a member congregation of Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference.

Franconia Conference Executive Minister Ertell Whigham served on the convention listening committee, providing feedback to the convention’s organizers. “It has been said that with every experience in life we continue to learn.  This is especially true when it comes to the gathering of God’s people.  We learn something about ourselves, other people, and especially about God.”

What other Franconia Conference voices did you hear at Convention?  Leave your comment on our Facebook page!

Lessons from the little ones: Building bridges in Pittsburgh

by Emily Ralph, eralph@franconiaconference.org

He was sitting in a chair with his back to a room full of Mennonite preschoolers.  He wouldn’t make eye contact with me as I sat down on the floor next to him, using everything I had in my bag of tricks.  I had offered my afternoon to help with the preschool class at Mennonite USA Convention and something drew me to this little loner.  Every question I asked was greeted with a shake of his head and a mournful whimper.

Little by little, we made progress.  Within a couple of moments, he was forcing his mouth into an “I’m not going to let you see me smile” frown that told me we were almost there.  Soon, he erupted into a laugh as he delighted in bouncing the ball past me so that I had to run after it.  And once the dam broke, his joy and energy filled the room as he engaged me in play.

About an hour later, I noticed a little girl tucked in a play tent, staring sadly at the ground.  My new little friend followed me over to her.  The instant I climbed in and plopped myself down next to her, the frown turned into a whimper and a trembling lip.  “I want my moooommy.”

“Do you want me to read you a story?” I asked.

“Nooo.”  The end of the word came out like a moan.

“Do you want to color a picture?”

“Noooo.”

I looked up and realized that my little friend had disappeared.  A moment later he returned with a coloring page and some crayons.  Instantly, the girl perked up.  Just as instantly, the trembling lip resurfaced.

“I only want to color with pink and purple,” she sighed, fingering the orange crayon.  Her benefactor disappeared again.

After a few seconds, he returned with a handful of purple crayons, dumping them onto my open palms.  In awe, I watched this little champion, this loner who had become the comforter.

“I’m going to go get another activity,” he stated strongly in accented English, laughing when I had to ask him several times to repeat himself.  “An ac-tiv-i-ty!” he said again, leaning in close to yell into my ear so that I would get it that time.

He was back sooner than expected, his eyes twinkling.  “Do you want to play with bubbles?” he asked, peering at her through the tent opening.  That’s all she needed to hear.  They were off, a little girl and a five-year-old Jesus, building bridges with bubbles and crayons.

Youth Breezes

Pittsburgh 2011: Mennonite Church USA Convention: Bridges to the cross . . . 2 Corinthians 5:15
20: Preparing young people for a youth convention experience is very important. Being intentional prepares the way for youth groups to have deeper significant relationships where youth feel like they belong, which sets young people up to believe. Creating a safe space of trust and open transparent living will welcome the challenging questioning, where biblical teaching can happen and young people’s lives could be transformed.

Become a fan of Pittsburgh 2011 on Facebook and encourage your kids to “like” it too, for updates and info.

Pray regularly for Convention 2011: Pray for speakers, youth, delegates, seminar leaders and everyone involved so that we may be inspired to welcome God’s Spirit and join God’s work in the world.

Is your Teen Almost Christian? This fall event led by Nate Stucky, current student at Princeton Theological Seminary, challenged many of us who attended and provoked questions about how we are passing on a radical Anabaptist faith to the next generation. Kenda Creasy Dean’s book “Almost Christian” gives a new challenge to the church, parents, youth leaders, teachers, and Mennonite schools.

For more information see http://youth.francoiniaconference.org

Mennonite Church USA board reaffirms decision churchwide gathering set for Phoenix 2013; moves to establish secondary meeting location

During the Jan. 7–9 meeting of the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA in Tampa, Fla., the board took the following action:

“The Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA expresses its gratitude for the prayers and counsel given by members across our church as we have considered the issues relating to the location of the 2013 convention. This decision-making process has brought us to a deeper level of sharing and understanding and to a common expression of our desire to be a church through which the healing and hope of God flow to the world.

“After spending time in discernment and consideration of the counsel of many, and knowing that the prayers of the church are with us, we reaffirm the prior January 2009 decision of the Executive Board to hold the 2013 convention in Phoenix, Ariz. We are committed to work on creative ways to include those delegates who, because of conscience or concerns for safety, will be unable to gather with the church in Phoenix and at a minimum to find a satellite location at which delegates can participate in the delegate work of the assembly.

