Southeast Conference removes ministerial credentialby Everett Thomas and Anna Groff
The longest-serving pastor in Southeast Mennonite Conference (SMC) has lost his ministerial credentials. On Sept. 15, the conference revoked the credentials for Randy Spaulding, pastor of Covenant Mennonite Fellowship in Sarasota, Fla. Spaulding has been a pastor in SMC for 18 years.
"In response to Pastor Randy Spaulding's disclosure of his desire to pursue a covenanted same-sex relationship," the SMC Leadership Board wrote in a letter to all credential leaders in the conference on Sept. 25, "Randy Spaulding's credentials as licensed minister provided by Southeast Mennonite Conference are withdrawn."
The Leadership Board cited Spaulding's decision and "Mennonite Church USA guidelines regarding human sexuality" as the bases for the disciplinary action and asked Spaulding to resign voluntarily. When he refused, the conference withdrew his credentials.
"I am not surprised at these actions taken by the conference," Spaulding wrote in a Sept. 24 letter to the Leadership Board, conference pastors and congregations. "I recognize and respect the conservative nature of our conference in its theology, membership and its understanding of sexual orientation ... I am, however, deeply disappointed and saddened in the lack of process and the lack of healthy dialogue that the LB has engaged in with me and my congregation."
Debra Gingerich, church council chair, sent a letter to SMC on Sept. 22 expressing surprise at the sudden nature of the decision and said, "Our congregation needs time to consider what is God’s will for our church at this time."
Gingerich also promised a formal congregational response to the SMC action by Nov. 30, the date originally set by the Leadership Board for Spaulding to resign.
The Mennonite Church USA 2009 Directory lists "Laura" as Spaulding's spouse. However, Spaulding said on Sept. 30 that they divorced "a couple years ago." They remain friends, Spaulding said, and Laura attends Covenant Mennonite Fellowship.
- Out of the rocking chair
- How I greet the day
- The spiritual needs of the elderly
- WEB EXCLUSIVE: What do young adults expect from pastors?
- Resurrection for the second half of life
- Help the widowed
News stories, digests and Meno Acontecer
- Southeast Conference removes ministerial credential
- Health reform matters
- The Mennonite to become a 64-page monthly magazine in 2010
- Intermenno 'trainee' program to end August 2010
- Mennonite Medical Association and Mennonite Nurses Association merge
- Students, teachers from Ethiopia reunite
- EB makes plans to address conflict
- NEWS DIGESTS
- In Mongolia, Mennonite equals ministry
- MCC promotes sustainable farming
- New Mennonite Artist Project proclaims, 'Art is a Mennonite thing'
- Clothing designer describes tensions of learning 'new language' and remembering 'mother tongue'
- ¡Saludos en Cristo! - Octubre 5, 2009
- Cruce de Caminos ...
- ¡IBA celebró sus 21 años de servicio!
- ¿Sabía usted que ..
- SeBAH llama a concurso de diseño para su logo
- Conferencia Femenil de la Iglesia Menonita Hispana.
- Nuevo libro de Tony Brun
- Mujeres teólogas celebran festival "espiritual"
- De nuestros lectores y colaboradores ... "LAS EMOCIONES"
- Blessed to be a pastor
- Publishing in tough times
- The dangers of dialogue
- 'Vengeance is mine' ...or is it?
- Film and book reviews for September
- Why suggest a unilateral approach?
- Jesus would wonder why it took so long
- PinkMenno folks are us
- Saddened by response to PinkMenno
- If we have love for one another
- Draw a circle that includes all
- A failing denominational strategy
- Don't overlook what we know is wrong
- Disappointed by Bethel College board