Letter to RIC congregations and ministries June 2015
As a Reconciling In Christ (RIC) congregation or ministry, you have affirmed your welcome to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Thank you!
We are writing today to ask if your congregation or ministry has thought about extending this welcome by making plans to consider calling an LGBTQ pastor or other rostered leader. We hope you’ll check out our new resource, Enrich & Transform: Welcoming LGBTQ Candidates into the Call Process.
Since the ELCA’s change in ministry policies in 2009, a growing number of LGBTQ people have entered or returned to Lutheran ministry. Many people who never thought they could be pastors are now in seminary or have recently finished seminary. Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (www.elm.org) is currently working with over 50 LGBTQ seminarians and another 125+ LGBTQ pastors and other rostered leaders. Unfortunately not enough congregations have made intentional plans about being open to calling these leaders. We don’t want the church to miss out on their gifts!
And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15
ELM’s Ministry Engagement Program has prepared this guide for call committees to help them include LGBTQ candidates in their call process. We encourage you to take a look at Enrich & Transform, available on the homepage of our website under Resources and linked HERE. It is also useful for congregations not currently in transition to begin thinking and talking about the how they might grow into their welcome of LGBTQ people, including in their pastoral and leadership roles.
We hope that you will read it and find it useful in your setting. It is important that congregations think and talk about what it would mean to call an LGBTQ leader long before a call process begins. We have found it to be very helpful when a congregation makes a decision about this before you are considering a specific LGBTQ candidate.
For more information or to connect further, please be in touch. We look forward to working together.
With gratitude for your witness and partnership,
Margaret & Jen