By Mary Etta King, Transitional Conference Minister

On Sunday afternoon December 11, 2016 Theda Good was ordained as a minister of the Gospel at First Mennonite Church of Denver. The church was packed. The ordination was part of the Advent theme, Mary’s Magnificat, in Luke 1. We sang the hymns. We prayed the prayers. We heard the homily delivered by Isaac Villegas from the Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship in Chapel Hill NC. When the official ceremony was held along with prayers for Theda in her ministry in nurture and fellowship, the congregation broke out in holy applause for this momentous occasion. We felt the witness of God’s Spirit among us. It reminded us of Peter’s experience (Acts 10) when he went to Cornelius’ house and shared with that household of Gentiles what God was doing in Jesus’ Name. Peter uttered these words “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears [God] and does what is right is acceptable” (vs 34-35).

It has been a long arduous journey for Mountain States Mennonite Conference to come to the point of ordaining someone from the LGBTQ community. This is also a first in Mennonite Church USA. The Ministerial Council and the Leadership Board bathed this decision in prayer over a long period of time. The reason for the delay was because we do not all agree. Leaders in the conference wanted to give time for listening and discernment, listening together as a community and discerning the Holy Spirit’s leading. The decision was finally made in August 2016 to move ahead in ordaining Theda.

The Church, including Mountain States Mennonite Conference, has gone through rough waters. We don’t agree on everything, but we follow Jesus by loving each other and being friends, friends of God and one other. As we walk this journey together we will give witness to the Spirit as we share the good news of the Gospel to our needy and hungry world.

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