What is RIC?
Begun in 1983, Reconciling in Christ (RIC) is a program for Lutheran communities of faith to answer the inclusive call of the Gospel by publicly welcoming people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Currently, there are over 880 settings of the Lutheran church on the RIC roster, including congregations, campus ministries, synods of the ELCA and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, one camp, other independent organizations, and colleges of the ELCA.
RIC Task Force
SOV’s Reconciling In Christ (RIC) Task Force invites you to take part in several upcoming opportunities for learning and sharing as we explore together what it would mean to become a Reconciling in Christ congregation. As our congregation embarks on a journey to develop an inclusive Welcoming Statement for future consideration and approval, and to explore the possibility of becoming an official RIC church, we invite all members to join us for these sessions. We know some of you may have questions about this journey, and each of these sessions has been prayerfully and thoughtfully designed to encourage respectful and faithful dialogue about how we might set God’s table for all here at SOVLC and extend faithful, intentional welcome to members of the LGBTQ community.
Session 1: RIC 101 "What Do You Say When Someone You Love Says: I'm Gay?”
In this first session, which we are calling RIC 101, our Task Force members Danielle Fairlee and Marsha Eubanks will briefly share their experiences as SOV members and as parents of adult children who identify as LGBTQ. We will then view a video from the late Bishop Emeritus Paul W. Egertson, Southwest California Synod ELCA, entitled "What Do You Say When Someone You Love Says: I'm Gay?” In the video, the Bishop shares the journey he and his wife Shirley took to understand what it means to have a gay son. Following the video, there will be time for prayer, reflection and Q&A, with support from our Pastor Brian Hiortdahl. We are offering Session 1 twice to give members the chance to attend, and we invite all SOV members to select whichever date/time is most convenient. (Note: We will provide a YouTube link to Bishop Egertson’s video afterward, for those unable to be present.)
If you were unable to attend one of the recent RIC 101 sessions hosted by SOVLC’s RIC Task Force, we invite you to view the video we shared from the late Bishop Emeritus Paul Egertson entitled “What Do You Say When Someone You Love Says: I’m Gay?”
View it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cD1J2u8t_E
Session 2: RIC 201 What Does the Bible Say,
and What Does This Mean?
For SOV members who wish to explore how Holy Scripture and our Lutheran faith address homosexuality and how the Bible guides our journey, we will offer a deeper look in a session we are calling RIC 201. Led by our Pastor Brian Hiortdahl, this session will provide opportunity to read, study, and consider difficult biblical passages together with honesty and care, as well as time for prayer, reflection, and for questions and answers. At the end of the session, Pastor Brian and members of the RIC Task Force will also be available to schedule one-on-one meetings for additional open and respectful dialogue for any congregants who request more conversation.
Session 3: RIC 301 with Bishop Guy Erwin
Wednesday, January 22, 6:30 PM in Founders Hall
Join us in welcoming The Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin, Bishop of the Southwest California Synod, as he reflects upon the implications of the RIC process for congregations and upon his own journey as the first openly gay bishop in the ELCA.
If you need ride assistance or are able to drive another member to and from the event, please contact the office at 818-347-6784 by Tuesday, January 21. We will make every effort to accommodate.
Background on SOV’s RIC journey:
As announced by our Church Council President during worship on Aug. 25, we have established a new Reconciling in Christ Task Force here at Shepherd of the Valley to consider ways we might improve our response to Christ's call to set God’s table for all, specifically when it comes to welcoming friends, family and community members who identify as LGBTQ. We are following the protocols for this process established by ReconcilingWorks (www.reconcilingworks.org), an independent Lutheran organization established in 1974 in St. Paul, MN and recognized by the ELCA.
Fact sheets about the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) program can be found here:
About the RIC program: https://www.reconcilingworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/RIC_FAQ_2019-Edits.pdf
“But We’re Already Welcoming…”: https://www.reconcilingworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Were-Already-Welcoming_2019-edits.pdf
The goal of SOV's RIC Task Force is two-fold:
To request congregational approval of a new welcoming statement for SOVLC. The new statement will specifically welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, very similar to the language that has been on the SOV website for some time.
To request congregational approval to become an official RIC congregation. This would including sharing our new and inclusive welcoming statement on the ReconcilingWorks.org website. In doing so, SOVLC would join more 880 RIC congregations and ELCA organizations, including our Southwest California Synod.
ReconcilingWorks is an independent Lutheran organization that advocates for the full welcome, inclusion, and equity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Lutherans in all aspects of the life of their Church, congregations, and community. You can read more about it at www.reconcilingworks.org.
To date there are more than 880 RIC congregations with more added every month.
Please visit the website and take a look at the map of RIC faith communities. It may surprise you to see where RIC congregations are thriving, even in areas of the country we might think of as traditionally very conservative.
Some SOV members and leaders may be familiar with ReconcilingWorks already, because it has an active presence at the annual National Youth Gathering, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly and the WELCA Gatherings.
Nearest to us, St. Luke’s Lutheran in Woodland Hills is a RIC congregation.