By Women of the ELCA staff
June is an opportunity to welcome everyone to the table.
ST. MATTHEW’S LUTHERAN CHURCH, Taylorsville, Utah; Trinity Lutheran Church, Kutztown, Penn.; University Lutheran Church, Clemson, S.C. These are among the most recent congregations pledging to include, celebrate and advocate for people of all sexual orientations.
June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and ReconcilingWorks, Lutherans for Full Participation welcomes these new Reconciling in Christ (RIC) partners, said Aubrey Thonvold, executive director of ReconcilingWorks. These churches have joined more than 970 congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, outdoor ministries, and other Lutheran organizations committed to welcoming and including all LGBTQIA+ people. RIC organizations also pledge to work for racial equity and commit to anti-racist work, Thonvold said.
“Since 1974, ReconcilingWorks has deepened and expanded the welcome and advocacy of people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions in the Lutheran church,” she said. In 1983, ReconcilingWorks established the Reconciling in Christ program to accompany people and faith communities. “The RIC program is a public way for faith communities to share and live out their values,” Thonvold said.
The RIC program offers faith communities a way to transform how “they care for people who have been excluded for who they are and who they love,” she added.
When people of faith realize that “God’s love for us is transformational…, [they] are liberated to create sacred space for all to be welcome,” Thonvold said. “God’s love for us is a sacred invitation to live with compassion, courage, and freedom to be the person we were lovingly made to be.”
This June, when PRIDE month is celebrated, ReconcilingWorks invites your congregation to create space for LGBTQ+ people of faith. “Consider discerning how you and your faith community welcome, include, celebrate and advocate for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions,” Thonvold said. To support this work, ReconcilingWorks created resources for outreach and education. To learn more about these resources and the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) program, visit www.reconcilingworks.org.
“This PRIDE season, let’s work together, so no one who God has named beloved feels as if they are unwelcome,” Thonvold said. “Let’s work together to share boldly that God’s table is for all.”