Reconciling in Christ (ric)

Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). 

From the ELCA’s Mission & Vision page

“Inclusion and diversity – As Christ's church, we value the richness of God's creation and offer a radical welcome to all people, appreciating our common humanity and our differences. We are a church that does not view diversity as a barrier to unity. We recognize and will challenge dynamics of power and privilege that create barriers to participation and equity in this church and society – for women, people of color, minority ethnic groups, people with disabilities, people who are marginalized or living in poverty, and the LGBTQ community.


Courage and openness to change – Because we trust in God's promise and understand faith to be a living, daring confidence in God's grace, we are emboldened to embrace learning and change in our spiritual and institutional journey as church. This means we are open to new ways and willing to take risks to discover God's plan for this church.” 


From the ELCA's About the ELCA page:
Church Together- As church together, we faithfully strive to participate in God’s reconciling work, which prioritizes disenfranchised, vulnerable and displaced people in our communities and the world.


YOUR RIC QUESTIONS: ANSWERED

The RIC leadership has created this document to provide notes from RIC events so far and answer questions that have come up from members. This document will be updated as new events take place!


RIC WELCOME STATEMENT WORKSHOP JAN. 6


Thank you to all who participated in the RIC Welcome Statement Workshop on Jan. 6. The workshop offered the opportunity to discuss five draft statements written by members of the RIC Committee and provide additional feedback to be considered in preparation of the final draft statement, which will be voted on at a later date. 


WATCH THE NOV. 12 PASTORS PANEL

A recording is now available on Our Saviour's YouTube channel of the special pastors panel on RIC that took place Sunday, Nov. 12, in Fellowship Center. Pastor Brian, Pastor Elisabeth and Pastor Ben answered member-submitted questions about Reconciling in Christ and offered their thoughts on what RIC designation could mean for Our Saviour's. Watch the recording HERE.


From the ELCA: Resources for the LGBTQIA+ community


WHAT IS RIC? 

Reconciling in Christ (RIC), established in 1983, is a program through which Lutheran faith communities can publicly commit to welcoming people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions and to working for racial equity. 


In 2022, Our Saviour's Church Council gave permission for a congregant-led RIC leadership team to engage church members in dialogue about RIC and explore whether Our Saviour's has interest in becoming a recognized RIC Partner. New members are welcome! Contact ricjourney@oursaviours.com for more information. Note: If approved by Church Council, a congregational vote about becoming an RIC-designated church would likely take place in June 2024.


Currently, according to St. Paul, Minnesota-based ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation, more than 1,000 faith communities are designated as RIC Partners, and nearly 300 are exploring partnership. Find more information about RIC nationally at ReconcilingWorks' website.


FAQ ON RIC

WHY PURSUE RIC DESIGNATION? WHY WORK WITH RECONCILING WORKS?

We want to make it clear that ALL are truly welcome by naming them as we follow Christ’s message to love our neighbor as ourselves. We want our family and friends to know that OSLC is a safe place, where they will be recognized as children of God. 


ReconcilingWorks, founded in 1983 and affirmed by the ELCA, has helped other churches on the RIC path. Their mission is to reach out to all Lutherans, including those of all gender identities, races and abilities. An RIC Partner designation would make clear and make public that Our Saviour's Lutheran Church is truly a safe and welcoming place for all. 


WHY NOW?

Led by advocates, activists and voices of courage within faith communities who have worked to break down barriers that over many years have prevented the full participation in ministry and fellowship of a variety of individuals, the Church has evolved and continues to evolve its policies and practices. We seek to make it clear for all of those within our faith community and for those looking for a church home that they are welcome at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church and that we affirm them as beloved children of God.  


WHAT DOES BECOMING AN RIC PARTNER ENTAIL?

Becoming an RIC partner involves making a series of commitments. With an RIC designation, we would agree to:

1) Be specific in our welcoming statement to include all genders and races;

2) Be open to calling an LGBTQIA+ individual or a person of color to serves as pastor or on staff;

3) Allow LGBTQIA weddings and blessings to take place at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

4) Make an annual contribution to the RIC program. These funds would "pay it forward to other churches that, like us, are using educational resources to go through the RIC process. The amount, to be decided by our church, need not come from the church budget but can instead come from a special collection and/or be contributed by individuals. No one will be required to contribute.


WHAT WOULD THE RIC PROCESS LOOK LIKE AT OUR SAVIOUR'S?

The RIC leadership team has begun conversations with our church community about RIC and why RIC Partner designation is being pursued. Following community conversation and work to provide various RIC education opportunities, the committee would:

1) draft a welcoming statement

2) conduct a church survey--is the congregation ready to move to a vote?

3) hold a congregational vote

4) pending voting results, celebrate and publicize RIC Partner designation

5) continue working to find ways to be welcoming.


WHAT ARE THE "CLOBBER VERSES"? PERSPECTIVES ON WHAT THE BIBLE DOES AND DOESN'T SAY ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY

For a thought-provoking look at how several Old Testament and Biblical scholars read passages often used against individuals who identify as LGBTQ, check out a new resource,

"The Outreach Guide to the Bible and Homosexuality."

RIC resources

Watch this video version of the presentation from the RIC info forums held in January 2023.