Reconciling in Christ

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.

Reconciling Works

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

Name Church/Time
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”

Additional resources as we journey together:

Clunky Questions

Often people with good intentions feel they aren’t able to ask questions about what it means to be LGBTQ because they are afraid of offending someone or they don’t have the right words with which to ask. Clunky Questions is for you! Watch a series of short videos to have your questions answered.

Watch Clunky Questions Videos

Changed Hearts

An excerpt from the October 2018 issue of Gather
—by Judith Roberts

The day we purchased our house, we loaded boxes, furniture, toys and clothes onto my uncle’s truck. I was so excited.

Our caravan of cars and trucks drove five miles north of the city of Hartford to our new home. Once we arrived, I played outside and watched the white families in the neighborhood pass by. No one spoke. No one stopped to lend a hand. No one waved. Though I was only 5, I knew we were unwelcome.

How science is helping us understand gender

An excerpt from National Geographic’s Gender Revolution Issue, January 2017

Article by Robin Marantz Henig

Freed from the binary of boy and girl, gender identity is a shifting landscape. Can science help us navigate?

Click to read this National Geographic Article 

Christian Parents Rethink LGBT Inclusion

Published by Christians Talk

Book: A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic and Hopeful Spiritual Community

By John Pavlovitz

No one likes to eat alone; to approach a table filled with people, only to be told that despite the open chairs there isn’t room for you. The rejection stings. It leaves a mark. Yet this is exactly what the church has been saying to far too many people for far too long: “You’re not welcome here. Find someplace else to sit.” How can we extend unconditional welcome and acceptance in a world increasingly marked by bigotry, fear, and exclusion?

More about the book here

Change Keeps on Changing

An excerpt from the May 1, 2018 issue of Cafe
by Angela T. Khabeb

God’s promises are not contingent upon gender. A mother walks with her child through changes.

I’m surrounded by change. I look outside my window and notice the familiar sight of leaves changing colors. Daylight is fleeting as night arrives earlier and stays longer. It’s almost as if autumn is Mother Nature’s ambassador for change. Not only is change swirling around me, but it is also stirring from within me.

Click to read more

UnClobber: Aligning the Head and the Heart

Published by Colby Martin