Why has the same sex conversation come to the forefront in so many Mennonite churches? Is there an organized force at work? Will your church and college soon be joining the new inclusive Mennonites? The following information may be a surprise for many Bible believing Mennonites. Please read carefully and prayerfully.
The Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests, Minneapolis, MN (www.bmclgbt.org/index.shtml) are Brethren and Mennonites who say they “do not subscribe to formal creeds or doctrines developed by a church hierarchy: our only written authority is the Bible. Interpretation is done by the body of believers themselves. However, through an emphasis on strict application of the Scripture our churches have developed guidelines of faith and witness which often distinguish us from other Christian denominations.” These differences allow them to encourage like minded people to join their BMCList, a ‘Lesbigay MennoLink’, and consider sending them the following…
• Tell us what Lesbigay Anabaptists are thinking and doing in your hometown. (We promise not to call it gossip.)
• Send everyone an action alert. Get everyone moving and shaking.
• Tell us how we can help you.
• Send everyone current events stuff about religion and sexual orientation.
One project of BMCLGBT has been the formation of Kaleidoscope, a network for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied people on peace church campuses. Part of their purpose, or agenda, is to:
• Increase the visibility of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender alumni, faculty, staff and students.
• Improve the lgbt student experience by connecting with alumni and creating professional and social network opportunities.
• Communicate events of interest to the lgbta community.
• Provide opportunities to share information and resources to encourage advocacy on behalf of lgbt alumni and students.
• Increase support of lgbt interests on campus, support the activities of lgbt and lgbta campus groups, and help effect positive change in campus policy and programming.
Members of Kaleidoscope are encouraged to “join the group from your college, university, or seminary and to start making engaging connections” using the following list of college and seminary links provided to get to their sites:
• Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
• Bethany Theological Seminary
• Bethel College
• Bluffton College
• Bridgewater College
• Canadian Mennonite University
• Conrad Grebel University College
• Eastern Mennonite Seminary
• Eastern Mennonite University
• Elizabethtown College
• Goshen College
• Hesston College
• Juniata College
• Manchester College
• McPherson College
• University of La Verne
This coming May, the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests is offering a safe space for families with lgbtq members and for individuals who identify as lgbtq:
Connecting Families East Retreat
May 15-17, 2015
Laurelville Mennonite Church Center
Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania
Communicating a Theology of Holy Inclusion
Connecting Families East welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and their families and allies. Connecting Families weekend is intended to be a safe, relaxing time to share our common thoughts regarding sexual minority issues as they affect our families, our friends, our churches, and ourselves.
We are a group of people, each on our own journey. Through listening and sharing our stories, we seek to provide support for families whose children are coming out to them and/or to their church. We are committed to maintaining confidentiality within the group, to providing a place to speak in safety or to remain silent, and to sharing in a non-judgmental atmosphere. As a group, we work to find ways to educate and engage our churches in dialogue and to help them understand and accept our families.
Loren L Johns will share his journey toward affirming LGBTQ persons in the church and offer assistance in reading the Bible with people who have varying perspectives on inclusivity. He is Professor of New Testament at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana and author of “Homosexuality and the Bible: A Case Study in the Use of the Bible for Ethics.” Loren is passionate about teaching and studying the Bible. Prior to joining the Seminary in 2000, he was a pastor, theology book editor and college Bible professor.
A panel of LGBTQ persons will discuss their vision for a more affirming and inclusive church. Panel members include Theo Baer, Michelle Burkholder, Dwayne Hess, and Kelli Holsopple.
Matthew Hunsburger will coordinate times of singing together. He serves as Seminary Music Coordinator, assisting with chapel and other worship services at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and assists in directing EMU’s Chamber Singers.
Another Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests project underway to ‘help churches become more inclusive’ is a series of training events:
Welcoming Church Trainings – Building an Inclusive Church
A Training Resource for Congregations Affiliated with:
• Alliance of Baptists
• American Baptist Convention
• Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
• Church of the Brethren
• Community of Christ
• Mennonite Church USA
• Mennonite Church Canada
The link provided to this year’s training events brings you to The National LGBTQ Task Force, Institute for Welcoming Resources. The events are called:
Faith-Based Community Organizing
What if our welcome to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people sparked a renewal of our entire community’s faith life
Gay advocacy group gets $150,000 grant
The above information has been provided merely to inform, bring awareness to, and spark concern in the hearts of those who love the Lord Jesus, believe His Word is true, and are called to pray in these perilous times for this generation.