Friday, December 3, 2010

Pastors called to RIC church

Another RIC church is making headlines this week! Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa, WI has called Pastors Steve and Deb Ohrtman, who will be installed this Sunday December 5th. Steve reported that,
"When we drove up and saw the words on the marquee, 'All Are Welcome,' we knew this was the place we wanted to be!"
The pastors will be installed at both the 8:30 and 11am services, followed by a reception at 12:15pm. We rejoice with Mt. Zion and their pastors as they start a new chapter in their life together! Visit WauwatosaNOW here to read the full article, including more details on ministries of the congregation.


  1. I must point out that the news article from WauwatosaNOW is in error in one assertion that is repeated in this piece; and that is this: "Since the ELCA adopted the RIC position in 2009. . ." In fact, the ELCA did nothing like this in its actions in 2009. On the one hand, RIC was not part of any of the CWA decisions, neither in the Social Statement on Human Sexuality, nor in the ennabling resolutions, nor in the resolutions which resulted in the changing of ministry policies in the ELCA. To the best of my knowledge, the ELCA has never taken an official position regarding the RIC program, one way or another.

    And on the other hand, the ELCA is hardly unique in welcoming all who are sinners (meaning all human beings) to the foot of the cross to know and receive the overwhelming grace of God. The waters of baptism know no barriars of race, clan or gender. The ELCA has in its short lifespan issued several statements emphasizing that the church is to make that welcome known specifically to those who suffer discrimination in society, including those of different sexual orientations. But this did not begin in 2009. It "began" (if one is pressed to name a time) during the writing of the Holy Scriptures, at least as early as the time of St. Paul.

    But I do have to ask a troubling question: would someone who does not agree with the RIC interpretation of "Welcoming" be welcome?

    Erma Wolf
    ELCA Loyal Opposition

  2. Dear Erma,

    Thanks for your correction. The Wauwatosa news outlet has been notified of the error.

    You go on to ask, "Would someone who does not agree with the RIC interpretation of 'Welcoming' be welcome?"

    Our answer to this question is “Most definitely yes!”

    The work of reconciliation is at the core of the mission of Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA). For instance, a few months after the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, LC/NA began a new program called “First Resolved,” which calls upon all of our members to reach out to others regarding the decisions made at the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.

    “First Resolved” refers to the first and most important of the four "resolveds" of the policy recommendations adopted by the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly (CWA09): to "love the neighbor" and "bear one another's burdens," including those who may be unsure about their involvement with the ELCA.

    In all cases, we should resolve to reach out to others in love and grace, listening to their stories and telling our own so that we may come to renewed understanding together as the Body of Christ, overcoming estrangement and discord no matter what their sources may be.

    LC/NA does not only call people to be in relationship with others, it also teaches people new and more effective ways of doing so. LC/NA developed and participates in a nation-wide ecumenical training program called “Building and Inclusive Church,” which teaches people the power of building and deepening holy relationships. Many in the LGBT community have learned that the only way for abiding reconciliation to occur between people is to remain in relationship with them. Reconciliation takes time, respect, and relentless care. We believe that wherever and whenever two or more are gathered in Christ's name, the Holy Spirit will be present, stirring our hearts and minds to greater love of God and the neighbor.

    For 35 years LC/NA has never isolated itself from those who disagree with us. Nor have we threatened to lead an exodus from the denomination by those congregations who found the wait too long or the social statement well short of the advocacy needed for LGBT people in church and society. We have never called for congregations to withhold giving to the ELCA; in fact, we encourage additional mission support, especially in times like these.

    Since the August 2009 decisions, LC/NA has responded to requests for information, education, and pastoral care for members of congregations and synods where vocal groups opposing the apparent and growing tolerance within the ELCA have sought to divide, to withhold giving to the denomination, to force accepting pastors to resign, or ultimately to leave the ELCA. LC/NA has called its members to reach out to those disaffected by the August 2009 decisions with love and respect.

    "All this is from God who reconciled us through Jesus Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." - 2 Corinthians 5:18


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