RECONCILING IN CHRIST
A Resolution on Becoming a Reconciling in Christ Synod
Whereas the 2021 Arkansas Oklahoma Synod Assembly approved a resolution directing the Discipleship Team of the Synod Council to study the possibility of becoming a Reconciling in Christ Synod, and
Whereas the Discipleship Team created a task force to study this issue and come back with recommendations regarding this issue, and
Whereas this task force has met prayerfully over the past two years and has engaged the members of the Synod via group meetings across Arkansas, Oklahoma and the panhandle of Texas,
Be it resolved that the Arkansas Oklahoma Synod become a Reconciling in Christ Synod, affirming its welcome to all, and
Be it further resolved that the following be adopted as the welcome statement for the Synod, directing its activities and ministries:
The Arkansas Oklahoma Synod of the ELCA affirms that all people are beloved children of God, made in God’s image. Through the grace of God, we are a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Synod. We welcome and affirm people of all sexual orientations, genders, abilities, disabilities, races, ethnic identities, economic statuses, and backgrounds, to join in the life of our synod community.
We welcome all because God welcomes all, and we recognize that our differences are gifts to our communal life. We commit ourselves to ongoing education, honest reflection, discussion, and action on issues of sexuality, gender, racial equity, ethnicity, and other issues that can create division where we seek community.
We understand the congregations in our synod are in different places on this journey. Starting where each congregation is, we encourage all congregations to engage in similar conversations, including discussion of becoming Reconciling in Christ Congregations. We ask God’s Holy Spirit to guide us in living out this ministry of reconciliation with our siblings in Christ.
Be it further resolved that the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod create a Reconciling In Christ Team to aid congregations in understanding and having these discussions.
Building up our congregationChurch Council Development. Set aside time for church leaders to focus on team building, goal setting, strategic planning and leadership. Healthy congregations have clear communication and decision-making structures. This interactive time together helps councils better understand their role as the spiritual leaders of the congregation, provides space for imagine ministry for today, and builds up the council as a team. (Best in a retreat or workshop format) Creative Tension. Wherever two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, there will be differences of opinion, disagreement and a diversity of perceptions and experiences. Guaranteed. The question is not whether or not there is conflict in congregational life, but how we work through the inevitable conflicts that arise and use them creatively to strengthen and grow our ministries. Building on Strengths. Appreciative Inquiry was first developed in the business world to help companies grow and thrive. Rather than focus on fixing problems, appreciative inquiry builds on strengths. These principles for positive change have been applied to churches and ministries to good effect. This workshop will introduce you to the process of appreciative inquiry and teach you how to use these principles to build up your ministry.
Building up the faith of our members and communityGrief and Growth. Learn more about the grief process and how we can work through our experiences of loss in healthy ways that can lead to personal growth. Listening For God Through Contemplative Prayer. Learn and experience forms of listening prayer. Contemplative prayer can teach us to quiet the mind, calm our spirits and listen for the still small voice of God in the midst of all the noise and hectic activity that fills our daily lives. Being Lutheran in the Buckle of the Bible Belt. A conversation on what makes Lutherans distinctive and how to talk about your faith at work, with neighbors, and around town.
Building up our neighborhood, community, and world"Unpacking the Invisible Napsack. A workshop experience that helps us look at our lives in terms of race and privilege. This is an interactive conversation, not a lecture. I Am Not Your Negro or Traces of the Trade. Viewing & Conversation. Choose one of these filming dealing with race in the United States. Together we will explore the themes, deepen our own understanding, and have candid conversation about race.