Understandings that shape the procedures
1. As the congregations in New York Mennonite Conference seek to follow
Christ in a changing world, differences in convictions and practices
will develop. Diversity can be accepted; our aim is unity, not
2. Conference membership means accountability, both to the conference and to other member congregations. It means a congregation will take counsel within the conference when considering a stance which may diverge from conference norms.
3. Jesus' instruction on interpersonal relationships in Matthew 18:15-20 is relevant to inter-congregational accountability and discipline. The following New Testament texts also help to inform how the church functions in the area of mutual accountability: Acts 15; Rom. 14:1- 15:6; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Cor. 5:11-21; Gal. 3:26-29; Gal. 6:1-10; Eph. 2:11-22; Eph. 4; Phil. 4:2-9; 2 Tim. 2:14-4:18; Titus 3:1-11; Heb. 12:12-17; 1 John 4:1-12, Rev. 2,3.
4. The following documents help describe our conference norms of faith and practice: Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective (1995), conference statements, Mennonite Church statements.
1. If an Overseer or the Conference Minister becomes aware of a
congregation engaging in or considering actions that diverge from
conference norms of faith and practice, he is to dialogue with the
leaders of the congregation and, as needed, the congregation.
2. In every step efforts to bring about resolution must be supported with concerted prayer, seeking the mind of Christ.
3. When tension and disunity remain after dialogue, the Overseer(s) will bring the matter to the attention of the Executive Committee.
4. Executive Committee will bring to Delegate Assembly one of the following recommendations:
5. When Delegate Assembly adopts or reaffirms a statement on an issue in response to concerns about the stance of a member congregation (or congregations), the congregation under question precludes themselves from conference membership if they continue to diverge from the conference position. A pastor who continues to justify the divergence will lose ministerial credentials.
6. Healed relationships should be appropriately celebrated, and severed relationships appropriately mourned.