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heart 2 heart

Heart 2 Heart is a newly formed, council-approved committee. Our work centers around ensuring that God's mission for St. Luke's – to connect, serve and grow in Christ's love – is rooted in actions that support our belief that all people are created in God's image. We respect this God-given right to dignity and, inspired by the life of Jesus, show love and compassion for all people. We are beginning the journey of Reconciling in Christ. We identify this as a journey because we recognize that this work does not have a final destination but rather is a lifelong process filled with milestones of inclusion, celebration and advocacy. This journey of becoming Welcoming and Affirming is designed to help our faith community work for racial justice, deepen and expand our welcome to people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.

 

Why are we entering into the Reconciling in Christ process? We are already welcoming! Yes, we are. But the designation of “A Reconciling in Christ Congregation” lets the world know that the people of St. Luke’s are committed to actively learning together how to welcome and affirm God’s beloved children of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. When people see the logo for Reconciling in Christ on our website, in our literature and on our building they can know that this is a place where we are committed to and actively on the journey to reflecting God’s radical inclusion.

Heart 2 Heart is conducting a survey as we begin the Reconciling in Christ Process to gauge where we are as a church. Please take one minute to respond to these four questions.

Meet the Team

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A message from our Council on Diversity

A Joyful Welcome 

By: Virginia Bartelt

 

     We at St. Luke’s are known for our joyful welcome. This is part of how we define our church. In the midst of the larger community conversation regarding inclusion, we ask ourselves, in this community of faith, what it means to truly welcome others.

     Our website provides an excellent summary of our beliefs as an ELCA church regarding welcome and inclusion: “Each person is created in God’s image. We respect this God-given right to dignity and, inspired by the life of Jesus, show love and compassion for all people...As Christ’s church, we value the richness of God’s creation and offer a radical welcome to all people, appreciating our common humanity and our differences. We are a church that does not view diversity as a barrier to unity. We recognize and will challenge dynamics of power and privilege that create barriers to participation and equity in this church and society – for women, people of color, minority ethnic groups, people with disabilities, people who are marginalized or living in poverty, and the LGBTQ community.” These are our beliefs, grounded in our faith, and inspired by the life of Jesus.

     How do we live out this faith? What does it mean to offer a radical welcome? These are questions that we can ask ourselves individually and as a congregation. We are already engaged in the conversation. Golden Opportunities has addressed topics from child neglect and abuse to diversity and equity concerns. In our Caring Ministries, we have the opportunity, time and again, to extend love and compassion and gain in understanding of other walks. With conversation, prayer and study, we learn and grow in faith and understanding. Again, to quote from our website “Because we trust in God’s promise and understand faith to be a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, we are emboldened to embrace learning and change in our spiritual and institutional journey as church. This means we are open to new ways and willing to take risks to discover God’s plan for this church.”

     Let us continue to provide the joyful welcome to others, practice the radical welcome, and be open to discovering God’s plan for St. Luke’s.

Virginia Bartelt

St. Luke's is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Click here for more information about the ELCA on diversity and inclusion. 

Mission & Vision of the ELCA

Mission 
Together in Jesus Christ we are freed by grace to live faithfully, witness boldly and serve joyfully. 

Vision
A world experiencing the difference God’s grace and love in Christ makes for all people and creation. 

Values

Our values are grounded in faith, in our biblical and Lutheran confessional sources and our love of God and neighbor. They speak to the way this church lives and practices our faith, and they will guide how we journey forward in Christ as church together.

Forgiveness and reconciliation – We are reconciled to God by God’s forgiving mercy. Forgiveness and reconciliation flow from what God has made us to be in Jesus Christ and what God is doing with us in the world. As a people of God, we embody forgiveness in speech, action and relationships, and our ministry in reconciliation is foundational. 

Dignity, compassion and justice – Each person is created in God’s image. We respect this God-given right to dignity and, inspired by the life of Jesus, show love and compassion for all people. Through proclamation of the gospel, through worship and as servants of God working for healing and justice in the world, we uphold and seek to protect the dignity and human rights of all people. 

 

Inclusion and diversity – As Christ’s church, we value the richness of God’s creation and offer a radical welcome to all people, appreciating our common humanity and our differences. We are a church that does not view diversity as a barrier to unity. We recognize and will challenge dynamics of power and privilege that create barriers to participation and equity in this church and society – for women, people of color, minority ethnic groups, people with disabilities, people who are marginalized or living in poverty, and the LGBTQ community. 

 

Courage and openness to change – Because we trust in God’s promise and understand faith to be a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, we are emboldened to embrace learning and change in our spiritual and institutional journey as church. This means we are open to new ways and willing to take risks to discover God’s plan for this church. 

 

Faithful stewardship of God’s creation and gifts – As church together, faithful stewardship is about holding to God’s purpose and ensuring the responsibilities and resources that God has entrusted to us are used with great care and with accountability to God, to each other and those served by this church.