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About that friendly amendment…

8.4. 2017 Written By: Statements from the Resolutions Committee and Ed Diller, Parliamentarian at Convention 683 Times read

Published below you will find two statements regarding the process for amending and voting on the “friendly resolution” about the Future Church Summit report at the final delegate session on July 8 at the Mennonite Church USA Convention in Orlando. You can read our full article about this delegate session here. You can also read a number of reflections on this process from Future Church Summit participants

From the Resolutions Committee*:

Those of us on the resolutions committee found the Future Church Summit a powerful experience of gathering the collective wisdom of the church, and we are grateful for the work of all who made it happen. When we drafted the resolution affirming the work of the FCS several weeks before our convention, we couldn’t know what would happen, but we did expect that (1) the Holy Spirit would be guiding us, and (2) our work together in Orlando would not be an end but a beginning. We knew the findings from the FCS would need to be taken up by our congregations, conferences and denominational agencies if they were to bear fruit.

We on the resolutions committee perceived our role in the FCS modestly: to give the delegates a way to pass the torch before we all packed up to go home. Using the admittedly clunky tool available to us—a resolution—our goal was to release the work begun at the FCS in Orlando to the broader church so that it could continue.

We’ve learned that this torch could have been passed more gracefully. We could have communicated better. We learned that making on-the-spot adjustments is trickier with an entire assembly than it would have been in any one of our congregations back home. And there continue to be disagreements about how decisions should be made, who should make them and which direction we should go together. These disagreements reflect the different constituencies among us.

It is our prayer that we continue to follow Jesus faithfully as his body in our world. We believe  the creative work we began in Orlando, and the priorities we identified together, are tools the Holy Spirit can use to light our path as we move forward together.

Diane Zaerr Brenneman, Linda Dibble, Kristin Jackson, Byron Pellecer, Sonya Stauffer Kurtz and Samuel Voth Schrag (chair)

Ed Diller, who has served as a parliamentarian for the Delegate Assembly:

In response to the feedback [during the delegate session], Samuel Voth Schrag brought a friendly amendment from the resolutions committee to the original resolution. Given the time constraints, the fact that the revised resolution proposal was literally worked out in front of the delegates, and the great moan from the delegates when it was suggested that the resolution be delayed two years, the moderator asked for an immediate vote on the revised resolution.

A point of order was raised and granted to determine whether the delegate body was ready for an immediate vote on the revised resolution. The delegates overwhelmingly supported the request for an immediate vote, which was followed with an overwhelming vote in support for the revised resolution. The parliamentarians have since advised us (and at the time advised the moderator) that the process was sufficient in order to clearly determine the desire of the delegate body at that time.

*You can read more about how the Resolutions Committee is chosen and what they do in Mennonite Church USA’s guide to developing resolutions

Photo: Delegates line up to speak during an open mic time at the July 8 Delegate Assembly. Photo by Vada Snider. 

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One Response to “About that friendly amendment…”

  1. Editor, the statement from the Resolutions Committee is not an “opinion” piece. It is statement from an official MC USA body accounting for its controversial actions at the Orlando convention. That’s what we call “news.”
    Does the committee provide a full accounting? No. We see no explanation for the committee’s failure to consult with district conferences during the drafting of its resolution. We see no explanation for its delay in the disclosure of the text of the proposed resolution until July 4, thereby denying delegates the opportunity to consult with their sending bodies. We see no explanation for its decisions to severely limit debate time during the Saturday morning session of the Delegate Assembly and to try to deny entirely the opportunity for delegates to address the full assembly.
    We need more accountability from our Resolutions Committee. Otherwise, its “clunky” handiwork will continue to look like a classic steamroller.

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