Mennonites Prepare to Ordain First Openly Gay Minister

A Mennonite church in Colorado hopes to ordain an openly gay minister.

BY Michael O'Loughlin

February 03 2014 4:02 PM ET

A group of Mennonites in Colorado has put forward an openly gay candidate for ordained ministry. If confirmed, Theda Good would be the first openly LGBT minister ordained by the Mennonite Church. 

Theda Good is on staff at the First Mennonite Church of Denver, where she was licensed as "pastor of nurture and fellowship," according to Religion News Service. Good's ordination must be approved by the Mountain States Conference of Mennonites, which is part of the Mennonite Church USA, the collective body of regional Mennonite communities. 

Mennonite Church USA believes "that God intends marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman for life" and prohibits its clergy from blessing same-sex unions. 

In 2007, Rev. Joanna Harader, a Mennonite minister, celebrated a wedding for two women, writing that it was an "honor" to "to bear witness to the love these women had for each other." The Western District of Mennonites considered revoking Harader's clergy credentials, but ultimately relented.

Harader told Lancaster Online that "Theda's ordination is another step towards a more affirming position."

Mennonites are a Christian denomination that trace their roots back to the Reformation in the 1500s. Belief and practices vary widely among different faith communities, but, according to the Mennonite church's website, "following Jesus in daily life is a central value, along with peacemaking." They share historical roots with the Amish, and there are an estimated one million members worldwide.

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