On using Scripture to discern sexual issues

Delegates affirm leadership of BFC 3 process by General Board

October 26, 2011 | Feature | Number 21
Story and Photo by Dan Dyck | Mennonite Church Canada
Winnipeg, Man.
Naomi Unger, standing, leads a small group discussion on the BFC 3 process at this summer’s MC Canada assembly in Waterloo, Ont.

Delegates to the 2011 Mennonite Church Canada assembly responded to the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) 3 process with more than 750 recorded comments being turned in from the 800 adults and youths who attended the event.

The BFC process, introduced at the assembly in Saskatoon, Sask., in 2009, is a tool developed to help congregations, area churches and the national church discern matters of faith and practice in response to difficult issues. The process is of particular importance when disagreement makes consensus difficult. BFC 3, in particular, addresses the scope of human sexuality, including homosexuality.

The 750 comments have been categorized along thematic lines. The top two comments demonstrate wide affirmation for the process under the leadership of the General Board, and a commitment to Scripture study. Near the bottom of the list, respondents asked for help to define the criteria needed for weighing Scripture, and a desire to live out the proclamation that the unity of the church is not humanity’s doing, but a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Delegates cautioned leadership to avoid creating divisions, noting that there are already disagreements between generations and congregations on matters regarding non-heterosexuals.

Later this fall, the General Board will make available a tool for congregations to share how they already use Scripture for discernment on difficult matters. The tool will be made available in preparation for Assembly 2012 in Vancouver, B.C.

MC Canada moderator Andrew Reesor-McDowell said, “All congregations are encouraged to participate in the Being a Faithful Church process. You can expect to deepen your understanding of Scripture, enrich your faith and strengthen your commitment to the one whom we call Lord.”

Naomi Unger, standing, leads a small group discussion on the BFC 3 process at this summer’s MC Canada assembly in Waterloo, Ont.

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