Outreach Committee 2018: Mennofesto

By Outreach Committee

FMCSF CORE VALUES and PRACTICES in italics. Can be found on our website here.

2018 OUTREACH COMMITTEE MENNOFESTO (STRATEGIES & TACTICS) Found below each of the core values and practices.

First Mennonite Church of San Francisco strongly identifies with its rich Anabaptist heritage, believing that we are here to help bring about the realm of God that Jesus proclaimed in his ministry on earth. We live this out through these core values and practices: 

What animates us… 

We believe that community, discipleship, peace, justice, and reconciliation are fundamental values that call us to service every day of our lives. We actively seek practices of social engagement that help bring about God’s realm. 

  • We need a radical restructuring of society, a radical restructuring of ourselves and a radical restructuring of our communities. We are called to join the work of the Divine with a clarity about our role in the liberation movement. 
  • We are not called to do everything, but rather to be faithful to our collective calling as First Mennonite Church of San Francisco. We believe that collective power is what transforms our spiritually sick society and seek to align ourselves with other groups to build this collective power for change. We do this by starting with who we are.
  • We recognize our collective power in the following ways:
    • Our voices, education and platforms of influence.
    • Our economic resources and wealth.
    • Our rootedness in the Anabaptist tradition.
    • Our creative and problem-solving capacities.
    • Our ability to influence other Christians in positions of power who may or may not be aware of their destructive practices. 
  • While we celebrate and honor who we are as a congregation, our mission is not confined to protecting and uplifting ourselves:
    • We are a community committed to solidarity with recent immigrants and especially those targeted by ICE and unjust immigration policies. 
    • We are committed to environmental justice and learning from the Ohlone, Miwok, Pomo and other Indigenous peoples of this land about how we can honor and protect all life. 
    • We are committed to seeing through the ways that capitalism distorts our understanding of what is valuable and advocate for economic redistribution. 
    • We are committed to being followers of Jesus in a way that does not perpetuate Christian hegemony and the legacies of the Doctrine of Discovery.

We seek spiritual practices that draw us closer to the Divine and to each other. At times we draw inspiration from traditions other than our own. We especially value the ways in which music and creativity in worship open up the mystery of the Divine. 

  • We desire to be grounded and have clarity in the face of the endless distractions in our society. 
    • We desire the ability to recognize fear without allowing fear to control our behavior. 
    • We desire to be in relationships across differences. 
    • We desire to create the kingdom of God and live in the tension of “the already but not yet.” 
    • We desire safety for those who are vulnerable and empathy for those who assume they aren’t. 
    • We desire a willingness to confront conflict. 
    • We desire the ability to hold the long view and live in “deep time” and recognize this work reaches far beyond our lifetimes.

How we relate to others… 

We value dialogue more than dogma. We encourage dialogue with those of other Christian traditions as well as other faiths. Further, we seek a dialogue with our own Anabaptist heritage, with the larger Mennonite church and with scripture itself, recognizing that such interchanges enrich our individual and communal understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus in a dynamic and changing world. 

  • We are so shaped by the collective sin of our society that it can be hard to imagine what a truly liberated society would be. We recognize this sin as it manifests in us and others when people are excluded by heteronormativity; when white supremacy culture goes unchallenged; when economic disparities are normalized; and when patriarchy diminishes the full potential of all people.
  • As we build collective power, we also commit to transformation in our lives and reading scripture in a way that illuminates its revolutionary power. 
    • Like our Anabaptist forebearers we recognize that discipleship to the way of Jesus will put us at odds with the powers that be. 
    • We look to our history as a denomination committed to peacemaking for guidance. 
    • We realize that being followers of Jesus is costly and is only sustainable when practiced in community. 
    • We believe we are called to share this vision of costly discipleship with other Christians, especially those who are exerting power in the name of Christianity in destructive ways in our society.

We practice our Anabaptist faith with humility. We recognize that ours is not the only path to God or ultimate truth. At the same time we identify as Mennonite and Christians called to our own faith, practice, and service. 

  • In order to move toward liberation we need to be clear on what we believe about God and what God is doing. Our scriptures describe a God who is angry with injustice and who is present among those who are on the margins and not afraid to do battle with forces of evil and sin.
    • We believe that God is present in the oneness found when we sing together.
    • God is present when people come together across differences.
    • God empowers us to navigate through our complex world.
    • God is present when we let go of the struggle to control.
    • God opens us to mystery.
    • God is abundance.
    • God is found in the interconnection of everything.
    • God is peace, grace and serendipity.
    • God is mercy.
    • God is present when we let go of fear.
  • Rooted in these commitments we seek connection with groups that are intersectional in their analysis. 
    • We seek connection with Faith in Action Bay Area so that we can offer hospitality to recent immigrants in our communities and support efforts to hold the police accountable. 
    • We seek connection with Idle No More Bay Area, and other Indigenous-led groups, as well as to support the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, in order to follow their lead in our work for environmental justice. 
    • We seek connection with the Poor People’s Campaign to embody our solidarity with those who are poor and bearing the brunt of our capitalist reality. 
    • We seek connection with the Bay Resistance network as it unites many different groups committed to societal change through nonviolent direct action. 
    • We seek connection with other Christian and interfaith groups who are committed to dismantling Christian hegemony and the Doctrine of Discovery.

How we live together… 

We are a welcoming community to all who wish to join us. We seek to follow Jesus’ example by welcoming all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, economic or social circumstances, racial or ethnic background, marital status, physical ability or age. In addition, we welcome people regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey, including those who may not identify as Christian

True to our Anabaptist heritage, we believe in non-hierarchical, shared models of leadership. We therefore are committed to training members of our community in the arts of worship, social engagement, and leadership in the world and in the church. We especially value our strength in cultivating young adult leaders and teaching our children. 

We value honesty, authenticity and caring for each other. We recognize that the community is strengthened when members share their truths, passions, doubts, fears and failures – with vulnerability and without fear of judgment. We also seek to care for each other in concrete ways, through offerings of emotional, spiritual and financial mutual aid.

Tactics added by Outreach Committee in 2018