This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Clinton Frame to leave Indiana-Michigan Conference

Clinton Frame Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind., affirmed a recommendation to leave Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference in a congregational meeting on
June 4.

There were 204 votes presented, and the recommendation passed by 95 percent.

According to a June 7 email from Terry Diener, lead pastor of Clinton Frame, “Over the years, it has seemed to us that the conversations within Indiana-Michigan have been more about exploring the edges of our theological diversity rather than a common vision of God’s transforming power in our lives.”

Also, Clinton Frame is located in a community where other Mennonite leaders have taken public stances that “affirm same-sex marriage and
support the LGBTQ agenda,” which “runs counter to our witness and outreach,” Diener wrote.

The recommendation to leave Indiana-Michigan was brought to Clinton Frame by the congregational oversight board.

It came after discussion and prayer at a leadership level and a two-year congregational process, wrote Diener. Clinton Frame plans to end its relationship with Indiana-Michigan on June 30 and is beginning to explore a relationship with South Central Mennonite Conference.

Diener and Dan Miller, conference pastor of Indiana-Michigan, have had numerous conversations throughout this process.

Miller attended a congregational meeting in January, when it was decided that Clinton Frame leadership would begin to explore options with other conferences and continue to process the relationship with Mennonite Church USA.

In an interview on June 5, Miller said the conference is sad to say goodbye to Clinton Frame. The church will still be in the conference’s geographical area but will be realigning itself within Mennonite Church USA.

“We understand the church’s call to focus on its calling and mission … and we affirm that,” Miller said. Diener wrote: “We seek to hold to the 1995 Confession of
Faith in a Mennonite Perspective. We have a heart to welcome all people and long for all people to experience the transforming, redeeming love of Jesus Christ. … We are seeking a conference connection that has a more focused conversation around our shared mission, vision and values and is more willing to publicly attest to those commitments. We value relationships and desire to continue good relationships with Indiana-Michigan churches and relate as good neighbors. This decision is about identity, clarifying our mission, vision and values. We strongly feel the grief that comes with ending our membership in a conference in which we are charter members and which has been a central part of our congregational life and identity over the past 100 years.”

Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference is a community 76 congregations with just over 10,000 members in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. South Central Mennonite Conference is a regional conference of Mennonite Church USA. Its churches are located in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas and Mexico.

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