ReconcilingWorks is excited to announce the first Reconciling in Christ (RIC) congregation in the state of Oklahoma: Servant’s Table in Tulsa! Laura Bunch, Core Team-Lay Leader for Servant’s Table, writes:
We are thrilled to be the first congregation in the state of Oklahoma to become Reconciling in Christ (RIC). When planning our new congregation, it was never a question about whether or not we should become an RIC congregation. From the very beginning, we wanted to avoid any misconception that being welcoming and inclusive is something we would have to work toward. We felt it should just “be” us.
Living in the Bible Belt, it saddens us to know how many churches say “all are welcome” but there’s still a big “but only if . . . “ Often the “but” is not spoken until you get in there; then it can be spoken quite loudly. We know many are angry at the Christian church for the way it treats LGBTQ folks, and they don’t want any part of a group like that. Servant’s Table wants to be a beacon that says “We are not like that!” We believe there are a lot of people that we can reach who may have been hurt by Christians. They need to know that God loves us all and is with us all. We want to create a space that is safe for all. We may fail at times, we may fall flat on our faces, but hopefully we will learn from our mistakes, dust off, and try again.
We welcome everyone, even if you are not sure of your beliefs, or what this whole God thing is about, if you haven’t been to church in a while or maybe never. We invite you to work together with others in mission, both inside and outside this church, and to serve rather than be served. If you’ve been hurt, disgusted, or just plain sick of the church in the past, we welcome you to our table. We welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. We welcome you no matter your age, race, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, physical abilities or lack thereof, doubts, favorite beer or even if you prefer White Zinfandel. As the bishop of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod, Michael Girlinghouse, says, “God loves you—period.” And so do we. Unless you’re a real jerk, then we’ll try real hard to love you.
Because of this new partnership with Servant’s Table, ReconcilingWorks has just FOUR states without a Reconciling in Christ partner: Alaska, West Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama.
Let’s work together to make sure ReconcilingWorks has the resources for outreach and education so that we can reach our goal of 10% of the ELCA being RIC by 2017 as well as all 50 states having at least one community of faith committed to welcoming all people.
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