“As we make this decision, we reaffirm our commitment to the 11 action items described in the “Recommendations Regarding the Churchwide Convention in 2013,” dated Dec. 21, 2010. As an Executive Board, we are deeply grateful for the prayers and support of the entire church as we have struggled with the many issues involved in this decision. We pray that we would continue to find ways to let God’s healing and hope flow throughout our church and to the world.”

The 11 commitments are as follows:

1. We will encourage our churches to teach the scriptures about God’s will in regards to ministering to all immigrants and seek to provide a loving and just embrace of all peoples in the congregations of Mennonite Church USA, regardless of their legal immigration status.

2 We will encourage pastors and leaders to become instruments of grace, peace, justice and joy in their churches and communities by offering spiritual, emotional and physical support to immigrants in our communities.

3. We will seek to avoid the partisan political rhetoric about immigration that divides our nation and our church. Rather, we will to work to bridge our differences through respectful conversation based on our common Christian commitments and the resolution on immigration adopted in 2003.

4. We will include Racial/Ethnic groups an integral part of the new churchwide “Investing in Hope” purposeful planning process and its implementation.

5. We will create a multi-ethnic task force with appropriate staffing to address the needs of immigrants and Racial/Ethnic groups within Mennonite Church USA.

6. We will give serious attention and energy to our anti-racism priority by inviting an outside group to conduct an anti-racism audit at the Pittsburgh 2011 convention.

7. We will reevaluate the purpose and expenses of biennial conventions, in order to make these gatherings more accessible to all who wish to attend. Further, we will attempt to provide for alternate regional locations and/or technology to bring the convention activities and delegate discussions to the many who cannot attend the convention for various reasons, including cost, inability to take time off work, and/or a hostile environment for immigrants.

8. We will change the program planning process for future conventions by designating that 50 percent of the planning committees for the 2013 convention be Racial/Ethnic people. Further, we will designate that 40 percent of the seminars, worship services, and service activities at the 2013 convention be focused on the churchwide priority of anti-racism, and continue with 20 percent at future conventions.

9. We will clarify the process and significance of the adoption, application and staffing for follow-up of church statements, such as the 2003 statement on immigration, so that the expectations for the outcomes of their adoption are clear.

10. We will pray for our governmental authorities, that God would give them wisdom and compassion, and that they would enact legislation to protect and benefit all of the immigrants in our nation.

11. We will support the programs of our agencies and affiliated Anabaptist institutions that offer appropriate services to people who are undocumented. Further, we will advocate changing laws that harm recent immigrants or prevent them from receiving humanitarian aid. We will advocate for just and fair means by which undocumented people can achieve legal status.

At Leaders Forum, groups give differing advice on 2013 Phoenix convention

By Sheldon C. Good for Mennonite Weekly Review

PITTSBURGH—Whether or not Mennonite Church USA has a convention in Phoenix in 2013, church leaders are committed to show their support for immigrants.

Though various opinions were shared Sept. 23-25 during a Leaders’ Forum—including differing statements from two church groups—leaders said they will discern God’s will together.

More than 200 leaders representing MC USA, churchwide organizations and area conferences gathered together for the first time outside a convention to worship, fellowship, tell stories and discuss topics such as whether to move the 2013 convention from Phoenix due to Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

“Our Hispanic constituency is feeling the burden of this decision,” said Glen Guyton, MC USA associate executive director for constituent resources, the staff person who relates with Racial/Ethnic groups. “The Phoenix decision is only a symbol of much bigger challenges we face as MC USA, such as viewing Racial/Ethnic congregations as missions projects and not as valuable contributors.”

Guyton is part of MC USA’s Intercultural Relations Reference Committee, or IRRC, a group that works on Racial/Ethnic issues. The IRRC includes representatives from the three official MC USA Racial/Ethnic groups—Iglesia Menonita Hispana (Hispanic Mennonite Church), African-American Mennonite Association and Native Mennonite Ministries—as well as from churches that primarily work with immigrants from Africa and Asia.

Arizona’s SB 1070, which makes it illegal for an immigrant to be in the state without documents, has “a disproportionate impact” on Racial/Ethnic groups, the IRRC said in a statement presented by Guyton at the Leaders Forum.

The statement recommends holding the 2013 convention in Phoenix, “although we understand that some in our Racial/Ethnic constituency may not agree,” Guyton said.

The IRRC statement also references systemic issues that are problematic within Mennonite Church USA. It says that conventions and other MC USA gatherings “are not welcoming to Racial/Ethnic people as a whole because of culture, cost, travel requirements and language barriers.”

