Board discusses hiring policy

Kate Stoltzfus

News Editor


When the Goshen College Board of Directors met this past Friday and Saturday, the hiring policy was part of their discussions. They did not make any changes and chose to continue the conversation at their next meeting. However, channels of conversation are in full swing in a much larger context – the Mennonite Church itself.

Jim Brenneman, GC president, addressed faculty and staff members Monday afternoon to provide a recap and welcome conversation about the Board of Directors’ meeting.

In regards to the hiring policy, the Board “determined that it was premature to make a specific decision at this time,” said Brenneman. “We are in the middle of a larger conversation going on in the denomination. To make a decision now could undermine the listening and discussion process.”

The executive board of Mennonite Church USA will meet in Harrisonburg, Va. at the end of this week and have promised to provide some kind of guidance to the larger church on the issue of LGBTQ acceptance. Leadership councils in the Church’s area conferences will then meet in March.

“The Board expressed gratitude for the many letters and conversations,” said Brenneman, “with special gratitude toward the students and GC Open Letter, who have worked hard to make known their points of view in deliberate and gracious ways.”

According to Brennman, every board member shared their personal views on the topic of same-sex equality within hiring practices.

He said not one member considered the topic without a personal connection, a face, attached to it.

The Board of Directors, which meets three times per year, is made up of thirteen members from all over the country, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts and Michigan, as well as Goshen.

They plan to revisit the hiring policy discussion when they meet again in June “after more decisions are made in the larger framework” of the church, said Brenneman.

Written by Record

2 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    February 26, 2014

    Thank you for posting this article. I would ask Goshen College to acknowledge the absence of transgender and queer people in their discussion (and the absence of LGBTQ voices present on the Board itself). I believe that a decision about the Goshen College hiring policy should not be seen as undermining the larger Mennonite Church conversation, nor should dismantling injustice at Goshen College be considered premature; rather, with the growing cloud of witnesses recognizing the lived experience of LGBTQ people in the Church (as evidenced by the “Rule of Love” letter from 150 credentialed leaders, the licensure of Theda Good, and EMU’s Listening Process), I call upon Goshen College to also be an active participant in the Churchwide conversation about LGBTQ inclusion. I believe this is the Spirit-led calling of a Mennonite institution of higher education—to speak to the larger Mennonite Church in a way that educates and advocates on issues of justice.

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