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                                   FROM THE CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

                                    SOUTHERN PENNSYLVANIA DISTRICT

               It is the desire of the Southern Pennsylvania District that any congregation
               experiencing conflict or uncertainty about remaining in the Church of the Brethren will
               be open and receptive  to dialogue and discernment about those issues. The District
               further desires that those issues can be resolved in such a way that congregations
               may remain in full fellowship with the District             and the denomination.

               In the event that an agreeable resolution is not achieved, it is the desire of the District

               that the                    withdrawing congregation and the Church of the Brethren may separate in an

               orderly manner  and with grace and prayers for the well-being of one another.

               Denominational polity, which cannot be changed by Districts apart from utilizing the
               Annual Conference query process, emphasizes the unity of congregations, Districts,
               and the denomination as a whole. It does not give a specific process or guidelines on
               exactly how a congregation may conduct a vote to withdraw or what the involvement of
               the District should be  n that process. However, there is general guidance which can
               be gleaned from a study of the  2016 Manual of Organization and Polity that can assist
               the District in developing an orderly process for congregations to withdraw. As a
               foundation for the Guidelines for Congregational Withdrawal which concludes this
               document, the pertinent sections of the 2016 Manual of Organization and Polity are
               quoted and referenced below.


                    DECISIONS  Annual Conference 2004 approved the report of a study committee
                    assigned to examine a                query asking how congregations can disagree with Annual
                    Conference decisions yet remain, as much as possible, in unbroken fellowship
                    with their sister congregations, including how district boards should respond in
                    these situations. The paper needs to be read in its entirety to get the full
                    background and impact of the report. The following is the section giving
                    suggestions for process and guidance to the district for its response to
                    disagreeing congregations.

                     A. SUGGESTIONS FOR PROCESS
                       Because congregations may disagree with Annual Conference decisions, it is
                       appropriate to consider a process when disagreement is evident. Since
                       disagreement is                   heavily impacted by individual and unique circumstances and
                       often must be considered                  on a case-by-case basis, the following is not intended
                       as polity to be applied unilaterally throughout the denomination for each

               1   2016 Manual of Organization and Polity, Chapter 3, The District, IV, A-B, pg. 19-20. This
               outlines the process by which congregations that disagree with an Annual Conference decision
               or policy can express their disagreement and work with their District leadership to arrive at an
               agreeable means of maintaining unity. It does not specifically address the departure of
               congregations from the denomination.

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