Campus congregation reconciles LGBTQ members

Posted on Nov 22 2013 - 2:57pm by Guest Writer

By Kjersti Andreassen, News Writer

University Congregation became an official Reconciling in Christ church Sunday, welcoming the LBGT community into its student congregation.

Richard Jaech, the bishop of the Southwestern Washington Synod of the Evangelical Church in America, spoke at the church service.

Richard Jaech, bishop of the Southwestern Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, gives a sermon at University Congregation Sunday as the church was officially recognized as a “Reconciling in Christ” congregation. Photo by Josh Aten.

Richard Jaech, bishop of the Southwestern Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America, gives a sermon at University Congregation Sunday as the church was officially
recognized as a “Reconciling in Christ” congregation. Photo by Josh Aten.

Around 60 people attended — an unusually large turnout, as only 20-30 people usually attend University Congregation.

Nancy Connor, one of the university pastors, opened the service by saying this was “an auspicious moment in the University Congregation’s history.”

During his sermon, Bishop Jaech said the term ‘reconciling’ represents a goal the congregation has to continue working toward as a process of reconciliation that is not finished.

“We carry out God’s work when we welcome people,” Bishop Jaech said.

Bishop Jaech also spoke about his and his wife’s personal encounters with the LGBT community in discovering their son was
gay.

He ended by challenging the congregants to welcome everyone, especially those they disagree with.

Reconciling in Christ (RIC) is a program for Lutheran communities that publicly welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. According to the organization’s website, RIC advocates for full inclusion of LGBT Lutherans in all aspects of life in the church.

Pacific Lutheran’s University Congregation is the third of the 87 churches in the Southwestern Washington Synod of the ELCA to become an RIC congregation, university President Thomas Krise said after the service.

According to the RIC website, more than 500 congregations and other Lutheran organizations are on RIC’s roster.

Senior Tommy Flanagan, president of University Congregation Council, said former University Congregation president Ian McMichael started the process to become an official RIC church last spring. McMichael graduated last year.