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Rainbow_HeartWhat is the Reconciling in Christ program?

In 1984 Lutherans Concerned/North America started the Reconciling in Christ program to recognize Lutheran congregations which welcome lesbian and gay believers. The Reconciled in Christ roster has grown at an accelerated pace in recent years, since exceeding 100 Lutheran congregations in the U.S. and Canada. The program has also expanded to include 9 synods (ELCA) and other Lutheran organizations, such as the Lutheran Student Movement - USA.

All people are welcome here. Why should we single out gay and lesbian people? The Reconciling in Christ program doesn't seek special treatment for gay or lesbian people. The reality is, however, that we live in a time where the voices of fear and ignorance dominate the public discussion on human sexuality issues in our society. Most often these judgmental voices of irrational fear are all that is heard. In fact. Lutherans Concerned continues to learn of Lutheran churches that shun gay and lesbian people. Sometimes their parents and family are even vilified and attacked by church members.

As a result, it is assumed by most gay and lesbian people that they are not welcome in any church unless told otherwise. Even a general statement of welcome is heard as really meaning "everybody but me." The RIC program seeks to make clearer the policy of churches where all people are welcome as full members, regardless of their sexual orientation or their children's.

All people are welcome here. Why should we single out gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people?

The RIC Program doesn't seek special treatment for GLBT people. The reality is, however, that we live in a time where the voices of fear and ignorance dominate the public discussion of human sexuality issues in our society. Most often these judgmental voices of irrational fear are all that is heard. In fact, Lutherans Concerned continues to learn of Lutheran churches that shun GLBT people. Sometimes their parents and family are even vilified and attacked by church members.

As a result, it is assumed by most GLBT people that they are not welcome in any church unless told otherwise. Even a general statement of welcome is heard as really meaning "everybody but me," so it takes a special effort to communicate the same welcome. The RIC Program seeks to make clearer the policy of churches where all people are welcome as full members, regardless of their sexual orientation, their gender identity or that of their children, siblings or friends.

What is the Affirmation of Welcome?

The single element that is central to the program is the Affirmation of Welcome. It is simple, yet powerful in its witness. Any group that adopts it or a similar statement which includes the naming of GLBT people as welcome to full participation is eligible to be designated as Reconciling in Christ after review by Lutherans Concerned. Making the affirmation promotes a publicly inclusive ministry and helps heal the pain of doubt.

Sample Affirmation of Welcome

As a community of the people of God, we are called to minister to all people in our world, knowing that the world is often an unloving place. Our world is a place of alienation and brokenness. Christ calls us to reconciliation and wholeness. We are challenged by the Gospel to be agents of healing within our society.

We affirm with the apostle Paul that in Christ "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female" (Galatians 3:28). Christ has made us one. We acknowledge this reconciliation extends to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Because gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons and their families are often scorned by society and alienated from the Church, we wish to make known our caring and concern. It is for this purpose that we affirm the following:


  • that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities share the worth that comes from being unique individuals created by God;
  • that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are welcome within the membership of this congregation* upon making a common, public Affirmation of faith; and
  • that as members of this congregation*, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are expected and encouraged to share in the sacramental and general life of this congregation*.

* synod or organization