Themes Bubble up from WDC’s uncertainties on sexuality, governance, by Laurie Oswald Robinson
Reference Council was held on Saturday, November 15, from 9 am to 3 pm at Eden Mennonite Church, 401 18th Ave, Moundridge, KS. Agenda included the release of the full report of the 20 question Discernment Task Force survey.
The Discernment Task Force of Western District Conference (WDC) is delighted with the strong participation in the twenty-statement online survey regarding human sexuality, polity, Membership Guidelines, Confession of Faith, and Scripture. There were 1,700 surveys returned, with 700 of those coming in during the last week in August. Comments from participants generated 500 pages of personal perspectives to sort through and categorize.
The WDC Executive Board appointed the Discernment Task Force to guide a year-long conversation across Western District Conference in response to a resolution brought by Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City, in 2014. The resolution asks WDC to allow pastors and congregations “to officiate or refuse to officiate ceremonies that consecrate before God monogamous, life-long unions, regardless of the sexual orientation of those being united.” See http://mennowdc.org/conference-life/annual-assembly/#2014 for the full text of the resolution and its introduction at Assembly 2014 in Waxahachie.
Jim Schrag, Task Force chair reflected, “As our discernment moves forward, the first question appears to be, not whether WDC will maintain a basic polity of congregationalism, but rather what kind of congregationalism will it be? What kind of covenants do WDC congregations need with each other? What can congregations decide on their own?”
The WDC Reference Council meeting at Eden Mennonite Church on November 15 focused on these questions after receiving a full report of responses to the survey.