On Jan. 29th, in a resounding unanimous vote at our Annual Meeting, Kent Lutheran Church decided to become a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) church. This vote represents the culmination of a nearly decade-long journey to become a church that is truly welcoming of all people.

As a congregation, we know what we stand for. We show this daily through our ministries and outreach. We do welcome all.

But it wasn’t enough to just feel or know that about ourselves. We needed to be able to share that with our community as well.

For many groups who have been consistently ostracized from church, especially the LGBTQ community, it’s not enough to simply say “you are welcome here”. Far too often, that invitation does not truthfully extend to them. They need to know we truly want them here, we want to worship next to them.  ELCA’s Reconciling in Christ program sends this message.

RIC began in 1983 with just a few churches and has now grown to include 700 congregations, colleges and organizations. We now join this list and are included in the online roster. Many within the LGBTQ community use this list as a way to find places of worship where they will feel safe and respected.

While our decision could mean everything to some in our neighborhood, it won’t change much within our congregation. We still stand for the same things today that we did yesterday. We are just now announcing it to the world.

For more information about the Reconciling in Christ program, visit the Resources section of their website.