Churches Part Ways With Anabaptist Denomination Following Licensing of Lesbian Pastor
All Christian News | September 29, 2014
After the controversial licensing of the first lesbian minister in the First Mennonite Church USA last year, Theda Good took up her position as pastor of Nurture and Fellowship Church in Denver, Colorado, where she had served for one year.
However, the decision by the Ministerial Council to accept Good’s request for licensure that had been put forward by her church, and the consequent unanimous decision by the Leadership Board last December, has caused the organization to lose the support of members.
One of those members is the Hartville Mennonite Church in Lake, Ohio, whose pastor Ross Miller, believes that the Mennonite Church USA are going in different directions than their congregation, Scripturally and spiritually speaking. His church, which is one of the largest congregations in the Ohio Conference, decided on September 7th with 95% approval to cut any further ties with the Mennonite Church USA.
According to Miller, the Mountain States Conference, which is a division of the Mennonite Church USA, has been leaning towards un-Biblical teachings for several years and their congregation had voiced concerns over several matters. However, licensing a person who was in an open relationship with another of the same gender was the final straw, he added.
Miller told the Mennonite World Review that his church felt that the Mountain States Conference needed to show church discipline and that should be enforced by the Mennonite Church USA, but neither had held up to their previous convictions. He added that it was a difficult decision to leave the denomination, but he couldn’t see the leadership changing their minds and returning to Biblical beliefs.
However, the Mennonite Church USA is standing by their decision to ordain Good, even though they admit that decision is hurtful to some and controversial.
In a statement last year, the organization wrote, “It is the desire of the Leadership Board to function and communicate with a spirit of deep humility, joyfully acknowledging the work of God in our midst, and with a sense of sadness recognizing the pain that this causes some of the sisters and brothers that we love in Mennonite Church USA.”