Letter to the editor

Clarifying Willow Avenue's interaction with conference leaders

Photo: Getty Images

The April 6, 2022 article, “Fresno Church Leaders Say Leaving MB Denomination Is Liberating” in the Anabaptist World (accurately) cites me quoting MB leaders threatening, “Don’t think for a moment you won’t get kicked out of the conference” if we were to pass a resolution of welcome and affirmation of LGBTQIA+ persons.

Communication between the congregation and the conference has been open and frank; we have sought to be amicable. I regret that my use of quotation marks creates the false impression that my paraphrase quotes their words and that their response was uncharitable. I appreciate the charitable, forthright communication of MB Conference leaders throughout the process and apologize for the unfortunate mischaracterization.

Lynn Jost


Willow Avenue Mennonite Church


  1. We’ve been discussing this at Butler MB, and while we disagree on the specific issue, we’ve generally agreed that this should be an amicable parting of ways.

    “Those who are in error (if that they were) are not to be coerced but after a second admonition to be avoided. Christians admonish benevolently, out of sympathy and compassion for the sinful, and do not legalistically coerce persons this way or that.” – Michael Sattler, 1527

    While not a perfect fit, I think the important point that we must be willing to accept when we’ve come to different decisions, and it’s time to separate, “benevolently”. We’re not out to punish or condemn, at this point, but admit that we have different interpretations of a particular part of scripture, so we can agree to disagree, and get out of each other’s way.


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