Last Sunday, November 4, our Pathways class explored the 2nd of MC USA’s renewed commitments: “Witness to God’s Peace,” in particular, experiencing or receiving God’s peace. We looked at peace as described in Ezekiel 34:25-31 (compare with Matthew 9:36) and Isaiah 11:1-9 as well as Ephesians 2: 11-21. Then we discussed how a peace church ministers to those with military experience or current careers. That includes the question of membership. Since there is no one-size-fits-all experience of this situation, and probably no one-size-fits-all response, we looked at four case studies. Here is the group consensus:
- For cases 2, 3 and 4, we generally thought membership was warranted; certainly whatever support, care, love, etc. were necessary. For the church to continually reject such persons, one person said, is a sin at least as great as any they might have committed in the service.
- For case 1 (in which an active duty officer assertively and continually advocates against the Mennonite peace position), friendship, love, support and care are non-negotiable. Membership is another question entirely. There are other churches more supportive of his position; why should any church (or other community/organization) hand its leadership and membership over to those who work to undermine its mission and vision?