A Winnipeg congregation is no longer part of the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba (MBCM) after a special vote by delegates from sister churches on Saturday, Jan. 20.

River East Church ran into trouble with the MBCM when it adopted an Inclusivity Statement which states, in part, "... We invite everyone to join us in living out this mission as followers of Jesus in the Anabaptist/Mennonite tradition. This invitation is extended to all persons, whatever their ability, age, ethnicity, family status, gender identity, income level, race, sexual orientation, or other identity distinctive."

The MBCM and its national overseer, the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, holds to a "traditional view" of sexuality, including a stance that marriage is between one man and one woman.

John Longhurst, a religion reporter and columnist with the Winnipeg Free Press, reports that the vote was overwhelming, with 83.3 per cent of delegates choosing to remove River East Church from the MBCM.

On its website, River East includes a 12-page document explaining how as a congregation it came to the Inclusivity Statement. The church also says it hosted a special evening a week ago so delegates from other congregations could come and hear how it arrived at its stance before voting on the issue.