As members and supporters of ReconcilingWorks, we rejoice and celebrate as we welcome the first Reconciling in Christ congregation in Louisiana: Peace Lutheran Church of Slidell!

“It was important that we make it known to ourselves and our community that, after discernment, we know this is the logical conclusion to the Gospel in which grace abounds for everyone—no asterisk!” said Senior Pastor Barb Simmers and Associate Pastor Sandra Barnes  (from left to right). This year, the congregation of Peace jubilantly celebrates Mardi Gras and their addition to the RIC roster.

Through their RIC Journey, Peace Lutheran Church has come to be known in their community as a congregation willing to publicly and intentionally show grace and love for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. In some cases, this has attracted people who cannot be out in their public lives, but know they can safely join worship each Sunday at Peace Lutheran as their true and authentic self.

Peace Lutheran Church has answered the call of the RIC program to be a prophetic voice of welcome in a number of ways. They will host an exhibit at a local wedding fair serving the New Orleans area, which will let people know Peace Lutheran is a place where every family can be blessed in their union under God. Peace also operates a community shelter, which opened in response to Hurricane Katrina. The congregation is hoping to extend this ministry to serve those suffering from mental illness and addiction. Peace is also discerning best practices in serving same-gender couples and their families through youth and family ministries. Speaking of the congregation’s RIC commitment, Pastor Barnes said, “We are stepping it up.”

Peace Lutheran Church is embodying what it means to be a Reconciling in Christ community and is embracing what we all, as members and supporters of ReconcilingWorks, hold dear to the mission and ministry of that program: a call for true and unconditional love for our neighbors, guided by the Holy Spirit, gifted to us by the grace of God through Christ.