“What do we mean when we say, ‘All Are Welcome?’” “Is it okay that we don’t have anything in our Wedding Policy which addresses same-sex weddings?” “What is Conversion Therapy?” “What do all those letters –LBGTQ - mean?” “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?” “How do we go about becoming a ‘Reconciled In Christ’ congregation?” “We’d like to look into calling an LGBTQ pastor. How do we do that?” “How do we better love our children and grandchildren?”
A little about ourselves
Three years ago our Bishop, Tom Aitken, had a vision of a way our Synod could be more proactive in helping congregations become comfortable with LGBTQ+ rostered candidates, with an eye towards calling these talented people into our Synod. Bishop Tom invited a group of people, both clergy and lay, including heterosexual and LGBTQ+ to form a Team. Our original purpose was to be a point of first contact, allowing congregations to explore with us the possibility of calling an LGBTQ+ rostered leader. Since then, we have been invited into dozens of congregations. Usually this means 2-4 members of the team will meet with congregation leaders and/or members, presenting information and answering questions. We have been learning ourselves along the way from wonderful, gifted leaders, many from “Reconciling Works” and “Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.” Our approach has been a humble one, that we are all here to learn how to be more open to the gifts for ministry of all God’s people. This past year has seen our work expand. We have produced study guides to deal with two of the 2019 NE Minnesota Synod resolutions, those which dealt with conversion therapy and with gender equity. We have responded to the need for congregations to make explicit their policy on same-sex weddings. And we have been particularly delighted with the inquiries we have had from congregations who want to pursue becoming a “Reconciled in Christ” congregation. (RIC congregations are explicit in their welcome of LGBTQ+ people.) Our Team is available to come to your congregation, to discuss any of the above topics. Please contact us through the Synod office if you have questions, or would like to book the Team for your congregation.
Respectfully, Pastors Judy Anderson-Bauer and Cheryl Fleckenstein, co-chairs
If you're just learning about sexuality, gender, and all these other things, they can be a little hard to remember. We have identified the LGBTQIA+ acronym below: Also click here for a glossary of terms! L - Lesbian. Lesbian is a term used to refer to homosexual females. G - Gay. Gay is a term used to refer to homosexuality, a homosexual person, or a homosexual male. B - Bisexual. Bisexual is when a person is attracted to two sexes/genders. T - Trans. Trans is an umbrella term for transgender and transsexual people. Q - Queer/Questioning. Queer is an umbrella term for all of those who are not heterosexual and/or cisgender. Questioning is when a person isn't 100% sure of their sexual orientation and/or gender, and are trying to find their true identity. I - Intersex. Intersex is when a person has an indeterminate mix of primary and secondary sex characteristics. A - Asexuality. Asexuality is when a person experiences no (or little, if referring to demisexuality or grey-asexuality) sexual attraction to people. + - The "+" symbol simply stands for all of the other sexualities, sexes, and genders that aren't included in these few letters.