A few of my friends insists on calling me “Bishop.” If I protest, one of them explains that he, too, is an ordained bishop. He attended one meeting of the bishops of his conference, and then they decided to disband, but he has been a bishop ever since. So despite my protests, I am, at least to him, a bishop. We are colleagues, and we’re friends.
It is true that for about 10 years I was an active bishop ordained by the Lancaster Mennonite Conference. I recall those years of service with great pleasure. We did not always agree then, and I’m sure there is some dissent now.
Long before I came on the scene as a bishop the rule required unanimous consent before a proposal could be taken to the ministers and deacons of the conference for a decision. When I arrived as a bishop about sixty-five years ago the rule had changed. Then only four fifths of the bishops were required for a vote to be affirmative. I don’t know what the rule is now. Rules do change over time.
Now it is reported that the bishops propose that the Lancaster Conference leave Mennonite Church USA over issues that they believe to be too wrong to be ignored. The proposal is reported to include permission for congregations to remain with the Lancaster Conference and with the MCUSA if they choose the dual connection.
BUT WAIT, it is reported that the bylaws of MCUSA must be changed for congregations to belong to MCUSA and also belong to a conference that is at variance with it.
Two sad observations: 1. The bishops are giving the wrong example. They have chosen to do things the old, but wrong, way: 1. Split from those with whom you don’t agree. 2. If bylaws get in the way of love, it is much better to live by grace than by law.
decree: agree with us now
and stay, or just leave.
If you know how to connect with a member of the Lancaster Conference, you have my permission to forward this blog.