They also vote when they want to punish other churches.
In 2005, when Hyattsville was disciplined, the church had already been welcoming gay members for nearly two decades.
Its members have not been able to serve in leadership, and its pastor, Cindy Lapp, was put under review. Since the first Mennonites arrived in America from Germany in 1683, the denomination has gone through many schisms, often over issues of tradition and modernity. eyehooks on blouses, and whether women should have to wear bonnets; more recently, it’s been women’s leadership in the church and acceptance of those who identify as LGBTQ.
Each time a split happens, a new version of the faith is created, while an older version is preserved as if in amber—even now, many people associate Mennonites with anachronisms like horses and buggies, when in reality, this kind of traditional lifestyle is only followed by roughly 13,000 American adults, called Old-Order Mennonites.
(People often confuse Mennonites with the Amish, too; although both groups are part of the Anabaptist tradition, meaning that they baptize believers as adults rather than infants, Mennonites were historically followers of Menno Simons, a 16th-century preacher.)Now, Mennonites are wrestling with the same questions faced by other churches across the country, made all the more complicated by their heritage: How should the faithful balance tradition and modern life?
Now, there were three resolutions on the ballot: let Hyattsville back into the conference as a full member; remove Hyattsville from the conference altogether; or, if no agreement could be found, dissolve the conference.
When a Mennonite church gets called out for its conduct, that judgment comes from its peers.