North Central Conference to withdraw from MC USA

Jul 30, 2015 by and

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North Central Conference of Mennonite Church USA will begin a yearlong process of withdrawing its membership from the denomination. A motion was passed by the NCC’s 10 congregations with strong consensus at its annual assembly July 17-19 at Eastern Montana Bible Camp.

Conference minister Fred Kanagy said every delegate affirmed the need for the conference to maintain unity and work together. The NCC has 341 members in churches from Montana to Wisconsin.

“The NCC has come to recognize and identify ways in which MC USA has moved away from what we understand to be traditional, orthodox interpretations of Scripture from an Anabaptist perspective,” he wrote in an email. “ . . . The movement of many in MC USA in thinking, discernment and practice has created a separation, and the trajectory seems to indicate a widening divide, which we feel requires of us that we either change our convictions or change our affiliation.”

The withdrawal process will include discernment about where to affiliate while continuing the conference’s mission and building mutual trust.

“Technically, our action is not as much to withdraw as to identify where we as a conference of churches still stand and where many in MC USA have and are moving,” he said.

Kanagy said the NCC’s concerns were confirmed at the MC USA convention earlier in July, when approval of Membership Guidelines was by a smaller margin than a call for forbearance.

“This continuing dialogue, in our perspective, has not served to draw us together as a denomination but rather served to allow greater diversity to influence and divide,” he said.

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  • Bruce Leichty

    Here we have a very apt description of the problem from Pastor Kanagy. This is a conference obviously small, but mighty in witness.

  • Philip Kreider

    I wonder what can be said or done to bring the Apostle Paul’s and Christ’s unity out of this our diversity? Separation just because I have my own firm conviction just seems like so much a cop-out!

  • “Technically, our action is not as much to withdraw as to identify where we as a conference of churches still stand and where many in MC USA have and are moving,” he said.

    Remember that time Jesus said “Hey don’t move, I’ll be RIGHT back. Just stand there and hold hands so I know exactly where to find you.”?

  • ghoh

    It is a common Protestant and Anabaptist tradition to separate from those with whom we have designated as too liberal, too conservative or heretical. If one studies early church history, there is plenty of evidence that Christians lived diversely within a variety of communities with a variety of perspectives. Unity came when church councils and empire tried to create unity. — Gary Olsen-Hasek

  • Phil Garber

    Here is a situation where you can only have unity if everyone agrees that nothing else matters.

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