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2012-10-01 issue:

Three churches leave Western, Central districts

by Mennonite World Review

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Three congregations have withdrawn from two Mennonite Church USA area conferences due to differences over issues of sexuality.

Two congregations left Western District Conference after delegates upheld a decision not to discipline a pastor for performing a same-sex ceremony.

House of Healing Mennonite Church of Dallas and Eden Mennonite Church of Inola, Okla., have withdrawn from WDC. By leaving the district, they also leave MC USA.

Conference minister Clarence Rempel reported the withdrawals Oct. 2 in an email to congregations and pastors.

At the WDC annual assembly in July, delegates turned down a request from Bethel Mennonite Church of Inman, Kan., to overrule a Leadership Commission decision not to discipline Joanna Harader, pastor of Peace Mennonite Church of Lawrence, Kan.

Delegates directed that a note be placed in Harader’s file stating that her action was at variance with MC USA’s Membership Guidelines.

Boynton Mennonite Church of Hopedale, Ill., has left Central District Conference and is joining the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches after three same-sex civil unions were conducted by Megan Ramer, pastor of Chicago Community Mennonite Church, last year.

The CDC Ministerial Committee last spring affirmed Ramer’s ministerial gifts and her pastoral work and noted that her actions in performing same-sex unions are at variance with MC USA’s Membership Guidelines.

CDC conference minister Lois Johns Kaufmann said Boynton Mennonite began discerning its ties to the conference soon after the 2009 MC USA convention in Columbus, Ohio. Boynton brought its decision to the CDC annual meeting in June.


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