Monday, February 27, 2012

Trinity, Park Forest Becomes RIC

Over in the Chicago area we are pleased to be joined by the members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Park Forest, IL, our newest Reconciling in Christ congregation.

They tell us,
Trinity's community of faith welcomes and invites you and all people of: every age, every race, every culture, every ethnicity, every level of physical and mental ability, every sexual orientation and gender identity, every married, widowed, divorced, partnered or single status, every family make-up, every economic standing, every educational background, every political affiliation, and every other trait of human diversity that is open to God's call of unity and inclusiveness.  
Trinity's community of faith welcomes and invites Lutherans, non-Lutherans, life-long faithful Christians, new Christians, not-so-faithful Christians, those who are seekers of faith matters, those who are simply curious about faith matters, and those who embrace any combination of these or other traits of faith.
You are welcome to join them at 8:30 or 11am on Sunday mornings for worship, and education at 9:45am. Please send them your prayers!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New RIC Congregations in CA and AZ

This week we finalized the RIC status for both All Saints Lutheran Church in Sun Valley, CA and Christ the King Lutheran Church in Phoenix, AZ.

All Saints is excited to become Reconciling in Christ. They serve their community in part by hosting a learning center for preschool children and day camps during school breaks. Members worship together at 9:30am and share adult forum at 11am. The congregation is also host to other programs, including a "giving tree" to support local charities and causes.

He Qi, artist
Christ the King will be embarking on their first year in the local Pride March. The congregation has also been doing work with Eritrean refugees for some time now, and members of all nationalities worship together.

We at Lutherans Concerned are excited to welcome both congregations and grateful for the welcoming ministry they do.

Monday, February 13, 2012

When Will We Ever Learn?

The following is a guest post by the Rev. Richard C. Staats originally submitted as an opinion piece to the Arizona Republic. He and his wife Linda Staats will be leading a pre-event at ReconcilingWorks 2012 on couple care and marriage.

What we have yet to learn is far more wonderful than what we claim to be correct.  Remember the Bible and slavery?  The Bible and women?  The Bible and race?  The Bible and suffering?  The Bible and homosexuality?  Now it's the Bible and marriage.  Within today's Republic article entitled "Appeals Court Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Ban" is a statement that "the California ruling could eventually impact Arizona's law, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman" because "Arizona's courts fall under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit."

Most of my 70 years I lived within the misnomer that the story of Adam and Eve gave us the beginning of history.  Bibles still have "The First Man" and "The First Sin" as chapter titles. When I learned that God gave Moses the stories of Genesis for the people of Israel wandering in the wilderness before entering the promised land to teach them there is only one God, not all the feared gods of their neighbors, and that God is good, I began to see the story of Adam and Eve as teaching us the nature of God and the nature of evil.  All the stories up to Abraham deal with horrible, rampant evil and they teach us God's tolerance, grace and promise so that we might trust God and serve God.

So the story of Adam and Eve teaches us for why God creates couples, all kinds of couples, not to blame God and not to blame each other for evil, but to take good care of each other that together couples might take good care of God's creation.  Ah ha!  The definition of a couple!  And the reason for marriage is for community and church and government to support couples in their care for each other that they might serve God well.  The phrase in the song several decades ago: "When will we ever learn?"  Many churches and  many people of faith still teach marriage as one man and one woman. What I've learned, finally, is so correct and so wonderful!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Welcomes on Both Coasts

In the last couple of weeks we've been swamped with new Reconciling in Christ congregations- it's been a joy to speak with pastors and members from all over the country. This week we're honored to welcome Faith Lutheran Church of Junction City, OR; St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of New York, NY; and Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity of Vallejo, CA.

At Faith Lutheran in Oregon, you can find members together in Bible study, at worship at 10:30am Sunday mornings, and don't forget to check out a taste of the past in the original Faith Lutheran Cookbook, DANSK MAD!

At St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, you can attend a traditional service or a Sunday evening jazz service. They also host a coffee house and are reaching out to the local LBT community by hosting the AIDS Memorial March, hosting meetings for the Pride Parade and recognize both National Coming Out Day and Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Holy Trinity is a church on the move and just beginning a host of new activities. You should stop by to visit and find out more in person!

As always, we're incredibly grateful for the work of welcome done each day by these congregations and we hope you'll join us in supporting them in our thoughts and prayers.