The "pink presence" at the Mennonite Church USA Convention was initiated by a campaign called Pink Menno, which began a few months ago in response to an open letter written to Mennonite Church USA by pastors calling for LGBTQ inclusion in the church. Pink Menno supporters wore pink as a way to be a visible presence of LGBTQ people, friends, family, and allies in the Mennonite Church. At an essential level, wearing pink was a way of reopening dialogue about how the church is called to be an inclusive and welcoming body.
Momentum for Pink Menno grew on the website, http://www.pinkmenno.org, prior to convention, and continued to spread as the week went on, culminating with a "sea of pink" in the center of the Columbus Nationwide Arena, where 4,000+ Mennonites gathered to sing at the traditional convention-wide hymn sing.
The mid-week prayer service and press conference drew a crowd of over 100 people, and the story was picked up by several local news services and the Associated Press. By 9:00pm that night over 150 sites had picked up the story, like the Washington Post.
Needless to say, a success like this coverage was thrilling. But simpler graces were just as thrilling -- the packed workshops and film screenings we led (in a hotel across the street since Pink Menno was banned from the convention center); the "pink demand" that rid us of all our shirts, bandanas, and bracelets and sent us to Goodwill to buy out their pink gear; the positive, welcoming spirit which the whole movement embodied. Opposing forces expected radical protest and disruptive disobedience; instead they got Pink Mennos singing hymns outside the worship hall, meeting for prayer, sharing communion, engaging in dialogue.
The Mennonite Church has a long way to go. There are many who don't want to go there. But Pink Menno's presence and movement at Columbus ensures that the Mennonite Church cannot ignore this issue any longer. Church leaders are now coming to us, asking us to help them deal with it. People are talking. Baby pink steps forward.
--Anna B. Roeschley