Rev. Susan Debner
Sunday Worship Schedule
10:00 a.m. Worship
9:00 a.m. Sunday School & Adult Forum

Office Hours
8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Monday - Friday

Welcome Statement of Nokomis Heights Lutheran Church
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Nokomis Heights Welcome Statement and when was it adopted?
The following statement of welcome was adopted by the congregation of Nokomis Heights Lutheran Church at a special meeting of the congregation on October 30, 2011.

Nokomis Heights Lutheran Church is a community of the people of God, called to minister to all. We believe that the Gospel is God’s gift to all people, to be shared unconditionally, without regard to cultural or ethnic background; race; sexual orientation; gender identity; physical or mental abilities; socio-economic, marital, or family status; gender; or age. We welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, their partners and their families into full participation in the life and ministry of the congregation.

Christ calls us to reconciliation and wholeness. We are a Reconciling in Christ Congregation, challenged by the Gospel to be agents of healing within our society. We affirm, with the apostle Paul, that in Christ, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) We pledge to ourselves and to all others that we will strive to live as a reconciling people in our life together and in our outreach to the world.

What is the “Reconciling In Christ” (RIC) Program?
Reconciling In Christ (RIC) is a program of ReconcilingWorks that recognizes Lutheran congregations that clearly welcome believers of all sexual orientations and gender identities—i.e. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people—and their families. Because lesbian and gay people and their families often have been excluded or have felt excluded from our church community, they greatly appreciate the RIC roster when looking for “safe” places to worship. Both the Minneapolis and St. Paul area synods have called upon all congregations to consider becoming RIC.

How might becoming RIC change our congregation?
Being designated as an RIC congregation will not change the mission, traditions, theology, teachings, or worship style of Nokomis Heights. However, working to become a congregation that is intentionally welcoming to LGBT people and their families has the potential to revitalize our congregation. As a result of adopting a Welcome Statement, we may see new families join our congregation, since many people (no matter if they are LGBT themselves or not) are looking for a place where they can worship knowing that the baptismal promise of love and salvation in Christ Jesus is offered to all of God’s children.

How do we publicize the fact that we are an RIC congregation?

Nokomis Heights includes the statement on our website, along with the RIC logo. We also include the statement (or an abbreviated version of it) in our bulletins, in our hymnals, and in other publications that explain the mission of our congregation.

All people are welcome in our congregation. Why should we focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people?
The RIC Program does not seek special treatment for LGBT people. However, the reality is that we live in a time where voices of misunderstanding often dominate the public discussion about sexuality. Tragically, these voices are often the ones heard most loudly and are sometimes taken to be definitive of what it means to be Christian. For example, in spite of the ELCA’s 2009 adoption of a statement on sexuality, the media continues to focus on Lutheran churches who have chosen to publicly put up barriers to the inclusion of LGBT people, and sometimes even their parents, families, and friends.
As a result, many LGBT people have learned that they are not welcome in any Lutheran church unless they are told (and shown) otherwise. Even a broad statement of welcome that says “everyone is welcome” is often heard by LGBT people as really meaning “everyone but me,” so it takes a special effort to communicate the same welcome to this community. The RIC program seeks to make known congregations where people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are truly welcomed.

What does the Bible say about all this?

We believe that, as a community of the people of God, we are called to minister to all people in our world, knowing that the world is often an unloving place of alienation and brokenness. Called by Christ to reconciliation and wholeness, we are challenged by the Gospel to be agents of healing within our society. We affirm with the apostle Paul that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28). Christ has made us one. We acknowledge this reconciliation extends to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

What is the mission of the Welcoming Group?
The Welcoming Group of Nokomis Heights Lutheran Church is working to find ways to welcome those who have been excluded or have felt excluded from our church community, particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their families.