On Oct. 23, Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite Conference’s Bishop Board affirmed a proposal to withdraw from Mennonite Church USA. The proposal required 80 percent affirmation to pass. The recommendation calls for a two-year implementation period.
In order to proceed with withdrawal, Lancaster Mennonite Conference’s constitution now requires that two-thirds of active credential leaders in the conference affirm the proposal. Bishops will begin distributing ballots to leaders in their districts within the next 10 days.
In a letter sent to conference pastors and leaders, Keith Weaver, executive conference minister, wrote, “Thanks to all of you for your prayers as the Conference Executive Council and Board of Bishops met today. We began our day in worship and prayer, acknowledging our own brokenness and need for the mercy and grace of God…In our meeting today, the group acknowledged the pain this proposed direction creates in our conference and denomination. Many expressed regrets that we are facing this decision…Please continue to pray for the grace and mercy of our Lord as we continue to find our way forward in these challenging times.”
On July 23, Weaver sent a letter to leaders in LMC informing them of the a proposal suggesting withdrawal from Mennonite Church USA. Since then, according to Kelli Yoder of Mennonite World Review, more than 1,800 people attended LMC listening meetings to offer information and gather feedback about the proposal. Seven hundred and twenty-six attendees filled out response sheets afterward. An Affiliation Task Force helped to collect responses, which the Bishop Board used to guide their work.
Lancaster Mennonite Conference joined Mennonite Church USA in 2004. With 13,838 members in 163 congregations, LMC is Mennonite Church USA’s largest conference.