At its Annual Meeting on January 22, 2017, First Lutheran Church adopted an Affirmation of Welcome and voted to become a Reconciling In Christ congregation, publicly welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people into the life and ministry of the church. Along with hundreds of others, our congregation was accepted onto a national roster maintained by ReconcilingWorks after adopting this statement. Other denominations use terms like “Open and Affirming” to describe the same concept.
At our September 2022 council meeting, our church council voted in favor of updating our statement of welcome to include a commitment to anti-racism. While LGBTQIA+ people have always been Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), the mainstream LGBT rights movement often puts forth a predominantly white image and agenda. Our updated statement reminds us that we strive to be a community that celebrates and prioritizes BIPOC people and efforts, especially those who are also part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
We also affirmed our commitment to the following:
- Openness to calling a rostered leader who is LGBTQIA+ and/or BIPOC
- Providing space/sanctuary for LGBTQIA+ community for weddings and blessings
- Making a meaningful financial contribution to ReconcilingWorks annually.
The complete statement is available inside the front cover of the bulletin and on the church website. Please reach out to Pastor Emily with any questions or ideas about how to continue to live into our commitment to be a welcoming community.
Our statement of welcome now reads:
First Lutheran Church is called to the ministry of reconciliation. We embrace as a gift the diversity of our neighborhood and the world. We celebrate our human family’s diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, faith history, economic status, marital status, physical and mental ability, and education.
We affirm that all people are created in the image of God and as beloved children of God, all are worthy of God’s love and grace. We welcome the full inclusion of all people in the life and ministries of First Lutheran as we journey toward reconciliation through Christ. We specifically welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and commit ourselves to the ongoing work of anti-racism.
We recognize that there are differences among us, but believe that we can love alike even though we may not think alike. We proclaim this statement of welcome to all who have known the pain of exclusion or discrimination in the church and society.
We invite all people to join us in our faith journey toward greater love, understanding, and mutual respect.