As delegates prepare to gather for Assembly 2016, a group of 10 pastors from across Mennonite Church Canada wrote an open letter on the Future Directions process. They write, “In a spirit of pastoral response, we offer the following prayer to help gather God’s people around both the Future Directions and BFC processes as they come to fruition in Saskatoon this summer. We encourage the use of the prayer both personally and congregationally as we prepare to gather as one body of believers in July.”
God of our past, you are merciful, slow to anger, rich in love, forgiving. Although we are created in your image, we come to you to confess, lament, speak aloud that we, the body of Mennonite Church Canada, have not always lived as a reflection of you.
Together we confess that some of us hold power over others—implicitly or explicitly—due to race, gender, orientation or economic means. We lament the stories left unheard and absent in our gatherings. We forget that we are all part of your collective body that knows no borders or division.
Together we confess the times we have tried to lead your church but have made others feel unheard, manipulated, pressured, belittled. We lament this wounding, for it is not how you desire us to treat our family.
Together we confess that we have divested our interest in the church and invested in other gods and idols that surround us. We are occupied by our own agendas, by the noise of our strange structures that have both served you and held us slaves to our own too-narrow visions of your kingdom.
Together we voice our fear and anxiety because we treasure what is ending in our church and fear what you are leading us to.
Yet we are your fickle people covenanted and bound to you despite our nature. Have mercy on us.
Yet it is you, God, who continues to draw us together as reconciled community, Jesus followers, Anabaptists, Mennonite Church Canada. Have mercy on us.
Because of your goodness, we strive to trust, listen, communicate and humble ourselves as we respond to our hopeful and hurting church body. We cannot do this alone. Open us to the excitement of the Spirit’s moving in our midst. Reflect in us your image.
Help us to remember that in our future, in our children’s future, we will proclaim you in our church as merciful, slow to anger, rich in love, forgiving.