Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Communities
Faith Communities on Their Journey to Become RIC
The Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program is for congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other Lutheran organizations. Lutheran communities that publicly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people by having a statement affirming this welcome by specifically saying either, "LGBT" or "people of all sexual orientations and gender identities" in their statement, are accepted onto the Reconciling in Christ list which now around 855 settings.
Most faith communities begin the process of consideration by engaging in a study program or series of educational meetings. Hearing the experiences of LGBT people and their families often creates greater understanding and insights.
The RIC Journey:
1. Begin a conversation
The RIC journey begins when only one person in a faith community wants to specifically welcome LGBTQ people into their midst.
The best place to begin is with the Building an Inclusive Church (BIC) toolkit and training. Drawing on over 30 years of experience, the BIC is a step-by-step guide to facilitate a RIC journey in your faith community. It also includes a Congregational Assessment Survey to determine an appropriate pace for your journey. Step one can take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years. Tools on the RIC Resources page will assist you during the steps of the welcoming church journey. You can always reach out to a staff person at ReconcilingWorks or your Volunteer Regional Coordinator.
2. Write and pass a welcome statement
After your community has completed some education, discussion, and mutual discernment, you are ready to write a welcome statement specifically naming "LGBT" or "people of all sexual orientations and gender identities." You are invited to include more identities in your welcome statement if your community discerns an even wider welcome. Our Sample Affirmation Statements resource will help you in creating a beautiful and rewarding statement.
Once the statement has been written, approve the welcome statement in a way congruent with how your faith community passes resolutions. Most times this is by a community-wide vote, but this could also be by a council, board, or other governing body.
3. Proclaim your welcome
After the welcome statement is adopted, let ReconcilingWorks know by filling out this RIC Profile Survey. A staff member will be in touch with you to review the survey, confirm that the language meets our standards, and answer any additional questions before your faith community is added to the roster of RIC participants. The RIC roster is publicly displayed on our web site and is distributed appropriately as a witness to the community and the church at large. Download the RIC logos here.
A welcoming journey never ends.
RIC communities are often the communities asking "Who is marginalized in our church and society?" and "What might we learn about God from people different than us?" You're RIC! Now what? and ReconcilingWorks' Dismantling Injustice web page are great resources to continue the welcoming and hospitality conversations.