USMB cuts ties with Everence board

MC USA’s LGBTQ-affirming stance cited as reason for ending representation

U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches

The U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches Leadership Board will no longer nominate representatives for the Everence Board of Directors. The USMB Leadership Board announced the decision May 20.

Everence is an inter-Mennonite ministry offering health insurance, stewardship education, charitable giving and financial services.

The two USMB representatives on the Everence board may complete their current four-year terms if they desire.

The Leadership Board had been evaluating participation on the Everence board for some time and the evaluation took on new importance following the May 2022 decision by Mennonite Church USA delegates to accept “A Resolution for Repentance and Transformation,” which moved the denomination’s stance on LGBTQ people in a strongly affirmative direction.


“As Mennonite Brethren, we firmly stand on the biblical truth that marriage is one man and one woman in covenant relationship,” said Leadership Board chair Luke Haidle in an email to Christian Leader. “The resolution is aggressively contrary to that truth.”

While Everence serves 30-plus denominations and networks, one-fifth of its members and clients identify as affiliated with MC USA. MC USA is the largest denominational group of Everence members and clients.

Of the 12 current Everence board members, six are MC USA members, two are members of USMB and one each are members of Brethren in Christ U.S., Church of the Brethren, LMC (formerly Lancaster Mennonite Conference), and Rosedale Network of Churches (formerly Conservative Mennonite Conference).

The Leadership Board letter summarizes the MC USA resolution as calling for “1) honoring all LGBTQIA relationships regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and/or marital status; 2) prescribing policies for program agencies prohibiting any restrictions; and 3) advocating for promotion of this theology when interacting with other denominations or faith groups.”

The letter states, “The [MC USA] resolution is considered by the USMB Leadership Board to be an aggressive and loud decree, which is ultimately unbiblical, going directly against our USMB Confession of Faith. For that reason, the USMB Leadership Board felt it necessary to reshape and re-define our relationship with Everence.”

At the time the resolution was passed, Everence was a program agency of MC USA and accountable to the MC USA Executive Board and the new resolution, according to the letter.

“The passing of this resolution set in motion numerous conversations about how this resolution impacted USMB’s relationship with Everence for the future,” the Leadership Board letter says. “This involved members of the USMB Leadership Board and our national director having several conversations with members of the Everence board and leadership — which included discussions about how Everence would embrace or not embrace the stated principles of the adopted resolution.”

In October 2022, the USMB National Strategy Team recommended the Leadership Board consider ceasing or altering USMB’s relationship with Everence. In October 2023, the Leadership Board voted to discontinue nominating USMB representatives. In response to the MC USA resolution, the USMB Board of Faith and Life reaffirmed that marriage is a biblical covenant between one man and one woman.

On Oct. 23, 2023, Everence became a ministry partner rather than an agency of MC USA. This means the relationship between MC USA and Everence is more informal than it was previously, said Madalyn Metzger, Everence chief marketing officer.

“As a ministry partner, Everence is self-governing with service and operations continuing as before,” she said.

With the change in status to MC USA ministry partner, Metzger said Everence is in the process of reviewing its governance structure and practices.

USMB has selected at least one denominational nominee to the Everence board since at least 1963.

“We deeply value the connections we have with many USMB church members, families, congregations and organizations and are committed to remaining in relationship with all who are looking to incorporate their Anabaptist faith values with their financial stewardship decisions,” said Everence president and CEO Ken Hochstetler in a statement to Christian Leader.

Everence reports that 1,300 members and clients are members or attendees of a USMB church and 60 Mennonite Brethren serve as Everence stewardship advocates. MB pastors have participated in its Pastoral Financial Wellness Program, and USMB churches have received grants to help meet people’s needs.

The Leadership Board encourages each USMB church to “re-evaluate its own relationship with Everence in light of the Mennonite Church USA resolution [affirming a LGBTQ worldview] and the USMB Leadership Board’s decision. . . . The letter states, “We recognize that many individuals and churches continue to use Everence products and services.”

A longer version of this article ­appeared in the USMB magazine Christian Leader.

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