Decisions to retire the Membership Guidelines and to affirm the Resolution for Repentance and Transformation at the May 2022 Special Delegate Session of MC USA have been viewed in a variety of ways throughout Atlantic Coast Conference. In some congregations, there were tears of joy among those who have longed for changes they see as embodying more deeply the way of Jesus, potentially opening into new ministries. Others expressed frustration and concern with the outcome and direction of the denomination and their place in it while struggling to understand the biblical viewpoint of others. As leaders of ACC we celebrate with those now able to expand their ministry while mourning with those who feel alienated by recent decisions.
There is strong diversity in ACC on the topic of LGBTQ+ inclusion and a host of other questions. ACC since its beginning has affirmed this theological spread and celebrated the diverse ways that ACC congregations do ministry in their communities. ACC and MC USA view the congregation as the primary unit of the church with broad authority to do ministry as they discern in their own context.
Denomination resolutions have primarily set policy for the national church while inviting, rather than requiring, congregations into specific work. Like past resolutions, those passed in May are an invitation for MC USA congregations to explore topics relating to LGBTQ+ inclusion, but autonomy remains with individual congregations on where to focus time, resources, and ministry. We understand, however, that many congregations are not in a position to take up this work, and so we bless you to continue focusing on the ministries important in your context.
Many questions remain about how these resolutions impact conference life, including how to respond to ACC congregations who request credentialing for LGBTQ+ persons in their congregation. To address this particular question, a task force has been formed to develop a process for ACC as a whole to discern a way forward.
We believe that conference and denominational relationships and shared resources are of great value to our congregations and will continue to hold a space for a diversity of theological viewpoints. The Executive Committee of ACC remains committed to resourcing and supporting the full breadth of the conference’s diversity and working towards unity while engaging in the ongoing work of Mennonite Church USA. We continue to live into our shared vision on behalf of God’s Kingdom through Jesus Christ who calls us to be centered in Christ, build connections and share God’s love.
ACC Executive Committee