More than 100 Mennonite pastors and lay ministers released a letter in April to the Mennonite Church USA, calling for the denomination to extend full welcome to gay and lesbian people and inviting the church to confess its exclusion. “We are distressed by our Church’s exclusion of sisters and brothers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender,” stated the letter. “Our hope for a Church guided by the radical hospitality of Jesus compels us to invite us all to confession and healing.” Written by three Mennonite pastors who have worked on it for more than a year, the open letter seeks “a new pastoral way forward beyond the impasse over what has been labeled ‘homosexuality,’” according to the invitation.
“My prayer is that this letter can begin the conversation again in the larger Mennonite church, so that there is room for congregations who welcome LGBT people,” Cynthia Lapp, pastor at Hyattsville (Maryland) Mennonite Church and one of the coauthors, told Sojourners. “We must clearly communicate to LGBT youth and their families that all faithful followers of Jesus are welcome in the Mennonite Church.”