Navigating Change: MHS Association’s Ministry Partnership with MC USA

By Karen Lehman November 21, 2023

After a yearlong discernment process, MHS Association has changed its relationship with Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) from an agency to a ministry partner.  This change removes MC USA’s reserve powers related to MHS Association bylaws and oversight.

At the same time that MHS Association was considering this change, Everence was also discerning their relationship with MC USA.  Both organizations agree that our missions and visions are deeply rooted in the Anabaptist faith, and our commitment to the values and core tenets of our faith are strong.

MHS Association has always served a broad demographic of organizations from the wider Anabaptist network including those that are not directly linked to MC USA.   There is a recognition that many MHS Association members closely relate to regional conferences and have other faith connections with different denominations. Given these broader understandings of MHS Association’s network of members and the continued shifting of demographics and relationships, it makes sense that MHS Association continues to relate closely with MC USA in a ministry partner relationship rather than an agency.

The delegate body voted their approval of the change in status for MHS Association and Everence at their July 2023 meeting.

The MHS Association Board of Directors has approved a ministry partner agreement with MC USA that outlines the relationship between our organizations going forward.  The agreement calls for ways to share resources, maintain communications, and describe opportunities to collaborate in future churchwide meetings and events.  MC USA will continue to appoint two board members to serve on the MHS Association Board.

The United States Mennonite Brethren (USMB) denomination will continue to appoint one Board member to serve on the MHS Association Board.