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Harmony motion referred to General Board


General Secretary Willard Metzger (left) invited Ben Borne to the podium to pray for the church as delegates take home and engage the Being a Faithful Church Process 3 on human sexuality.

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July 15, 2011
-Dan Dyck

Waterloo, ONT. — The Harmony Motion on Human Sexuality was referred to the “care of the General Board” by its mover, Ben Borne, at the Mennonite Church Canada delegate session on Thursday, July 7, 2011. The General Board will now work at incorporating the Harmony Motion into the Being a Faithful Church 3 (BFC 3) discernment process on matters of human sexuality.

The Harmony Motion is “Not about what is right, but how we [non-heterosexuals] are treated,” Borne said in an address to the delegates.

The motion’s intent was to again draw attention to and hold congregations accountable to the 1986 Saskatoon Resolution on Human Sexuality. The Harmony Group says its members have been hurt and continue to feel excluded from right relationships with the church as a result of their sexual orientation.

Sam Steiner expressed qualms about referring the motion to the General Board, fearing the “… tendency to bury it. I would have preferred respectful discussion in this body. To immediately take the sting out of a difficult discussion seems to be doing less than we are called to do.”

Rudy Dirks, Chair of the Christian Witness Council, seconded the motion to refer the Harmony Motion to the General Board. “A vote at this time would not be in the best interest of the Body of Christ,” said Dirks.

Numerous other speakers offered affirmation for Mennonite Church Canada’s leadership, prayers for the next phase of the BFC 3 process, and spoke of Borne’s courage in bringing the motion forward, and noted his grace in referring it to the General Board.

Judith Friesen-Epp challenged delegates. “We have been given a gift of grace. This is not only the responsibility of the General Board, but that we seriously take this home with us.”

Willard Metzger, General Secretary, asked for and received permission to deviate from the agenda and invited Borne to the podium to pray for the church. Ben Pauls led the congregation in “Gentle Shepherd,” concluding the formal discussion portion on the Harmony Motion.