Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 31 is Reconciling In Christ Sunday

Every year, the welcoming community designates the last Sunday in January as Welcoming Sunday, which for us Lutherans means Reconciling in Christ Sunday is on January 31, 2010.
RIC Sunday is an opportunity to celebrate the witness to God's love for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Those celebrations will be echoed throughout the welcoming movements in many communities of faith.

Pastor David Eck, Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Fairview, North Carolina, has compiled some fantastic resources, including suggested readings, liturgy, prayers, hymns, and even MP3 music files to help in preparation. If your congregation has already planned something for the last Sunday of January, these materials will still be relevant and useful to celebrate at another time.

There is a bulletin insert that shares meaningful individual stories as well as information on the RIC and Reconciling Lutheran programs.

Additionally, this Sunday is an opportunity to:
  • Get a large number of people to identify themselves as Reconciling Lutherans. This is an individual declaration of a welcoming spirit. It transcends RIC congregations in the sense that the welcoming spirit is something the person carries wherever that person goes. Forms could be filled out and put in the offering plate, or laptops could be set up in a fellowship time. Forms are part of the bulletin insert.

  • Take up a special offering. The website asks you to consider an offering to support LC/NA''s continued work. Heaven knows we need the donations. However, the offering could be sent directly to the ELCA to assist it in a time when others, in their anger, are mounting an assault on the church by withholding benevolence in an attempt to hurt the church and those it serves. It is important that we seek to reduce the harm we see others deliberately setting out to do, particularly when the harm is directed at the innocent. Either option supports vital ministries within the ELCA.

  • Truly live out the welcome of the church by intentionally reaching out through advertising, word of mouth, your outdoor signage, any way you can to those who may have been injured or driven away by the barriers that are now set aside. You can use the current curiosity about ELCA congregations to advantage: get the word out that yours is a home people can safely return to, they are indeed welcome.
Full information and links to resources are found here.


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