Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A new RIC community, University Lutheran Church

We are pleased to announce our newest RIC community – "University Lutheran Church" in Gainesville, Florida.

University Lutheran is the congregation that serves the University of Florida's student body. They recently voted unanimously to extend a formal welcome to the LGBTQ community! 

Each year the University Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry is engaged in a very extensive mission of Out+Reach through their activities and their many contributions. Service involves many local programs and CM mission trips domestic and abroad; contributions include support for Luther Springs in Florida, for the Lazarus Project in Haiti, for the Florida-Bahamas Synod, and for ELCA “World Hunger” that goes worldwide. They also recently partnered with another local congregation and distributed 300 lunches and packages of supplies to local homeless residents in honor of the Evangelical Church of America’s 25th anniversary.

Please join us in welcoming University Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry to the RIC community!

Go Gators!

Monday, September 30, 2013

A new RIC community, Immanuel Lutheran Church

The Reconciling In Christ program continues to expand! We are pleased to announce our newest RIC community – "Immanuel Lutheran Church" in Kansas City, Missouri.

Immanuel is a vibrant and diverse congregation of believers from throughout the metropolitan Kansas City area and is dedicated to presence and service in the city's core. Since they are only a block from State Line Road, Immanuel has members from both Missouri and Kansas. 

Immanuel frequently gives back to the community by participating in service projects each year. They even host their own Bach Cantata each year.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A new RIC community, American Lutheran Church

We are excited to announce our newest RIC congregation: American Lutheran Church in Burbank, California! 

American Lutheran has been rooted in Burbank for over 70 years on Whitnall Highway on the corner of Clark and Hollywood Way. But their identity is much more than just our location. Before the very first followers of Jesus were called Christians they were known as "People of the Way." American Lutheran claims this identity as they go back to the very beginning following the One who called himself “the way, and the truth and the life.”

American Lutheran Church continues to be a light to the community by participating in a walk to end poverty, a food drive, a homeless awareness campaign called "Cardboard City," and partner with Burbank Temporary Aid Center, Lutheran Social Services, Family Promise, and Burbank Coordinating Council thought the year for other service projects. They also offer many different opportunities for fellowship within its congregation.

Learn more about American Lutheran by watching this video.

Please join us in welcoming, American Lutheran Church to the RIC community!

Monday, September 16, 2013

A new RIC community, First Lutheran Church of the Trinity

We are excited to announce our newest RIC congregation: First Lutheran Church of the Trinity in Chicago, Illinois! 

First Trinity
 is a diverse church with a rich history of reaching out to the community. Serving the Bridgeport, Chicago neighborhood since 1865, they have advocated for justice and all God's creation with events such as "Occupy the Dream!, Earth Day Clean & Green, Rock against Racism, and Beer and Bible Study."

First Trinity is also a leader in responding to hunger and homelessness in their community as many people suffer from a crashed economy, job loss, or the inability to find work. Each Sunday evening, members of the congregation prepare a hot meal for homeless members in the community. Afterwards they deliver 50-100 sack-lunches to neighbors who were not at the meal. Although this project began with a dozen folks, it has grown to 50 within a year thanks to youth groups and volunteers across from across state.

Please join us in welcoming First Lutheran Church of the Trinity to the RIC community!

Monday, September 9, 2013

A new RIC community, Mustard Seed House Churches

We are pleased to announce our newest RIC community – "Mustard Seed House Churches" in Loveland, Colorado.
From loaded tater discussion groups, bicycle blessings, and food drives at the local craft brewery, Mustard Seed House Churches are already present in the Loveland community. Following Jesus' example, community service, advocacy, and accompaniment are a huge part of life at Mustard Seed House Churches. 

They have applied for status as a Synodically Authorized Worshiping Community with the ELCA and will begin their worship life in October. This means that their welcoming status as a "Reconciling in Christ" community is a foundational aspect as they continue to develop and grow.

All are welcome. And they mean it! For more information visit: www.facebook.com/mustardseedhousechurches.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A new RIC congregation, Light of the World Lutheran Church

The Reconciling In Christ program continues to expand! Join us in welcoming Light of the World Lutheran Church, the first RIC setting in Dakota County, Minnesota.  “All are welcome—no exceptions!” has been the tagline that has grounded this congregation during their time of pastoral transition.  The RIC program is another way they have chosen to live out this commitment.  We are grateful for their ministry in and around Farmington, Apple Valley, Lakeville and Rosemount.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Life at the Intersection – July 17, 2013 Michael Cobbler

Last month, our only son Daniel graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Acting (with distinction) from DePaul University in Chicago. Eight years ago, he graduated from Valparaiso (Indiana) University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Humanities. Twelve years ago, he graduated from Valparaiso High School with a concentration in music and drama. I am a very grateful and proud father, and his mother, the Rev. Dr. Thelma H. Megill-Cobbler, STS, is very grateful and proud, also. Now, he seeks to find employment in the field he loves, in the city he loves (Chicago), as he blazes a path to eventually support his parents in the lifestyle to which we would like to become accustomed (smile)! 

The parents, caregivers and loved ones of Trayvon Martin have no such hope.  That hope was lost last year when he was shot in the chest by George Zimmerman. This past week, Mr. Zimmerman was found not guilty of the charges resulting from that action this past week, and I am very, very sad that the verdict rendered affirmed and embraced the tacit acceptance of gun violence in this nation, hidden under the guise of "self-defense." In the block and neighborhood watches I participated in over the years, I was not "packing heat," nor was anyone else to my knowledge, and I am talking about locales such as Columbus, OH, Camden, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, East Orange, NJ, Bronx, NY, and,  of course, Brooklyn, NY. We were not "neighborhood interventionists," we were not law enforcement--we were "the eyes and ears of the neighborhood or block." If we saw something, we reported it to the police. If we saw activity that we deemed as "suspicious," we told other neighbors and law enforcement, so many eyes could be watching and many ears could be listening. This verdict, however, has given credence to the simple act of walking through a subdivision unarmed as "suspicious activity." 

I get the profound sense these days that it is difficult to thrive, or simply survive, as a Black male in the United States of America. On the day we arrived in Valparaiso in 1997, Daniel started making beeping sounds from the back seat of the car. Then he said to no one in particular, "Do you hear that noise?" "What noise?" I asked. He then said, "That's the 'Black Alert'--two Black people coming into Valparaiso!" He was thirteen at the time, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Two months later, I was stopped by the police in Valparaiso twice in one week, and the week after that, I was "shadowed" by a guard in Walgreens--as if the mirrors they install just below the ceiling aren't enough.

When Thelma and I would be invited to dinner at her faculty colleagues' homes, conversation would always get around to our children. One time I was asked what my hope was for Daniel. I said, "I hope he will still be alive at twenty-one, and when he gets 'beat up in life,' the harm will not linger." Our hosts were amazed by that response, but such is the reality of being a Black male in America.

These days, I hope that Daniel simply lives through the day, for he lives in a city where there were seventy-four people shot with guns from July 3 to 7, resulting in twelve deaths. No son should be lost—no daughter should be lost—“just because.”

The British say that we Americans love the “three G's: God, guns, and government." They are absolutely right about one of those three, and as long as our love for that one of them prevails, our love for life will continue to diminish and decay. I, for one, do not wish at all to go down that path--I wish to love the first "G", and challenge the third. See you at the intersection.