Proposed Synod RIC Welcome Statement and Synod Assembly Update

Apr 27, 2023

By the Gulf Coast Synod LGBTQIA Coalition

At the 2022 Gulf Coast Synod Assembly meeting in Galveston, the Assembly approved a resolution that authorized the following:

  • To enter a year-long process of discerning becoming a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) synod. This process will be guided by the Gulf Coast Synod LGBTQIA Coalition which will include regional educational forums and consultations with synod staff, council and conference deans; and
  • To direct the LGBTQIA Coalition to develop a proposed synod Welcome Statement. The proposed Welcome Statement will be presented to the 2023 Synod Assembly to vote on whether to become a Reconciling in Christ synod.

In October, January, and February, the LGBTQIA Coalition held three regional RIC forums in New Orleans, La Grange, and Houston, with more than 200 participants from across most of the synod’s congregations. Resources have also been provided through the synod website for those who did not participate in one of the forums.

After the third forum, the Coalition developed a Frequently Asked Questions, and a task team was formed to develop the first draft of a Welcome Statement. The task team reviewed the surveys from forum participants and notes from the forums and drafted a proposed Welcome Statement. This Welcome Statement has been reviewed by Synod Council as well the synod’s Mesa Latina and Bishop’s Advisor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The proposed Welcome Statement is:

We, the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, honor the diverse Body of Christ and echo God’s goodness and care in our life together. We believe the church is to reflect the expansive beauty of the region we are called to serve. Therefore, in our leadership, policies, practices, and culture we are committed to celebrating and uplifting people in sacred variety.

As a collective, we embrace and uplift the beloved children of God of varying ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, identity and expression, relationship status, age, physical and neurological diversity, geography, citizenship, immigration status, socio-economic status, and experiences of addiction or incarceration.

We dedicate ourselves and our resources to the healing of our history where there has been harm, and the ongoing work of reconciliation including justice for the LGBTQIA community and the pursuit of racial equity. There is a wideness in God’s mercy and who we are created to be.

The week of 2023 Synod Assembly, on Tuesday, May 16th at 7pm, there will be a pre-assembly online presentation for Assembly voting members and registered visitors to be updated on the RIC process, and to ask questions and learn more prior to Synod Assembly.

During Synod Assembly, the Coalition will give its report to the Assembly and present the Welcome Statement for deliberation and a vote. If the Assembly passes the Welcome Statement, it will mean that the Gulf Coast Synod becomes RIC. If it does not pass, this means the Gulf Coast Synod does not become RIC.

We invite everyone to review the online resources. And if you have questions or would like more information, please email [email protected].