In 2015, Gloria Dei proudly adopted our Welcome Statement, publicly making known our open and affirming welcome of those in the LGBTQ+ community (and to all people). In the spring of 2019, Gloria Dei applied to be listed as a “Reconciling in Christ” congregation to expand the awareness of that welcome and increase discovery of our warm community.
Reconciling in Christ
The Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program is for congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other Lutheran organizations and ministry communities who have made a public commitment to welcome, include and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) people.
In order for the Gloria Dei statement to fit within the guidelines of RIC, a small but helpful language change was required on the following line item: “Open to people who are straight, gay, bi, transgender, or questioning” to “Open to people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.” The distinction is helpful because it encompasses much more of the community and keeps an open door for more to come.
More Can Find Us
With the adoption of our welcome statement years ago, we intentionally decided to be a welcoming and affirming community. The RIC certification allows for those looking for a faith community that is friendly to them as an LGBTQ+ individual, couple, or ally to find us and to realize the support they have here. Communications Director Rachel Meyer says, “RIC serves as a database for church shoppers to use as a tool. The RIC program ensures that those who are on the list’s welcome is authentic and lived out, not just written in a statement.”
Why a Special Welcome is Helpful
An RIC approved welcome statement can provide clarity and safety to the LGBTQ+ community. Pastor Carrie explains, “Becoming RIC helps to show the validity of our welcome statement. There are times when churches may claim to be welcoming but do not live that out in practice, which leads to more wounds. By going through the RIC program, we are showing that we mean what we say - the LGBTQ+ community are welcome as their full, authentic selves at Gloria Dei.”
This welcome is important, especially in this moment. “The LGBTQ+ community has often been hurt, rejected, and condemned by the church simply for being themselves. We can be the voice that proclaims the true love of God to all people by reaching out and providing a safe space for this community and all people to share their stories,” says Pastor Carrie.