Here is the letter from the Mosaic Conference that Pastor Raley is responding to.
The following is a letter from Pastor Raley to Steve Kriss and Ken Burkholder, sent on Thursday, October 21.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to our questions about the MCUSA’s proposal to retire the membership guidelines. There are three helpful points in your letter.
First, we are encouraged that the Grace and Truth statement remains in force in Mosaic. The clear prohibition of credentialed ministers performing a same-sex marriage is an important boundary. Further, the statement specifies that both Scripture and the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective teach marriage as between one man and one woman for life. We are glad that these teachings are plainly stated in Mosaic’s founding documents, forming a commitment by the board to enforce them.
Second, we are encouraged that the Going to the Margins statement is also in force in Mosaic. This statement reflects our core principles about the Church’s mission. We will be working with Randy Heacock, Noel Santiago, and other churches in our cluster to expand our shared ministries. We see this effort as enriching our unity and service.
Third, we note your view that retiring the membership guidelines will damage relationships. We also note that final approval of the MCUSA’s proposal may mean a review of Mosaic’s ongoing connection with the denomination. Though your statements lack specificity, they indicate to us that you understand the serious issues this proposal creates. To that extent, we think they are helpful.
In our view, several issues remain on the table. It is hard for us to understand why the Mosaic board has not yet processed a statement that came from the MCUSA last April about a proposal that has been talked about for at least a couple of years. It is also hard for us to agree with your reluctance to hold the MCUSA publicly accountable for statements that are a matter of public record. We urge you to speak soon and with more specificity.
The most significant remaining issue is that same-sex marriage is no longer the front line in the assault on biblical sexuality. The Grace and Truth statement, important as it remains, does not address the teachings that lead churches to affirm LGBT lifestyles, or advocate biblical principles for the spiritual formation of young people in sexuality, or stand for the essential status of male and female genders. There are too many crucial issues about which Mosaic is silent.
We will continue this conversation with you to discern future directions for the conference. Thank you for receiving our questions and responding to them.