Dear fellow disciples,
This past August 1 marked the 18th anniversary of when Trinity became an RIC (Reconciling in Christ) congregation.
This is something to celebrate - and, the reality is: many of the folks who are part of the Trinity community today have no idea what that means! Maybe that includes you.
In addition, the current climate/culture/context within which we are called as part of God's ministry has changed immensely in 18 years - even in the past 3! So, we are going to re-engage and re-visit what it means for Trinity to be an "RIC congregation" - together.
First, then: what is RIC?
RIC is a program that comes from the non-profit organization, Reconciling Works: Lutherans for Full Participation. As an organization, their "strategic plan" includes:
Do Justice: We advocate for systemic change in policy and practice in church and society, working to alleviate not only the painful symptoms of oppression, but also to eliminate its root causes.
Walk Humbly: We provide safe space, a ministry of education, and advocacy toward moving the Lutheran church to be a more welcoming place.
Love Mercy: We support the Lutheran church to become a more welcoming place through graceful engagement with, and from within, all levels of church governance and polity.
Engage Gracefully: Through faith-based community organizing, we organize people and money to build power to bring about the change we seek.
The RIC program from Reconciling Works serves as a tool for congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, outdoor ministries and other Lutheran entities to intentionally engage in and commit to this work of justice, humility, mercy and grace for the inclusion of all people.
Trinity has already gone through the work of "becoming" an RIC congregation (in 2005), but we have some work to do as we consider what that means, how we continue that effort and what lies ahead for us as an RIC community, today.
There have already been initial conversations within the TLCS staff, Church Council and Reconciling Works about re-engaging with our RIC status.
For the coming year, TLCS (that is, the church and schools) will work to reassess, reimagine and recommit to what it means - today - to call ourselves an RIC community and align ourselves with the current purpose of the RIC program, which says:
... to ensure the welcome, inclusion, celebration, and advocacy for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions; work for racial equity and commit to anti-racist work and support the national program.
I look forward to your partnership in this effort. There is always work to do as disciples of Christ; and the work of building, belonging and becoming is always better when we do it together.
If you have questions or want to get involved in this work with the RIC program, don't hesitate to reach out to me. In Christ,