Tell Me More About the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Process

By Kari Slotten, Director of Ministry

About a year ago, our Church Council approved the idea of creating an Equity Task Force (ETF). This group was charged with looking at SOTV’s ministries and operating structures to see if there were opportunities to be welcoming and inclusive of more people. Staff, Council, and others in church leadership have heard for years that SOTV feels “like home.” And yet, there are people who have visited SOTV on a Sunday morning after attending our Block Party or other community events, but didn’t come back. For being a large church, we certainly look very homogeneous. If we spent some time looking at ourselves through an equity lens, is there something we could learn that might help this special place feel “like home” to more people?

The Equity Task Force was set up for a one year duration, where people who expressed interest and were approved by Council would spend time learning together, diving into ministry areas, making recommendations, and ultimately evaluating and prioritizing recommendations that would then go to staff and Council. While the ETF is still completing their work, one of the early recommendations made and agreed to by the team was to begin the process of becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation. Reconciling in Christ (RIC) is the designation that Lutheran churches might seek to help communicate their desire to welcome and fully include the LGBTQ+ community in their Christian community. RIC is part of the organization called ReconcilingWorks, which is an independent Lutheran organization that works collaboratively with the ELCA. While many people in the LGBTQ+ community seek this designation when looking for a church home, we’ve learned that this designation can communicate a broader message to people of other marginalized groups: you’re welcome here. While many congregations that begin the process to become an RIC congregation don’t complete the process with a vote to formally become an RIC partner, the process includes congregational dialogue and learning, which the ETF thought could help inform and prioritize other recommendations to come. The pastors and Council agreed, and the process began last summer by posting in the News for the Flock that we were looking for people to help lead the congregation through the RIC journey. More than 20 people expressed interest, and ultimately 12 chose to be part of the team.

In order to begin understanding congregational sentiment, the RIC team developed a survey. From the survey responses (we received 199), 77% said they wholeheartedly support becoming an RIC congregation, 15% said they would like to learn more, and 11% said they do not support this designation. While we eventually hope to hear from more people in the congregation, there is enough support now to continue the RIC process.

The survey also identified areas where the congregation would like more information. The biggest topics of interest are what scripture teaches, how this impacts our congregational life, what the benefits and outcomes are of this designation, and the ELCA’s position on human sexuality. The RIC team is currently planning opportunities for learning in these areas and more, and will include information and time for discussion. We intend to record the sessions and have them available on our website for those not able to attend.

After time to learn more and discuss together, we will likely offer another congregational survey. Based on those results, the RIC team may recommend to the Church Council that we have a vote about formally becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation. If it seems that less than 75% of the congregation is in favor of this designation, we would likely not offer the vote. The goal of this effort is not to divide a congregation. Instead, the goal is to help communicate what “welcome” means at SOTV to potential members from our surrounding communities. If we have the RIC designation, and people seeking that designation for whatever reason choose to visit SOTV, we hope that they would feel genuinely welcomed and included, and could come to say SOTV feels “like home” to them as it does for so many.

Do you have questions or comments? Please consider these options:

  • Watch a ½ hour video about another organization’s process:
  • Read the FAQ sheet about RIC:
  • Watch for upcoming opportunities at to learn more at SOTV, and attend when possible
    • Tuesday, January 18 from 6:30 – 7:30 pm: Introducing the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Process at SOTV (led by Pastor Rick and Kari Slotten)
    • Sunday, January 23 from 9:45 – 10:45 am: Human Sexuality and the ELCA (led by Pastor Michael Burk)
    • Monday, February 28 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm: Understanding Scripture and the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Process (led by Pastors Rick, Lindsey, and Randy)
  • Visit to learn more, find helpful links, or listen to recordings of our informational sessions
  • Contact Kari Slotten at to discuss the RIC process
  • Contact Pastor Rick at to discuss questions or concerns (any pastor will happily discuss)

Thank you for your prayerful consideration of and participation in this process!