Following the action of the 2018 Atlantic Northeast District Conference to not approve the proposed same gender marriage policy, the district ministry commission began discussions on next steps in continuing their work on this issue. Discussion included the 1983 Annual Conference statement “Human Sexuality from a Christian Perspective” as well as acknowledging the importance of all the Annual Conference statements in the life of the church and all those who serve as set-apart ministers.
As a result of the ministry commission’s work and discernment, following is their report:
The Atlantic Northeast District (ANE) Ministry Commission affirms all of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference Statements, and strongly encourages all ANE licensed and ordained ministers to give them "serious attention."1
In the service of Ordination of Ministers in For All Who Minister, the fourth set of questions to be asked by the district representative is: "Do you affirm your devotion to the church of Jesus Christ, and specifically to the Church of the Brethren, which calls you to ministry? And do you promise to live in harmony with its principles, ordinances, and doctrines, being at all times subject to its discipline and governance?"2
Chapter 5 of the Manual of Organization and Polity makes clear that the district has authority for the credentialing of ministers: "All licensed, commissioned and ordained ministers are accountable to both the district and the denomination. Annual Conference charges districts with the responsibility of credentialing ministers in the Church of the Brethren, and the denominational Office of Ministry works to resource and support districts in this process."3
In questions involving ministerial conduct, the District Ministry Commission affirms the Polity and standard practices established by Annual Conference and the District Executives.
If a District Executive receives a report based on direct knowledge that a minister has engaged in questionable conduct, the information shall be reported to the district's credentialing body as a matter of ministerial conduct where it will be determined if further action is necessary.
If, through their discernment, the District Ministry Commission determines it is a potential ethics violation, the process for dealing with complaints of ministerial misconduct will be followed as outlined in the 2008 Ethics in Ministry Paper.
The ANE District Ministry Commission, May 2, 2019
1. 2008 “Ethics in Ministry Relations”: C. Code of Ethics for Ministerial Leaders; 1.d. Integrity of the Ministerial Life.
2. For All Who Minister: A Worship Manual for the Church of the Brethren (Elgin, IL: Brethren Press, 1993), 299.
3. 2014 Minutes, “Revisions to Ministerial Leadership Polity,” 244.