Page 2 - Withdrawal of Churches 2022-0514
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                                   FROM THE CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

                                    SOUTHERN PENNSYLVANIA DISTRICT

                        individual case. Rather, it is intended to outline broad parameters in which it is
                        hoped that congregations and districts can find suggestions that will help us
                        work toward reconciliation and satisfactory resolution within our understanding
                        of community. The goal of the following process is to find God's truth together in
                        a respectful Christian community. It is hoped that any congregation that feels led
                        to disagree with Annual Conference decisions should assume a special
                        responsibility to initiate extended dialog with others in the denomination about its
                        choice. In so doing, the congregation should not automatically assume the role
                        of prophet, but rather, try to model and encourage a spirit of finding the             mind of
                        Christ amid diversity in discernment.

                     B. GUIDANCE TO THE DISTRICT
                       There is an expectation that within the context of ongoing district ministries and
                        congregational relationships, awareness of disagreement with a specific Annual
                        Conference action might emerge early on. District leadership should anticipate
                        potential congregational  disagreement  with  any  particular  Annual  Conference
                        action before receiving official notice in the form of a letter from the congregation,
                        and review district procedures for processing congregational disagreements.
                       Once official notice is received, the district is encouraged to review the matter
                       and    determine a response as soon as possible. Response measures might be
                           ▪  send a letter of response from the district executive, the district
                               board chair, board commission chair, district Standing Committee
                               member, or some other                  appropriate individual;
                           ▪  schedule a visit to the congregation for respectful dialog,

                               discussion, and                interpretation;

                           ▪  appoint a group or committee to meet with the congregation to
                               discuss the              disagreement;
                           ▪  utilize the skills of the district Shalom Team and other reconciliation
                               workers to            give guidance and facilitate dialog;
                           ▪  call for a day of prayer and fasting to seek the guidance of the Holy
                               Spirit and for             appropriate spiritual conduct;
                           ▪  facilitate a forum at which the congregation in disagreement might
                               present its               position or understanding;
                           ▪  consult with resource persons outside the district, including mediation
                               leaders, On Earth Peace staff members, Mission and Ministry Board
                               members, Annual                Conference officers, Leadership Team, and others;
                           ▪  bring the matter to the district conference only if all attempts at
                               reconciliation                  have proven unsuccessful or unsatisfactory, and if
                               the issue is such that it represents a threat to the overall unity and
                               effective ministry of the district. Specific recommendations to the
                               district conference might include
                               1.  a statement acknowledging that the congregation in question
                                  is  “out  of  harmony”  with  the  denomination  on  the  particular

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