EMU Listening Process

EMU’s non-discrimination statement was updated by the board of trustees on July 16, 2015.

Listening Process Summary

The EMU board of trustees passed a motion on November 16, 2013, to engage in a six-month listening process around hiring practices and covenanted same-sex relationships1, beginning January 2014.

On June 20, 2014 the board of trustees delayed formal action regarding the hiring policy and individuals in covenanted same-sex relationships. Read the full statement. You may also review President Swartzendruber’s summary of the process below. Also available online is the 2014 Survey of Credentialed Leaders in Mennonite Church USA.

Review the listening process summary

Holben’s “Six Representative Viewpoints”

During the listening process, an often-referenced book was “What Christians Think About Homosexuality – Six Representative Viewpoints” by L. R. Holben, published in 1999.

Though the language is somewhat dated, Holben’s summary of the range of viewpoints on this topic seems to have stood the test of time. Holben was then a freelance writer, but is now an ordained Episcopal priest.

Download Holben’s six viewpoints (PDF)

The motion

Whereas it has been 12 years since the Community Lifestyle Commitment was formally reviewed, and whereas significant concerns have been raised in the EMU community regarding the hiring policy;

We recommend the following:

1. That the board of trustees reaffirms EMU’s relationship with Mennonite Church USA and its practice of biblical discernment in community, and EMU’s Academic Freedom Policy. The purpose of this action is to ensure that staff, faculty and administrators have the freedom to articulate their personal beliefs and values.

2. That the board of trustees authorize the president’s cabinet to design and oversee a six-month listening process (January 2014 to June 2014) with EMU’s multiple constituencies. The purpose of the listening process is to review current hiring policies and practices with respect to individuals in covenanted same-sex relationships. Between now and June 2014 EMU will suspend taking any human resource actions based on hiring practices that are currently under review.

3. That particular attention is given to relationships and prayer throughout this process.

4. That the president’s cabinet will report the results of the listening process to the full board at its June 2014 meeting.

1. The term “covenanted relationships” refers to couples in monogamous relationships pledged for life and recognized by civil and/or religious authorities.

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