Reconciling in Christ
Good Shepherd’s Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Task Force is exploring to what degree our congregation extends a welcome and a message of belonging to people of all races, socio-economic circumstances, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, political affiliations, and levels of belief or doubt.
Unfortunately, these groups continue to experience exclusion and harm. Even churches that declare “All are welcome” often demonstrate to these societally marginalized groups that the welcome does not include them. For this reason, the invitation must specifically mention such groups. Many of our new and longstanding members speak of the welcome they felt when first walking through our doors and how that impacted their decision to make Good Shepherd their church home. This task force is the next step in our congregation’s commitment to hospitality for all people.
The RIC Task Force has been recognized by the Good Shepherd Board and has collaborated with Good Shepherd’s Leadership Team, conducting over 50 conversations with church members and leaders about deepening and expanding our public welcome. Feedback has been positive; expressing a desire to walk this journey together as we learn more about who we are. Engaging in a welcoming process will deepen the faith life of Good Shepherd.
The process Good Shepherd’s RIC Task Force is following for gracefully engaging ELCA congregations comes from Reconciling Works, a Lutheran organization that has been doing this work since 1974.
Connect with the RIC Task Force
1. Rachel Kleber – Verona
2. Bjorn Hanson – Madison
3. Katie Wagner – Verona 10:30
4. Sarah Key – Verona Deep
5. Ellen Franzone – Madison 8:30
6. Diane Kohrs – Verona Deep
7. Kristie Kass – Verona Deep
8. Guy Schroeder – Verona 10:30
9. Shannon Kunstman – Verona Deep
10. Tom Golden – All
11. Syrenne McNulty – Madison 10:00
Sample Affirmation Statements
Within the next 6-12 months, the Reconciling Works process will help us to discern if we should adopt a welcome statement something like the following:
“ We welcome all who are seeking God’s love and grace. We welcome all because God welcomes all, regardless of race or culture, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or relationship status. We welcome all without regard to addictions, physical or mental health, imprisonment, socio-economic circumstances, or anything that too often divides us. Our unity is in Christ.”
To inspire us and provide examples as templates or guides, Reconciling Works has made available the following real affirmations from congregations around North America. These statements can be utilized as we work together to write an affirmation that proclaims Good Shepherd’s commitment to our community’s welcome.
Read Sample Affirmation Statements Here
The realities of the gay lifestyle
Published by Christians Talk
Guide to Terminology
The words we use to talk about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and issues can have a powerful impact on our conversations. The right words can help open people’s hearts and minds, while others can create distance or confusion. Designed for those who want to support LGBT Americans but often face an array of confusing terminology and language, this short guide offers an overview of essential vocabulary, terms to avoid, and a few key messages for talking about various issues.
Click to read “An Ally’s Guide to Terminology”