Photo: Sarah Klaassen and Jamie Haskins give a blessing at the end of the Pink Menno service. Photo by Anna Groff.
Over 200 convention goers gathered for a Pink Menno worship service on June 30—the opening night of Kansas City 2015.
The service, “Bound Together, Together Free,” was led by representatives of Inclusive Pastors, Pink Menno, and the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests (BMC) and held at the Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Along with music, Scripture reading and communion, representatives from the sponsoring groups provided updates of their work for LGBTQ inclusion in Mennonite Church USA and beyond.
Megan Ramer, representing Inclusive Pastors, shared news of an alternate process to connect LGBTQ pastors to welcoming churches. Mennonite Church USA does not process Ministerial Leadership Inquiry forms for known LGBT individuals, she said.
Carol Wise of BMC shared a list of new churches that have joined the BMC Supportive Communities Network. She also announced that BMC has been granted exhibit hall space in the Kansas City Convention Center after a “32 year absence.”
Sarah Klaassen offered the message, based on Luke 24:13-35—the convention theme Scripture. Klaassen is ordained in the Disciples of Christ denomination and grew up in a Mennonite church in Kansas.
She began by leading those gathered in a call and response she learned in seminary, “Preach, preacher. We need the good news.”
In a list of good news, she named Supreme Court decision on June 26 that “legalized my marriage and some of yours,” she said.
She also shared moment that touched her from the Fierce, Fabulous and Sacred conference in Chicago in November 2014. During one of the sharing times, a college student who attended the gathering said, “I came to this to see if I can still be Mennonite. Because of you, I can.”
She went on to tell about learning to quilt and the advice her grandmother gave her: “It’s not really a quilting project until you’ve ripped something apart.”
Things rip apart, but we hold them together, she said.
“When people, policies and processes threaten us … but here we are piecing ourselves back together, telling our truth, sharing our stories,” she said. “Jesus comes along and he starts stitching—piecing us back together.”
In the Mennonite church tradition, anyone can preach and anyone can tell stories, she said. So, she ended with a blessing and a charge: “Preach, preachers.”