Mennonite Church decisions at Assembly 2016

 — July 12, 201612 juil. 2016
By Dan Dyck, Mennonite Church Canada

Assembly 2016 held in Saskatoon from July 6-10 may become known as a watershed year by delegates in attendance.

By turns intense and emotional, joyful and worshipful, the gathered made significant decisions that will impact the Mennonite Church Canada body of Christ for years to come.

On Thursday evening, delegates voted in favour of repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery – a settler teaching that has marginalized and taken rights away from indigenous people for centuries. While much education on the Doctrine of Discovery has already begun among congregations, much more is required.

On Saturday morning, 85% of delegates voted in favour of the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) recommendation to create space and test alternative understandings to traditional beliefs on committed same-sex relationships. Congregations who are asked to bless same sex marriages will now be given space to do so, even as the national family of faith continues testing to see if such discernment is a nudging of the Spirit of God.

On Saturday evening moderator Hilda Hildebrand announced the results of the Future Directions Task Force (FDTF) recommendation, which passed with a 94% majority vote. The vote authorizes the board to develop more concrete plans to re-structure national and area churches into a simpler, more integrated body. Leaders will come back to delegates with those plans by 2018 or sooner. When the transition is complete, it is anticipated that area church delegates will have more ownership and influence over the national church agenda.

The plans also propose changes to the way funding flows; the new model will see congregations fund only area churches. The area and national churches are tasked with reaching agreements on fair share funding for national agenda, passing on agreed upon percentages to Mennonite Church Canada for its work. Individual congregations will become members of only Area Churches; Area Churches in turn will hold membership in Mennonite Church Canada.

“The strong favourable vote on the Being a Faithful Church and Future Directions recommendations represent a strong mandate from delegates to move forward on both of these items,” said Willard Metzger, executive director. A following resolution to thank and dissolve the Being a Faithful Church and the Future Directions Task Forces also passed.

Delegates processed an amended resolution on Palestine & Israel on Saturday evening in response to a plea from Palestinian Christians that “the global church come alongside the Palestinian people as they suffer under Israel’s 49-year military occupation of their lands.” The amendment included acknowledgment of the suffering of Jewish people in the conflict, and a desire to work with Jewish organizations in Canada as well.

Delegates voiced concerns about what this would mean for relations with Jewish people and organizations in Canada and observed that the church has been historically complicit in both anti-Semitism and Christian Zionism.

The resolution passed after further discussion, with some speakers noting the weight of making this decision with too little time, knowledge, or discussion.

The motion was carried, though some abstained since they have not yet consulted their congregations on the matter.

Four nominees were acclaimed to their offices: Calvin Quan of Toronto Chinese MC will be the new moderator; Allan Hiebert (Calgary), treasurer; Harold Peters-Fransen (Winnipeg), recording secretary; Don Rempel Boschman (Winnipeg), chair, Witness.

Posted: July 12, 2016 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: human sexuality, Indigenous peoples, Mennonite Church Canada, synods
Transmis : 12 juil. 2016 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : human sexuality, Indigenous peoples, Mennonite Church Canada, synods

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