By Archer Mumm and Ali Steger
The Lutheran Center is now a Reconciling in Christ community! The RIC program was started in 1974, advocating for LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC welcome and systemic change, working to address not only symptoms of oppression, but also root causes.
The LC did not become inclusive because we crafted the welcome statement; we crafted the welcome statement with the base of existing inclusivity. The unnamed people that came before us did that work, and we are grateful for the years of conversations. We are here to formalize our ongoing, public commitment, which will hold us accountable and show others that we will accept them for who they are. We recognize that the statement is not a switch that we flip to automatically become the perfect example of a wholly inclusive community, but this statement reflects our commitment to inclusivity.
We worked with Vicar Emma Grinde to begin crafting the welcome statement in October of 2020 and spent many hours on Zoom meticulously crafting the statement and discussing each phrase very intentionally. After several drafts and a lot of thesaurus usage, our next steps were to send out a form to gauge interest in a forum, and plan a forum that we would hold with students and the LC Governance Council. Our goals were to motivate our community to take action and be intentionally inclusive, educate our community about the RIC program, and explain how it is beneficial to tell others that we are inclusive.
Finally, we had the draft of the statement that we wanted to use. Note that this is not a true final draft, but one that can be reevaluated continuously in the future of the community. We held the forum in February 2021 and it was a success. The Governance Council voted to approve becoming an RIC community in late February! The statement will be posted on the website and in the building in several places. This proclaims to the community that we have an ongoing commitment to public welcome. Each January, an RIC Sunday will be planned, and a report on how the community is living out the welcome statement will be reviewed by the Governance Council each February. We are open about our acceptance of others, as signified by the giant stickers on the windows that can be seen from the street.
We are delighted that other campuses and national organizations are already following our example of becoming Reconciling in Christ, and we will be posting our artifacts collected from throughout this process on the website so we can truly lead by example.
“As an ally, it is important to be in spaces that accept everyone for who they are. The LC has always done that, but it was so meaningful and special to be a part of the committee that formalized this commitment in writing. I have grown throughout this process and have absolutely loved teaming up with Emma and Archer to lead us to become an RIC community.” -Ali Steger
“The LC has always been an incredibly welcoming community, but to have been a part of the process to become RIC means the world to me. I hope by becoming RIC, we are able to share God’s love with those who might have previously been wary of entering a worship space.” -Archer Mumm