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2013-12-01 issue:

Mountain States first conference to license pastor in same-sex relationship

by Mountain States Mennonite Conference

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After a year-long process, the leadership board of the Mountain States Mennonite Conference (MSMC) reached unanimous consensus to accept and affirm the recommendation of the ministerial council to license Theda Good (in photo) for continuing ministry at First Mennonite Church, Denver. 

Much of the process centered around the consideration of a person whose gifts and call to ministry are clearly affirmed yet is in a committed same-sex relationship—which is at variance from denominational statements. Conference leaders made the announcement in a Dec. 23 release.

Good received the call from First Mennonite Church following the usual process of considering numerous qualified candidates, doing interviews and seeking God together.

Good has been serving as a pastor at First Mennonite Church for more than a year and is a member of the congregation.

The process included the normal credentialing interviews, many formal and informal consultations and a series of four listening meetings across the conference where delegates from all the MSMC churches were invited to worship, speak and eat together.

In addition, there was input from many people of differing perspectives across Mennonite Church USA. Profound care and goodness were present from all perspectives as all were seeking to follow Jesus. Still it was clear that not all agreed.

The listening included hearing joy and agony that grew out of long-held differing beliefs and experiences.

The leadership board desires to function and communicate with a spirit of deep humility, acknowledging the work of God and with sadness, recognize the pain that this causes some in Mennonite Church USA. It is also the desire of the leadership board to honor the process of First Mennonite Church.

Conference personnel available for contact are: Rhoda Blough, outgoing conference Moderator, (970.219.0900;; Karen Cox, incoming conference Moderator, (720.308.0030; Annie Lengacher Browning, chair of the ministerial council (303.907.1613; and Herm Weaver, conference minister. (303.258.7589;

Adapted from a release by Mountain States Mennonite Conference.

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