Convention frustration

Jul 20, 2015 by

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My assessment of the Mennonite Church USA convention is one of frustration on two fronts: The delegates were in a cocoon, and we were manipulated to do the leadership’s wishes. There was no recognition that we are at a historic point of difference with society given the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage; the resolutions continued the one-man, one-woman contention. There was no recognition that we are at a historic time of confrontation between rich and poor, of unrest in the Middle East (not only Israel-Palestine) and of Muslim and Western world views.

All the resolutions were presented from the podium in support, with no opposing view. Giving alternate views would have aided table discussion. At tables there was not enough time to find consensus. At my table the division was often 5 to 4. Was it out of embarrassment that a new resolution on Palestine-Israel was brought because the original resolution was tabled?

We appear to be at the status quo on conference actions versus Executive Board mandates on pastoral licensing and discipline. Whether the Executive Board can hold the line for four years will be interesting to see.

Donald Steelberg
Wichita, Kan.

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