I write on behalf of Willow Avenue Mennonite Church in Clovis, Calif., and with the endorsement of our church council in response to “Consultation Offers Peace-Church Voice on Military Service.” First, I am grateful that the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches national director, Don Morris, has written to USMB church leaders explaining that he intended to characterize the USMB peace witness as “significant” and not “sentimental” (as quoted in the article). Second, we register our disappointment that the USMB church was not represented at the consultation and did not endorse the joint letter. While we are hopeful that the USMB Leadership Board will communicate support for conscientious objection to war and reiterate our confessional statement (“The primary allegiance of all Christians is to Christ’s kingdom, not the state or society”), as MBs we regret that our non-participation in the consultation and the letter suggests that Mennonite Brethren are neither practicing unity nor fully committed to peacemaking. We at Willow Avenue want to give a clear witness both to our unity with others, especially Anabaptist churches, and to our confessional commitment to “actively pursue peace and reconciliation in all relationships by following Christ’s example.”
Jost is moderator of Willow Avenue Mennonite Church, professor of preaching and Old Testament at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary and director of the Center for Anabaptist Studies at FPBS.