Suggested Guidelines for Disengagement from MCUSA
SUGGESTED GUIDELINES FOR DISENGAGEMENT FROM MCUSA
Departing from Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) but remaining in Virginia Mennonite Conference (VMC) is now an option for congregations during the Year of Worship and Discernment. Approved by the VMC delegate assembly at Summery Assembly 2023, this is an important, but somewhat symbolic, step while the Denominational Affiliation Work Group (DAWG) seeks a more permanent solution, to be brought to delegates by no later than 2024 Summer Assembly. This document is meant to clarify some details of this status and provide guidance to congregations seeking it.
As long as a congregation remains in VMC the congregation is automatically granted membership in MCUSA by the MCUSA bylaws; however, there are multiple ways to significantly disengage from MCUSA which MCUSA Executive Board staff have approved. Upon notification, the requesting congregation’s name will be removed from MCUSA mailing lists (other than legally required notification of MCUSA delegate assemblies) and will be removed from the “Find A Church” search on MCUSA’s website. Congregations who are currently in the Corinthian Plan may remain in the plan, and the Ministerial Salary Guidelines will remain available. Any credentialed person in the congregation will continue to have their status registered in the MCUSA database (see point 4 below). Additional departure steps – such as removing MCUSA material and logos from a church’s website and reporting attendance numbers to MCUSA – are up to the discretion of the congregation.
The following are some additional clarifications and guidelines.
- Congregational discernment: Each VMC congregation has its own unique polity; the interim Conference Leadership Team (iCLT) does not wish to mandate any specific action steps for churches considering disaffiliation from MCUSA, but broad and deep congregational discussion and discernment is encouraged before action is taken. Pastors and congregations who are considering this step should contact their District Minister for guidance and support in decision making processes and may also consider contacting a member of the iCLT, or the Moderator or Moderator-Elect, for additional support.
- Notification of Departure: Congregations shall inform, in writing, their District Minister, the VMC office ([email protected]), and Rachel Ringenburg Miller at the MCUSA office ([email protected]) of their decision to disengage from MCUSA.
- Date of Disengagement: The congregation’s desire to disengage from MCUSA will be acknowledged upon receipt of the written request.
- Exceptions to Departure: Since congregations will remain legally part of MCUSA through VMC, some services and benefits of MCUSA membership – such as tax-exempt status – will remain. If a congregation wishes to continue to fully participate in specific services, it is helpful for that to be stated in the written communication outlined above. VMC will also continue using the Ministerial Leadership Inquiry (MLI) system in the coming year. VMC policy requires an MLI form be filled out by any candidate for credentialing, but the determination of eligibility for credentials, the granting of credentials, and the holding of credentials continues to be at the VMC level, not the MCUSA level.
interim Conference Leadership Team
Virginia Mennonite Conference
June 27, 2023