Lutheran Campus Ministry at Syracuse University joins national movement to openly welcome gays and lesbians
Lutheran Campus Ministry at Syracuse University joins national movement to openly welcome gays and lesbiansFebruary 15, 2002Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
The Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM) at Syracuse University and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry declared itself a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) community during the January 2002 meeting of the LCM Coordinating Council, the organization’s governing body. By doing so, LCM joins more than 200 Lutheran congregations, synods and campus communities across the United States and Canada in openly welcoming members of the gay and lesbian community into their congregations.
“As a Reconciling in Christ community, we offer an alternative voice, grounded in the gospel, to the marketplace of conversation and experience of individuals who are otherwise ostracized by society,” says the Rev. Fritz Lampe, LCM chaplain.
The Reconciling in Christ movement is a program of Lutherans Concerned/North America to recognize Lutheran congregations that welcome gay and lesbian believers. RIC congregations accept the organization’s affirmations that
? gay and lesbian people share with all others the worth that comes from being unique individuals created by God;
? gay and lesbian people are welcome within the membership of the congregation upon making the same affirmation of faith that all other people make; and
? as members of the congregation, gay and lesbian people are expected and encouraged to share in the sacramental and general life of the congregation.
“This decision is important for us in that it serves as a public proclamation of what our leadership has said for a number of years,” Lampe says. “That is, we are a community in which all are welcome and embraced fully. Many of our students have close friends who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Although we can generally, and in a discreet way, offer a hand of welcome, it means little when other voices within Christendom openly reject and condemn sexual orientations that are considered outside of the “norm.”
By being Reconciling in Christ, we are joining a vast network of people of hospitality and grace. That network is an important source of information, compassion, solidarity and referral within the church at large and her substantial gay and lesbian community.”
LCM is the first Lutheran community outside of New York City to declare itself a RIC community. The Upstate New York Synod, headquartered in Syracuse, passed resolutions in June 2001 that declared itself a RIC Synod and that encouraged member congregations to study, discuss and adopt resolutions affirming the principles of welcome for gays and lesbians.
“We are excited to be the first congregation in upstate New York to become a RIC community,” says Emily Cloyd, president of the LCM Coordinating Council and a graduate student the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. “Being at a university, it is doubly important for us to let people know that we are an open and welcoming community-students wrestle with many issues when they go away to college, finding a church that will welcome them shouldn’t be one of those.”
“I have had the opportunity to be included in some of the discussions of the Syracuse University LCM community on a variety of issues, including the welcoming of gay and lesbian persons,” says the Rev. Lee M. Miller, bishop of the Upstate New York Synod. “I have been pleased with the give-and-take environment and the faithful, thoughtful and prayerful way LCM has gone about its conversations. I commend LCM in its efforts to connect real faith with real life.”
Lutherans Concerned/North America (www.lcna.org) is an independent membership organization that has ministered to thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual people during the past 25 years. The organization, supported by donations and member contributions, reaches out to people of all sexual orientations through local chapters across the United States and Canada and serves as a resource for local Lutheran congregations, pastors and elected leaders.
Lutheran Campus Ministry at Syracuse University is an open community of worship, growth and support and includes students, faculty, staff, administrators, friends, family, area congregations, district, synod and national affiliations in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ.
Officially chartered in 1870 as a private, coeducational institution of higher education, Syracuse University is a leading student-centered research university. Syracuse’s 11 schools and colleges share a common mission: to promote learning through teaching, research, scholarship, creative accomplishment and service while embracing the core values of quality, caring, diversity, innovation and service. The 680-acre campus is home to more than 18,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and 90 countries.