Support offered for MB LGBTQ people

In This Together In This Together

First, there was A Time to Listen, an online gathering for Canadian Mennonite Brethren church members started in 2021 that aimed to create a safe online space to hear the stories of LGBTQ members and their families.

Then came A Time to Tell, a blog started in 2022 that tackled the topic of LGBTQ welcome and inclusion in the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches — along the way telling the story of the expulsion or voluntary withdrawal of six churches over their stance on LGBTQ inclusion. A seventh, Faith Works in Winnipeg, Man., came out as affirming in June and plans to leave the CCMBC.

Now there is A Time to Connect, a new project that aims to connect, support and create safe places for LGBTQ people and their allies who are part of MB congregations.

One of the organizers, Isaiah Ritzmann of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., said “secret” groups will be created where Mennonite Brethren can meet in person or online to talk about welcoming and affirming LGBTQ people and find mutual support and encouragement without fear of being outed in their congregations.

The meetings will be strictly confidential,” said an organizer from Winnipeg who didn’t want his name used. This will make it possible for MB clergy who want to talk about the topic but may be afraid of losing their jobs. It would also be a safe place for queer people in MB churches who are feeling alone.

For organizer Darlene Bartha of Kitchener-Waterloo, A Time to Connect is important because many MB churches don’t realize they have LGBTQ people in their congregations.

“These are people who are hidden but don’t want to leave their communities,” she said. Instead of leaving their churches, “they could stay in them if they could find safety elsewhere.”

Canadian MB church members who want to be part of A Time to Connect group, or start one in their community, can do so by visiting

A Time to Connect is affiliated with In This Together, an inter-Mennonite network that seeks to integrate, recognize, respect and value LGBTQ people in Anabaptist communities in Canada.

John Longhurst

John Longhurst was formerly Communications Manager at MDS Canada.

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