Mennonites consider ordination of first openly gay minister

Theda Good, an openly gay staff member and licensed as “pastor of nurture and fellowship”, at the First Mennonite Church of Denver, has been nominated to be ordained. If Theda Good and her supporters are successful, she will be the first openly gay person to be ordained by the Mennonite Church. Theda’s ordination needs to be authorized by the Mountain States Conference of Mennonites. The Mennonite Church’s articles of faith states: “We believe that God intends marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman for life.” Mennonites are a Christian order with approximately one million members.

Mennonite Minister, Rev. Joanna Harader officiated at the wedding of a lesbian couple in 2007, an act of love for which she was threatened with suspension. The Mennonites did not suspend Rev. Harader, who wrote after the wedding, “it was an honor to bear witness to the love these women had for each other”. The Mennonites did, however, add a note to her profile that stated her actions were “atvariance” with denominational guidelines.

Karl Landis, pastor of Mount Joy Mennonite Church in Mount Joy, Pa., said he expects the move to pose a dilemma and “rough sailing for relationships among conference leaders.”

On the other hand, “Theda’s ordination is another step towards a more affirming position,” said Joanna Harader, pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, Kan.

Keith Weaver, moderator of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, said he isn’t sure what lies ahead. “Now the struggle is how we live together?” he asked. Those who have convictions about the historic understanding of the church (with regard to marriage) are very concerned about this action.”

Theda Good’s possible ordination is one of the many great acts of love and acceptance for the LGBT community happening in our houses of worship. LGBT people love their church and have a place in their church.

The Advocate has more.