Church Council Votes to Clarify Welcoming Statement

At Grace Lutheran we strive to be welcoming to all people. At the 6/11/2015 council meeting we clarified our welcoming-statement by voting to sanction same gender marriage ceremonies in our sanctuary. I am pleased to say this motion passed unanimously. In discerning this question the council looked at our own statement of welcome, the history of the ELCA’s position on being welcoming to all and to our recent table conversations with the congregation last fall where we discussed the possibility of becoming a Reconciling in Christ Congregation*.

When same gender marriage became legal in Minnesota in 2013, the synod asked each congregation’s council to decide if they would welcome same gender marriages in their church. Our council has discussed the issue many times since then but never voted on it. During this transition time the synod urged us to decide on this issue. In 1991 the ELCA church-wide assembly passed a resolution stating “Gay and lesbian people, as individuals created by God, are welcome to participate fully in the life of the congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” Our mission statement at Grace Lutheran says we want to create a welcoming faith community. In order to be clear that we are welcoming all people at Grace Lutheran we have voted to sanction same gender marriages in our sanctuary.

This action is not the same thing as becoming a Reconciling in Christ Congregation*. We will continue to discuss this issue with all of you and are working on plans for more discussion or possibly a bible study.

Beth Breiter, Council President
Grace Lutheran Church

*The Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program is for congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other Lutheran organizations. RIC recognizes Lutheran communities that publicly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender believers. According to the organization’s website, the complete Reconciling in Christ Roster now exceeds 600 settings, including congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other organizations.