Striving to help build inclusive congregations through a ministry of graceful engagement, faithful conversations and educational hospitality, ELCA women attended a workshop to learn more about “ReconcilingWorks,” an organization initially established in 1983 as a way for Lutheran congregations to publicly declare their welcome to gay and lesbian people. The workshop was held July 26 at the Ninth Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA.
“We must welcome everyone to the love of God,” said Anita Hill, workshop trainer. “That means welcome everyone, even the LGBTs (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgendered) as you would want to be welcomed to a new church.”
About 70 percent of young people do not believe churches have enough acceptance towards LGBTs, she said. There are ways to help though. ReconcilingWorks offers a multi-step program that has been proven to work.
“Our program that we offer to different congregations has many steps that all take different amounts of time,” said Zac Backer, another workshop trainer. “We understand that some congregations are ready to embrace this program and others may need more time, so we have three different options to choose from. All three have the same process and steps, but the expected duration of the process changes.”
“What if an acceptance of an LGBT brought on the renewal of your whole communities faith life,” said Backer “It will take time to get everyone on board, but we will get there.”
Jeremy Lensing/ELCA News Service