ReconcilingWorks has an amazing team of volunteer regional coordinators who are excited to accompany your faith community along its welcoming journey. If you have a question about what this process might look like for your community or about the Reconciling in Christ process, please email the volunteer regional coordinator in your area.
If you are not sure which region to which you belong, please click the map to the right or give the central office of ReconcilingWorks a call at 651-665-0861.
Co-Regional Coordinator US-1
Mary Ann Nelson
Mary Ann (she/her) is a recently retired early childhood educator and a life-long Lutheran. She lives in southwestern Washington in Wahkiakum county where there isn't a stop light in the whole county. She has been involved with ReconcilingWorks since when the Portland Metro Chapter formed. Mary Ann is active in Lower Columbia PFLAG and is a board member of the Southwestern Washington Synodical Women of the ELCA. She lives in Cathlamet, Washington with her husband Rick, and they attend Stella Lutheran Chapel in Longview, Washington. Her son and son-in-law were recently married and live in Seattle Washington. Her younger son lives in Oakland California. Mary Ann looks forward to sharing the RIC program in the Southwestern Washington Synod.
Co-Regional Coordinator US-1
(he/him) After 21 years of congregational ministry and 16 years of marriage, I came out as gay. I was shocked! While going through the divorce I relocated to Seattle where we had previously served in the Northwest and slowly began to bridge the gulf between my faith and my sexual orientation. It was at that time I was offered the opportunity to serve as the chaplain director for Open Door, a unique ministry of the Northwest Washington synod, helping to build bridges between the church and the LGBTQ community. Over the last 23 years the Northwest Washington synod has become RIC and there are 38 congregations that have reached the RIC Milestone and 5 that are on the journey.
Regional Coordinator US-2
The Rev. Elaine Watskey
Elaine (She/her) is an ELCA pastor, having served as a parish pastor in Arizona and then as Assistant to the Bishop for Candidacy in the Grand Canyon Synod. Because the Church should be a truly welcoming place for all people, Elaine has felt called to share the inclusive message of Jesus throughout her life and ministry. A Kansas native and a former Missouri businesswoman, whom God called to public ministry later in life, Elaine lives with her husband Joe in Phoenix where they keep the airlines busy flying to Oklahoma City to see their beloved daughter, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren.
Regional Coordinator US-4
Anita Larson Andres
Anita Larson Andres (she/her) grew up in rural Minnesota. Anita has also lived in California, Wyoming and finally in Nebraska for over 30 years. She is a member of Shepherd of the Hills (ELCA) in Omaha. Her lifelong concern for social justice issues pulled her to political involvement, anti-war and feminist issue organizations, LGBTQ ally support, and local church in-reach and outreach activities. Avoidance of God’s call only lasts so long. Anita is now serving in a part-time lay ministry capacity to a rural Nebraska church, in addition to new excitement serving as RC for Region 4. She is a Stephen Ministry Leader, has volunteered within the Nebraska Synod, supports Christian presence in the Tri Faith Initiative, and answers calls for assistance as needed in her church and local community. Retired for nine years from a 37 year career in telecommunications, Anita currently lives with her grandcat on a hill near Omaha. She has two adult daughters living in California and Newfoundland, providing perfect vacation destinations.
Co-Regional Coordinator US-5
Ruth (She/her) is the Region 5 Coordinator. Raised in a third-generation Lutheran Pastor family, she has been actively involved in working for full inclusion of the LGBT community in her home congregation of Messiah in Marquette, MI, as well as across the synod prior to accepting the position as Regional Coordinator for ReconcilingWorks. A member of her congregational council, she previously served as an advisor to the Synod Youth Council (currently known as LYO), a voting member of the inaugural ELCA Churchwide Assembly, on the Synod Sexuality Task Force, and is currently working with her own congregation towards becoming an RIC Congregation. Ruth is a social worker currently working for the Alzheimer’s Association, providing services throughout the Upper Peninsula of MI (the part connected to WI). When not hiking the lakeshore or in the woods with her Newfoundland, Ruth can be found on Lake Superior in her kayak.
Co-Regional Coordinator US-5
Mary Ann Caruso
(she, her) I am from the western suburbs of Chicago. I spent most of my life as National Account Sales Manager in a Foodservice company. I was raised a Catholic. In 2007 I found my new church home at Trinity Lutheran in Warrenville, IL an RIC community. I met my partner who was from Rock Island, IL. She and I moved to the Quad City and I started to look for a church home in that area. There were no RIC congregations! I found my calling. I want help congregations to open their hearts to the LBGTQ community, because someone out there is searching for God, for a community, a home, the same as I was.
Regional Coordinator US-6
Merton is a life-long Lutheran, starting his activist gig in high school as president of his home church’s Luther League. While his day job is in materials management for a hospice in Ann Arbor, MI his passion is for everyone to know there is a place for them here, in this place that is Christ’s church, this place we call Lutheran. His first contact with RIC was at Lord of Light Lutheran church in Ann Arbor, already a long term RIC congregation, where he learned anew about God’s welcome for all people, a place, he says, that changed his life forever. That led to involvement with ReconcilingWorks at the local Great Lakes chapter and as a Regional Director in the 1990s. Currently, he is a member of the SE Michigan Synod’s Diversity Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression. He is passionate about RIC and excited about the work that still needs to be done, the widening and deepening of the welcome that RIC is. Mert looks forward to meeting folks in Region 6 and invites everyone to join him as we journey together to this new place.
Co-Regional Coordinator US-8
Scott Binde (he/him) was born and raised in rural North Dakota. He has long felt a call for social justice work, and after college went to Cameroon, Africa, to serve with the Peace Corps. Now Scott is a mathematical statistician for the Agricultural Marketing Service in Washington, DC. He first became involved with ReconcilingWorks through his local chapter fourth-Sunday worship service. Soon thereafter, he attended the assembly in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2002 and then became more active with the organization. Scott has been the Regional Coordinator for Region 8 since 2008 and has enjoyed fulfilling his call to help the church live up to its calling to love and care for all God’s children.
Co-Regional Coordinator US-8
Ken Neundorf (he/him) was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. He is a lifelong Lutheran. He struggled for many years with his sexual orientation and when he finally came out, was chased out of his home congregation. He found ReconcilingWorks and has been a faithful member since 2000. He serves as the convener of the Pittsburgh Chapter. His faith and trust in God has led him to dedicate his life to creating a world where the next generation will not feel they have to hide like he did. He is a member of Saint Andrew Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh, PA. He currently serves on the church council as the Financial Secretary. On the synod level, he recently finished serving on the council of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod and is currently a member of the synod’s Congregational Life Committee.
Regional Coordinator US-9
Wayne Morris (He/him) is a Florida native. He was raised in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod but left the church in the '80s. For years, he felt God’s constant beckoning call to return, and finally he answered. Wayne chose the ELCA and became a member of St. Paul’s in Clearwater, Florida, in 2002. Three years later St. Paul’s became Reconciling In Christ. Wayne became involved in the movement for full inclusion after attending his first RIC training at St. John’s Atlanta. He has been the Region 9 RIC Coordinator since 2007. After years of prayer, Wayne finally met Steve, his life partner, in 2006. They were the first to hold a blessing service and commitment celebration in the Sanctuary at St. Paul’s. Wayne and Steve both work in laboratories at the local blood center and attend St. Mark Lutheran Church in Dunedin, Florida.