Marriage for all loving, committed couples is quickly becoming the reality in the ELCA. Over 75 percent of all ELCA members live in states that recognize the marriages of same-gender couples and are members of 49 synods. By June of this year, when the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce a ruling, this percentage could be at 100.
Our church is witnessing an unprecedented opportunity for mission. Many LGBT couples, whether they be ELCA members or newcomers to the faith, are approaching ELCA pastors and congregations asking for the ministry of marriage and support for their families. Pastors are asking for appropriate liturgical and pastoral resources. Congregation members are looking for ways to sustain community and encourage the flourishing of family life.
This is why today’s ReconcilingWorks presentation to the ELCA’s “Working Group for Ministry to and with Same Gender Couples and their Families” is so important. The need is as great as ever to talk about what it means for our communities of faith to be in ministry with all God’s people.
Many congregations have been intentional in their welcome and outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, including the over 500 Reconciling in Christ congregations that have publicly declared their welcome and support. But there are still many congregations that have not had substantial conversations on how to offer pastoral care, how to support same-gender couples and their families, and how to address the needs for social and legal protections.
Thank you, ReconcilingWorks team: Interim Executive Director, Aubrey Thonvold; the Rev. Ann Tiemeyer and the Rev. William Hamilton!