MC USA considers handling misconduct at national level

The Mennonite Church USA Executive Board discussed changes to how misconduct complaints are processed, a $233,000 deficit and ownership of denominational offices in Elkhart, Ind., during its Jan. 27-28 online meeting.

According to a March 6 news release, Michael Danner, associate executive director for church vitality, presented an update on the Prevention and Accountability Project, a misconduct guidebook being developed in partnership with Mennonite Church Canada. One change being considered is adjudicating misconduct complaints at the national, rather than the conference, level.

“When we vetted the idea with conference ministers [at a conference minister’s gathering in November], there was strong support that this is the way to go, so we are moving this forward,” he said. “[This model] takes the pressure off local conferences and allows us to have consistent, independent investigations of misconduct allegations.”

Danner said the writing team is continuing to gather and process feedback and hopes to have the new guide available to share with delegates this summer.

MC USA controller Robin Schrag reported estate giving was up in the fiscal year ending July 31. Despite this, the Executive Board showed a deficit of $233,000 due to downturns in investments and because income from MennoCon23 will not be fully realized until the current fiscal year.

The March 6 release reported: “The Executive Board met in an executive session following the meeting on Jan. 28 and in a closed session on Feb. 27 to discuss sensitive policy and operational concerns and to follow up on questions related to a transfer of the title for the Elkhart building.”

A 2011 memorandum of understanding stipulates the MC USA Executive Board can request transfer of the building’s title and furnishings.

“The Executive Board is committed to our governance relationship with the board of Mennonite Mission Network,” said moderator Linda Dibble, following the meetings. “We have been in communication with the board as a follow-up.”

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