All are welcome!

A Reconciling in Christ Congregation

Saint Mark Lutheran Church

Reconciling in Christ Celebration

On Sunday, Nov. 20th, St. Mark celebrated the congregation’s Oct. 30th vote to become a Reconciling in Christ church, reaffirming our commitment to be welcoming to all people.

Parishioners celebrated with special music and readings in both worship services. Reconciling in Christ, a program of Lutherans Concerned/North America, recognizes Lutheran congregations that welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) believers. A LCNA representative presented the congregation with a certificate, acknowledging St. Mark’s RIC status, and songs were sung that emphasized the welcoming theme, including Marty Haugen’s “All Are Welcome.”

Both services included the following Reconciling in Christ litany, which incorporates the congregation’s RIC statement:

Pastor: Today we celebrate Christ’s welcome to all peoples.

Congregation: Today we gather to praise God for God’s Word spoken among us.

Pastor: Come, let us sing to the Lord;

Congregation: let us shout for to the rock of our salvation.

Pastor: We proclaim together our hope for our community of faith.  At Saint Mark Lutheran Church,

Congregation: we celebrate that Christ has made us one body with many members, all sharing in God’s grace and unconditional love.

Pastor: As a Reconciling in Christ congregation,

Congregation: we embrace all of God’s people, regardless of age, ethnicity, physical and mental abilities, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or economic circumstance.

Pastor: We believe we are all unique and worthy individuals created by God.

Congregation: We joyfully welcome you to join us in worship, prayer, study, service and fellowship.

Pastor: May we learn to live out these words even as we speak them. Come, let us sing to the Lord;

Congregation: let us shout for to the rock of our salvation.

Both services concluded with the hymn “Soon and Very Soon” as members of the congregation processed out of the sanctuary and gathered in front of the church’s sign where the RIC logo was added, next to the words “All Are Welcome,” as a signal to the community at large and as a reminder to ourselves that we must live out the welcoming statement. Voting to adopt RIC is not the end of a journey, rather, it’s a new beginning.

Pastor and company leading the congregation in “Soon and Very Soon”:

The Statesman Journal ran an article about Saint Mark’s Reconciling in Christ celebration in its November 26th edition (see St. Mark Lutheran welcomes gays, lesbians). The paper’s religion column published the day before included a mention of St. Mark’s RIC status, which drew several visitors to services. And Willamette University’s student newspaper, Collegian, also covered the RIC vote (see St. Mark’s opens its arms to the LGBT community).