(RNS) On Sunday (Feb. 2), a Denver congregation of Mennonites licensed the first lesbian in a committed same-sex relationship, the first step toward ordination.
Theda Good’s licensure was celebrated by some Mennonite Church USA clergy and greeted with dismay by others.
Good was licensed for ministry as pastor of nurture and fellowship at First Mennonite Church of Denver, where she is currently on the staff. Originally from Lancaster, Pa., Good is a graduate of Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Va.
Whether the Colorado-based conference, or region, of Mennonites will approve Good’s ordination isn’t clear. Good declined to be interviewed.
The Mennonite Church USA’s articles of faith include a provision that states: “We believe that God intends marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman for life.”
Karl Landis, pastor of Mount Joy Mennonite Church in Mount Joy, Pa., said he expects the move to pose a dilemma and “rough sailing for relationships among conference leaders.”
On the other hand, “Theda’s ordination is another step towards a more affirming position,” said Joanna Harader, pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, Kan.
Keith Weaver, moderator of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, said he isn’t sure what lies ahead. “Now the struggle is how we live together?” he asked. Those who have convictions about the historic understanding of the church (with regard to marriage) are very concerned about this action.”
The Mennonite Church USA, the nation’s largest Mennonite body, is the result of the 2002 merger of the Mennonite Church and the General Conference Mennonite Church.
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place