I have just read Ervin Stutzman’s blog post in which he reports the special service of lamentation at his church following the Orlando massacre, and his deep personal grief over the actions and inactions of Mennonites and their churches that have hurt the LGBTQ community of faith. If you haven’t read Ervin’s emotional response, you should be able to read it by clicking here.
As you read I trust you to feel my empathy for Ervin. He is only an executive. As such he may weep, but he has little power to act on his own. He is limited by what the majority of the delegates to the Mennonite Church assembly and its Executive Board expect of him. But Ervin may legitimately weep as he empathizes with a helpless minority, and I weep too.
This is an introduction to a Discussion Group on this website. In it I ask for a way to protect a minority in the Mennonite Church from the tyranny of the majority. I invite your thoughts. The Amish church expels and shuns. We Mennonites think we should do better than that, but do we? Let’s talk about it.
Last Sunday was Father’s Day. Madeline Maldonado. our pastor for the month of June, preached a powerful sermon on how she came to the church “out of the wild”. God’s instrument in grafting her in was the father of the man she was living with though unmarried. Her lover’s father invited them to live together in his home. This act of acceptance began their grafting in. In time Madeline and David became co-pastors of Arca de Salvacion. I tell you this about them because you can read this story of grace by clicking here and scrolling forty minutes into the service.
Sunday being Father’s Day our families went to church service with Joyce and me. Then we went to the Evergreen’s private dining room for the noon lunch. Family members present were Joyce and I, Joyce’s daughters Beth and Jill, my son Conrad and his daughter Diana. Joyce had arranged to take David’s train memorabilia to the Hesston Steam Museum. While David and Joyce lived in South Bend, David spent much free time with his family at the museum. The family was remembered and we were all given three free train rides. The museum is evidence of what can be done through human cooperation.
Jesus announced that the kingdom of God is here, now. Here now as the light of the world, the salt of the earth, and the leaven in the loaf when and where ever God’s people unite in care of all life on the earth, and we use the keys to the Kingdom to open doors and welcome in, not lock out and exclude.
Welcome, come in all
None shut out none excluded
All belong inside