The idea for the Open Letter originated in July 2007 at a conference sponsored by the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests. There, a number of Mennonite pastors started talking about how to move the movement for LGBT inclusion forward. Some pastors agreed to go on retreat together in November 2007 at a Benedictine monastery in Minnesota to pray and discern a pastoral response. The Open Letter grew out of that retreat.
The letter’s authors – Sheri Hostetler, Cynthia Lapp and Weldon Nisly -- worked on the letter for almost a year before inviting other pastors to sign it in November 2008. (Click here to read the letter they sent out inviting pastors to sign.)
Sheri Hostetler is pastor at First Mennonite Church of San Francisco; Cynthia Lapp is pastor at Hyattsville Mennonite in Hyattsville, Maryland; and Weldon Nisly is pastor at Seattle Mennonite Church.
By March 2009, 106 pastors and others who have ministered in Mennonite Church USA had signed the letter. The letter was released on April 5, 2009, via this web site. At that point, everyone in Mennonite Church USA was invited to sign the letter. Click here if you wish to join this movement for inclusion by signing the letter.