The statement calls the church to 12 steps of racial inclusion and equality. Those steps include making the churchwide priority of anti-racism a more prominent part of conventions and offering support to “recent immigrants in our communities without making judgment.”

The IRRC includes two representatives of Iglesia Menonita Hispana, which wrote a letter in April asking denominational leaders to “rethink” the Phoenix convention. Yvonne Diaz, executive director of Iglesia Menonita Hispana and an IRRC member, said the Hispanic church’s position has not changed.

“There’s a hostile environment [in Arizona],” Diaz said. “It’s very detrimental to our Latino brothers and sisters. We’ve got lots of ideas. Let’s be creative about this opportunity. We’re in pain.”

Diaz said she hopes the church can demonstrate Rev. 7:9, which describes people from every tribe and language standing before the throne of the Lord with palm branches.

Representatives from Iglesia Menonita Hispana and IRRC were not alone in their differing views.

Malinda Berry, Mennonite Education Agency board member, said the Phoenix decision is morally ambiguous.

“There is no clear right or wrong answer,” Berry said. She wondered whether MC USA would sanction acts of civil disobedience if the convention is held in Phoenix.

Chuck Neufeld, a member of the Constituency Leaders Council, said pastors in Illinois Conference came to a strong consensus. “Unless IMH is asking us to meet in Phoenix, we can’t,” he said.

Kenneth Thompson, a member of MC USA’s Executive Board and the IRRC, said there’s a difference between uniformity and unity.

“In the Scriptures, presence, not absence, makes the difference,” Thompson said. “For those who choose to go, go fully dressed in the armor of God. If you go, go with a purpose.”

Questions from Iglesia Menonita Hispana’s April letter to MC USA were discussed, including how churches have engaged with the denomination’s 2003 Statement on Immigration and how the church will demonstrate its solidarity with immigrants whether or not there is a Phoenix convention.

Elizabeth Soto Albrecht, Executive Board member, asked the Executive Board to make a decision before January, when they will meet next.

The Racial Healing Task Group, which includes representatives from the “dominant culture,” presented a skit with four vignettes on how the dominant culture experiences power and privilege in relationships.

The racial healing group is directly accountable to the Intercultural Relations Reference Committee, or IRRC.

Questions were raised after the skit, such as how race impacts where people live, where institutions are built, where meetings are held and whether there’s a gap between denominational and congregational vision for multiculturalism.

“How can we move away from something that begins and ends, to a process that is ongoing?” said D.J. McFadden, Mennonite Mutual Aid board member.

Leaders also considered a proposal regarding resolutions during conventions. The executive committee of the Executive Board proposed an “Experiment in Corporate Discernment at Pittsburgh,” suggesting a delegate assembly without resolutions adopting church statements.

Duane Oswald, MMA board member, said leaders needed to trust each other during decision-making. “That happens at the table groups,” he said. “If we are not making decisions, then why should we come?”

Thomas Kauffman, conference minister for Ohio Conference, asked, “Is this a way to avoid the difficult topics that we know are out there?”

Ervin Stutzman, executive director of MC USA, proposed a plan, “Investing in Hope,” an “effort to align our actions with our theological commitments. “Although the plan includes the “Joining Together, Investing in Hope” building campaign, it is more about planning how we will move forward as a church than finances,” he said.

“In the past, we’ve used wishful thinking instead of purposeful planning,” Stutzman said. The plan will be tested with church leaders during 2010 and with delegates at Pittsburgh 2011.

The three-day event culminated as church leaders took communion. “Oftentimes when we worship, we gather together with veiled faces,” Stutzman said, referencing God’s new covenant. “If you take the veil off, the Lord’s light penetrates your face and shines. Covenants are an investment in hope.”

Delegation offers statement after Arizona visit in consideration of plans for Phoenix 2013 assembly

August 12–13, 2010

We came to Phoenix as a step in the discernment process as to whether or not the Mennonite Church USA Convention 2013 should be held in Phoenix as planned. Our delegation was committed to listening deeply to each other, to the people with whom we met, and to the Spirit of God. Initially, our specific concern was AZ Senate Bill 1070 and the hostile environment it seems to have created. We are appreciative of the mayor, police chief, members of area faith communities, a representative of BorderLinks, and others who met with us to help us understand the situation and to respond to our questions. We particularly celebrate a meeting at Trinity Mennonite Church, with about 100 persons in attendance from local Mennonite congregations, and the positive way everyone engaged in honest, helpful conversation and discernment.

