In preparation for the May 2022 vote on retiring the MC USA membership guidelines, the Executive Committee of Atlantic Coast Conference formed a task group to develop resources to help guide that conversation. The Task Group’s resources are intended to assist congregations and ACC delegates have conversations about the upcoming vote.
The first resource, an introductory video on the Membership Guidelines, was released at the October 23 ACC Assembly. The video focuses on the history and content of the Membership Guidelines.
Gina Burkhart, a member of the task force, introduced the video at Saturday’s Assembly. “The decision-making that will happen next May is very significant for us as a church body and so we want to affirm that our conference should take faithful work in preparation for that discernment and that decision.” The task group “met and tried to grapple with what is necessary for faithful discernment around this question of whether the Membership Guidelines should be discontinued. We come from many different levels of understanding and history about how we got to this point.”
This video and subsequent resources are intended to be shared and utilized by congregations and delegates to prepare for the May, 2022 vote. “There is a need for much more personal reflection, ‘How does it affect our congregations? How are we impacted by this? What are the questions we are wrestling with?’” said Burkhart.
At Saturday’s Assembly, task group chair Bob Petersheim also noted an additional resolution that was recently approved for delegate consideration in May. The MC USA executive board approved the request of the inclusive pastors network to bring a resolution to the May delegate body to which delegates will have the opportunity to respond. Delegates will first be asked, “Do delegates wish to talk about this resolution?” A positive response will lead to conversation and a potential vote on the resolution itself.
This Resolution for Repentance and Transformation calls the church to repentance for the way we have harmed our LGBTQ friends, members, children and grandchildren, and also calls us to be advocates on their behalf. Bob noted that as a task force, they recognize that this new resolution impacts our membership guidelines discussion.
The ACC Membership Guidelines Task Group includes Bob Petersheim (Conestoga), Brenda Martin Hurst (New Holland), Lynn Brubaker (Frazer), Gina Burkhart (Landisville), and Jon Carlson (Forest Hills).
The Task Group will host a forum for pastors at Neffsville Mennonite Church on January 24, 2022 to continue this conversation. More details will be shared with pastors in the coming weeks. More information on MC USA resolutions and relevant articles can be found at atlanticcoastconference.net/mcusa-delegate-resources.