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The duties of the Faith and Life Commission of Virginia Mennonite Conference are:

  • Provide leadership for Conference in spiritual, doctrinal, and faith and life issues
  • Be a forum for leaders as they process concerns relating to congregational life and leadership
  • Promote unity of faith and practice
  • Issue ministry credentials
  • Provide professional development, fellowship and inspiration for pastors

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Faith & Life Commission 2017 Report

In the second verse of the hymn, “For we are strangers no more,” the lyric reads: “Where hatred rages we will strive for peace.”

In the volatile year in our country and in our Conference, as churches and individuals discern relationships to the established institutions, the striving for peace takes resolve, patience and steps of faith.

Faith and Life Commission (FLC) has entered into two key periods of examination as two task forces examine our polity and our scriptural understanding of same-gender relationships. The Polity Task Force, launched in February 2017, is seeking input from the constituency of VMC to discern recommendations for changes to VMC structure. This work should be finished by December 2017, at which point FLC and Conference Council will process the recommendations.

Additionally, a group of scholars has begun examining a Biblical/Theological Approach to Same-Gender Marriage. The time frame for this group is approximately a year, with the understanding that they may need longer.

The Leadership Enrichment Committee planned several professional development gatherings for pastors and lay persons. In September, the Conference partnered with Eastern Mennonite School and Eastern Mennonite University to hold a Youth Worker’s Summit that included a presentation by Deb Hirsch and several workshops. Willard Swartley presented at the
November 4 Pastoral Consultation about healing ministries. The following day several persons including FLC members, pastors and professors, met to discern the next steps in the conversation regarding same-gender relationships in anticipation of the scriptural study already described.

The May consultation featured Ertell M. Whigham, Jr. on the topic of Intercultural Competency. This consultation was presented in English one day and in Spanish the next day.

Additionally, Lonnie and Teresa Yoder trained with the
FaithTrust Institute regarding the topic “Healthy Boundaries.” This training was recommended by Mennonite Church USA. VMC will hold “Healthy Boundaries” trainings for the districts, a requirement for pastors, as VMC has added pastoral ethics as one of the core competencies for licensing and ordination.

Faith and Life Commission covets your prayers as we continue to strive for peace, resolved to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and to be sensitive to the call of the Spirit in our life together.

Patsy Seitz
Chair