Together, as a delegation, we arrived at the conclusion that more important than the question of the location of the convention was the question, “How do we as one church walk together in solidarity and unity?” In the following months, further discernment will be needed to make the decision about the location of the 2013 convention.

We offer the following guiding principles for discernment and decision-making whether we go to Phoenix or not.

1. The decision needs to be made in the context of honoring our commitment to be one church in solidarity with each other.

2. We believe that:

a.   The convention will need to help us grow in our commitment to be an anti-racist church.

b.   The convention will need to be structured so we engage local communities around ques-tions raised by current immigration policies and racism present in our church and country.

c.   The convention offers opportunities for education, service and action for youth and adults so that we are further equipped with skills and practices to be one church in solidarity with each other and that we are equipped to engage our local communities with this witness.

In addition, we believe, there is a need to review the purposes of our biennial assemblies and to make changes necessary so that the delegate body is more fully reflective of the membership of the whole of our church.

As a delegation, we desire and are committed to take concrete steps to be one church that lives the biblical vision of the Lamb of God gathering persons from all tribes, nations and ethnic groups into one inclusive church. Thus we recommit ourselves to follow Jesus and to grow as communities of grace, joy and peace so that God’s healing and hope flow through us to the world.

Delegation members included the following:

Executive Board members:
Elizabeth Soto Albrecht, Lancaster, Pa.; Tina Begay, Bloomfield, N.M.; Ed Diller, moderator, Cincinnati, Ohio; Charlotte Hardt, Spokane, Wash.; Juanita Nuñez, Ocoee, Fla.; Dick Thomas, moderator-elect, Ronks, Pa.

Iglesia Menonita Hispana representatives:
Nicolas Angustia, Brooklyn, N.Y.; David Araujo, Valparaiso, Ind.; Yvonne Díaz, Ligonier, Ind.; Madeline Maldonado, Lehigh Acres, Fla.; Juan Montes, Reedley, Calif.

Intercultural Relations Reference Committee members:
Leslie Francisco III, Hampton, Va.; Kuaying Teng, St. Catharine’s, Ont.

Mennonite Church USA staff:
Glen Guyton, San Antonio, Texas; Susan Mark Landis, Orrville, Ohio; Marty Lehman, Goshen, Ind.; Rachel Swartzendruber Miller, Phoenix, Ariz.; Ervin Stutzman, Harrisonburg, Va.

Racial Healing Task Group representative:
Lloyd Miller, Goshen, Ind.

Other representatives:
Gilberto Flores, Dallas, Texas; Saulo Padilla, Goshen, Ind.

Mennonite Church USA delegation invites prayer for Phoenix visit

Deuteronomy 24:17-18 (NIV)

17Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.18Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.

Purpose of trip

In response to concerns raised by Iglesia Menonita Hispana, Mennonite Church USA’s Executive Board is sending a delegation to Phoenix, Ariz., to witness “on the ground” the effects of Arizona’s new immigration law, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.

Phoenix currently is the location for the denomination’s 2013 convention.Phoenix city government leaders, who have expressed their disappointment with the new legislation, extended the invitation to the delegation to come; the Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau will cover expenses for the trip.

The group will meet with city officials, convention planners, local Hispanic and Mennonite Church USA congregations, and human rights workers who specialize in immigration. Delegation members will gather information about the potential multi-faceted impacts of holding the denomination’s 2013 convention in Phoenix, and will discern options for staying in Phoenix, finding a different location, or canceling the 2013 gathering.

On Friday evening, Mennonite Church USA Phoenix-area churches will join delegation members for a forum on immigration to discuss the issues and guiding principles surrounding the Phoenix 2013 decision.

As Mennonite Church USA contemplates next steps, we are committed to our stated priority of honoring the dignity and value of all Racial/Ethnic people in Mennonite Church USA, ensuring just and equitable access to church resources, positions and information as manifestations of the one new humanity in Christ. As we seek to become an anti-racist church, the dominant group must be accountable to the Racial/Ethnic constituency in decision-making processes. Our delegation will model this accountability. In light of Arizona’s new legislation, living into this priority requires that we find specific ways to honor and support our Latino brothers and sisters and other immigrants who are part of Mennonite Church USA. Our efforts and decisions must be focused on allowing God’s healing and hope to flow through us into the world.

—Glen Guyton, director for constituent resources, Mennonite Church USA