A letter of lament to MC USA leadership

April 24, 2011

Dear Ervin Stutzman, Terry Shue, the rest of MC USA Executive Leadership, and the MC USA Executive Board:

On this Easter Sunday, we write to you with both profound sadness and continued hope. We are deeply troubled by the action taken by Ervin and Terry on behalf of MC USA leadership to remove Randall Spaulding from his position on the bi-national worship committee. As Terry himself stated, this action was not due to Randall’s lack of gifts in this area. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Randall has been an incredible asset to the committee and to Mennonite Church USA. Instead, this action was undertaken simply because Randall is openly gay.

As a church that has a stated commitment to dialogue, this action appears decidedly one-sided and heavy handed. Ultimately, this type of unilateral action is precisely what prevents and discourages dialogue. This is deeply saddening and troubling. We urge MC USA to pursue true dialogue to discern how we can move forward as a denomination in solidarity, recognizing that we exist with profound differences among our body. This can only happen when we stop silencing part of the conversation through divisive and painful actions such as the one undertaken to remove Randall from his position.

Yet, in spite of the efforts of MC USA leadership to silence and prevent dialogue, we remain hopeful. We remain hopeful that MC USA can set an example of what it means to truly embody Christ’s love as we experience the new beginning of Easter. We remain hopeful that MC USA can come together as a denomination that acknowledges that there are many differences among us, but that we all ultimately believe in the same resurrected Christ.

We remain hopeful because individuals like Randall, and countless other LGBTQ and allied youth and adults, remain committed to MC USA – in spite of the way we are all wounded when any one of us is silenced. We remain hopeful that we, as a church, can more fully live in solidarity as sisters and brothers in Christ, even though no one of us has a complete corner on truth.

We urge MC USA to turn away from the divisiveness, brokenness and woundedness that comes from actions like those taken to silence Randall. We urge MC USA to act boldly to encourage a true dialogue process full of integrity and honesty – a conversation where none of those involved have to worry about being silenced simply for participating.

As we are reminded today of Christ’s resurrection, we are filled with new hope for the church.
Peace,

Full Name:

E-mail address:

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