On Feb. 7, 2016, Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church voted to become an inclusive and affirming Christian community.
Two motions, one stating that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer people are welcome to become full and equal members of the church, and another to approve the statement: “God calls us to be an inclusive, affirming, Christian community,” were originally put forward at the 2015 annual general meeting.
The motions were tabled until 2016, to allow for the congregation to engage in a year of study, prayer, discernment, and an exploration of hopes and hesitations around the issue. The church also committed itself to communicate with the Edmonton Mennonite Ministerial, Mennonite Church Alberta and MC Canada while engaging in the process.
Turnout for the annual general meeting was excellent, discussion was gentle and humble, there was no call for a secret ballot, and the vote was almost unanimous. Church members expressed a desire to continue to work towards hearing concerns and discomforts that may still exist both within and outside the congregation. While the year of discernment proved to be an impor-tant and unifying factor in the decision-making, the church acknowledges the process of struggle and learning around the issue of inclusion has been ongoing for more than 25 years. The statement will be reviewed in five years. First Mennonite Church welcomes prayer as it strives together to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.