Representatives of the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests (BMC) and the executive committee of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board (MMB) met for about four hours on Monday, Feb. 4, at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.
The purpose of the gathering was to begin dialogue about past difficulties in working together (most recently in relation to the process surrounding a proposed Brethren Volunteer Service placement within BMC) and ways the groups might work together in the future.
Representing BMC were: Katie Hochstedler; board president; Mia Miller, vice-president; Todd Steele; Susan Boyer; and executive director Carol Wise.
Representing the MMB were: Ben Barlow, board chair; Becky Ball-Miller, chair-elect; Andy Hamilton; Brian Messler; Don Fitzkee; Pam Reist; Annual Conference moderator Bob Krouse; and Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger.
Carol Rose, co-director of Christian Peacemaker Teams, facilitated the meeting. Rose led the group in a time of opening worship and invited participants to share hopes and expectations for the meeting. Significant time was devoted to reconstructing a timeline of events that may have contributed to misunderstanding.
While there was insufficient time to engage in a full restorative process, it was evident that both groups were willing to continue the conversation
Participants expressed their appreciation for the conversation and for the leadership provided by Carol Rose.
No specific actions resulted from the meeting, and no further meetings have been scheduled.