Five Mennonite Church Manitoba congregations—more than ever before—officially marched in the Winnipeg pride parade on June 4. Bethel Mennonite Church, First Mennonite Church, Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship, Hope Mennonite Church and Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church all had banners with their names on them in the parade. River East Church, a Mennonite Brethren congregation, also took part.
Mennonites from other congregations also joined the crowd of over 10,000.
Mennonite Church Canada continues to adhere to the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, including Article 19, which states: “We believe that God intends marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman for life.” A 2016 resolution also creates room for congregations to “test alternative understandings” regarding same-sex committed relationships.
MC Manitoba’s position, outlined in a statement approved by the Board in February 2023, states: “We encourage congregations to discern the Spirit’s leading for themselves regarding their welcome and affirmation of LGBTQ+ people, and this has meant that our congregations are in different places theologically and practically regarding this. We continue ‘making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ (Eph 4:3), recognizing that our unity in Christ is not complete uniformity of belief and practice and that diversity can be a beautiful, if sometimes surprising, gift from God.”
Currently, 12 of the 41 MC Manitoba congregations are formally affirming of LGBTQ+ people. Other congregations have maintained more traditional beliefs or are in discernment processes. Others have withdrawn from MC Manitoba.
—by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe
Winnipeg pride parade. (Photo by Tim Wenger)