In 2001, the New England Synod became a Reconciled in Christ Synod. It was an intentional decision, not without dissent, to be a leader in the acceptance, welcome and full embrace of LGBT persons. Since then this synod has welcomed many of the finest leaders who identify as LGBTQ - both lay and clergy. I am continual impressed with all of our leaders, and candidly, could not imagine this synod without the many fine pastors, deacons, choir members, property team, Tuesday quilters, lay leaders, hunger outreach persons who make this synod so exceptional. Thank you. God has indeed blessed us by your ministry.
Today at our Synod Council, based on a prompting from Reconciling Works, we adopted updated language to our RIC synod status.
We affirm that people of all gender identities and sexual orientations share the worth that comes from being unique Individuals created by God;
We affirm that this synod encourages all of its ministries to welcome people of all gender identities and sexual orientations into membership upon making the same affirmation of faith;
We affirm that, as members of ministries of this synod, people of all gender identities and sexual orientations are expected and encouraged to share in the abundant life within this church, rooted in the Word and Sacraments;
We resolve to identify as a ‘Reconciling in Christ’ synod;
We urge all ministries of this synod to affirm their welcome of people of all gender identities and sexual orientations and to make that welcome known in appropriate ways, making use of such materials that are available from Reconciling Works and other LGBTQ+-affirming organizations.
During our discussion, one of the questions raised was whether or not we should include ‘ia’ in the ‘LGBTQ+’ We chose not to because we as a Synod Council did not believe we as a synod could honestly claim a full embrace of ia, i.e. intersex and asexual. (A helpful introductory article explaining LGBTQIA+ can be found here.) Let me be clear, it’s not that we oppose, denigrate or antagonistic this section of the full breadth of humanity. Not that at all. Rather, we were attempting to be honest. Yes. Could we honestly say that we as a synod have done the good, necessary and vital work of engaging, learning and living into this portion of the LGBTQIA acronym? We believed that we have work to do, and want to do this work. In my view, this pause, before simply adopting something we have not fully engaged would be disingenuous. As a way of indicating our support of desiring to grow in this area, we decided to add the +. It was articulated that the added + would affirm all persons as well as further understanding. This entire conversation was largely lead by younger members of the Synod Council who were thoughtful, and patient in their educating supportive older members of the council.
I will confess my own need for growth in understanding the full breadth of human sexuality. I’m looking forward to deepening my own appreciation. We are indeed, always being shaped in ways that help us grow as God’s people.